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Media streamer with a screen or a phone app?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
In the first floor of my house, I have in-wall speakers throughout. I have an amp for them, so all I really need are sources to plug into the system. This system is only used for music. Until recently, I was using an old DVD player to play CDs, but it died. I have an extensive music collection on my PC that I'd like to tap into, hence why I'm looking for a media streamer. Eventually, I'd like to stream from an external HDD or NAS drive, but from my PC is fine for now.

Because this system is audio only, I have no screen attached to this system so I need a media streamer with a built in screen or one that operates via a phone app. I'd like to avoid Sonos prices if possible. Thanks for the help and let me know if you need any more information.
post #2 of 16
I just posted this suggestion to someone in another thread: Cambridge Audio NP30.

The new Popcorn Hour A-400 (or even the A-300 I think) will also play using tablet app and is less money.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestion. The Popcorn stuff looks like it might work, though it is totally over kill and more than I was hoping to spend. They all seem to support movies and such. Can't somebody just make a simple music streamer? There must be others out there who just want to stream music.
post #4 of 16
It can be done using airplay devices pick up the orginal apple tv for cheap for however many rooms then use your phone to control it. Not the most elegant solution but it works.

Or cocktail audio x10 might be an option.

Sonos, and even apple tv are for the likes of multi room systems. but since you just need one source they are overkill
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainChunk View Post

Thanks for the suggestion. The Popcorn stuff looks like it might work, though it is totally over kill and more than I was hoping to spend. They all seem to support movies and such. Can't somebody just make a simple music streamer? There must be others out there who just want to stream music.

You can get a PCH A-300 for $219. How cheap are you expecting? Once you say "music only" the market is more for either audiophiles and the prices will start higher or MP3 type users. Having said that, I agree that just a music streamer would be nice. The Cambridge Audio NP30 has a decent DAC built in as well as a preamp mode. They could release a version with a very basic DAC and digital outs (kind of like most BDP's have) and shave a couple of hundred off the $600 price, but I don't think you will see a decent music only unit for less than that. Also, it seems they can give it both music and movie capability for very little more in the lower price units, so why wouldn't they. It seems the bigger market is for video. Not much audio streaming discussion here, for example.

If I was to buy a unit for music streaming only and price was critical, I would get the A-300 ($219) or A-400 ($249). If price was important but not critical, I would get the NP-30 ($599). If price was somewhat important, but I wanted the best bang for the buck, I would get the Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 ($999) (I have one on order). If price wasn't so important, I would be looking at the lower priced Linn units.

There is also an upcoming Olive that looks very promising: http://myoliveone.com/Ones ($399)
post #6 of 16
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
That Cocktail Audio x10 appears to be more than I want to spend. I'd love to be in the $100-150 range. We're an Android household, so Apple products won't work for us. Thanks for the suggestion.
post #8 of 16
How about looking for a used logitech squeezebox?
post #9 of 16
How about looking for a used logitech squeezebox?
post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainChunk View Post

That Cocktail Audio x10 appears to be more than I want to spend. I'd love to be in the $100-150 range. We're an Android household, so Apple products won't work for us. Thanks for the suggestion.

I don't think you will find much to go with in your price range that is music only and new. Maybe something used. Given what you are describing, I would just go with a used A-300 and ignore the video capabilities.
post #11 of 16
i just went thru the same search for a media player for my shop and old analog receiver
my neighbors kid came thru for me and donated his old android phone so i can listen to commercial free internet radio in the shop.
there must be an app for android that can stream music from a pc

