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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Greetings

Am hoping to finally setup an audio only room this fall and one of the capabilities I am looking for is a Network Audio Server with which I can either stream lossless audio (DSD, FLAC etc.) from my NAS or via local playback (directly from the storage on the device). On doing some research, the Sony HAP-Z1ES turned out to be a good candidate except I cannot spare an arm and a leg at this time (reserved for my kids colleges :) ).

I happen to have a decent DAC, the Sony UDA1 and one option I thought of was to get a small noiseless/fanless PC (like the Intel NUC for e.g.), connect that with the DAC (which in turn would be connected to the preamp/amp) and operated by a tablet with a tool like VNC. This PC would be running Windows and use the Sony supplied s/w to send the lossless file via a USB connection to the DAC.

Thoughts on this ? Or anyone have a more optimized option or a different solution altogether given that a full blown PC maybe an overkill for this setup ?

Thanks!
 

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Greetings

Am hoping to finally setup an audio only room this fall and one of the capabilities I am looking for is a Network Audio Server with which I can either stream lossless audio (DSD, FLAC etc.) from my NAS or via local playback (directly from the storage on the device). On doing some research, the Sony HAP-Z1ES turned out to be a good candidate except I cannot spare an arm and a leg at this time (reserved for my kids colleges :) ).

I happen to have a decent DAC, the Sony UDA1 and one option I thought of was to get a small noiseless/fanless PC (like the Intel NUC for e.g.), connect that with the DAC (which in turn would be connected to the preamp/amp) and operated by a tablet with a tool like VNC. This PC would be running Windows and use the Sony supplied s/w to send the lossless file via a USB connection to the DAC.

Thoughts on this ? Or anyone have a more optimized option or a different solution altogether given that a full blown PC maybe an overkill for this setup ?

Thanks!
I use a "full blown PC" digital out to receiver, so using the receiver DAC.
It has been my research that not only is a PC not overkill, but cost far less that any of these devices. The computer not only can be upgraded and memory expanded, but you have ability to make the files from CDs, or other sources, sort them, make playlists, back them up and get anything you want from the internet. I usually use Windows Media Player, it's been around for over a decade now. I also use Groove (Win10) and it has a neat feature of displaying artist photo as background on desktop and changing with the next song.
 

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Did you look at the OPPO UDP-205?
 

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You can build a number of great sounding music player setups that have easy control via a tablet or phone using the raspberry pi single board computer. My favorite is picoreplayer which is based on the Logitech Squeezebox ecosystem https://www.picoreplayer.org/ I have a raspberry pi 3 running picoreplayer as a server and a player with my music stored on a usb drive plugged into the pi. The pi outputs audio via a usb DAC to my office stereo and is capable of lossless, DSD and streaming from a number of music services. In addition I have another pi attached to a usb DAC and a 7 inch touchscreen (for artwork and metadata display) acting as a player in my family room. Finally, I have some original Squeezebox hardware as players in my bedroom and theater. I control everything from the wonderful iPeng app running on my iPhone and iPad. Picoreplayer is free and raspberry pi computers cost a whopping $35 each. I don’t know for sure but you could probably use your current DAC with this system. The Squeezebox system is officially end of life but still receives active development from a Logitech engineer and the Picoreplayer guys. https://forums.slimdevices.com/

Other raspberry pi based audio systems to consider are Volumio https://volumio.org/ and Roon https://roonlabs.com/ Volumio is free and Roon requires an expensive subscription but offers compatibility with a number of audio components and a beautiful GUI on tablet controllers. You don’t have to spend lots of money and have a big noisy computer for great audio playback.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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I'm running a Pi 3 B+ with Volumio installed. Besides being free, Volumio is nice because it doesn't require a special app to use it. The interface is with a web GUI, so basically any device with a competent internet browser will work. Once the Pi with Volumio is on the home network you simply type http://volumio.local in the browser of chosen device and you're there.

FLAC is no problem for a I2S DAC that uses the Pi I2S header, but if you want DSD to stream direct it sounds like you need to use a USB DAC. It does sound like there might be I2S DACs out there that showed up recently (after the blog below was posted lasted year) that can do true DSD direct over I2S but information seems kind of spotty. You'd probably be best sticking with a USB DAC for DSD.

https://volumio.org/direct-dsd-support-volumio-dsd512/


I don't know if your Sony USB DAC will work either, but like usc1995 said, a Pi 3 B+ is only $35. Factor $10 in for a 2.5A or 3.0A power supply, and another $10 for a microSD card to install the player software of choice. If it works out, great. You've saved hundreds instead of buying a NUC. Then you can go grab a Pi case of choice or attach a touchscreen etc.. If it doesn't work out with the Sony DAC, then you're only out a few Hamiltons.
 

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How much CASH do you have to spend on this project?

The price range is $30 up to $18,000; you must be in there somewhere ...but where?

Generaly a Music Streaming Systems needs several aspects. You need the ability to stream music from where ever it is stored, then it has to go to an Amp, and then it has to go to speakers? Some where in all that their needs to be a DAC, but likely that will be built into the Streaming Device.

