School me on SONOS and other home streaming systems

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I can't find a specific thread about this other than some discussion buried in the Spotify thread. Most of my home listening nowadays is through to streaming audio (either digital files or Spotify) straight from my laptop to my living room stereo via an Airport Express. This is fine sound quality-wise but patchy in terms of reliability, and having to open up my laptop whenever I play music is a pain in the arse. I want to upgrade to something better, seemingly bewildering array of options out there, so help me ILM. Criteria are:

- I have an excellent separates system and really good speakers in my front room, I do want or not need something that comes with its own speakers.
- It might be a decent option for other rooms in the future though, so the option to add speakers later would be nice.
- Without wanting to be a tossy audiophile about it, sound quality is important, but without having to resort to a two grand Linn streamer. Good enough is good enough.
- I don't currently have a server and I don't really want to keep a computer on 24/7. The ability to just plug an external hard drive into the back of it would be ideal.
- Ability to stream Spotify in high quality is essential
- So is internet radio (primarily BBC)
- Ability to control via an Android phone would be nice

Does anything actually exist that fits the bill here?

Matt DC, Friday, 29 January 2016 15:05 (five years ago) link

The Marantz M-CR611 is the one I crave. It does everything you want, I think. as soon as I have the money...

droit au butt (Euler), Friday, 29 January 2016 15:11 (five years ago) link

Another not-inconsiderable concern is how long developers will continue to support the hardware, so I'd rather not drop a bomb on it unless it's relatively future-proof.

Matt DC, Friday, 29 January 2016 15:15 (five years ago) link

I like Sonos pretty well, sounds good, was relatively cheap, mostly works fine. But I don't like my internet connection so much. Mostly it all works fine but occasionally bad internet connection makes me wonder wtf was wrong with a stereo and physical product.

japanese mage (LocalGarda), Friday, 29 January 2016 17:45 (five years ago) link

I went with Sonos (after also using Airport/Airplay for years) and am totally in love with it. The only downside to it for my purposes is the expense — the unit you would need for your existing setup is the Sonos Connect, which at $350 seems overpriced to me to attach your amp to the network. But the ease of use and rock solid reliability makes the cost worth it for me.

It ticks every one of your requirements except being able to plug in an external hard drive. If you don’t want to leave your computer on you’ll either need a NAS or do what I did — upload your library to the Google Play Music cloud (the first 50,000 songs are free, which has been plenty for me so far — and now I can also access my library from work or anywhere else, which is pretty neat). I believe it limits your local library to around 65,000 songs.

One thing I really like about it is that everything goes through the Sonos app, so playing music from multiple services is pretty seamless and you have a unified interface. Some people don’t like that aspect of it because certain features might not be ported over from a service’s native app and if the service isn’t supported within the Sonos app you can’t stream it — e.g. no YouTube which bugs a lot of people. But you’d want to be sure that any specific features you like about your current apps are supported.

I believe it's been around the longest and as far as I can tell is the current market leader, so it’s probably the safest bet as far as future-proof.

A much cheaper though much less slick option is the Google Chromecast Audio. You’d still need to upload your library to the cloud, and you’d need to use different apps to play your music — Google Play for your library, Spotify, whatever radio app you use, etc. It’s sort of a low budget cross between Sonos and Airplay.

Lots of info on Sonos and comparisons with competition both here and on the horizon: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/sonos-player/

early rejecter, Friday, 29 January 2016 18:06 (five years ago) link

I have a multi-zone Sonos setup at home. Have used it for the last two years and I love it. My only issue is the iTunes library limit is something weird like 80K tracks.

brotherlovesdub, Friday, 29 January 2016 22:52 (five years ago) link

The limit is 65,000 tracks. There's ways to get around that - installing a Subsonic server is one of them. You can also connect to Sonos speakers via DLNA - I use BubbleUPNP on my Android phone for just such a purpose, connected to my JRMC Media server. Setting up all this stuff isn't all that hard, actually.

I've got one Sonos Play:1 speaker (a gift) and I quite like it, though it's technically mono. The newer, more expensive stereo Play:5 has a line-in port which opens up other possibilities. The primary appeal of Sonos is IT JUST WORKS. You don't have to buy anything other than a speaker or two and use them via their app or another that supports DLNA. And the word on the street is their customer service is second to none.

I've also got a Chromecast Audio and find it a terrific value ($35) and an easy way to connect to regular speakers that have a line-out. You could add one to a Sonos Play:5 for the best of both worlds.

My setup is so hodge-podge that I never bother with playing something in multiple rooms. That's now how my life and house is configured anyway.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 29 January 2016 23:56 (five years ago) link

Having said all that, there are new Sonos competitors on the market. Samsung has multi-room speakers as does Denon. You can set up multiple Chomecast Audio's and sync them together.

