Streaming hi-res digital - where to start?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Craig Williams, Feb 12, 2017.

  1. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Ok, so I've got a lovely mid-range hi-fi separates set, lots of audiophile CDs and LPs, but I'm very intrigued about this hi-res malarkey.

    Basically where do I start? If I download some hi-res files from HDTracks, what do I need to get to play them over my separates (if indeed that can be done) without bothering with discs? A DAC paired with a laptop? Could I do it from my phone?

    In the words of the great Joni Mitchell, help me.
     
  2. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
  3. River Rat

    River Rat Active Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    PC/laptop, dac, JRiver Media Center software, some kind of file storage and backup for it.
     
  4. Erik Tracy

    Erik Tracy Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Would that be a 'download' setup as opposed to on-demand 'streaming'?
     
  5. Synthfreek

    Synthfreek Specialist In Yngwie & Ambient Worship

    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Where exactly does streaming come into play?
     
  6. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    This is basically what I want to do (if possible):
    Download a media library program, download a **** load of hi-res albums which I can then store/backup in a cloud, then use either my laptop or iPhone to play through my hifi?

    To do this I'd need a DAC won't I? I take it DACs can connect to your home wifi?? And I'm assuming the 24/96 files won't downsample through such a process?
     
  7. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    If you're just trying to play files through your stereo and want the cheapest way to try it out, download the Foobar mobile app, hook up an RCA to 1/8'' adapter to the headphone jack of your mobile phone, output to your stereo and try that.

    Next step would be using a laptop or tablet device via USB through a standalone DAC hooked up to your stereo.

    After that comes a network streamer device and NAS.
     
  8. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    Here's where you start:

    Find a 24/96 download of a cd you already have. Make sure it is the identical mastering. For example, the recent Led Zep re-masters have the same version on the cd as you get from some download sites.

    Rip your cd. Download your hi-rez. Tell me if you hear a worthwhile difference.

    If you don't, congratulations, you just saved yourself a lot of trouble and money.
     
    Linto likes this.
  9. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
  10. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Would I be able to hear the difference through a ****** laptop speaker though?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2017
  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    What you are describing is more like option 3 I described in my previous reply. A basic DAC won't work.

    You're going to need a lot of cloud space. Hi-rez albums are usually over 1 gig in size. Even if you do have a network streamer that can make it happen over wifi, better hope your connection is good. Many people using network streamers have the NAS connected directly via ethernet cable for this reason.

    To put things in perspective, I had latency issues trying to wifi stream 16/44 FLACs over a PS4 hooked up to my DAC via optical connection using Plex. And Plex was transcoding these files to mp3. Comcast in my area isn't the worst, but not great either.
     
    Kyhl likes this.
  12. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Nope. Many people can't tell the difference with good equipment either. IMHO the only reason to go for hi-rez is because there is a specific mastering I want that I can't get on CD or 16/44 FLAC. That or the label/musician offers hi-rez files by default instead of 16/44. Otherwise I don't bother with hi-rez just because it's hi-rez. Other people have different opinions on this matter.
     
    wwaldmanfan and c-eling like this.
  13. River Rat

    River Rat Active Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    I read the op as download some files, play ("stream") them to a stereo. JRiver has a bunch of different ways to do that from local files, network files, to/from another JRiver PC, a DLNA server and/or renderer, an AVR network player, etc.
     
    Craig Williams and patient_ot like this.
  14. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Do you know if I can stream files from JRiver to an Arcam RPlay?
     
  15. SirMarc

    SirMarc Forum Resident

    Location:
    NJ
    If you have an android tablet or phone, pick up an otg cable, a decent dac and download the app USB audio pro. This app allows you to do a bit perfect stream from an android device to the dac. Not wireless, but works well and is more convenient if you're not a computer guy.
     
  16. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Can I just plug an RCA male stereo cable from my laptop to the aux output of my Arcam amp. What does the DAC actually do?
     
  17. EVOLVIST

    EVOLVIST Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Don't spend a lot of money, yet go with the best:

    Computer Audiophile - Sonore microRendu Review, Part 1

    You'll need a DAC, though. Digital to Analog Convertor. It takes the digital signal and turns it into an analog signal which you can hear, instead of a bunch of 1s and 0s. (Very simplified)
     
  18. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    Yes, you can. This device does the same job for half the price:
    Amazon.com: NAD DAC 2 Wireless 24Bit/192kHz USB Digital-to-Analog Converter: Electronics
    NOTE: It only goes up to 96kHz, not 192.
    Yes, you can but it goes to the AUX input.
    A "digital-to-analog" converter turns digital music file data into an analog electrical signal. Your laptop has one internally; it is used to play music to headphones or its line out. Many people feel the DAC inside a laptop is not of "audiophile" quality and choose to use an external DAC. This device connects to the laptop via USB allowing data to flow to it without going through the laptop's internal DAC.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  19. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Thanks for your help here man. Ok have another question. Seeing as I can control the JRiver software on my laptop from my phone, if I were to get the rDAC, could I then use AirPlay to stream the files on JRiver using my phone rather than from the laptop? Does that make sense? Or does AirPlay downsample stuff?
     
  20. Apesbrain

    Apesbrain Forum Resident

    Location:
    East Coast, USA
    ^ You would stream from JRMC on PC to the rDAC using UPnP. You can control JRiver on your cellphone using JRemote app.

    Researching it looks like there is a way to do this with AirPlay but I'm not familiar with it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2017
  21. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I think you stream using DTS Play-Fi. Anyone have experience with this?
     
  22. Kyhl

    Kyhl formerly known as Strabo

    Location:
    Savage
    What he said. This is the simplest route if you ask me.

    If you have JRiver I don't understand why you need all that other stuff suggested after RR's post. I use JRiver on a laptop. Laptop via USB into a DAC. DAC to your preamp via interconnects.
    Configure JRiver to output sound across the USB to your DAC. Press play and listen to your hi-res music.
     
  23. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Is there anything else I need to do to windows before I play the 24/96 and 24/192 files in JRiver? I'd hate to think they're being downsampled without me realising it.

    I have JRiver on my laptop with the remote app on my iPhone. I can either play the files on my phone or use the phone to control the laptop. Either way I'm still getting them hires aren't I? Albeit muddied using the phones/laptops soundcard.
     
  24. River Rat

    River Rat Active Member

    Location:
    Tennessee
    How do you have the laptop connected to your stereo?

    If you are using the JRiver app on your phone to control the laptop app, it is not actually playing thru the phone, so sound quality is not affected.
     
  25. Craig Williams

    Craig Williams Forum Resident Thread Starter

    I don't yet, I just want to make sure the laptop is set up correctly.
     

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