NWR Music Streaming

As a spin-off de-drifting of the "what are you listening to now" topic...

How are people here streaming music to their speakers/headphones?

I was quite interested in upgrading from Spotify (albeit premium) to get better quality sound.

Only "quite" interested, because I'm not convinced that it will improve my life in any way. Firstly I'm rarely allowed to listen to music at the volume I would like as our house is usually occupied by others who don't share my tastes. Secondly chasing after the last bit or Hz seems to be missing the point.

However, as a techno-geek, I think I should at least consider my options.

Current system is based around a pair of AVI ADM9RS active speakers (which I love) fed by a Raumfeld connector (which is OK). Into this, is plugged an Audiolab 8000A amplifier which I use primarily as a source selector to choose between CD/DVD, Phono (MC) and any other possible analogue input (eg. TV).

It all works just fine to listen to Spotify, thanks to Spotfy connect running on the Raumfeld. It also offers Chromecast which I can use (if I'm lucky) to stream the output of YouTube from the Mac (but not the iPhone).

However, it doesn't really work with Airplay, which is a shame. OK, so I can have an INCREDIBLY convoluted path by using AppleTV and the TV itself to do a D2A a conversion before feeding back into the amplifier and through the Connector to the speakers, but that's just silly.

I'd like to see how Tidal or Amazon Music HD compares to Spotify, but I think at the moment, I don't have many elegant options to get that working.

Quite tempted by the old Yamaha WXC-50.

After all this, I'll most probably end up with just getting some decent headphones. Even then, I'm not sure what the best technology to use might be as bluetooth might cramp my style in one way, wired headphones in another.

So I'd be interested to hear what others are using!
 
I have now discovered that Echo dot seems to be the sensible way to get Amazon music into an analog HiFi system. You can pick them up for very little thanks to various bundled deals resulting in piles of surplus dots. I just hope that they are usable without voice control!
 
Alex,
This really could be a mare of a thread for me since talking comes way easier than typing, but since we are not likely to be face to face for a while I will try and participate.
I have just spent part of lockdown checking out Tidal and Amazon Music HD as a step up from Spotify Premium, which I actually love albeit 320kbps is a bit of a limiter in some situations.
First pass is that Amazon strangles whatever it delivers based upon the lowest res piece of kit in the chain, so for instance it only delivers 44.1 /16 bit to just about any mobile phone.
Tidal MQA files are delivered in whatever standard you request including 96/24bt, afterall you have paid for it, but their own interfaces App or Desktop have a problem with normalising the volume and so playing Masters and CD standard mixed in a playlist is a nightmare, trust me using Tidal raw without normalisation is not ever an option, it is just all over the place, and as Mr Palmer pointed out often just.....LOUD!
Tidal also has no EQ so if using on headphones out of doors I find that a real leveller as Spotify has a decent EQ
My latest Bluesond Node 2i bit of kit is super and somehow they can play Tidal better than Tidal and keep the normalisation spot on, Also allows you to operate from Spotify,Amazon and Tidal to check out Av's B v's C.but if one goes out on analogue cabling you sort of defeat the first gains, and from what I know of your kit the speaker's DAC whilst Hi Res capable may not handle MQA from Tidal (Think they have some DRM coding in there as well) and Amazon might strangle the delivered bitrate.
Does one of the digital inputs to your speakers go pass through or do both feed via the DAC, this could influence wether it is worth you getting involved.
I have Tidal on a 1 month trial at The HI-Fi level giving Master (MQA) and CD equivalent files, and also Amazon Music HD on a 3 month trial, potentially giving Hi Res and CD but as earlier outlined it seems to deliver what it thinks not what you have paid for.
As a snippet.......
Files from amazon are open and spacious and files from Tidal dynamic and with rhythm.

Spotify is just excellent through headphones unless one wants to get involved in an external DAC and have string rather than wireless. So for my main listening on the bike and say the train down to Wimps it still rules.

If you look at any kit to stream do check out Bluesound and its OS and the Geek in you might like Roon.
Believe me, getting to the bottom of DAC capabilities and headphones that might be able to unfold Hi-Res is not for the faint-hearted.
 
