Need really simple advice. How do I use the DAC side of my ARC Ref CD-9SE to stream music?

Ok, ... I just bought an ARC Ref CD-9SE redbook CD player, which has its own built-in DAC functionality.  The CD-9 DAC does not have DSD capability.  The ARC website describes the CD-9's capability in part as follow:

The Reference CD9SE incorporates four digital inputs: USB 2.0HS, AES/EBU, RCA, and Toslink. All inputs handle 24 bit / 192k resolution. The Reference CD9SE retains the Philips PRO2R transport, still the best dedicated CD mechanism that is simply unsurpassed for compact disc playback. Benefitting from what we have learned in the development of the Reference DAC, the REF CD9 utilizes quad 24-bit DACs running in mono mode, with dual master oscillators; one for 44.1/88.2/176.4 sample rates, the other for 48/96/192kHz sample rates. Sample rate conversion is selectable for all inputs, allowing playback in native resolution or via upsampling, including compact disc and all inputs, including USB. Additionally, there is a selectable digital filter, with either fast or slow rolloff. 

I have no idea what any of the glarff quoted above means.  So, ... my simple minded understanding is that I need to sign up for a streaming service, ...  like Spotify, Tidal or something off Amazon.  The CD-9 is very close to an ethernet cable, so that is a good fact.  I assume that I will need a streamer like, Lumin or some other brand that I do not know a thing about, plus some interconnects and maybe a USB cord.  If I need a computer, ... I have a regular PC which has an Intel Core i7 CPU and a solid state hard drive.

So, ... in simple baby talk, how can I stream music from the internet into my CD-9 DAC and then into my ARC Ref 6SE linestage?  Please, please, ... keep it really simple.   


You need a streamer the streamers job is to act as the control and c onduit to stream this content to the dac
You really have two choices a streamer

Audiotroy, .... so what are 2 choices.  What about I/Cs??  What input should I use on the CD-9?  USB?? 
You need a streamer the streamers job is to act as the control and
conduit to stream content to the dac

You really have two choices a streamer which has no harddrive and just steams tidal or quebuze

Or a server which can act as a roon core

Roon is a subscription media manager which vontrols tidal and quebuze and offers a remarkable user interface

The roon core offers a huge number of advantages

For example through roon you can send music to your arc as well as being able to send music to sonosnaim and nad luesound devices to having a unified whole house music setup

Other advantages include the ability to upconvert and transcode data which means you can increase the desolution of the streaming files this givesyou b a sound which start to sound like a good analog rig

This is just the tip of what roon can do

We have fouund that a relay great roon based server can crate a noticably more musical sound

We are now importing the Best y ounding line of servers out of europe 442Evo from belgium

These innovative servers are a combination of Advanced custom built software
a proprietarysofware plugin and state of the art hardware that is modular and upgradable for example a new and better sounding clock just came out and is retro fittable to existing servers

Each model can be upgraded to.more powerful and even better sounding hardware

The line start at a 3k server the standard

One of the most exciting models is the 6k aeon which challenges the 14k innous statement

A european review by ed seally said that the aeon was the finest sounding digital source he has ever heard

Dave and troy
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Us mporter 432 Evo music servers
There might be better guides out there, but this one isn't too bad. Unfortunately there's quite a bit to learn to add streaming. It is worthwhile though, as it can greatly expand your music exploration and discovery.
Hey thanks.  I did some google searching and found the same link.  Based on what I found already, I DO have a lot to learn.   

Nice player! I have spent time with the stock Ref CD-9 spinner.

Happy Listening!
My problem with using the DAC in my 9 is the tubes. On one hand, it’s tubes... but on the other, it’s tubes, which = HOT. The 9 is a little space heater already. And I’m not fond of it all cranked up using the DAC. The DAC is good, but you need some good IC’s to get the best out of it. I use the BNC out, but prefer the XLR’s out overall. I just don’t have two balanced ins on my Int, and my phono stage takes the one avail. My INT has a DAC as well, so I simply run a network feed for my NAS etc. I also use a Sonos Port for more “basic” streaming. It’s the household music, so perfect quality isn’t the goal as it is usually used for background music etc. It has both coaxial out and analog out, so a DAC isn’t 100% necessary. The Roon setup is golden and one day I’ll probably go to a Roon Core setup, just haven’t done it yet.. The Sonos makes my wife happy as it is an easy interface for her to play “her music” as well.
Since the ARC handles usb 2.0, if you have a laptop you may want to start experimenting with that (my new MacAir has usb 3.0, but I believe that converters are easily found, and most computers out there probably use 2.0).  Computers usually have some sort of a hard drive (you may have to purchase a separate optical drive to burn CDs) and you can download the apps for streaming services such as Tidal or Spotify.  Dedicated Streamers are computers that have been made to look like audio components.  Many audiophiles remain happy with a bog standard pc even as they upgrade everything else.  The computer probably already is part of your network and that eliminates a big hassle, as getting a fancy streamer to play with your network is frequently a source of frustration 
Thanks mahler123, .... so to get started, are you saying use my personal PC, which uses a Windows 10 operating system?  Then sign-up for Tidal or Spotify on my PC.  Then hook up my PC to one of the digital DAC inputs on my CD-9 using some type of I/C (which one??).  And then hook up one of the DAC outputs (presumably an XLR/BAL I/C) directly into my linestage pre. 

Is that a good way to get started? At least to get a taste of what streaming is all about.     
Does your PC output usb 2.0?  If so, use that , I believe you said the ARC had an input.  If not, you may need a converter.
windows computers frequently require a driver be downloaded to work with many DACs (your ARC is basically a DAC that spins CDs).
You may need to check with ARC on that.  Then yes, download the app for whatever streaming service you wish to try.
Down the road you can add programs that might enhance the audio quality, such as Audirvana Plus, but this should get you started
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Using a PC or Mac Mini is a great way to start.  I used my Mac Mini connected to my Ayre QB-9 DAC with a USB cable (I use Audioquest Diamond since you asked), and played Tidal and Amazon HD streaming services.  I recently replaced it with a Lumin U1 Mini using the same USB cable.

