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Streamer advice for absolute beginner.

RobDavies

Active member
Oct 16, 2020
2
1
25
Hello.

I’m new to this streaming lark. I have a decent enough amp and speakers (Marantz PM6006 and Wharfedale Diamond 9.1’s) and I currently stream music from spotify on my iPhone via an Arcam rblink.

The sound is ok without being exceptional, which is understandable given the relatively low cost of the hifi components involved.

Therefore, I’m thinking of buying a dedicated streamer which I can also plug a hard drive into, containing a bunch of flac files.
Is it worth getting rid of my amp and buying an all in one solution like the Marantz NR1200? Or should I be looking at adding a streamer to my PM6006? Budget is about £300-£400 and I like my hifi to be fairly bright and detailed. Not sure if it’s worth mentioning or not, but I will also be looking to upgrade my speakers in the near future.

Thanks in advance.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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Have you looked at the Bluesound Node 2i Rob?
Currently with £100 off it comes within your budget.
Not much to look at, not even a screen of any type - but your screen is on your controlling device(s).
It's got some potentially useful features, could be worth investigating.
 

Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
58
23
45
I was having a look at some of these things mysef

Tbh I decided the technology isn't quite ready yet. The best streamers imo have the ability to play Hi Res files, but these ones all seem to cost well over a grand, way too much for me to consider spending. I think I'll wait a few years until the technology improves!
 

AVDude

Active member
Oct 17, 2020
8
2
25
AV Stream boxes:

  1. They have a software dependency that isn't interoperable with your preferred source of audio
  2. The implementations are poorly done
  3. Software heavy AV appliances are slow to interact with and kludgy.

Your best options are to DiY streaming VIA a compact PC and some other stuff. Regardless of the path chosen it won't be cheap and it won't be simple.
Home design and home wiring layouts are at the mercy of the builder, they don't care about modern stuff like smart home wiring - fiber optic - cat 7+ network cable - wifi layouts etc. Unless the home owner is tech savvy and has deep pockets these will continue to be unaddressed for at least another decade.

IoT is still in its infancy phase.
 

Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I was having a look at some of these things mysef

Tbh I decided the technology isn't quite ready yet. The best streamers imo have the ability to play Hi Res files, but these ones all seem to cost well over a grand, way too much for me to consider spending. I think I'll wait a few years until the technology improves!
No need to spend silly money for a streamer - otherwise I wouldn't have one.
I use a Raspberry Pi myself.
And how about this, currently £55......got its own DAC and control app:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-87bTO4MtU
 

Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
58
23
45
No need to spend silly money for a streamer - otherwise I wouldn't have one.
I use a Raspberry Pi myself.
And how about this, currently £55......got its own DAC and control app:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-87bTO4MtU
I have a Pi! What can I do with that?

That Arylic device looks pretty good actually. I bought a cheap MPOW BH259A in the end as I wanted a transmitter to add bluetooth headphones to my separates and a receiver to send spotify to my speakers. Just a cheap adaptor really though, nothing special. The Arylic looks like it would be much better for the receiving end of things though. Supports hi res and has a controller too!
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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I have a Pi! What can I do with that?
Well the good news is, you've already got yourself a perfectly good high-res streamer (y)

The title of this thread is 'Streamer advice for absolute beginner' which is precisely what I got when someone on this forum suggested using a RPi as a streamer. So I bought one just for the purpose. Mine plays hi-res / FLAC music files from a HDD and internet 'radio' streams (including one streamed in 16/44.1 CD quality FLAC).

As you probably know, the Pi has line out on the 3.5 mm AV combi socket. You could use that to start with - but it's best (and easy enough) to use an external DAC*
You need an operating system on the SD card to tell the Pi what to do.
Several are available. Here's the one I'm currently using, which is great (and free):
The 'image' for your SD card is downloadable from there, as well a step-by step guide.
A USB stick or HDD containing your music files plugs into one of the USB sockets but you can also store some music on the SD card - so it's not even necessary to use external drives.

Although you can control everything with a phone, tablet or laptop, I like to have physical 'transport' buttons as well. Volumio makes it easy to connect push buttons to the GPIO pins on your Pi.
These are my (not very subtle) light-up push buttons (more discrete ones are available ;)):
*I can advise on Pi-specific I2S (to get coax or optical digital out) or USB DACs some other time.
 
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AVDude

Active member
Oct 17, 2020
8
2
25
No need to spend silly money for a streamer - otherwise I wouldn't have one.
I use a Raspberry Pi myself.
And how about this, currently £55......got its own DAC and control app:
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-87bTO4MtU
Anything that doesn't use cloud based voice stuff is OK with me, i'm all for tech advancement but voice based controls (considering how they work currently) is more of a step backward in many ways than making steps forward.
 
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Longchops

Well-known member
Oct 15, 2020
58
23
45
Thats very interesting Gray! I bought the Pi on a whim many years ago and never used it. Turning that into something useful and getting a streamer would kill two birds with one stone.

I'll give it a try with the jack socket first. I think that should be good enough for my very occasional use of spotify and a brief play around with hi res....
 
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AVDude

Active member
Oct 17, 2020
8
2
25
External Add-on DAC's is where my head is at for a variety of purposes, that and as a dedicated headphone amp. I work with computers a lot, although in my current capacity its more because I want to then because someone is paying me to. I'm looking at DAC's that will handle sound duty for the PC but still give me some audiophile goodness on the headphone and Mic front.
I already have a list of possibles.
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
1,000
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Thats very interesting Gray! I bought the Pi on a whim many years ago and never used it. Turning that into something useful and getting a streamer would kill two birds with one stone.

I'll give it a try with the jack socket first. I think that should be good enough for my very occasional use of spotify and a brief play around with hi res....
One downer is that you won't get the free version of Spotify :(.
 
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TomC

Well-known member
Jan 10, 2017
16
3
4,525
Hi.
Since you are on Marantz why don't you try NA6006? I was using it for two years and it works perfect. I am using it with PM8005.
 

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