Streaming Lossless Music Questions

Joined
Jan 12, 2018
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998
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Puget Sound
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Ken
I'll try to keep this brief, but while recovering from my surgery four weeks ago, I spent a lot of time on the living room couch staring at my 2-channel audio system wondering why I do not listen to it as much as I used to. I'll spare a lot of the pondering, but did learn that that Apple Music now has two levels of lossless music and Spotify will be releasing their offerings shortly. I realized that if I could tap into a good source files (16/44.1 would be fine for my ears) from a service, then I might just enjoy turning my system on and listening again. The trouble is that Apple Music is somewhat half-baked in implementation, and Spotify is still AWOL on their announcement. I guess that I should just wait and see if either mature in the next couple of months, but that still begs the question of a dedicated streamer in the system or should I dedicate an iPad and DAC to the system. I have looked at a lot of streamers from homemade to those costing thousands and the one that call the most to me is the new Bluesound Node. But, it is not clear that this device can currently stream lossless music from Apple Music, so the thought of a dedicated tablet may make more sense.

Anybody have any thoughts about streamers? I do not necessarily need anything high res (greater than 16/44.1), but I would like to move away from lossy compressed files if possible.

--Ken
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
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Melbourne - Australia
I ripped all my CD's to FLAC using the least compression. I then spent time editing the metadata plus adding album covers for those which did not show, or were not the one for the album I have. I then stored the files on desktop NAS drives and stream them via Sonos units throughout the home. I also have my Apple Music linked to the Sonos which allows me to mix and match playlists. I haven't used my 2ch system for years, which is a shame, as I spent a lot of time and money getting the system and dedicated room configured to how I liked my music to sound.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
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998
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Puget Sound
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Ken
I ripped all my CD's to FLAC using the least compression. I then spent time editing the metadata plus adding album covers for those which did not show, or were not the one for the album I have. I then stored the files on desktop NAS drives and stream them via Sonos units throughout the home. I also have my Apple Music linked to the Sonos which allows me to mix and match playlists. I haven't used my 2ch system for years, which is a shame, as I spent a lot of time and money getting the system and dedicated room configured to how I liked my music to sound.
My CD collection for the most part is available online, so I do not feel the need to rip them. But I do want to revive my main system as it sounds great when fed good music, and I like to try out a lot of music recommendations, so something like Apple Music or Spotify with CD quality lossless files is quite appealing. I just wish Apple and Spotify would get their acts together. Apple Music may be available on many devices, but they are are mostly limited with respect to a lossless file unless you have apple hardware (gee, what a surprise). I have an iPad that I can use to test it out, but am in need of an adapter cable that is now weeks late in delivery from someone who offered to "help out" while I am stuck at home recovering.

--Ken
 
Joined
Mar 11, 2012
Messages
1,749
Location
Melbourne - Australia
My CD collection for the most part is available online, so I do not feel the need to rip them. But I do want to revive my main system as it sounds great when fed good music, and I like to try out a lot of music recommendations, so something like Apple Music or Spotify with CD quality lossless files is quite appealing. I just wish Apple and Spotify would get their acts together. Apple Music may be available on many devices, but they are are mostly limited with respect to a lossless file unless you have apple hardware (gee, what a surprise). I have an iPad that I can use to test it out, but am in need of an adapter cable that is now weeks late in delivery from someone who offered to "help out" while I am stuck at home recovering.

--Ken

What I have found with Apple Music, many of the albums, or songs, I like to listen to are either remastered, or have tracks missing off the albums. There are also many albums which sound great. With devices like Sonos, they can connect to your 2ch system and give you access to your library and many of the streaming services.

I'm not sure what genre of music you like to listen to, but IMO one song worth a listen is Hugh Masekela - 'Stimela (The Coal Train)' on Apple Music. I do have this album on CD and vinyl.

