Have you gone into "settings" in the Pandora menu and selected the higher rate for streaming?
I have an iPod Touch that receives Pandora thru our wifi network. Upgrading to Pandora One was an improvement but lately I've been listening to MOG which is even better yet.
In the quest for the most enjoyment, the iTouch sits on a dock that routes the pure digital stream to my dact. Very enjoyable.
I have been playing my iPod and iPod touch through the Pure I-20 available on amazon for $99 and sometimes less. Bypasses the iPod and puts out a pure digital stream or RCA analog out. I haven't used it in my big system but on the small one Pandora One sounds good. Especially when I play it through a DAC.
I did find the setting for higher quality on the iPod, thanks. Still, it looks like the best I can do that way is 64k per the response to an email I sent to Pandora:
Currently all in-home devices receive 128k MP3 audio. Mobile devices receive a variety of different rates depending on the capability of the device and the network they are on, but never more than 64k AAC+. Pandora on the Web or the Desktop app plays 64k AAC+ for free listeners and 192k for PandoraOne subscribers.
We don't have the resources to do everything we'd like to do all at once. Someday hopefully we can change the Pandora API so in-home devices like yours can receive higher bit-rate audio.
We do have a list of all the Pandora supported devices for your home here: http://www.pandora.com/everywhere/home
Thanks for your patience in the meantime.
I've been researching devices and have narrowed it down to a few. I would have probably been happy with the Squeezebox Touch but Logitech has discontinued it and the prices on the secondary market are ridiculous. I'm considering either the Denon DNP-720AE , the Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30 or the Marantz NA7004 and am leaning toward the Denon as it will do what I want and can be replaced when the technology matures more without throwing away too much money.
Anyone have experience with these and able to make recommendations?
... and it appears that the best I'll get with any of these will be 128k until Pandora gets around to updating their API. It seems backwards to have the best bitrate available on the web as most people are listening to that through comparatively low fidelity systems, but it is how it is.
OPPO BDP-103 or OPPO BDP-105 will do the trick.
Ill second the Pure i20. Also check out the Sonos ZP90 ($500) at sonos.com.
Update: I ordered the Denon DNP-720AE through Crutchfield ($275 after $25 off coupon) and auditioned it for a week.
While it is an improvement over an iPod through the NAD dock, I found the sound a little thin and the menus difficult to navigate. I'd rate it as a good value for the money. If it were still selling for $500 - not so much.
I decided to return it and buy a Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 ($1,000). I received the unit last night and have been able to give it some critical listening.
What a difference! Having good quality twin onboard DACs delivers much better sound - very clean and full with throaty vocals.
It was a lot more than I was planning to spend but I'm glad I did.
I still need to hook it up to my NAS to play higher quality music but my objective of upgrading my Pandora listening has been met.
nicholas, upgrading your device can only do so much to improve the source material--you're still stuck with 128kb with pandora. i know i sound like a mog fanboy, but mog broadcasts at 320kb, which sounds immeasurably better, and at least on average recordings, almost cd-quality. plus, it has a vastly larger library and the option to download high-quality music files on your mobile, etc.
I got Pandora to sound a lot better with a good DAC but agree with Loomisjohnsom, you should give MOG a try, noticeably better with the 320. I believe they still have a 2 week free trial.
What I like about Pandora is how their algorithm serves up the music. I can listen to a station all day without repeat songs and enjoy nearly everything played. There's not a human DJ on Earth that can do better. I do wish they'd offer a higher bitrate service. I'm paying $36/year now and would gladly pay more for better quality tracks.
I have played some FLAC files through the Stream Magic 6 and realize there is so much more to be heard with better sources.
I'm sure these services will continue to evolve.
Thanks for the input.
Me too. It's why I keep paying for it.
MOG has something similar called MOG Radio. You can select an artist, hit the radio button and a slider pops up. All the way to the left is "that artist only", all the way to the right and it's "similar artists". You can put the slider anywhere in between to weigh it either way.
Sounds good. I played with MOG on my laptop with its crummy speakers until I ran out of free songs. I'll probably sign up for their free trial and check it out but I'd have to hook up my laptop through the Stream Magic because it doesn't have MOG (or Spotify) yet. They say they're working to add Spotify. I'll have to bug them about MOG. I'm also giving Rhapsody (which it supports) a test drive. They stream at 192 kbps.
Nicholas, it looks like your original nad ipod dock doesnt bypass the dac in the ipod. If you get a dock that bypasses the ipod doc, and hook it up to a good external dac and stream mog or spotify premium, you'll be happy imho. I bought pandora one at the same time as spotify premium and hardly ever use pandora one because spotify sounds better (very close to cd's ran through an external dac). You could get an ipod dock, like the one mentined above and get a good external dac, pay for a mog or spotify premium subscription, and you'd get better sound than you have now, again, imho :-)
I have an iPod system that is killer good:
First, get an iPod digital dock - Pure i20
Then add Synchro-Mesh reclocker to reduce jitter
Then add a good DAC like the Metrum Octave or Hex.
Yep - you're right - the NAD dock uses the iPod's DAC.
The Stream Magic 6 can also be used as an external DAC (same circuitry as the DACMagicPlus).
Looks like I'll be eBaying the NAD dock and getting one with a digital out. I've been looking at a couple of options. I'd like one as small as possible. Any recommendations besides the Pure I20?
Thanks to everyone for all the help. I'm getting a quick education.
You're on your way to greater sound.
The Pure i20 is a good rec. It has a digital out if you want to use an external DAC and it has analog outs where it uses its own internal DAC which should certainly be better than the one in the iPod. All that for around 100. Never used that specific one but have heard good things about it.