If were starting from scratch I very well might just go with Sonos, in part because I like how they sound, it's dead simple to set up, and their app is quite clever in the way it can easily combine tracks from various sources.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 29 January 2016 23:59 (five years ago) link

This may well be a dumb question but can you plug Audiocast into the back of an amp, or does it need to go straight into the speakers?

Poacher (Chinaski), Saturday, 30 January 2016 19:52 (five years ago) link

Here are the various ways you can connect Chromecast Audio to an amp, speakers, or whatever:
https://support.google.com/chromecast/answer/6280276

Sonos looks good but is a little pricey for my budget. If I were setting up a new multi-room system on the cheap, using existing stereo systems, I'd probably go with Chromecast Audio. But those would not support Matt DC's requirement of being able to plug in an external hard drive rather than running a server.

Currently I use antique Squeezeboxes and the free Logitech Media Server software, which streams the contents of my iTunes library and (via a plug-in) Spotify. I love being able to synch audio throughout the house. Based on what I've read, I think I could get my server talking to Chromecast Audio devices without too much craziness ... I hope I won't have to test that for a while!

Brad C., Saturday, 30 January 2016 20:54 (five years ago) link

chromecast audio is frustrating in what you can use with it. on a pc, you can only stream browser tabs, not from stuff like itunes or spotify. you can basically only stream from paid mobile apps, etc. it's useful sometimes, but you can only do exactly what google wants you to do with their platform.

circles, Saturday, 30 January 2016 21:04 (five years ago) link

But on an Android phone you can stream all output, regardless of source, to a Chromecast Audio.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Saturday, 30 January 2016 21:37 (five years ago) link

xp There are some ways to work around that, both in and outside the browser, but yes, it is frustrating.

In the browser, you could use the Spotify web player and stream that tab. There are some Chrome extensions that can play media files from your computer, and I guess those tabs could be streamed too, as a way to send things from your iTunes library to the Chromecast ... I doubt this would work with DRMed stuff.

So many devices now support streaming that it's hard to keep up with what they can do. The other day I replaced the Blu-Ray player on our home theater system and without my doing anything the new player discovered and connected to my local music server. It has a Spotify app too, so that is an option for streaming music that appeared in my living room more or less by accident.

Brad C., Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:02 (five years ago) link

okay, i knew you could stream from the regular android music player but didn't realize you could just do anything. lol obv i have an iphone.

circles, Saturday, 30 January 2016 22:34 (five years ago) link

Chromecast audio using the optical into a DAC is really great. CCA is the greatest value audio product in history

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Saturday, 30 January 2016 23:12 (five years ago) link

thanks for this thread, had been meaning to sort this shit out for ages and it made me think about properly - in a similar situation to Matt DC, but a little less worried about quality. On top of that, also need something the family can use - like I love thinking about clever cheap solutions, fiddling with connections, weird off-brand black boxes from tottenham court court road, but everyone else in the house will want something that just works, ie as-if-by-magic players that they can control, rather than me saying "it's quite simple. First, open terminal…"

Always dismissed Sonos before - expensive, a bit too single-company dependent, and multi-room was never a need… but shit it does look easy and clever, so… a Sonos 1 to start, get another down the line if it works & have stereo or second room, and maybe build from there. Get my library into Google Play, and down the line run a sonos connect into my old amp and speakers if it all seems to be working. In the meantime, a chromecast audio for them because it's cheap and interesting and why not.

woof, Saturday, 30 January 2016 23:49 (five years ago) link

Yeah both my wife and I have Android phones and will I think continue to for the foreseeable future, so the Chromecast Audio looks a pretty easy solution. Although getting my entire library into the cloud, while probably sensible in the long term, still feels like a massive ballache.

Are there really no options that involve just whacking a hard drive into the back of them? TV streaming boxes have been offering that functionality for years, with the ability to zip files round the network vi wifi.

Quality is an issue for me (this is a really good Linn system that we were amazingly lucky to get second-hand) so any option has to sound good on that kind of setup. Then again streaming any source to the Apple Express sounds good in that setup, and I doubt the Chromecast will be a big step down from that.

NAS + Sonos Connect might be the way to go, happy to pay a bit more for something robust in the longer-term. But that Marantz box in the first response does look tasty.

Really useful thread, thanks! I figured I was unlikely to be the only person wondering about this stuff.

