Going to try digital


Hello need help going digital .i have a Mc 275 Gordon gow cj Et3se vpi table Von schweikert mk3 2 speakers .  Need a digital streaming system maybe a transport.help please scooter

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Budget?  Do you want a streamer / DAC all in one, or a DAC that can accept more digital inputs?  And do you have a Pre Amp?
  It’s easier to make suggestions if all of that is defined
My budget 2000 to 5000 .Conrad Johnson Et3se . Dac that can accept would be nice.
Do you need to rip music, or are you just going to stream?

Is your house iPad or Android ?
I would like a very flexible system thanks
If you have a laptop with Internet access, just add JRiver for $60 and a Wireworld Starlight USB for $80, a used Benchmark DAC2 HGC for <whatever> and you've got a good streaming, ripping, FLAC'em digital system.

Or get a Bluenote Vault 2; it will give you easier streaming (without having to hook up your laptop whenever you want to listen), and will make it much easier to rip your CD collection. 
The OP will require a DACat the bare minimum.  The next decision is choosing between a few options:
1) using a PC with a DAC 
2) using a dedicated streamer with a separate DAC;
3) using a streamer and DAC combined in one product.

many pros and cons either.  Budget allows complete flexibility.
If I was the OP, I would ask myself if I want a PC in my system; if I am agnostic about a PC vs a dedicated audio component; or if I want nothing to do with a PC.  Once that is known, recommendations may follow
Digital opens the door to very many options down the road yet I think you are better off starting simple and once you get your toes wet you decide which way to progress.
As expressed above you need a source of music, a player, and a DAC.
Source of music could be ripped CDs, a music service such as Tidal which I believe is only available through computers.
The player will be a computer of some type: Android phone, Apple phone or device, windows PC, branded streamer box. A PC or Apple computer gives more flexibility at the cost of requiring more of your involvement. 
The DAC is the simplest decission: like any other hifi component.

I would go step by step. For example: buy a good DAC (spend $2k in a used unit?), and start with a laptop you have. If the laptop is too troublesome, switch to a streamer. If trouble is acceptable, look into a PC designed for audio which will sound a lot better than laptop.

FWIW I also started with an mc275 and in my case a Lamm LL2D pre when ventured into digital. Today my system is built around only having a specialized computer as source, it's a 3-way active system where my mc275 is dedicated to midrange and treble. No going back for me.
Hello lewinkih01 your response  is on track with my thinking .are you bi amping your system if so what are using for the low end drivers thanks.could you recommend a dac thanks scooter 
I just use blue sound 2i, $499.00. Works great. We use tidal for 20 per month. I use my andriod galaxy 6 to control it. My other half uses her iPhone 7.  It's quite simple to use and has a really good dac or u can use your on dac.  If u want to rip CDs or what ever you can get the blue vault. I think that's about 1k. Not positive on that price but I think I'm close. U can also use your I pad with it.  And with tidal we use it in are vehicles thru blue tooth. 
Pete
Left a something out. You can also pay 10 a month for tidal,  the 20 per month is for hifi people.  The music is also completely unlimited.  I have found every recording that I have looked up. I've been using it for 2 months. Strictly with our phones as controllers. It does have wifi, but I hooked it strait thru with a cat 6 cable.
I agree that the Bluesound Node2i ($500) is the best option (Vault 2i ($1200) if you want to rip CD’s). 
 
It’s internal DAC is fine, though an external one would likely be welcomed. Depending on how much you want to spend: 
 
* Schiit Modi 3 ($100)
* SMSL SU-8 ($250)
* March Audio DAC1 ($400 shipped)
* SMSL D1 ($1300) 
* Benchmark DAC3 L ($1800, +$100 for remote)
Scooter,

OK, I'll describe my system, but keep in mind I started down the digital path (not CD) 7 years ago. Attempting to do what I do as a first step would be a recipe for likely frustration, maybe turning away and missing a larger opportunity.

