• If you ever spot Spam (either in the forums, or received via forum direct message) please use the Report button at the bottom of each post to make sure a Moderator can handle it quickly. Thanks for your help in keeping things running smoothly!

Which way to wireless wonderland?

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
2
0
Current living room system
  • Musical Fidelity A1 amp
  • Cambridge Audio 640C CD player
  • Monitor Audio Silver 8i speakers
  • Synology DS209 NAS streamed to the hi-fi via iTunes and Apple Airport Express, controlled using Apple remote via an iPod touch
After many years of sterling service, my Musical Fidelity A1 finally stopped producing sounds last week, though it can still toast crumpets! As repairs (and most other things) in Norway are prohibitive, this gives me a good excuse to upgrade my living room hi-fi, and I am very interested in making full use of wireless streaming technology (without having to start up my PC every time I want to listen to music).

My question is whether the sound quality of the Sonos Zone Player 120 is good enough for mainstream hi-fi, or whether I would be better off paying the extra for the Arcam Solo Neo. How much of this extra cost goes into sound quality vs the additional CD and tuner section, which is of less interest? Can you recommend any alternatives, from manufacturers such as Naim, or perhaps the Zone Player 90 and a good, simple power amp? Target maximum price is around £1350 (Arcam Solo Neo price).

My music on the NAS is mostly burned from my CD collection at 250 kbps, though I would plan to re-burn CDs in apple lossless format. Sound quality and software upgradeability are of greatest importance. It would also be beneficial to be able to hide the amplifier / unit on top of a cabinet, which means that a good remote control is also of benefit (which can be iPod touch based).

I hope to hear from you and wonder whether this set of options is interesting enough for you to test out (eg Arcam vs Naim vs power amp plus Sonos)...

(Question also sent via e-mail)
 

Andrew Everard

New member
May 30, 2007
1,878
0
0
Well, I'd say stage one, if you're going to re-rip your CDs, is to do so using FLAC rather than Apple Lossless. The Sonos units will play Apple Lossless, but FLAC will enable your stored music to be streamed to a much wider range of clients, rather than locking you into the Apple way of doing things.

After that, I'd suggest a listen to the Naim UnitiQute and the Arcam Solo Neo: I know which one I'd buy for £1350, but it's important for you to listen to both, if possible with speakers similar to the ones you currently have.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Thanks for an incredibly quick reply Andrew. I will audition first (I have had Arcam kit in the past and have been very pleased), as long as I can find a distrubutor for Naim in Norway. I'd also be interested if you have any immediate reactions to the power amp plus Sonos route, which of course opens up a bunch of options!

Regards Simon D
 

moosey

New member
Oct 22, 2009
28
0
0
further to andrew's response, I have a question


I am about to set up my new sonos and NAS, and am going to re-rip all 400 cds. Currently they are 320mp3, but was going to make them lossless.

Other than flac having a wider range of compatable deviced than apple lossless,; is there really much difference in what I'll hear?

Secondly, if ripping to flac can that be done using itunes ( and if so, what are the recommended settings)

Thirdly, if going lossless (preferable using itunes) are there any consequences wrt album art in the sonos setup.

thanks

mike
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi moosey as a firm beleiver that music streaming be it wired or wireless is the "future" and having both an Apple based system (Apple Express and Apple TV) and a Sonos based system I'll give you my take.

"Other than flac having a wider range of compatable deviced than apple lossless,; is there really much difference in what I'll hear?"

Well despite what some might think the clue here in the title. Lossless is by definition lossless so I'd say no you'll hear no difference at all. Chose which format suits you based on file format compatibility with the equipment you use.

"Secondly, if ripping to flac can that be done using itunes ( and if so, what are the recommended settings)"

No it can't hence my statement about choosing a format based on compatibility with the hardware you plan on using. I mostly rip to FLAC using dbpoweramp and can highly recommend it.

"Thirdly, if going lossless (preferable using itunes) are there any consequences wrt album art in the sonos setup."

In the system I use at home which is Sonos based I actually do use iTunes so rip to ALAC and there are absolutely no issues. Neither as far as I'm aware should there be any issues with most popular ripping software.