Matt DC, Sunday, 31 January 2016 12:28 (five years ago) link

I'm running a Chromecast Audio through optical to Musical Fidelity VDAC II into s Cambridge Audio amp and nice speakers. Even using Spotify it gets pretty close to vinyl and CD, there's still some harshness which I think midrange speakers that aren't so revealing might be better... But all said I spent $35 for the CCA and $150 off eBay for the DAC and it's great

One thing to point out, Chromecast Audio doesn't "stream" from your phone. It has its own broadband WiFi connection. Your phone just "points" the CCA towards what you want to play. That means it's not compressed like Bluetooth streaming and even better you can go to another app like YouTube or take a phone call and it won't affect the music. Even if you turn your phone off it will continue to play until the end of the current album or play list.

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Sunday, 31 January 2016 14:57 (five years ago) link

I'm sure Chromecast works best with Android devices, but I've had good luck using my iPhone and a regular, video-oriented Chromecast -- no problems using the iPhone to control Spotify or YouTube on the Chromecast.

Brad C., Sunday, 31 January 2016 15:45 (five years ago) link

also need something the family can use . . . everyone else in the house will want something that just works

This might actually be my favorite things about Sonos. My wife had just about given up on listening to music between her frustration with Airplay and the impracticality of CDs/vinyl on our main stereo with two kids under the age of 5 running about pressing any button within reach. Now she has music playing all day long and is rediscovering her love for forgotten bands, the kids are being exposed to so much more music, everyone is asking for more speakers throughout the house . . .

early rejecter, Monday, 1 February 2016 03:19 (five years ago) link

I got my parents into Sonos w/ Spotify. My mom is the kind of person who types GOOGLE.COM in the search bar on Google.com. She can work the Sonos from her phone.

brotherlovesdub, Monday, 1 February 2016 03:44 (five years ago) link

Anyone here with experience replacing a Squeezebox 2/3/Touch with a Sonos Connect? I guess since it doesn't have a screen you need an iPad or something to control it?

erry red flag (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2016 04:17 (five years ago) link

I was also thinking about this recently. My hifi is very old and i haven't listened to any of my cds or vinyl in years. It's also difficult to find a space for it in my current living room.

How are the actually sonos speakers? I don't care sooo much about sound quality but I certainly don't want anything that sounds like a portable bluetooth speaker.

Or is it a better option to investigate a new standalone hifi and then get a sonos connect or similar?

tpp, Monday, 1 February 2016 06:12 (five years ago) link

Sonos app makes it unusable to me. True heads can't even listen to Youtube & my 64 gb itunes library never fully syncs. Currently use apple airplay thru vintage gear but it buffers so I'm interested in other options as well.

Captain Maximus, Monday, 1 February 2016 09:50 (five years ago) link

Thanks for the tips in this thread, I've been looking for a streaming device too. I have only one audio set in one room I would need to stream to, so I ended up ordering Chromecast Audio... However, upon looking at Google own streaming app, Google Play, it noticed that it transcodes all the FLAC into MP3s. And I know Plex does the same... Most of the music files on my computer are FLACs, and Chromecast itself supports that format, so are there any good music streaming apps that would stream FLACs to Chromecast without transcoding them?

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 09:55 (five years ago) link

I agree with ums that chromecast audio is THE best bargain on the market. But for multiroom purposes I think Sonos, HEOS or Bluesound are better (though more expensive) choices, in part because of the dedicated control app.

Sonos Connect is a great way to get started with streaming on your current stereo system, it's probably the most stable and developed system on the market. Heos Link and Bluesound Node 2 are good alternatives, they offer more connectivity (usb, optical input, bluetooth-adapter, subwoofer pre-out, triggers) and improved sound (24 bit support, better built-in DACs, better optical outputs).

If you're looking to replace you current amplifier, you'll need active speakers or streamer-amps. The stand alone speakers (like the Sonos Play 1) are impressive but can be a bit tiresome to listen to for very long - unless you're allergic to passive speakers I'd recommend the Sonos Connect Amp, Heos Amp or Bluesound Powernode 2 with a set of budget passive speakers for your main listening room. Price will be similar to a Play:5 or a stereo pair of Play:3s, sound is going to be a lot better.

No matter what system you choose, I think you'll experience improved functionality with a NAS - so if streaming your own collection of music files is important, I think that's a solid investment.

As a final note, I'll add that your streaming system is never going to function any better than your router - so if you're using the one supplied by your ISP, getting a proper router (~80$) can make all the difference.

niels, Monday, 1 February 2016 11:45 (five years ago) link

No matter what system you choose, I think you'll experience improved functionality with a NAS - so if streaming your own collection of music files is important, I think that's a solid investment.

Sorry if I sound stupid, but what's a NAS and how do you acquire it?

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 11:58 (five years ago) link

and can i eat it?