You asked about a Streamer, but made no mention of what Amp and Speakers you will be using.

We need an overview of the Budget and the rest of the system that the Streamer will be used with?

It is also helpful to know the Dimension of the Room the system will be in, though we don't know enough about the overall plan to start there yet.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
How much CASH do you have to spend on this project?

The price range is $30 up to $18,000; you must be in there somewhere ...but where?

Generaly a Music Streaming Systems needs several aspects. You need the ability to stream music from where ever it is stored, then it has to go to an Amp, and then it has to go to speakers? Some where in all that their needs to be a DAC, but likely that will be built into the Streaming Device.

You asked about a Streamer, but made no mention of what Amp and Speakers you will be using.

We need an overview of the Budget and the rest of the system that the Streamer will be used with?

It is also helpful to know the Dimension of the Room the system will be in, though we don't know enough about the overall plan to start there yet.

Steve/bluewizard

@steve/bluewizard

Since I already have a decent DAC (a Sony UDA1), I am just looking for a complementary smart device like a nosieless computer or a Raspberry Pi solution that others here have mentioned, instead of purchasing a Sony HAP-Z1ES system which is ~$2K

The DAC will connect via analog/RCA out to an Onkyo Integra M5030 amp/Onkyo P3060 pre-amp combo then on to a pair of spears (TBD)

The room will be ~25ft X 15ft
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
:confused:

Topic creator said he was looking at a Sony HAP-Z1ES, but that was too pricey. So that puts his budget for this under $1200...
Correct, since I already have the Sony DAC (UDA1) I am looking to spend less than $500..... although the HAP-Z1Es is for ~2K... where did you see it for $1200 ???
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I'm running a Pi 3 B+ with Volumio installed. Besides being free, Volumio is nice because it doesn't require a special app to use it. The interface is with a web GUI, so basically any device with a competent internet browser will work. Once the Pi with Volumio is on the home network you simply type http://volumio.local in the browser of chosen device and you're there.

FLAC is no problem for a I2S DAC that uses the Pi I2S header, but if you want DSD to stream direct it sounds like you need to use a USB DAC. It does sound like there might be I2S DACs out there that showed up recently (after the blog below was posted lasted year) that can do true DSD direct over I2S but information seems kind of spotty. You'd probably be best sticking with a USB DAC for DSD.

https://volumio.org/direct-dsd-support-volumio-dsd512/


I don't know if your Sony USB DAC will work either, but like usc1995 said, a Pi 3 B+ is only $35. Factor $10 in for a 2.5A or 3.0A power supply, and another $10 for a microSD card to install the player software of choice. If it works out, great. You've saved hundreds instead of buying a NUC. Then you can go grab a Pi case of choice or attach a touchscreen etc.. If it doesn't work out with the Sony DAC, then you're only out a few Hamiltons.
Thanks for the reccomendation....will investigate this option... is there a way to access the Pi via a tablet while seated far away from it ?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You can build a number of great sounding music player setups that have easy control via a tablet or phone using the raspberry pi single board computer. My favorite is picoreplayer which is based on the Logitech Squeezebox ecosystem https://www.picoreplayer.org/ I have a raspberry pi 3 running picoreplayer as a server and a player with my music stored on a usb drive plugged into the pi. The pi outputs audio via a usb DAC to my office stereo and is capable of lossless, DSD and streaming from a number of music services. In addition I have another pi attached to a usb DAC and a 7 inch touchscreen (for artwork and metadata display) acting as a player in my family room. Finally, I have some original Squeezebox hardware as players in my bedroom and theater. I control everything from the wonderful iPeng app running on my iPhone and iPad. Picoreplayer is free and raspberry pi computers cost a whopping $35 each. I don’t know for sure but you could probably use your current DAC with this system. The Squeezebox system is officially end of life but still receives active development from a Logitech engineer and the Picoreplayer guys. https://forums.slimdevices.com/

Other raspberry pi based audio systems to consider are Volumio https://volumio.org/ and Roon https://roonlabs.com/ Volumio is free and Roon requires an expensive subscription but offers compatibility with a number of audio components and a beautiful GUI on tablet controllers. You don’t have to spend lots of money and have a big noisy computer for great audio playback.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
Thanks for the reccomendation!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I use a "full blown PC" digital out to receiver, so using the receiver DAC.
It has been my research that not only is a PC not overkill, but cost far less that any of these devices. The computer not only can be upgraded and memory expanded, but you have ability to make the files from CDs, or other sources, sort them, make playlists, back them up and get anything you want from the internet. I usually use Windows Media Player, it's been around for over a decade now. I also use Groove (Win10) and it has a neat feature of displaying artist photo as background on desktop and changing with the next song.
I had similar thoughts but wanted to see if there were other options that I was not looking at....thx!
 

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Correct, since I already have the Sony DAC (UDA1) I am looking to spend less than $500..... although the HAP-Z1Es is for ~2K... where did you see it for $1200 ???
I think you need to forget about the DAC at least in the sense of its presents or absents being a deciding factor. Most Streaming Devices will have their own DAC, but you DAC might be better, so it is still workable with the Streaming. The point I'm making is that you having a DAC can't be the deciding factor.