There are tons of ways to stream to your DAC, but the PC is certainly a great way to start.  Streaming is a lot of fun and you will discover all sorts of new music.
Thanks guys.  I like the idea of starting with my PC.  I will check with ARC to see if I can use a regular USB connector from my PC to the CD-9 DAC.  If so, that may be a good way to dip my toe into the streaming waters. 

I am reluctant to drop big bucks on a streamer and associated gizmos until I understand what streaming is about. 

Btw, the CD-9 has a nice redbook CD function.  The CD-9 sounds a bit better than my old ARC CD-8. More resolution and better sound stage.  Very similar ARC house sound though.

Btw, btw, ... the CD-9 can upstream native redbook sampling of 44.1kHz to 176.4kHz. Upstream sampling changes the presentation, ... seems brighter and more detailed.  Not sure I like it better than native redbook sampling.  Any comments in digital-land about the pros and cons of upstreaming the sampling rate? 

Thanks again
I find upsampling to have exactly the same effect in my system. It 
imparts a brighter, thinner & seemingly more detailed presentation but I really don't like it. With critical listening the "detail" and "sense of air" is actually false IMO, and more based on distortions and increased noise than anything else. 

Upsample even more, say to 384K, and it becomes even stranger. 

I think you should be sampling at the original bit/sampling rate, nothing more, nothing less. 
Any old USB cable that fits into your computer and has a square "type b" connector on the other end will work to get you started. Pangea if you feel like buying something with a little care put in, but not expensive enough that you'll worry about resale.

As above, any bog standard USB 2 cable should work.   You won't injure your ARC.   Whether or not getting a pricier USB cable has any value is a subject that gets debated around here.  Being an audiophile, I eventually shelled out for a Pangea cable, and can't say that I noticed any difference.  As you can surmise, one reason that streaming is dominating the market place is that from an expense standpoint, not much required--everyone has a computer and a usb cable.
   One of my first DACs a PSAudio DLinkIII which I must have purchased during the G.W. Bush Presidency did upsampling to 176 and at first I was quite taken with it.  Eventually I came to a few CDs that sounded "thin" upsampled.  My present DAC, a Bryston DAC3 offers upsampling, but I don't like the implementation and the regular DAC sounds fine.  
   As has been said on this thread, many audiophiles are so pleased with the results from their computer into a DAC that they never feel compelled to buy a dedicated streamer.  
The advice above has been very helpful.  Thank you. 

I think someone asked about the CD-9's USB input.  Here is what the ARC website says:   USB 2.0HS   

I understand that the SE version has an updated USB card.  I think the old card was a USB 2 and the new card card is a USB 3,....whatever that means.

So, what do I about the USB cable.  Just get a long cable, hook it up to the input socket of my DAC and let it hang loose until I want to stream from my PC?

If so, that seems simple enough. 
Per page 9 of the player’s Owner Manual

USB: Connect to a Windows-based PC or Mac computer for music playback from your computer. Press the INPUT button until the ‘USB’ LED is illumindated. Software installation is not necessary for Mac or Linux users. Windows users can find the necessary software at

Other connections also addressed.

CD9SE-Manual.pdf (
Thanks Jetter.  I just downloaded the ARC driver.  Next a USB cable, and then almost in business.

I'll check out Amazon for streaming options.  Hopefully Amazon can stream at least redbook quality music.

I know there are a "bazilion" A'gon threads running about streaming services.  The two most popular services that come to mind are Spotify and Tidal. 

Which of the two services offers the highest quality data transmission?


Per Qobuz webpage, Studio quality streaming is offered -- (FLAC 24-Bit up to 192 kHz).  Is 24 bit/192kHz look SACD quality?

Tidal is more complicated.  Three levels of service:  Standard; HiFi (1411kbps - lossless FLAC); and Master (2304 - 9216kbps).    

What levels of streaming can the CD-9 handle?  And can I run all of this through my PC to the CD-9 via a USB cable?  

I assume at some point, I will want to get a streamer and maybe storage capability, but for now, I want to start with my PC if possible.

Thanks again.
You'll have to check your manual to see what the dac can handle, but probably all of the above resolutions. All usb cables you might buy will work fine.  Dealer's choice on if you care about moving past standard cd quality (of which most music is). 
Which of the two services offers the highest quality data transmission?
Sorry I can't help.  I spend all my time listening to the internet radio stations, such as Radio Paradise, on my Node 2i.  Haven't felt any need to up my game to a paid service as the internet radio stations are quite fine for my listening which is 99% as background music.
I did the Tidal free trial, it sounded nice, I experimented a bit with MQA, using the DAC on my Node2 as my regular DAC didn’t do MQA.  However, I listen primarily to Classical, and at the time of my trial, Tidal had poor offerings.  I waited for Qobuz to arrive as it is popular with Classical Listeners.  I had previously used Spotify, and now that I have increased my Podcast listening and Spotify has gone in big on Podcasts, I’ve reactivated Spotify.    Qobuz is pretty acceptable SQ, but as with all streaming services you are at the mercy of your ISP.  There is a lot of bandwidth throttling where I live, and my suspicion is that with the Pandemic and everyone being home and working remotely and Zooming and what not, the ISPs are stressed and throttling like crazy.  So I listen primarily to the albums that I have recorded to my NAS in FLAC on my own LAN, and I still spin CDs, SACDs, and Blu-rays.