NAS, Network Attached Server. dedicated file server running something like FreeNas or MediaVault.

koogs, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:08 (five years ago) link

NAS : network storage.
basically a big hard disc that you access via your home network.
they are not too pricey these days :

http://www.pcworld.co.uk/gbuk/computing-accessories/data-storage/data-storage/wd-my-cloud-personal-cloud-storage-4-tb-21817659-pdt.html

i use the NAS/Sonos Connect setup, and its brilliant.
not fussed re speakers round the house, just needed to get my digital archive into my stereo, and figured this was the best option for my needs.
and yeah, the desktop app is very easy to use, and i love the way you can flip from digital radio, various streaming services (i got 12 months free deezer when i bought the sonos connect), and your local digital library without any trouble whatsoever.

mark e, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:10 (five years ago) link

Rather than full-blown NAS enclosure… can i kill 2 birds/1 stone: buy a new, stronger router with a USB port, plug a terabyte hard drive into that, then point Sonos and/or CCA towards that?

woof, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:23 (five years ago) link

So basically it's an external hard drive that also works as a cloud? The price is pretty steep, but I guess it'd eventually pay itself back since you don't have to pay a monthly/yearly like with net-based cloud services...

One thing that seems a bit worrying, in order for it work you have to keep it and your modem on all the time, right? That seems like a bit of fire hazard, or am I overtly cautious?

(xpost)

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:28 (five years ago) link

yes, to keep your network up and running, then you do need to leave the router on.
i dont think this is a fire hazard !
re router+ USB : no idea, i would suspect it is possible, just depends on how the router maps the USB drive.
if you can access the USB drive as a standard external network drive, then i see no reason why you cant point Sonos to that location and pick up the digital files.

mark e, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:34 (five years ago) link

One thing that seems a bit worrying, in order for it work you have to keep it and your modem on all the time, right? That seems like a bit of fire hazard, or am I overtly cautious?

people turn off their modem/router???

tpp, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:36 (five years ago) link

One thing that seems a bit worrying, in order for it work you have to keep it and your modem on all the time, right? That seems like a bit of fire hazard, or am I overtly cautious?

You're being overly cautious. The equipment is designed to be on 24/7 and to just burst into flames would represent a major design flaw. Virtually every office building in the developed world has a server on constantly, if your concerns were realistic they'd be burning down all the time.

I don't think I've turned a router off except to reboot it in about 15 years.

Matt DC, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:49 (five years ago) link

Rather than full-blown NAS enclosure… can i kill 2 birds/1 stone: buy a new, stronger router with a USB port, plug a terabyte hard drive into that, then point Sonos and/or CCA towards that?

I think my BT Homehub might do this but I've never worked out how to actually set it up properly.

Matt DC, Monday, 1 February 2016 12:50 (five years ago) link

if you think about it there is also electricity CONSTANTLY running into the house. you can prove this by flipping a light switch on, there is no latency, i.e. the electricity is storing up behind the walls in an active state.

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 1 February 2016 12:51 (five years ago) link

haha that is not how electricity works

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:07 (five years ago) link

Like even if any of that post made sense, "you can prove this by flipping a light switch on, there is no latency" is cartoon funny - the idea you could see the delay between your fingers flipping a switch and a light turning on if it wasn't "storing up behind the walls".

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:15 (five years ago) link

You're being overly cautious. The equipment is designed to be on 24/7 and to just burst into flames would represent a major design flaw. Virtually every office building in the developed world has a server on constantly, if your concerns were realistic they'd be burning down all the time.

Yeah, I get this, but those servers have inbuilt cooling, unlike my modem, which gets fairly hot if I keep it on for two days in a row. I assume this NAS has its own cooling system, though?

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:24 (five years ago) link

i acquired a sonos player last year and the sound is really good but

It ticks every one of your requirements except being able to plug in an external hard drive.

this was just a bit of a deal-breaker - i play all my music off an external HD and the speaker seemed to be requiring that i never switch my laptop off? i don't really see how that's remotely desirable.

cher guevara (lex pretend), Monday, 1 February 2016 13:41 (five years ago) link

Yeah I think this is why people are talking about servers/moving everything to the cloud. Always-on laptop is the scenario I want to avoid.

Matt DC, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:46 (five years ago) link

what about an always-on raspberry pi?

koogs, Monday, 1 February 2016 13:53 (five years ago) link

it really confused me when i got it because it was like...how on earth did sonos not take that into account when designing their weird system?

xp

cher guevara (lex pretend), Monday, 1 February 2016 13:53 (five years ago) link

I have the older version of the Marantz mentioned near the top of the thread.