I have now discovered that Echo dot seems to be the sensible way to get Amazon music into an analog HiFi system. You can pick them up for very little thanks to various bundled deals resulting in piles of surplus dots. I just hope that they are usable without voice control!
Possibly with Limited bitrates from Amazon and definitely not Tidal MQA.
 
Currently streaming using Tidal => Roon Nucleus (iPad with Roon app as controller and visual interface) => ADI-2 Pro (mainly used for its switching facilities and headphone amp for Sennheiser 650’s) => Dutch and Dutch 8C fully active speakers.

The Nucleus additionally holds all of my AIFF files that I ripped my CD collection into and streams them if I call for them via Roon. In effect it is a mini computer with an SSD to store my music files. Via the Roon app it allows complete integration of my ripped CD collection and Tidal streaming which all appear together on the one interface.

The ADI-2 Pro is a complete Swiss Army knife, being dac, preamp, headphone amp and equaliser. Currently I use about a zillionth of its capabilities. As the 8C’s have their own built in dac and amps I use the bypass function in the ADI and take the signal straight through from the Nucleus to the input on the 8C’s. I could also use the equaliser function but instead did a scan with REW Room EQ and made the small adjustments necessary via the EQ function in the 8C’s.

Where it is useful is that I can use it as a switching box if I decide to add a turntable or dig out an old cassette player et al. It’s also a top of the line headphone amp which doesn’t even need to invoke its hi-power mode to drive the supposedly hard to drive Sennheiser HD-650’s.

I simply love streaming with the addition of the Roon interface. I’ve run turntables, compact cassette and CD for any number of years and I think that in combination with Roon it surpasses most and utilises the strengths of others.

I do it it in 44.1/16 bit which is frankly everything that anyone would ever need (there’s a reason Philips chose this combination) and yes I know that’s controversial but I prefer science to pseudo-science and sales talk. Ray chose his words carefully when he pointed out that MQA sounds different. I don’t have any gripe with MQA, but just think it’s a solution in search of a problem.

One could also argue that lower res formats are perfectly sufficient for the vast majority of modern users and modern music, sad as that may be.
 
Does one of the digital inputs to your speakers go pass through or do both feed via the DAC, this could influence wether it is worth you getting involved.
Not quite sure what you mean. There's analog (phono) and 2 optical digital - both would have to go to a DAC, surely?!

BTW, that Node 2i had come up on my radar as a very interesting bit of kit.
 
Last edited:
Streaming 320 bitrate through decent quality gear makes about the same sense as putting supermarket plonk in your expensive glasses.

Re 44.1/16, note that this is the standard format in digital distribution. Indeed, some distributors will not accept anything else, so paying for anything more is pointless.
 
Mmm. Qobuz seems to have quite a lot going for it - not least that I can use the iPhone app to stream via Chromecast on the Raumfeld Connector. Not sure what bit rate it's using yet, though, but I can do an A/B comparison with Spotify.

Slightly mystified by the price. The website said £12.99 but the app said 21.99£ (sic) per month for Studio Premier.
 
Location
London
I have two ways of using Amazon Music HD:

- in the kitchen we have an Audio Pro C5A and C3, which are in opposite corners and synchronised. The C5A has the functionality of an Amazon Echo (which we previously had in the kitchen) and the C3 isn't dependant on mains so we can take it into the garden. We get 16/44.1 through that and it sounds pretty good. Controlled via speech or the phone app.

- I listen on the web app on my desktop PC when I'm skulking in the study (I do photography, and generally prefer to browse the web on a large 4K monitor with proper mouse and keyboard anyway). Get up to 24/96 from that, which I push through an HRT Microstreamer (i.e. USB DAC) to Denon headphones most of the time. As mentioned on another post, I'm now planning to upgrade my headphones.

I was going to sign up to the Tidal free trial but then I read these reviews, and decided I'd go with 'the devil you know' TIDAL is rated "Bad" with 1.7 / 5 on Trustpilot
 
O.M.G....

