Are you trying to get the best sound quality within your budget, or are you trying to get the cheapest solution that does what you want? If the latter, do what @junzhang10 suggested. If the former, get a NAS like a Synology or QNAP, add digital drives to the NAS (e.g. Western Digital Red drives). This is a basically a giant hard drive that connects to your router via ethernet cable. Put it in a room other than the audio room, with your router. Then get a good ethernet fed renderer aka network player(e.g. Sonore rendu series, Aurelic Aries (not Mini), etc. These are basically single purpose low computing devices that work to stream your files from the NAS, or playing music streamed from internet services like Tidal or Qobuz. They take ethernet input and the output goes to your DAC input. They are controlled via apps that can run on iPad or eve n phone. By sure to invest in a good linear power supply for the renderer, it makes a huge difference.
I'm sure @audioengr will chime in with another good approach, but this thinking will get you far and well within your budget with good flexibility for future adaption as your dac, etc. change.
FWIW, most computer solutions run tons of noisy processes that don't have anything to do with good audio and they are susceptible to electrical noise, EMI.RFI which all make them challenging at best.
Tons of threads hear and on computeraudiophile have addressed the topic. Cheers,
In response to sbank's questions:
I am trying to get the best sound quality within my budget - which is up to $3,000 for the streamer solution.
I already have a NAS. All I need is the right streaming solution.
Thanks for the responses - but so far no one has addressed the #2 use case. How do I stream from a streamer to remote speakers? Does this happen over Wi-Fi, or over Blue Tooth? I noticed the Roon solution seems to be proprietary via WiFi.
So in other words, I want to stream via a hard-wired connection between the streamer and my stereo - that part's easy. The question is can I also stream to remote speakers? If so, what streaming solutions allow me to do this?
If you have a NAS already get a dedicated streamer as mentioned above for your hi fi rig. Then get another device like a sonos for your other room both can access the same NAS if networked together. That way they are separated and you could potetialy listen to two different programs at the same time in different rooms.
I have not purchased remote speakers yet - pending whatever solution I get for this capability. I figured I would purchase the remote speakers after I figure out what the base solution is. At this point, I don't know whether I would need roon speakers, bluetooth speakers, or what.
Once I get the main solution determined, I will get remote speakers that will enable remote listening with that solution. By the way, the $3000 limit I mentioned does not include the cost of remote speakers - I know the remote speakers will be extra cost. Also - the sound quality when playing music remotely does not have to be Audiophile quality - just "good" quality. I do want audiophile quality when listening hard-connected to my main audio system, though.
With this in mind, any ideas or recommendations for a solution?
@btanchors : As you have not bought the remote speakers yet, your job is much easier. Something like Bluesound, or even Sonos would work well. There other others. They have their own streaming solution built in, software, whole home audio, etc. You don't need to buy Roon for these either.
Example: with Bluesound you can have the Node 2i that streams to your main stereo, then several speakers (Pulse, Mini, etc) placed anywhere in the house, that they all stream from Bluesound app on your phone or tablet.
You can stream to remote speakers via Bluetooth or AirPlay.
I am unclear if the "remote" speakers are going to be in a different room
as your main listening area or a different room. I am also unclear if you need to be streaming to your main speakers and the remote speakers simultaneously. If so, that is a bit tricky, because I don't know if a computer or streamer that will send a "conventional" digital signal to a dac can simultaneously send the same signal via Bluetooth or Airplay.
If the remote speakers are in a different room, the old school solution would be use an AVR that can do multiple zones in place of the Parasound, and then run speaker wires to those speakers, but you presumably have vetoed that.
One solution for you might be to use Apple Home Pods as your remote speakers, and an Apple Computer as the streamer, and see if you can simultaneously stream and do Air Play. It might work better if it stays in an all Apple environment, but I really don't know that, just speculating
I live in a three-story house. The audio system, which is where the streamer would reside, is in the basement. The remote speakers would mostly be on the first floor, one floor above the basement, or possibly outside, on my deck. Both of these locations are well within strong signal range for Wi-Fi, but I am not sure how well it would work via Blue Tooth.
A wired solution won't work - I am hoping to have some sort of wireless solution. Fortunately, I don't care if the wireless sound is audiophile quality.
Any thoughts on which solution - Bluesound, Sonos, etc., would be better? I do not need to stream to both main speakers and remote speakers simultaneously.
What I want is to be able to "call up" music to be played on the remote speakers from an iPad or iPhone from the first floor without having to go downstairs into the basement to fiddle with the streamer.
I really like the Sonos system and I think it would be perfect for what you are trying to do. I helped my 70 yr old neighbor across the street set this up and he’s ecstatic with the results. He has two small Sonos speakers on thin stands in his living room, two more on stands on his back deck and two more in his upstairs bedroom. Here is the best part, he controls all of them from his phone. He does not have a streamer, his home network and his phone control content from his phone’s Spotify app with all the music he can dream of. All the speakers are self powered and plugged into AC outlets. He can have Billy Joel playing on the bac deck, while Beethoven is playing in the living room and James Taylor playing on the bedroom.
an example of the speakers on stands https://www.google.com/search?q=sonos+speakers+on+stands+in+living+room&tbm=isch&ved=2ahUKEw...
Just a question. Why bother ripping CDs if you are going to stream from a pay service like tidal? I have couple hundred cds, I bought a bluesound 2i and hooked up with tidal. I make play list with tidal. Have it on my phone android and iPad. Bring with me yo my car and bluetooth. I thought about getting the bluesound vault for ripping CDs, but realized tidal has everything I put in it. So why spend the 1k on the vault. My node 2i is hardwired to my modem. This is my first and only streamer I have ever had or used. I'm very happy with it, I'm sure there are other services. Its hooked up to high end system. Audio dealer used in their store. I'm not very techie, this was plug and play. I'm not sure if bluesound will do multi room. I think it would require other nodes, but not sure. I just crank up the volume and do multi room that way. Only me and wife, so no issues there. Lol