I went for this because, after selling all my high-end gear in 2012 and going with a basic separates system (10yo Sony DVD player into 30yo Cyrus amp), and then giving those up too, I wanted to start from scratch with something good but simple. The sound quality is great (basically just the Marantz into Q-Acoustics monitors and Sennheiser headphones), but there are a few niggles with it dropping off my network with some regularity - so it can't find Spotify, or my iPhone / tablet app can't find the Marantz. CD playback was essential for me (again, it would be nice here if, seeing as it's a networked device, it could do a Gracenote-style lookup and not just say "11 tracks 55:12" like a dumb CD player), but there is a cheaper model without.

It also has a useless Last.fm mode (support for that was withdrawn before I bought mine), good FM/DAB and NAS/USB/Bluetooth/AirPlay connections (the last of which I use a lot when I can't be bothered navigating Spotify via the clunky Marantz app).

As an amp, it's perfectly fine - I route the TV and MD deck in via S/PDIF, and the turntable pre-amp via analogue. I think that's about all the connections taken up, mind.

Michael Jones, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:01 (five years ago) link

it's tempting to think there's a NAS out there that you can dump your music onto, and feed your Spotify Premium details, and it would provide a unified search/playlist interface to? with RCA out?

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Monday, 1 February 2016 14:05 (five years ago) link

I'm looking to reconfigure my home audio system, hopefully in a way that also integrates with my TV. My main music source is Spotify and my main TV platform is Roku. The essential apps for me on Roku are Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, Twitch, and Spotify. Unfortunately, the Roku Spotify app is pretty bad. It doesn't allow you to play from folders, only from individual playlists, and it doesn't support local files, only songs in Spotify's library. I've tried doing screen mirroring from my Android phone to Roku for Spotify, but Roku's screen mirroring is junk, it crashes a lot and pretty much disrupts my wi-fi.

I don't think SONOS is the answer to this, but I'm curious about Chromecast. My main reservations are the lack of Amazon and the concern that casting from my phone to my TV/stereo will cause similar wi-fi issues as the Roku.

Check Yr Scrobbles (Moodles), Monday, 1 February 2016 14:19 (five years ago) link

I wonder if there are any players that would do the same as what the Marantz does, but also work as an bluray/net video player with an HDMI out and surround sound? I have 5.1 speaker set and I watch movies and play music through the same Yamaha A/V receiver... It feels pretty pointless to have separate systems for music and videos, but most audiophile players/receivers seem to be for audio only.

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:23 (five years ago) link

(xpost)

Tuomas, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:24 (five years ago) link

I have been looking at that Marantz thing for a while actually. If it had phono input I would have bought it already. But I've been in a state of indecision for a while now about whether to get that plus separate phono preamp OR vintage integrated amp plus bluetooth adapter (plus separate CD player I guess).

Eyeball Kicks, Monday, 1 February 2016 14:24 (five years ago) link

Oppo players might they are supposed to be great dacs

Amira, Queen of Creativity (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Monday, 1 February 2016 14:25 (five years ago) link

I just did a test, playing a YouTube video on my Chromebook and casting sound to the Chromecast Audio on my receiver ... the audio played on my big speakers and the video played on the Chromebook

but I don't believe there's a way to send a video signal to your television and split off the audio portion of that signal to go to a Chromecast

Brad C., Monday, 28 December 2020 19:44 (eight months ago) link

lol thanks Brad. It was a hard thing to recommend when Spotify was half busted, the user interface looked like 1995, and phone control required its own app (all it was really good for was organizing of your own files), but these have really come along.

morrisp:
I was curious to look at some all-in-one receivers (you just add speakers and any physical media sources). Criteria:
-Stereo (not surround)
-Built-in preamp for a turntable
-Decent headphone output
-Some internet capability (basically, can it be a player in Spotify Connect)
-HDMI ports (easily hook up a TV and, say, a Raspberry Pi, this way you wouldn't have to buy a fancy audio processor for the Pi)
-Bluetooth
-a few analog audio inputs besides

Just getting all that done decently well...
What's coming up on a few sites is the Marantz NR1200. 600 US dollars. It's not the good Bluetooth but that's minor if you are doing internet streaming mainly. Can't turn up any info on running fancy headphones off of it, but probably is fine for anything that isn't very high power. I'm kinda surprised to see all those features at that price from one of the bigger hifi brands.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 28 December 2020 22:54 (eight months ago) link

re “streaming from wherever”.. i tried using, gulp, plex to handle my music and plexamp on my phone and.... it’s pretty great?? no way to export my itunes playlists that i can see but it does give you some default playlists based on i.e. record label, recently added etc. it also remembers playback position!