I don't believe it!

Finally an app/application where all the tracks of a classical performance aren't listed as the same! Wow! This is a game-changer....

View attachment 12960 View attachment 12961

Apologies to Mr Mutter for (again) publicising that execrable version from Spotify!
Tidal lists these tracks as I, II, III, IV, V, VI etc.

Will try and put up a screenshot if I remember how and if it’s necessary for you. I’m sure you get the idea.

Edited just to point out that I’m not a Tidal fanboy, but given that I wanted to use Roon and the only two full fat streaming services that can be put through Roon are Qobuz and Tidal, I looked and chose Tidal because it had more of the music I and my family might like to stream.
 
Last edited:
Several times a week on speakers and the same on headphones. Sometimes the missus joins in, but we generally have very different musical tastes. I’m vary wary of the fact that I live in a terrace of houses and know all of my neighbours very well. Given that my system is extremely potent with bass flat down to around 30Hz and that bass travels very well through walls and my next door neighbours all have young children....you know the rest.

What I have been surprised by is how good the system sounds at even levels in room of 65dB. This is partly because of the quality of the system and partly because the noise floor in my room is approximately 4dB quieter than the rest of the house. This gives me an extra amount of dynamic range within the room which I think helps and allows me to use the speakers more often than I otherwise would.
 
Several times a week on speakers and the same on headphones. Sometimes the missus joins in, but we generally have very different musical tastes. I’m vary wary of the fact that I live in a terrace of houses and know all of my neighbours very well. Given that my system is extremely potent with bass flat down to around 30Hz and that bass travels very well through walls and my next door neighbours all have young children....you know the rest.

What I have been surprised by is how good the system sounds at even levels in room of 65dB. This is partly because of the quality of the system and partly because the noise floor in my room is approximately 4dB quieter than the rest of the house. This gives me an extra amount of dynamic range within the room which I think helps and allows me to use the speakers more often than I otherwise would.
Lucky you!
Is that in a basement?
I used to listen in my wine shed (thermal insulation seemed to also offer sonic insulation!) and it looks like I might have to engineer something similar out here (although my current wine shed is not so well insulated as the London one). I don't really get on with headphones, although I find them fine for watching TV shows/films.
I think there is an opportunity of sorts for kind of "offlines" for listening to music, where those with like-minded tastes can get together away from their other halves. Perhaps it's this frustration that was a driver behind Spiritland in a way. Dom says that they'll be reopening soon with much more outside space - but without the music. I wondered if there was an opportunity for a "silent disco" type model, but he didn't seem keen on the idea.
 
I commented in another thread that we are using Tidal HiFi through a couple of Naim Muso boxes and are very happy with the quality. I’ve tried Spotify (only free though low low bit rates) and Amazon HD and I prefer Tidal (through the Muso’s).

Has anyone come across a “box” that will take a line input (vinyl) from my Linn pre-amp and stream it via Airplay? I can stream Tidal to the Linn through a cheap Chinese DAC that supports Airplay but I’ve not found anything that will stream the other way round. What I am trying to achieve is playing a record on my main hifi system and stream it to the Naim Muso’s in other rooms.
 
Why does it have to be Airplay?

Obviously you can easily get a Bluetooth transmitter which would do the job (not sure about range), and with something like the Bluesound iNote could do that with style.

I think the only way you'd get AirPlay would be to go via an old iPhone or Mac (maybe a Mac Mini?) using the microphone-in socket or a separate ADC. Quite a faffy setup. There must be examples online of people who've done this kind of thing.

Edit: There could be something here: Create your own radio station with the HiFiBerry DAC+ ADC and Icecast | HiFiBerry

Actually, the above looks like great fun. I might have to have a play myself!
 
Not quite sure what you mean. There's analog (phono) and 2 optical digital - both would have to go to a DAC, surely?!

