I'd like to second this - what's the best way (in my case for <$200 to get audio out to a dac/amp wirelessly?
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For the price range specified and to get your digital music to one location, I would recommend the Squeezebox. I personally have the Sonos because I wanted to have my music in multiple locations in my home. They both have digital outs so you can an external DAC. Keep in mind that accessing a large music library is difficult on the Squeeebox is difficult because of the small display. The Sonos has a great remote ocntrol with a large display that makes navigating my library very easy. Depending on how the music is encoded, an external DAC may not make any difference.
thanks for the replies - any idea how much difference will there be w/ external dac vs sqeezebox for 128 kps vbr mp3's in some vr-1's? Thanks.
also, a simple question I can't find precisely answered in the reviews - can you stream music to this with a random laptop, as long as it has a wireless adaptor?
I have personally used the Airport Express and Sonos system. I now use Sonos exclusively, and have ripped all my music to Apple Lossless - I no longer play discs. The Airport Express sounded good, but not as good as my Meridian 596 transport.
In my primary system, a Sonos ZP80 is now connected via coaxial digital to my Meridian 568.2. It sounds at least as good as the 596, if not better. For convenience, I also have other Sonos ZP80s and ZP100s around the house, but they are all used for background music, and any of the systems in question would be fine for such an application.
In my opinion, the Sonos controller is the primary advantage of their system - it's so much easier to navigate than a 2 line display when sorting through my collection of over 15,000 songs. The color screen and entire interface are easy to use, and have the added advantage of displaying all my album artwork as well. It also has the advantage of being wifi, so you don't have to be line-of-sight to use it. I can control the music all over the house from any location, I can even control the music in my back yard while lying in my hammock - makes for a great summer afternoon.
I haven't tried the Squeezebox, though many swear by its audio fidelity (I have no reason to doubt that it's great). The interface just doesn't do it for me, though, as you have to interact with a very limited display and use IR.
I love Sonos' ability to control any or all zones from any of my controllers (or my PC). That, and its outstanding sound quality, are what did it for me.
My 2 cents.
John, I could not agree with you more regarding the Sonos. I have been a user for over a year and have no complaints.
Angaria, Cytocycle is right. However, you should do your own testing to see at what encoding settings you can no longer tell the difference between mp3 and cd. For me, this was 256 VBR. Though I can still a slight difference, it was very small. And yes, with any of the wireless systems you can stream music from any pc that is on the network. The advantage with the Sonos is that you can use a NAS and not have to have a pc on at all.
SONOS - I have a Sonos ZP80 with a digital coax directly into Meridian DSP5200s (they only accept digital inputs as they are active). The sound is identical to my CD transport. There is absolutely no difference using Apple Lossless and the Sonos system than with a CD and a transport. I obsessed over this and did critical listening for days! The Sonos controller and software allow you to set the volume to "fixed". As I understand it, this disables any EQ and fixes the line level to CD type output volume (same as what you might find on a CDs digital out). So no extra stuff on the digital output, but you have to use your preamp's remote for volume control. I previously tried the Airport Express (liked it but didn't work well with my NAS and no remote user interface) and Slimm Devices (didn't like the interface and at the time didn't have the same audio system although it sounded good).
I love being able to access my entire CD collection (over 700 CDs and going up) all while kicking back on the couch. Also, Sonos lets you access internet radio and their own radio stations. The quality is decent given the compression, but does not compare to lossless.
I've also read hints that future Sonos updates (firmware/software/hardware) may offer 24/96 processing/pass through. Don't quote me on this because I can't find the website where I read it. But you know it's coming because the wireless N technology will allow for the higher bandwith. Sonos seems to be sensitive to the audiophile community. There was a great review in Stereophile about the Sonos system.
Hope this helps.