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 28 December 2020 23:18 (eight months ago) link

wherever you are, for your files, yeah. I read morrisp as saying streaming from whatever sources, to a living room situation?

I've got Plex going (same old laptop as the Logitech stuff) but just for video. I'm not going to get into the unspeakable things I do for out of the house. I hope I've been some use today lol

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 28 December 2020 23:43 (eight months ago) link

yes i think you're right about that. once nice thing about the plex server is that it can run alongside whatever else you're using (if you want) - you just point it to your Big Folder Full Of All Your Music and it will deal with it

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Monday, 28 December 2020 23:48 (eight months ago) link

man alive, listen to ums.

also, maffew12 is right that a lot newer integrated amps have DAC's included (DAC = the thing that processes a digital signal like from Spotify to something your amp can send to your speakers). Another option is the NAD C 328. Not sure it has the HDMI, but its got optical out.

Jimi Buffett (PBKR), Monday, 28 December 2020 23:50 (eight months ago) link

Same price as the Marantz; both respected budget companies.

Jimi Buffett (PBKR), Monday, 28 December 2020 23:51 (eight months ago) link

I read morrisp as saying streaming from whatever sources, to a living room situation?

That is what I meant... thanks, guys.

Qui-Gon's Noble End (morrisp), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 00:02 (eight months ago) link

xp
ooh sleek. No internet and no turntable preamp though. Sounds like it has the nicer headphone amp section.

Anything that is receiving and playing digital music for you by necessity has a DAC. This NAD amp is giving you just the DAC to play with, without any built-in source for it to play anything... which is really what an audiophile would want (if not a separate DAC device). Without HDMI there, your laptop or Pi or whatnot would need something added onto it to pass audio data as optical or coaxial digital to the NAD's DAC. Chromecast audio can do this, and some Macbooks... otherwise you're looking at another pricey piece to add on. I guess optical has its advantages over HDMI or USB but that's just a bridge too far for me...

Though these amps sound pretty impressive for their price (from what I remember last time I looked), you can get pretty killer speaker amps, headphone amps, and DACs for $100 US apiece these days.

maf you one two (maffew12), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 00:09 (eight months ago) link

reminder that a used Airport Express, while not much chop as an access point or network extender, can receive a lossless stream from any Apple gear including a phone / iPad and put it out as optical digital or 3.5 audio (of great fidelity, in the case of the last model: https://www.kenrockwell.com/apple/airport-express-audio-quality-2014.htm )

assert (MatthewK), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 00:12 (eight months ago) link

Yeah, lack of an optical audio out was a huge surprise when I got my newer Apple TV a year ago. My older one had that.

Jimi Buffett (PBKR), Tuesday, 29 December 2020 02:32 (eight months ago) link

almost all the new receivers do hdmi arc now, and they just don't decide to care about compatibility w/other stuff

I have zero Atmos-capable speakers but I'm still mildly irritated the weak link in my TV -> TV -> Sonos Amp scheme is the TV. I think the ARC stuff over HDMI has to support the specific passthrough type?

mh, Tuesday, 29 December 2020 22:18 (eight months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I wound up buying a Sonos Move because I wanted to be able to listen to music in multiple rooms as well as outside without spending thousands on a multi room speaker setup. It’s honestly pretty good. Obviously it’s not going to do what a great stereo system does but it has more of the depth of a real speaker than any portable I’ve heard and a lot of clarity. Way better than any Bose garbage

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Tuesday, 12 January 2021 23:50 (eight months ago) link

last sentence should be Sonos' tag

kniphofia face (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 13 January 2021 00:00 (eight months ago) link

does anybody actually have Bluesound? it's made by the same people that make NAD which seems interesting. certainly looks slick and has most of the streaming services integrated.

Li'l Brexit (Tracer Hand), Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:16 (seven months ago) link

No direct experience, but in the audiophile forums I follow (to some degree) they are frequently cited as very good products to use as a music server (as DAC/streamer for Spotify, etc. and as a file server/streamer for mp3s, flacs, and other files). At higher ends, most use an outboard DAC but continue to use the Bluesound as the streamer.

