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Cheap and simple upgrade to PC streaming?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Andy1912, Apr 13, 2014.

  1. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member


    I have been ripping my CDs on to my main pc using dBpoweramp. The pc sits about 4.5m away from my main amps so I just ran a 5m toslink optical cable (about £8) to my Beresford dac (7510) which connects my av gear to my EAR 864 preamp. This cable can be hidden under a rug but a pair of larger analogue ones would probably be problematic.

    It sounds OK but as you would expect not as scintillating as my analogue system (SME 20/2A; Koetsu Red; Tron 7) and I wouldn't expect it to be.

    Anyway it is handy to be able to play ripped CDs when I want background music and don't have the time to get up and change LPs and so on.

    I was just wondering if there are any simple and relatively cheap upgrades to what I have listed above? I am thinking less than £100 or so I guess.

    I play the ripped CDs with Winamp. The rest of my system is an EAR 890 power amp and Harbeth SHL5 speakers.

    Thanks for your thoughts

  2. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    Raspberry Pi running volumio into your beresford DAC and then share the folder your ripped CD's are stored in.

    If you want to spend a bit more get a QNAP NAS and store the flac files on that.
  3. Del monaco

    Del monaco Del Monaco

    Vortexbox as player into dac.Controlled by laptop,tablet etc.
  4. colasblue

    colasblue pfm Member

    get a proper dac like Benchmark and then be really pissed off over the amount you spent on analogue.

    That will teach you!
  5. topa

    topa Sans CDPs

    I think the DAC you have is ok for the time, although I never heard the 7510, the 7520 (I have) is quiet nice. You could of course try and get a s/h 7533 which are said to be much better. Musical Fidelity V90 or M1 DACs are also excellent and a step up.

    On the PC side, I think it is best to detach your music system from the normal PC system:

    I have been experimenting various Linux solutions. The Raspberry Pi thing is quite nice, but takes some learning and fiddling with. I only ever got it to work properly (without audio clicks) after adding a HifiBerry digi board, and it still does not play in synch with my other squeezeboxes. So to sum it up, quiet interesting, but to early to switch just yet, especially if you want a hassle free setup and are not interested in learning a thing or two about linux and audio software/hardware.

    I had better results with Vortexbox or even better Daphile on small PCs. These are audio dedicated Linux versions, with which you can turn any old PC into a streamer by booting of a USB stick or SD card. The normal operating system is not touched and will be back as soon as you boot again normally. Ideally these PCs are small and fanless, think of an old netbook or micro ITX boxes (tiny Fit-PC2i here). The audio quality is better than with the Raspberry, and what is more important, you can achieve these results without much hassle.

    In both cases, remote control can be done via Tablett, Phone, other PC, whatever WiFi device you have at hand. Being able to browse & play your CDs with cover artwork from a tablet is a big upgrade in comfort, maybe you should invest your 100 quid here and upgrade the "experience" rather than the sound quality for the time?
  6. Fox

    Fox The sound of one hoof clopping

    Raspberry PI
    HiFiBerry DAC
    snapped together, installed,
    never looked back.
  7. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    Thanks for the interesting comments. I did look at creating a vortex box using a PC actually. The ones I have lying about no longer used would be an eyesore to be honest and noisy too. I looked at building a new fan less small unit which I could do fairly easily but it would be quite a bit more than I want to spend at this point unfortunately. A good future project though especially as ssd prices drop away.

    I had a look at a few other DACs but it is all so complicated and as I tend to like to research this stuff I got fed up and gave up. I do need multiple inputs-coax and tosllink because I have various av gear connected in. I have some audio on an external hard drive connected via a wdtv live unit used mostly for playing mkv movies but I have to have the projector on to see what I am playing so I tend not to bother using that.

    Raspberry pi looks interesting but too much work right now.

    I guess the trend for audio cards has died away as they are operating in a noisy environment.

    Need to think some more then....