My front end is made of two computers: a powerful Win 10 PC with fans, hard disc drives which makes it a non-audiophile computer. Here I store my music, run Roon core which also accesses Tidal. I control Roon from an Android phone. Roon also delivers music to other devices over the house.
From the Win 10 PC I have Roon stream through ethernet cable to HQPlayer (software) housed inside an audiophile PC sitting on my rack. This PC has no moving parts: solid disc, passive cooling, linear power supply, 3M RFI absorbent inside, etc, etc. It runs on Windows Server 2012 R2 with Audiophile Optimizer in minimal-server mode. And it runs HQPlayer which convolves (applies a digital filter to the music stream it receives) with filters made on Acourate (DSP software) to output 3-way digital out of the USB card and into the multichannel DAC.
There aren't many multichannel DACs in the market and I suggest you stick with two channels first.
My DAC is a Lynx Hilo: it receives 3-way stereo (6 channels) thru USB and outputs analog signals to: 2 active subwoofers (Rythmik kit, DIY box) (from 20 to 70Hz), 2 Hypex UcD400 kits powering midbasses (70 to 350Hz), and each channel in the MC275 to drive midrange and treble. My speakers are B&W 804S, where I removed the woofer to midrange crossover and drive the woofers directly from the UcD amps. The MC275 is connected to midrange+tweeter, where the passive crossover between them is still in place.

After experiencing what is possible with digital crossovers in an active system and room correction I've spent the last couple of years learning about speaker design and plan to replace the 804S with my own 4-way speakers.

I encourage you to read through these articles to understand what is possible:
https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/ca-academy/acourate-digital-room-and-loudspeaker-correction-software-...
https://audiophilestyle.com/ca/ca-academy/advanced-acourate-digital-xo-time-alignment-driver-lineari...

These articles were an inflection point in my journey. I started implementing Acourate-generated filters through JRiver playing on a laptop and onto a 2-channel DAC, just applying room correction. Later added the audiophile PC, then went to the Hilo and implemented 2.2 system: 2 subs + the 804S driven completely by MC275 starting at 80Hz.

Step by step! :-)

Hope this helps!
The problem with buying an all-in-one solution is it’s like buying a SS receiver that has Blu-ray player and VHS player built-in. There are undoubtedly compromises everywhere to meet a price-point.

If you have a MacBook or a Mac Mini, I would highly recommend starting there and adding either USB DAC or Ethernet DAC. IF you add USB DAC, you will need a regenerator like this:
https://sotm-usa.com/collections/sotm-ultra/products/copy-of-tx-usbultra-regenerator-1

If you are using USB, I highly recommend Amarra for playback app. If you are using Ethernet, I recommend Linn Kinsky/minimserver. These are free. Rip CD’s with XLD on Mac and dbpoweramp on PC.

With this hardware and apps, you can rival and even beat the sound of your vinyl, providing you get the right DAC and digital interface. DAC’s to consider:

Empirical Audio Overdrive SX
DaVinci
TotalDAC
Chord Dave
Aqua
Lampizator
Denafrips Terminator
T&A DAC 8

I prefer Ethernet to USB because you can use any computer and very little mucking around is required to achieve outstanding audio quality. You will need a streamer or an Ethernet renderer for this. I use:
https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=156409.0

Or the same interface inside my Overdrive SX DAC. It’s modular. I can stream using Linn Kazoo, also freeware.

See various good reviews on audiostream, as well as shootouts:
https://www.audiostream.com/content/great-dac/

Their best-bits is usually a good place to start.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
We're using LUMIN for our digital streaming purposes now. Super friendly user interface from the iOS/Android app, and also compatible with third-party apps if you want to use something else.

Could you expand upon what you are looking for by "very flexible"? That could either mean lots of inputs and outputs, or it could mean lots of configuration options, or lots of different features, or compatibility with lots of different streaming services.

One of the most flexible systems we carry is the Devialet Expert Pro line. Mostly because you can program it to change how different inputs and outputs are used, and also can tweak certain things on individual connections like delay and crossover points. It also supports network streaming.
Naim NDX2 seems to be good if you want a streaming solution. You can add Uniti Core for ripping if you need that and don't want to use your computer. They also have ND555 if you want state of the art.

NAD M50.2 is often mentioned as a good solution for digital sound.
Steve (audioengr) brings a good point: USB vs ethernet for connecting streamer to DAC. There are very few options for ethernet connected DACs, but this is said to have significant advantages such as no optimized computer needed as front end and that computer can sit anywhere in the house while with USB it needs to be close as possible and under 10 feet USB cable. Lynx sells a Dante card for the Hilo which apparently would enable this but I haven't tried because I already have the optimized computer. But if starting from scratch this is a decision worth keeping in mind: I could have my noisy general purpose PC connected thru ethernet to my Hilo and maybe get the same sound quality.