BTW, that Node 2i had come up on my radar as a very interesting bit of kit.
The ADI-2 Pro is a complete Swiss Army knife, being dac, preamp, headphone amp and equaliser. Currently I use about a zillionth of its capabilities. As the 8C’s have their own built in dac and amps I use the bypass function in the ADI and take the signal straight through from the Nucleus to the input on the 8C’s. I could also use the equaliser function but instead did a scan with REW Room EQ and made the small adjustments necessary via the EQ function in the 8C’s.
Alex,
I am piggy backing on Mark’s description here to try to answer the bit about through putting the signal and bypassing DAC Until you hit the final destination in this case the 8C’s.
Mark may I ask what connection you deploy to carry the digital stream between the ADI-2 Pro and the 8C’s, as I think that may Help explain the concept I was touching on about a a digital connection that goes forward without D to A
 
Why does it have to be Airplay?

Obviously you can easily get a Bluetooth transmitter which would do the job (not sure about range), and with something like the Bluesound iNote could do that with style.
Alex I may Well be mistaken but I think Bluetooth is a bit limited in terms of Hi-Res capabilities and I believe Airplay is not as restricted.
Crudely Wi-Fi v’s Bluetooth.
 
I have two ways of using Amazon Music HD:

- in the kitchen we have an Audio Pro C5A and C3, which are in opposite corners and synchronised. The C5A has the functionality of an Amazon Echo (which we previously had in the kitchen) and the C3 isn't dependant on mains so we can take it into the garden. We get 16/44.1 through that and it sounds pretty good. Controlled via speech or the phone app.

- I listen on the web app on my desktop PC when I'm skulking in the study (I do photography, and generally prefer to browse the web on a large 4K monitor with proper mouse and keyboard anyway). Get up to 24/96 from that, which I push through an HRT Microstreamer (i.e. USB DAC) to Denon headphones most of the time. As mentioned on another post, I'm now planning to upgrade my headphones.

I was going to sign up to the Tidal free trial but then I read these reviews, and decided I'd go with 'the devil you know' TIDAL is rated "Bad" with 1.7 / 5 on Trustpilot
Nick,
See my comment re Tidal free trial.
Given the other bits you have already got in use you might be interested to at least try the Master MQA thing, or even just compare the 44.1’s with those from Amazon they are remarkably..... different.
 
I am not sure if this will fit your reqs but I stream lossless CDs from a NAS at home - I use a Sonos port which goes through a Musical Fidelity X-24K DAC, Musical Fidelity X-1000R amp and BW CDM-1 speakers. Sound quality is indistinguishable from CD (to me at least...and we did a fair bit of testing...same track played on CD through same DAC, lossless ripped track, MP3 ripped track, Spotify stream...)

From what I understand - using bluetooth to play a high fidelity audio source is a fools errand - bluetooth simply doesn’t support the quality. I have to admit I don’t know technical details, so it is possible I am just an unwitting passer-on of technical snobbery...
 
Alex,
I am piggy backing on Mark’s description here to try to answer the bit about through putting the signal and bypassing DAC Until you hit the final destination in this case the 8C’s.
Mark may I ask what connection you deploy to carry the digital stream between the ADI-2 Pro and the 8C’s, as I think that may Help explain the concept I was touching on about a a digital connection that goes forward without D to A

Nucleus —> ADI 2 Pro. Via USB
ADI 2 Pro —> 8C. Via AES
 
I am not sure if this will fit your reqs but I stream lossless CDs from a NAS at home - I use a Sonos port which goes through a Musical Fidelity X-24K DAC, Musical Fidelity X-1000R amp and BW CDM-1 speakers. Sound quality is indistinguishable from CD (to me at least...and we did a fair bit of testing...same track played on CD through same DAC, lossless ripped track, MP3 ripped track, Spotify stream...)

From what I understand - using bluetooth to play a high fidelity audio source is a fools errand - bluetooth simply doesn’t support the quality. I have to admit I don’t know technical details, so it is possible I am just an unwitting passer-on of technical snobbery...
It depends on your Bluetooth. Latter specifications are good for high fidelity audio. I sometimes use it with my Naim QB 2 regularly. AptX-HD is the protocol.
 
Last edited:
Top