    Thanks again

  8. CHE

    CHE pfm Member

    I went the Votexbox route with an old Dell M65 laptop for about £70. Vortexbox can be downloaded for free but I bought the disc for about £3. There is only noise when the ripper is running otherwise it is very quiet. The footprint is small and can be lost in a bookshelf.

    The only problem I have is that WiFi is poor in the audio room as I have 2' thick stone walls. I went with a power adaptor but it's not the best method. Just use LMS on a cheap tablet - very usable.

    I would go the laptop route - what have you got to loose ?

  9. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    Raspberry Pi with volumio is incredibly easy to setup and I reckon you could go from unboxing to listening to music in less than an hour.
  10. Whaleblue

    Whaleblue Southbound

    Bear in mind the multi-channel sync issues you'd have if you're talking more than 2 channel AV, and intend to feed a 2-ch DAC. Apologies if I've completely misunderstood your intentions.
  11. Fox

    Fox The sound of one hoof clopping

    Pi is "Too much work?"
    Holy Feck
    I am lazier than you
    It took me just twenty minutes to do!
    Most of that was reviving my clapped out Linux Fu
  12. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    The laptop idea is appealing and I did look at this. There is no obvious place for the laptop near the amp unless I have it just lying next to the isoblue frame on the floor which would not go down well. I have the 890 poweramp on top of the isoblue along with my sme turntable motor.

    Part of the appeal of a laptop is that there is a screen, whereas with the raspberry pi, as far as I could tell, I would need to connect to my main av system, ie, I would need to have the projector on to browse and select music. At the moment I can do this from my main pc in the usual way. (Unless I can do this from say a tablet or iphone, of course.)

    The av stuff is only processed as stereo so I don't have to worry about multi-channel technicalities.
  13. mudlark

    mudlark nearly half a clue

    The raspberry pi can be controlled by anything that will run a web browser. Mine has a wi-fi connection, and the digi cable or optical to dac. It looks great and sounds very good indeed. Dead easy to set up, cheap.
  14. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    Thanks for that. Does it have a LAN connection too then and/or a usb to connect say a sd/hdd directly?
  15. mudlark

    mudlark nearly half a clue

    I use mine as a player only, picoreplayer. It has a LAN connection. It has no server so it needs a computer or NAS running LMS. The pi has an sd slot that is the operating system/boot drive. Once booted the SD card can be removed.
  16. Guest432

    Guest432 Guest

    Here's my one, you can see the LAN cable going into the Pi and the USB going to the DAC on the floor. I've also got a little wifi dongle that plugs into the USB port (there's 2 of them) if I don't have LAN connectivity near it.

  17. dss

    dss Musical Bons

    WDTV Live, £60, controlled by tablet / phone, optical out, plays most types of music is it.

    Silent, small, and also has telly if you want there.

    No soldering or learning assembly language needed.

  18. Fox

    Fox The sound of one hoof clopping

    Volumio interface... Minimal baby.... Minimal
    Just point any web browser be it on a laptop or tablet or phone to www.volumio.local and it's there
    Screen artwork is overrated... I believe a future release has art,but i dunno.


    Pi tends to become a fugly mess of cables so hide it any way you can
    One idea is in a pattress box, in a wall, that's my plan for the main living room.
    As a plan b I am waiting on one of these to become available
  19. Fox

    Fox The sound of one hoof clopping

    tbh the hardware is trivial the days if it can play FLAC at a suitable resolution, is open enough to allow streaming from different apps rather than a lock in (or even a lock in pis ok if you like the app) and is tidy you are good to go. Hardware in the digital domain is so much less of an issue than analog replay. I'd still be using airport expresses if idid not have a few FLACs bought from bandcamp, direct and download services. Its mostly all Spotify and Qubuz these days.

    Takes a bit of getting used to...
  20. ItemAudio

    ItemAudio Trade: Item Audio

    What's not to love about the Pi?
    It's a great first step into computer audio. It does get a bit bogged down handling large libraries over the mandatory network, but for the money, it's a no brainer. Long RIP Squeezebox.

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