Start with BlueSound Node-2 Network Player ($500) -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813NODE2B/Bluesound-Node-2-Black.html

http://www.bluesound.com/en-us/products/node-2/?cl

and BlueSound Vault-2 Network Player/CD Ripper/Storage - ($1100) -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_813VAULT2B/Bluesound-Vault-2-Black.html?tp=254

http://www.bluesound.com/en-us/products/vault-2/?cl

The Bluesound Vault-2 has the addition of a CD Player/Ripper and 2Tb of on-board Storage which is enough to store thousands of
albums.

Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) Network Players ($899)
is worth considering -

https://www.crutchfield.com/p_779CXNV2B/Cambridge-CXN-V2-Black.html

https://www.cambridgeaudio.com/usa/en/products/cx/cxn-v2

Those are about the top in your price range.

Steve/bluewizard
 

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Just install foobar2000 on your PC, download the WASAPI driver, and run optical to your pre-amp/amp.

That's how I do it. All my music is on a NAS, except for what I don't own, which comes from streaming services.
 

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Bluesound Vault 2 has an internal 2TB drive, streams, accesses other drives on your network, has Toslink optical, 3.5mm, USB, and Bluetooth inputs. On sale in the US for $1,049, in flat black or white.

It does need Ethernet connection. They (Bluesound) say it's to assure high bandwidth should you be streaming at 1411kbps (Tidal HiFi, Qobuz) while doing other things. I have mine on a Powerline adapter in my guest room and that works fine. No computer there, not needed. It's primarily controlled with a tablet, but I can use my phone or even the desktop app down in my office.

BluOS allows me to create and save a playlist that can be any combination of streamed or stored files, load that into the play queue. I can then play it, transfer it to another player of the 3 BluOS devices I have, play 2 or all 3 together, all kinds of features I haven't even explored yet.

Incredibly good Burr-Brown PCM5122 DAC in it too. I've had mine for going on 3 years now with no problems, no reboots, resets, nothing.

Bluesound Vault 2
 

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Correct, since I already have the Sony DAC (UDA1) I am looking to spend less than $500..... although the HAP-Z1Es is for ~2K... where did you see it for $1200 ???
I just copied over the model # you gave into google. Under the shopping suggestions on the right that was one price listed from a supplier, might have been used. You're right though, they give results from $1200 - $2K.

Thanks for the reccomendation....will investigate this option... is there a way to access the Pi via a tablet while seated far away from it ?
Yes, in fact that's how I usually control it. I forgot I had a kindle fire I had bought, works fine for it. There's two ways to connect to it. You have the Pi connected by WiFi to your home network (or you can plug up a LAN cable if it's close to the router). You then connect the tablet via WiFi to your home network, open whatever internet browser is on the tablet and put http://volumio.local in the address bar. The Pi/Volumio should then broadcast the web UI to your tablet, just set that address as the tablet home page, book mark it etc.

Or if you don't want the Pi always on your home network having internet access and connection with all devices, you can just utilize the hotspot option (which I'm actually doing). You leave the Pi signed out of a WiFi network, but leave the hotspot option enabled. Make sure you change the default hotspot password from "volumio2" to something else. Volumio/Pi will then broadcast it's own access point you'll see on the WiFi list of your tablet that you can connect to directly. Again, use the browser and go to the volumio.local page. No internet access is required for this.

Setup is pretty easy. Just follow the guide here:
https://volumio.org/get-started/

You can leave the Pi by itself to control remotely as designed, or you can also install a touchscreen and download the touchscreen plugin in volumio:
https://volumio.org/raspberry-pi-display-and-volumio-touchscreen-music-player/

This won't disable controlling the Pi as usual from your tablet, PC or whatever. A device with a browser is still the superior option because the search and type functions in Volumio will work, but is handy to have the touchscreen right at the HiFi to set Volume, change track, turn the Pi off etc if you happen to be up and near the stereo. I'm using the 7" official Pi foundation screen.


Since the connection to your setup is via RCA, there's a ton of I2S DACs on the market that have RCA out, like the HiFiberry DAC pro+ (which I'm using with my Pi). https://www.hifiberry.com/shop/boards/hifiberry-dac-pro/
These aren't terribly expensive, usually 30 - 50 dollars. These devices sit on top of the Pi board using the I2S header pins. If for whatever reason your Sony USB DAC doesn't work out, might be worth a shot trying a cheap I2S DAC. Set DSD compatibility to DoP. As I said previous, FLAC files aren't an issue. 
 

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Since you asked about a tablet, I figure it would just be easier to show.

This is my tablet with stock browser, set to full screen to hide the address bar. It's connected directly to the Pi over WiFi hotspot. You can customize Volumio a bit if you choose. Change background image, the 3x3 button under the "M" in Volumio in the top left will change list view (as currently shown) to large thumbnails. Of course, if you rotate your tablet to portrait it will also rotate the UI to fit.


 

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