 
Joined
Oct 25, 2007
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4,616
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Potomac Falls, VA
I highly recommend Bluesound Node 2/2i streamers. Great operating system. Very high quality sound via its own built in DAC but even much better with an outboard DAC….eventually as all things in hifi an photography’

Then at your leisure try out Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz. Each has their own specific playlists and catalogs. They offer free trial periods. I ended up with Qobuz as I think their sound quality beats the others for the music I prefer. You can get better deals doing an annual subscription once you decided on a platform. Enjoy the try outs and report back your impressions.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
998
Location
Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
I highly recommend Bluesound Node 2/2i streamers. Great operating system. Very high quality sound via its own built in DAC but even much better with an outboard DAC….eventually as all things in hifi an photography’

Then at your leisure try out Deezer, Tidal and Qobuz. Each has their own specific playlists and catalogs. They offer free trial periods. I ended up with Qobuz as I think their sound quality beats the others for the music I prefer. You can get better deals doing an annual subscription once you decided on a platform. Enjoy the try outs and report back your impressions.
I almost ordered the new Node as it seemed like a great fit. But then I got to thinking about using an external DAC and an iPad as an alternate arrangement. I have both of the latter, but I would eventually want something dedicated to the system as I frequently enjoy using my iPad while listening to music. My main focus is streaming as my musical tastes are varied and I like to try out recommended music as much as my favorites. I suspect that things will smooth out for many of the services and manufacturers within the next year, so perhaps it is a good time to keep trying out things like the iPad as a "server".

At least I have the common sense to know that my hearing is not what it used to be (thanks to a host of chemotherapy drugs years ago), so the redbook standard, or just above it, should fully suffice for my listening. It was both sobering and depressing to listen to various test tones on my system and find that my hearing range was about 40-7,000 (+/- 1000). I am not sure how much below the curve that places me, but there is nothing I can do about it.

--Ken
 
Joined
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998
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Puget Sound
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Ken
Well, a small bit of good news. I previously had no success getting a DAC to work with a Chromebook, but I tried again with a different DAC and cable. Success! So, while I wait for the Apple adapter to arrive, I can at least listen to lossless files from the Chromebook. I did not get a chance to hook it up to my main system, but I did drag out my HD600's and listen to some Wes Montgomery for a bit this evening. Quite relaxing, and especially appreciated since I have not been feeling that well today.

--Ken
 
Joined
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Winter Haven, florida
Try Qobuz streaming. Streams higher bit music- and yes I think I can still hear a difference. I also stream spotify and have over 2000Cd's burned to flac available, but I now primarily listen to qobuz. A little pricey, but they have a free trial. It has been worth every penny to me. Qobuz has done a very good job in recommending playlists with artists I have not listened to before- which is often a joy. On my main computer everything is controlled through Roon, but Qobuz also streams on my phone.
Enjoy your journey.
gary
 
Joined
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Ken
Try Qobuz streaming. Streams higher bit music- and yes I think I can still hear a difference. I also stream spotify and have over 2000Cd's burned to flac available, but I now primarily listen to qobuz. A little pricey, but they have a free trial. It has been worth every penny to me. Qobuz has done a very good job in recommending playlists with artists I have not listened to before- which is often a joy. On my main computer everything is controlled through Roon, but Qobuz also streams on my phone.
Enjoy your journey.
gary
I'll give it a look as i know a lot of folks like their service. Apple Music is now giving me at least redbook quality, supposedly bit perfect, and I know that Spotify will also be introducing a lossless option, so the field is going to get crowded. And, if I understood correctly, there is going to be a lossless version of AptX coming out sometime soon, so all in all, it looks like quality is no longer taking a back seat to convenience.

--Ken
 
Joined
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Moscow, Idaho
I have not invested in streaming systems, given that I have some 550+ CDs. I do have some music stored on my iPhone and iPad but they are mostly for playing over the small system on the patio or in the car. I do stream from Idagio, a fabulous curated classical out of Berlin. I'm still using the free service, which is lower qua. and I spend a lot of time (during the day time) listening to NPR classical on FM.
 
Joined
Jun 2, 2010
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Pacific Wonderland
I have a Bluesound Node 2i and really like it.
I stream Amazon HD and my FLAC-Ripped CD collection from my home server.
Sounds is good enough on my HiFi that I play fewer LP's.
I run their app on my Android tablet for control and it works well.....highly recommended.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
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998
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Puget Sound
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Ken
I have not invested in streaming systems, given that I have some 550+ CDs. I do have some music stored on my iPhone and iPad but they are mostly for playing over the small system on the patio or in the car. I do stream from Idagio, a fabulous curated classical out of Berlin. I'm still using the free service, which is lower qua. and I spend a lot of time (during the day time) listening to NPR classical on FM.
We are also blessed with a great NPR station that plays jazz - KNKX (formerly KPLU). And I have a Sony HD tuner that lets me listen to their primary station and their "back" stations which play music all day long.