Good luck
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi Moosey and 2oldnslow (which I doubt)

Interesting to hear your views on this.

Andrew's comment was important for me, as it turns out that the Arcam and Naim units do not support Apple Lossless. They will support files on my NAS that have been burned at 256 kbps in iTunes as long as they are not DRM protected (mine are not, as any songs I have purchased form iTunes have been upgraded to DRM-free 256 kbps files).

The issues for me will come - if I decided to go for the Arcam or Naim network players - when I re-burn my CDs. It sounds as if I will have to use a ripper / player such as WINAMP to produce FLAC files and live with 2 sets of files and media players - the "hi-fi" version that I will keep on my NAS and the iTunes for iPod / iPad versions that I will maybe put back on the hard disk of a PC again....

The third option - and it would be great to hear peoples views - is to go for a Sonos player 90, coupled to a power amp. This would allow me to use Apple lossless with iTunes files on my NAS, but I am intrigued to know if this would sound as good as the all-in-one option (assuming I but a power amp of similar quality).

Regards Simon D
 

Andrew Everard

New member
May 30, 2007
1,878
0
0
Given that you have 400 CDs to store, which should occupy about 250-280GB, the best answer may be to store them all at uncompressed CD quality, which will give the greatest compatibility with everything.

And even assuming you have, say, a 1TB NAS, which is just about the minimum these days, you'll still have room for something like 1000-1200 more CDs.
 

Gozaradio

Well-known member
Jul 16, 2008
18
0
18,520
One thing to be aware of when ripping to linear Wav files is that they don't carry any metadata with them. So although iTunes (and therefore your iPod / iPad would take metadata from the iTunes library, I doubt any media streamers would, so it would be difficult to dynamically sort your collection by artist, album etc. when searching or browsing from a streamer like the Naim, Arcam or Sonos.

AIFF is effectively a linear file format which can carry metadata and is supported by iTunes, but while Sonos and the Arcam (I believe) can play AIFF files, the Naim doesn't (unless things have changed recently).
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
What Andrew said. I've got a WD Sharespace NAS with 4 1TB drives in it which configured as I've got it gives me 2.68TB of disc space. Way more than enough to hold my backed up iTunes library of audio and video (I work in the Middle East so the Apple store provides most of my film/TV content) and plenty more besides.

I use FLAC because of the already mentioned problems with metadata if you go down the wav file route even though my AV amp supports playback of wav files. To be honest I can't tell the difference anyway.

Software like Dbpoweramp gives the facility to convert to pretty much any of the commonly used file formats anyway and even has a batch file converter. I did think about sitting down and re-ripping to wav as a sort of archive and may well one day. There is software out there that can add metadata to wav files Soundminer and Basehead spring to mind but as I said for me at least I'm more than happy with FLAC.

Think the important issue is not to put all your eggs in one basket and have multiple copies just in case. As it is the way my NAS is configured I can lose a drive without any loss of data so I just keep a back up library on a USB drive and touch wood haven't had a problem yet.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
596
66
18,970
Andrew Everard:

Well, I'd say stage one, if you're going to re-rip your CDs, is to do so using FLAC rather than Apple Lossless. The Sonos units will play Apple Lossless, but FLAC will enable your stored music to be streamed to a much wider range of clients, rather than locking you into the Apple way of doing things.

After that, I'd suggest a listen to the Naim UnitiQute and the Arcam Solo Neo: I know which one I'd buy for £1350, but it's important for you to listen to both, if possible with speakers similar to the ones you currently have.

Which one would that be then?
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
Simon D:
Thanks for an incredibly quick reply Andrew. I will audition first (I have had Arcam kit in the past and have been very pleased), as long as I can find a distrubutor for Naim in Norway. I'd also be interested if you have any immediate reactions to the power amp plus Sonos route, which of course opens up a bunch of options!

Regards Simon D

Another option for you. I use a Popcorn Hour A-200 with a 1tb drive. I have it connected to my screen via hdmi and my DAC via coaxial. I also have it networked to my pc. It's great for viewing and choosing music and I get all the album art and metadata - I use FLAC files and dBpoweramp for ripping.
 

pwiles1968

New member
Mar 22, 2009
153
0
0
2oldnslow: I did think about sitting down and re-ripping to wav as a sort of archive and may well one day. There is software out there that can add metadata to wav files Soundminer and Basehead spring to mind but as I said for me at least I'm more than happy with FLAC.