before i spent $200 to 500 on an add on box, i'd buy an internet capable receiver. most internet capable receiver can stream from a windows 7 without any setup (winxp can do it with some setup)
i bought an HK avr 1700 for $199 from bestbuy in janurary, that has internet radio and a media streamer that will pull files right off your pc through windows media player
and it works biggrin.gif
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have finally thought of a solution. I'm going to go with a cheap Android tablet. Likely this one due to price. http://www.amazon.com/Coby-7-Inch-Android-Internet-Tablet/dp/B00B2HCLL6/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1368895822&sr=1-1 I actually bought one of these for my son to mess around with rather than breaking our phones and it is a nice little tablet. Good number of ports and operates quickly. Can't beat it for the price. My next challenge will be finding a mounting bracket. Everything seems to be made for the full size iPad.
post #13 of 16
The cost of specialised hifi stereo music streamers, aka network audio players (such as Cambridge Audio's NP30), is mostly down to the build and sound quality of their components, especially their built in digital to analogue converters (DACs). One of their main functions is as a CD player substitute, so if you are replacing a good quality CD player originally connected to a similarly sounding stereo amplifier, you should really be looking for a box of similar quality. Otherwise you are in danger of being stuck with a rather poor sounding streaming solution, mostly due to the streamer's poor quality DAC circuitry. The solution would then be to later get a good SQ stand alone stereo DAC unit to place between the poor SQ streamer and good SQ stereo amplifier, which would cost around the same sort of the price that a network audio player would have cost in the first place!

All network audio players come with a built in display and most can be controlled by their own free Android & Apple iOS apps in addition to the remote control. Some have USB ports to allow the selection and playback of music media stored in USB memory sticks or even external HDDs and all have other music streaming functions, such as internet radio. The network available stored music played on them can also be controlled by third party DLNA controller applications (such as the popular BubbleUPnP app for Android), the prerequisite being that there is also be a DLNA server running on the network, to deliver the media from a NAS or other media storage device.

Street / internet prices of new devices start from around $300 upwards and what you should be comparing them to is the price of replacing a CD player and how you'd go about selecting a new one in terms of cost versus quality. Examples of popular network audio players include, in the ~ $300 - $1500 price range:
Denon DNP-720AE
Denon DNP-F109
Pioneer N-30
Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30
Marantz NA7004
Pioneer N-50
Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6

The Stream Magic 6 and the Pioneer N-50 even have a DAC USB port that allows their excellent SQ internal DACs to be used directly by a computer running music playback software, swapping out the computer's usually poor SQ internal / sound card DACs, by connecting with a USB cable.
Edited by Cebolla - 5/19/13 at 9:15am
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cebolla View Post

The cost of specialised hifi stereo music streamers, aka network audio players (such as Cambridge Audio's NP30), is mostly down to the build and sound quality of their components, especially their built in digital to analogue converters (DACs). One of their main functions is as a CD player substitute, so if you are replacing a good quality CD player originally connected to a similarly sounding stereo amplifier, you should really be looking for a box of similar quality. Otherwise you are in danger of being stuck with a rather poor sounding streaming solution, mostly due to the streamer's poor quality DAC circuitry. The solution would then be to later get a good SQ stand alone stereo DAC unit to place between the poor SQ streamer and good SQ stereo amplifier, which would cost around the same sort of the price that a network audio player would have cost in the first place!

Cebolla -- that's exactly the position I'm in! Creating an AirPlay streamer with high-end DAC (Wolfson WM8741) and is highly controllable, the thread is under "Myro:Air - AirPlay Streamer" -- would love to hear your thoughts.
post #15 of 16
mavromatis, looks like a decent enough DAC (depending on price point, support electronics and build quality of course). I'm not so sure about it being an Apple Airplay only streamer, though. I'm assuming Apple are restricting your streaming features of this proposed box before issuing you with their Airplay license for it, as is usually their way if you want to take part in the 'Apple market'. I'd be surprised if they'd let you support DLNA in the same box, for example, or even simple direct streaming from a SAMBA shared folder on the network. Hopefully you'll at least be be 'allowed' to have a UAC2 direct connection to its internal DAC, to give all computers a chance to play music through it via USB. Whatever the case, good luck with your creation and venture with Apple!
Edited by Cebolla - 5/19/13 at 12:03pm
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cebolla View Post

mavromatis, looks like a decent enough DAC (depending on price point, support electronics and build quality of course). I'm not so sure about it being an Apple Airplay only streamer, though. I'm assuming Apple are restricting your streaming features of this proposed box before issuing you with their Airplay license for it, as is usually their way if you want to take part in the 'Apple market'. I'd be surprised if they'd let you support DLNA in the same box, for example, or even simple direct streaming from a SAMBA shared folder on the network. Hopefully you'll at least be be 'allowed' to have a UAC2 direct connection to its internal DAC, to give all computers a chance to play music through it via USB. Whatever the case, good luck with your creation and venture with Apple!

Sounds like you've been down this path before biggrin.gif
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