--Ken
 
Joined
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Location
Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
I have a Bluesound Node 2i and really like it.
I stream Amazon HD and my FLAC-Ripped CD collection from my home server.
Sounds is good enough on my HiFi that I play fewer LP's.
I run their app on my Android tablet for control and it works well.....highly recommended.
I was quite tempted to buy the Node, and may still, but now that I have the Chromebook acting as a streamer with one of my DACs, I am going to see how well this works out before making any major equipment changes.

--Ken
 
Joined
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Clearwater, Florida
Ken, I just went through this with a bit of guidance from the folks here. I opted to purchase a two bay Synology NAS which I had been wanting for years. After I transferred all of my photo files, I went to work ripping lossless copies of over 400 cds using Exact Audio Copy. I'm pretty far along and have gotten quite good at ripping the discs while doing other things. I purchased a WiFi connected streamer as a preamp to use with my existing beast of a receiver by Onkyo. The CD quality sound is great in my listening room. Noticeably better than my previous bluetooth connect with itunes files. Plus, I now have access to all of my CD quality music files and photos anywhere I can connect to the internet.

Here is the wifi preamp streamer I purchased. Very nice little device and a fraction of the cost of some of the other options.

https://www.arylic.com/products/s50pro-wireless-preamplifier
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
998
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Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
Ken, I just went through this with a bit of guidance from the folks here. I opted to purchase a two bay Synology NAS which I had been wanting for years. After I transferred all of my photo files, I went to work ripping lossless copies of over 400 cds using Exact Audio Copy. I'm pretty far along and have gotten quite good at ripping the discs while doing other things. I purchased a WiFi connected streamer as a preamp to use with my existing beast of a receiver by Onkyo. The CD quality sound is great in my listening room. Noticeably better than my previous bluetooth connect with itunes files. Plus, I now have access to all of my CD quality music files and photos anywhere I can connect to the internet.

Here is the wifi preamp streamer I purchased. Very nice little device and a fraction of the cost of some of the other options.

https://www.arylic.com/products/s50pro-wireless-preamplifier
Hi Mitch,

Thankfully my CD collection is smaller than yours, so I feel comfortable skipping the transfer part, but I am still looking at streaming devices to add to my system. I can use my Chromebook or iPad right now via a DAC to stream, but I am not sure how I will feel about that arrangement in the long run. And thanks for the link to Acrylic. I was not familiar with them, and it is good to have affordable options.

Thanks,

--Ken
 
Joined
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NW. Ontario
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Mike
I bought a Bluesound Node Gen 3 a few months back. I can't speak to Apple Music but it sounds great streaming from Amazon Music HD. And it gets even better since I added a Rega DAC-R to the mix.
I mainly play LP's but for the times when I can't sit and listen the Bluesound/Rega combo is very very good.
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
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Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
I almost bought the new Node, after seeing many positive reviews, but first wanted to see if working with my existing equipment was viable. I suspect that the Node offers a lot of convenience and good sound for the price. It is still a possibility, and the service I finally choose will probably have an impact on that purchase. I was thinking of Apple Music, but they need to do a lot to get the service compatible with a lot of hardware. Too bad my surgery was scheduled for some time next year when things might be a bit clearer about lossless options. :rolleyes:

--Ken
 
Joined
Jan 12, 2018
Messages
998
Location
Puget Sound
Real Name
Ken
At least I have the common sense to know that my hearing is not what it used to be (thanks to a host of chemotherapy drugs years ago), so the redbook standard, or just above it, should fully suffice for my listening. It was both sobering and depressing to listen to various test tones on my system and find that my hearing range was about 40-7,000 (+/- 1000). I am not sure how much below the curve that places me, but there is nothing I can do about it.

I managed to dig out a hearing test that I thought was less than 10 years old, but appears to be from 2006, prior to my cancer treatments. Even then, my results stated that my hearing topped out at 8000. I would be curious to see how this stacks up against any studies of what people can hear at various ages.

--Ken
 

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