The biggest problem I face is not so much not knowing, it is knowing something that just ain’t so. Comtempt prior to investigation. Stubbornness. Sloth.
For simplicity sake, I should think if another item were to be added into the mix to stream net stuff, and file playback, possibly ripping and grabbing meta data as well, then I’m at a loss for any recs. I’ve been only recently thinking of looking into these all in one wonders. Maybe.
For me, the interface will be the key. Till then, I’ll keep using this scenario….
Sinology Disc Station NAS for storage > Win 7 PC with Linx AES 16x sound card > Bel canto DAC 3.0 > pre > amp > spkrs, interfaced using an iPhone, or iPad..
I use whatever PC with the “DB Power amp” program to rip to any lossless format with 16/44.1Hz. it grabs track info off several online resources and I can pick which I prefer to tag the trak. It provides error correction and is not hard to use.
Another program I can’t recall now will rip HD off of Blue Rays and DVD Audio, or just DVDs, so you wind up with 16/48; 24/96; or 24/192, respectively. It is a fairly intuitive app for PC. Runs $30. It allows or did allow for upsampling and various file formatting.
Playback interface options abound. Synology offers IOS apps w`hich show your entire stored musical library, video too for that matter. So you can arrange playlists, hunt and peck with your cell phone, pad, or personal confuser.
The Disc Station apps also have an itunes server interface. If all is ripped to ALAC (apple lossless) or AIFF, you can just use itunes for nearly all playback, except of course FLAC.
Playback can arrive on your phone, Apple TV, Android, or via the confuser.
The sinology IOS or Droid app ‘DS Audio’ allows you to choose which appliance develops the sound and or into which room.
If the files are small, compressed, or your choice is to convert on the fly to a smaller easier to stream file format, you can play your files almost anywhere you are on the planet. Connectivity will be key in avoiding dropouts at distance. Compressed file playback off site appear to work very well indeed around my town at least..
Sinology DS Video app works similarly.
A two bay Sunology NAS presently the DS 216, DS 216 plus, or DS 716 only differ in how much CPU is available. They will operate (see) up to 16TB of total disc geography. Use a Raid option for duplicating the primary drive and you’re at 8TB or less total space, depending.
These NAS boxes range in price from $150 (DS 216) to almost $500 for the DS 716. Sweet spot is the ‘plus’ ver. At $299. Then its what kind of drive and how big that adds to the expense.
The new Helium drives in the 8TB range at last check were about $450 each. Decent Enterprise 6TB SATA drives were about $200 ea. 8TBs were another fiddy bucks each I think.
Almost all the apps are free. Ripping is done manually free with itunes, J River, or via buying the DB Power amp prog for $30. The gear is at whatever level you are at otherwise.
A $6 third party app called “File Browser’’ works with android and IOS and if allowed by you self, will find all of your files, music or videos and stream them onto any DLNA – PNP or ?? device. Even when that device does not support the native format bit rate or word length, like a Roku or Apple TV.
Tidal’s HD or non compressed streaming in this case would be via your personal confuser which by the way you already own. The interface you use is up to you to get to your DAC. Buy a bridge, sound card as I did, or go all in on a new wiz bang gizmo which will impact the signal as it will be in the chain.
Folks have said for years PCs are noisey and not a good idea for on board storage, or sound card usage. Well, everyone has an opinion. Just as people have found out USB ain’t all that and a bag of chips either given nearly every USB cable has its own ‘flavor’ or influence on the audio, and costs run over $500 in some cases.
What is the difference between using a pc to store the files on and feed playback, or using a ‘all in one’ device which is doing the exact same thing a pc does?
Exactly how did or do these new AIO streamer/server boxes eradicate the identical issues people holler about on PCs about on board storage and audio output?
Plug your pc & NAS or server thingy into a passive power line conditioner. I did. Violin!
The one thing I’ve seen which does interst me is the Sony thingy. I’ve no idea on how to interface with it. It is a $2K bump in the road though. It is said to upsample all of your file content and handles every popular format. It streams too.
As for upsampling? Well, that’s another topic entirely. I don’t think I’d care to have my mp3s sampled up to 384Hz. Why?most of the music was already cut out when it got compressed!!
The Sony has on board storage, but then we’re back to the ‘don’t use the pc’ as storage or to generate a signal out bia sound card sort of affair, aren’t we?
Maybe there’s some new kind of magic going around lately.
If it in fact supports HUB use, then it could be something worth looking into as several Home environmental items like Google and Amazon’s thingys will see it, once you download the app and configure it all. After of course you buy the Dit, or Dot, or Goog, or ?? as well.
Very very, good luck.