I am pretty new to all of this myself but I believe if your files are in a lossless format already you can convert them back to a bit perfect WAV, I read you can convert ALAC to WAV in iTunes, I assume something like dbPoweramp or MAX will do FLAC to WAV.
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
pwiles1968:
2oldnslow: I did think about sitting down and re-ripping to wav as a sort of archive and may well one day. There is software out there that can add metadata to wav files Soundminer and Basehead spring to mind but as I said for me at least I'm more than happy with FLAC.

I am pretty new to all of this myself but I believe if your files are in a lossless format already you can convert them back to a bit perfect WAV, I read you can convert ALAC to WAV in iTunes, I assume something like dbPoweramp or MAX will do FLAC to WAV.

You are correct.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
it will but as far as I'm aware the metadata is lost. If you just want a WAV file to burn a CD for whatever reason no problem,
 

Gerrardasnails

Well-known member
Sep 6, 2007
295
1
18,890
2oldnslow:it will but as far as I'm aware the metadata is lost. If you just want a WAV file to burn a CD for whatever reason no problem,

This is true also. I have some wav files left and all that shows on my screen when it's playing is the song title.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Doing some very basic "research" it appears that metadata isn't embedded within the WAV file hence it being "lost" when converting from FLAC. Which explains you only seeing the song title and the use of programs like Soundminer

Why you would want to convert FLAC to WAV I'm not sure unless it's you no longer have access to the original CD and want to make a copy for say use in the car. I've certainly not been able to detect any difference between a FLAC and WAV file played on my system.

Still isn't it great we have all these options :)
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Well Andrew, I have now been and listened to Naim kit and I think I know which one I will by too:)

I like Arcam but love the Naim sound (based on a listen to a CD player and pre/power combo).

Unitiqute is coming to Norway any day now (the Solo Neo is already avaialable, as is the Sonos zone player 90). I will be doing some more auditioning in the near future with my own speakers.

But I would dearly love to hear a supertest of:

Solo Neo vs

Unitiqute

vs Zone player 90 coupled up to both a Naim and an Arcam power amp.

Which sounds best?

How about it (if you felt like a trip to the beautiful Oslofjord for a reader rescue, just say the word)!!

Best wishes

Simon
 

DavidNorway

New member
Aug 26, 2010
41
0
0
Hi Simon D,been reading your quest for a wireless wonderland good luck with finding what you want.What i would like to know is who is selling Naim in Norway?Im reading about the brand everyday on this forum and would love to hear what the fuss is all about.

Thanks
 

PJPro

New member
Jan 21, 2008
274
0
0
One can embed tags into .WAV files but it breaks the WAV standard. So while the info may be viewable in one media player it may not be on another.

Of course, as someone said earlier, lossless is lossless. The file contains the same information as the original WAV file. All of it. So save the space, gain the tagging and rip to FLAC.
 

Fisherking 145

New member
Jan 11, 2010
28
0
0
I would deffinitely recommend dbPoweramp for ripping duties. I've just ripped over 400 CD's this past couple of weeks, and found it so easy to use, especially for changing tags & artwork. It comes with a batch converter, so you can then make files of different formats to suit your other devices, but even better than that is the fact you can actually rip to different formats at the same time, and store them in seperate user specified places. This is particularly handy for use with other devices, as the ripping only needs done once.

I've just bought a Squeezebox Touch and am loving it, but I'm itching to set up a demo with a Uniti. If I had a Naim dealer within 50 miles I probably would have bought one by now.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Hi David

I saw Andrew's reply. I contacted Ljutema and they put me in touch with JFS Sound Systems in Drammen. http://www.jfssoundsystems.no/. Nice helpful guy running the place and he expects a Uniqute in the shop in the near future. If you don't live in the Oslo area, Ljutema will put you in touch with a nearer dealer.

Regards (med vennlig hilsen)

Simon
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS

Latest posts