Smokahontas and John Spliff (PBKR), Thursday, 21 January 2021 14:37 (seven months ago) link

No idea if Sonos or Google is chiefly to blame but the Google Assistant integration is pretty bad. We have two speakers and a chromecast on our network and you when you ask one of the speakers to play music it says "I'm sorry I can't do that here" so you always have to say 'hey google play music ON SONOS'. If you ask it to play a song it often plays a cover or other weird version that is absolutely not in the top search results on Spotify. It doesn't do volume normalising, you can't ask it to shuffle. And the sensitivity is rubbish, sometimes you have to ask it three times, sometimes it makes the 'i'm listening' bleeps when you've said something that doesn't sound anything like 'hey google'.

ledge, Monday, 1 February 2021 10:36 (seven months ago) link

I decided after several years of Sonos envy that I was not going to jump into that ecosystem because I didn't want to drop all the money on all the components for a distributed system in one go and the recent hardware swapout made me feel that that was the only viable path to join since there was no longer a guarantee or expectation that I could build out a system over 2-3 years and then my parents sent me a pair of One SL speakers for Christmas, so now I am looking at a subwoofer and TV soundbar because fuck it, you got me

Best Buy gave me a 10% discount for my birthday so I now have a Sonos surround system set up ^_^

Hello Nice FBI Lady (DJP), Monday, 1 February 2021 14:05 (seven months ago) link

My Squeezebox 2 stopped working when I dusted it, so I bought a new power supply and it's back up and running... I stockpiled a few remotes a couple years ago, but I probably need to look into buying a couple used Squeezebox Touches to preserve the viability of my ecosystem

fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:08 (seven months ago) link

Huzzah!

You can probably get sorted on https://forums.slimdevices.com

i got my first hardware players last year (two Radios) but having physical buttons for this whole fuss not really such a big deal... my use of this stuff will probably outlive the gadgets.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:13 (seven months ago) link

they pop up on eBay with some frequency for around $100 (generally missing the remote and power cord)... there are many options for building RasPi-based Touch clones, but the parts for those still cost more than a used Touch

fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:28 (seven months ago) link

There was a big lot on the forum recently. A lot of users seem to offer up there before resorting to eBay.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:36 (seven months ago) link

I spend a lot of time there messing with server plugins but I've never checked out the marketplace threads... thanks!

fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:38 (seven months ago) link

oh yeah what are your favorite plugins? I've pretty much stopped tinkering.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:46 (seven months ago) link

I'm continually trying to get my weather plugins to keep working, and I use Spotty to stream from Spotify of course, also some that let me customize the album lists more to my liking (studio albums by year, then compilations, then live albums by year)

fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2021 15:59 (seven months ago) link

my dream was a weather plugin that would play the song of my choice when the NWS issued a severe weather warning for my area

fbclid=fhAZ3l (f. hazel), Monday, 1 February 2021 16:00 (seven months ago) link

hahaha. You're probably on the right track.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 1 February 2021 16:02 (seven months ago) link

In Newfoundland that would interrupt my tunes too much.

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 1 February 2021 16:03 (seven months ago) link

now, all the same, and in the absence of any kind of push alert to your serving system, you could have a script that asks the weather service for alerts on your area, every x minutes, and if there is one, have the script send terminal commands to LMS to play a certain file (on every player, top volume, if you're so inclined). LMS only needs to come at the end of this, is what I'm saying. All i do with terminal commands is do some basic stuff with keyboard shortcuts. it's handy

maf you one two (maffew12), Monday, 1 February 2021 16:29 (seven months ago) link

DJP which one did you go for, Beam or Arc?

early rejecter, Monday, 1 February 2021 17:40 (seven months ago) link

Arc, to go with the 75” tv

Hello Nice FBI Lady (DJP), Monday, 1 February 2021 17:42 (seven months ago) link

I also have arc+sub+2 1s

Florida Man vs. California Bill (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 01:12 (seven months ago) link

I set the surrounds to 'full' mode instead of 'ambient' for music, destroying any remnant audiophile bonafides. I am free now.

Florida Man vs. California Bill (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 01:17 (seven months ago) link

If you’ve tried it, how is the Arc alone for music? Like, is it as least as good as a stereo pair of Ones? I’ve been trying to talk myself into one and could more easily justify it if it could double as my home office sound system.

early rejecter, Wednesday, 3 February 2021 02:06 (seven months ago) link

My Sonos app on the iphone is sort of glitchy -- it often lags heavily and/or doesn't display what's actually being played. The way it integrates spotify is also a little awkward and navigation can be confusing.