Steve also mentions USB regeneration if going USB, another good suggestion. I'm adding here since you are new to this: as far as I'm aware these devices are limited to 2-channel audio, so keep in mind/verify if thinking multichannel might be in your future. Yet to reinforce Steve's advice: when I was doing 2-channel I had my optimized PC going into an Audiophilleo (regenerator) feeding a Metrum Octave DAC. The combined price of Audiophilleo plus Octave was $2k. Three years later I tried in my system an Exasound e32 brand new technology with pico clock, top of the line, highly regarded DAC at $3k and the cheaper and older system sounded better so sold the e32. Good reclockers have a significant impact!! But limited to 2 channels so I don't use anymore.

I still think you would be better off starting with a computer you already have and adding a good DAC to get started. Consider USB vs ethernet DAC now you know pros/cons of each.


Regarding ethernet or USB there is at least One more option, using wifi. If the dac has a memory and a reclocker it should be possible to get really good sound with wifi.

https://darko.audio/2018/08/ethernet-or-wifi-which-is-better-for-high-end-audio-streaming/
WIFI and Ethernet are essentially the same thing, but a sub-standard WIFI implementation can kill the SQ. I sell a WIFI to Ethernet wired converter that does not change the SQ over wired. It can be used with my Interchange Ethernet renderer or any other wired Ethernet device. Uses a hot-rodded Hynes supply.

Darko writes: "Ethernet cable itself can act as an aerial, attracting airborne electrical noise". Total rubbish. The reason that Ethernet is noisy is because of the capacitive coupling across the transformers, also known as "leakage". This is practically eliminated with a good isolator like the EMO EN-70e for $130 or by using optical translators.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Steve,
In a setup where Roon core runs on a noisy PC, connects thru ethernet to a Cisco wifi router, and the optimized audio PC receiving from Roon on HQP also connects thru ethernet to the Cisco, would you recommend using just one EMO-EN70e at the audio PC input? Or more, or elsewhere? How about a linear power supply on the Cisco?

Thank you!

Wifi is much more practical if you don’t have cables throughout your house or have the router next to the stereo.

@audioengr I am glad to hear that you have a solution, if I need one later I will check your site.

I don’t have a high-end stereo yet and will soon install a Raspberry Pi as a cheap streaming server. Those can be found for < $100 but you may need some technical knowledge to set it up.
I am very happy with TIDAL.  I would suggest streaming with a Blue Sound so you can stream 24 Bit Hi-Res as well as MQA.  You can stream 16 bit if you hard wire your modem using Cad 6 to an Apple TV and then hard wire Cad 6 to the back of your amp or receiver.
Check out NAD M32 (with BluOs card). Sounds great, flexible and upgradable. 
In a setup where Roon core runs on a noisy PC, connects thru ethernet to a Cisco wifi router, and the optimized audio PC receiving from Roon on HQP also connects thru ethernet to the Cisco, would you recommend using just one EMO-EN70e at the audio PC input? Or more, or elsewhere? How about a linear power supply on the Cisco?


First of all, the only thing that matters is the router, not the PC. Don’t waste money on the router, it needs mods.

This is what will deliver great results, even with a Sonos:

1) AQVOX switch added to the router
2) 0.5m Wireworld Platinum Ethernet cable from switch to isolator
3) EMO EN-70e isolator
4) 1.5-2m Wireworld Platinum Ethernet cable from isolator to PC

Steve N.

Empirical Audio
I don’t have a high-end stereo yet and will soon install a Raspberry Pi as a cheap streaming server. Those can be found for < $100 but you may need some technical knowledge to set it up.


Been there, done that.  The Digione card is pretty good, expecially the new one.  My Interchange still beats it.  You can see jitter measurements on RPi here:

https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=154299.0 

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
"1) AQVOX switch added to the router
2) 0.5m Wireworld Platinum Ethernet cable from switch to isolator
3) EMO EN-70e isolator
4) 1.5-2m Wireworld Platinum Ethernet cable from isolator to PC"

Steve,

That’s $2.5 to 3k worth. I don’t doubt is the cutting edge, but how can I get 50% of the improvement for 25% of the cost? What’s the pecking order if prioritizing this list?
Change the Wireworld silver cables to copper with silver plating.  That will save a lot of money.  Not as analog, but very good.
I definitely don't have the tech knowledge that you guys have, so I'm always learning thru your treads.  But due to the horrible wifi in my home, I used cat 6a shielded thru out. I grounded my punch panel in the basement. I never heard any electrical noise at all. I use the dac in the blue Sound 2i for now and will eventually in the near future use the dac in the anthem preamp via optical once I purchase it. But the blue Sound 2i sounds great to me. And I enjoy the simplicity of blue sound. There maybe other solutions,  but I am not a very good tech guy.