Ultimately, I like the Move, but I don't see myself ever going to a house-wide Sonos system. Most likely I think I'll eventually get a Sonos receiver that I can connect to a regular stereo, and then we can use the Move as an auxiliary speaker for outside or other rooms of the house while music is playing on the main stereo, as well as using it as a stand-alone.

longtime caller, first time listener (man alive), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 02:19 (seven months ago) link

that sounds like a good plan.

xp I haven't listened to the arc alone for music. I can give it a try tomorrow. I think the two Ones likely give you a better stereo image. I replaced two play:5s, and this was the most obvious difference. For clarity, if you get the arc, you won't use the Ones as surrounds?

sell her Dior (Sufjan Grafton), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 03:01 (seven months ago) link

Our beam serves as our living room/kitchen streamer when tv is off, brilliant sound

Qanondorf (darraghmac), Wednesday, 3 February 2021 04:07 (seven months ago) link

I think I prefer two play:1s spaced further apart over the arc alone for stereo music. The arc w/ surrounds is great for music, though.

sell her Dior (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 4 February 2021 02:01 (seven months ago) link

my living room setup is a sonos amp connected to my paradigm stereo speakers I have had for some time, a monoprice sub as well. I stuck two play:1 speakers on the built-in shelves behind me and it works well!

I guess for the classic arrangement I lack a center channel, but I sit off-center a lot of the time
so...

maybe I stick a soundbar under the tv for that?

mh, Thursday, 4 February 2021 04:20 (seven months ago) link

my idiot stance is I can hear move sound going back and forth, my floor wobbles at the right time, the turntable hooked in works well, and sometimes sounds fly at my face from behind me!

mh, Thursday, 4 February 2021 04:21 (seven months ago) link

Thanks Sufjan. Yeah, for the time being anyway it would just be the Arc with no surrounds if I get one. I have a handful of Sonos speakers throughout the house but this was supposed to be a TV area in the basement that has also become my home office since last March. Was hoping to address both the TV and music with one system. Anything is going to be a compromise because my desk is situated in a way where I'm never going to have speakers facing me directly. I guess I should just go listen to one if I can find it in stock anywhere.

Man Alive I started out like that too, had no intention of getting more than the one speaker that I'd gotten for my wife when the stereo and Airports were too much of a hassle with her home with a newborn, but they've been multiplying and it's amazing having music throughout the house now. I did recently pick up a used final generation Connect (basically what is now the Port) for $150 so I can stream to my traditional stereo in the living room and outdoor speakers in the backyard or have my turntable playing to Sonos speakers in other rooms, it's pretty great. I do find the various music services aren't integrated as well as I'd like in the app, but with Spotify can't you cast to Sonos directly from the Spotify app?

early rejecter, Thursday, 4 February 2021 05:50 (seven months ago) link

np. The arc will be a nice upgrade for the TV, and it sounds good for music. I just think there's a fundamental limitation in the width of the stereo image from an arc alone. Perhaps, I am corny for favoring that. I agree that you should listen to one yourself, if possible. You can always grab surrounds later when on sale.

sell her Dior (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 4 February 2021 17:10 (seven months ago) link

with Spotify can't you cast to Sonos directly from the Spotify app?

― early rejecter,

Yes, directly from the Sonos app also iirc

But can be an issue ito logging in simultaneously with the same account as eg youd use on yr phone

cpt otm (darraghmac), Thursday, 4 February 2021 17:33 (seven months ago) link

I've come around to using the sonos app. I like the way it handles adding to the queue compared to spotify. I can also play "Blinding Lights" 100x for my children on the amazon prime account from the same app while keeping my spotify record clean.

sell her Dior (Sufjan Grafton), Thursday, 4 February 2021 17:45 (seven months ago) link

one month passes...

I think the Sonos Move will probably fit my sitch the best, but there’s this Bang & Olufson speaker called the Beolit 20 that also has my eye. It’s $100 more expensive and only has Bluetooth, but some other aspects of it sound attractive. Anyone here used one of these B&O speakers? Could it sound dramatically better than Sonos?

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Saturday, 27 March 2021 17:01 (five months ago) link

It could sound better but probably not 'dramatically'. I have the Move and love it's two-way action - Bluetooth is great for the backjyard but working via Wifi means you don't have to worry about the line-of-sight bluetooth connection. It's built-in auto EQ adjustment (Trueplay) makes a difference as well as you listen in different places.

But B&O stuff generally sounds great and their design sense is very appealing. Not $100 more appealing, mind.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Sunday, 28 March 2021 02:48 (five months ago) link

Thanks. Yeah, that’s the sticking point... if they were around the same price, I may go with the B&O, but +$100 doesn’t seem worth it.

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Sunday, 28 March 2021 02:58 (five months ago) link

I’d never want to spend that kind of money for just a Bluetooth connection. WiFi, with Airplay at least, is an infinitely better way of working.

Alba, Sunday, 28 March 2021 04:14 (five months ago) link

Yes - after poking around some more, I’m convinced I should just get into the Sonos thing. But I’m also (re-)convinced that the Five is what I should go with (to start); so I still need to gear up for spending 500.

beer drops on my keytar (morrisp), Sunday, 28 March 2021 04:48 (five months ago) link

five months pass...

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