I have 2 docks that I use. One is a Cambridge iD100, which is a Dock only and therefore have to use an external DAC (300). The other is an Arcam drDock which does what the i20 does but costs more. I don't know if its internal DAC is any better than the i20 and it's around 300 also.
I use a wadia 170i. I paid $100 for mine without a remote. The drawback of the wadia is it is picky about what gen ipod or iphone actually works. I think gen 3 ipod touch will work; gen 2 ipod touch is too old to download ios 5 or higher, which is what you need in order to run spotify premium. You might have problems syncing a 4th gen ipod touch to the wadia. I use a 4g iphone and have no issues.
The models you have are two that I am looking at. Both are about $300 now.
Is there anything to recommend them over the much less expensive Pure i20?
Never used an i20 so can't say first handed anything about it.
Speculation...."maybe" the drDock has a better on board DAC. It has a sturdy base that I sometimes use my iPad on.
On the Cambridge, remember you "have" to buy a DAC. It does not have one onboard like the i20 and Arcam does.
Sweet deal on the Wadia! A used one just sold on eBay for over $400. The Wadia is too wide for where I want to put my dock but it is highly regarded.
I didn't realize the 2nd generation iPod touch wouldn't run Spotify premium. That's what I was planning to use. I guess I'll be selling that one and picking up a newer model.
I wish Cambridge Audio would hurry up and license Spotify. I wrote them and they say they're still working on it. They have no immediate plans for MOG as its not offered in Europe.
I forgot to mention: I ordered the Cambridge Audio ID100 and hope to have it by the weekend. Will report back after I've tried it out.
That id 100 should work well! I'm not 100% sure about the ipod gen 2 not working; it's all dependent on what ios you are running. See if you can download the current ios. Also the id100 may not be as finiky as the wadia; hopefully not. I'll try to help you work through it if it is :-)
Also, if you are in the market for a dac let me know. I've got a musical fidelity v dacii that is being repaired under factory warranty and should be getting it back any day now. It has the upgraded pangea p100 power supply also. I'd make ya a good deal on it if you're interested.
iD100 = good call. Which type of cable are you going to use?
I have a decent S/PDIF cable that I'll try. I can also use a Toslink.
Turns out the Spotify app for IOS 4 does support premium (extreme) streaming so my iPod is good for now. I can't install MOG on it though.
The highest IOS the gen2 will accept is 4.2.1 so the Spotify app for IOS 4 works, its just not as cool as the newer app. MOG needs IOS 4.3 or higher and pulled the old app. The 3rd generation iPod touch supports up to 5.1.1. You need the 4th or 5th generation for the latest IOS.
I can still get a pretty god price for my old iPod so I can upgrade pretty cheaply. In the meantime, I can use my phone or one of my kid's iPods to try things out.
I'm set on the DAC, thanks.
I thought for spotify premium you had to run ios 5 or higher, could be wrong or it could be regular spotify is ios 4, spotify premium ios 5.
You'll have to let us know what you think of the sound once you get it all hooked up :-)
Actually, its the other way around. You have to have a premium account to use the Spotify app for IOS 4.
Hooked it up last night and it sounds great.
I'm going to do some A/B comparisons against 320 kbps mp3 from my CD rips and also against FLACs.
? So regular spotify you need ios 5 and spotify premium you need ios 4? I'm confused.
There is no ad supported Spotify on the app for IOS 4. You can play use either on the newer app which is supported in IOS 5 or 6.
Lovin' my improved system. Thanks to all who contributed.
If I upgrade to Pandora One ($36 per year) will my Oppo 105 Blu-Ray player stream music at 192k as provided by Pandora One (service upgrade option)? It makes no sense to upgrade if the Oppo 105 will not handle 192k streaming.
Pandora reports that 192k streaming is not available on Blu-Ray players like the OPPO 105. From Pandora, the specs regarding audio quality on Pandora are:
Free Pandora is 64k AAC+ on the web.
Pandora One subscribers get the option of 192k MP3 on the Web and when using the AIR Desktop App.
Most Home-listening devices get 128k MP3 whether the account is free or paid.
Cell phones get anywhere from 24k to 64k in mono or stereo, depending on the phone, carrier, connection type, and in some cases the user setting.
The primary benefit of upgrading to Pandora One is no commercials. As of now, most in-home devices, including the OPPO 105, stream audio at 128 kbps whether or not your account is upgraded or not. The primary feature of upgrading your account is to remove all ads from your playlists.
A copy of the Product enhancement Request Email I sent to Pandora regarding Pandora One offering 192k Streaming on Blu-Ray players and other in-home devices. If you are interested in having Pandora One offer 192k streaming, please go to their web page and submit a request.
I am an audiophile and music quality is very important to me. Pandora One subscribers get the option of 192k MP3 on the Web and when using the AIR Desktop App BUT these people are NOT listing to Pandora One on a high quality audio system where 192k MP3 would sound much better than the lower speeds.
From a business and revenue viewpoint, "It seems strange to have the BEST bit-rate available on the web as most people are listening to that through comparatively low fidelity systems". It is my opinion that if Pandora One offered the 192k on these various in-home devices and Blu-Ray players, many people would easily pay the $36 per year subscription fee that would help grow your revenue stream. I would pay the $36 the minute the service is available.
I would like to submit an "product enhancement request" for Pandora One to offer 192k bit-rate streaming for Blu-Ray players like my Oppo Digital 105. Of course, I do not know the cost to make these software changes but I strongly feel that Pandora would get increased subscribers by providing this product enhancement.
You mentioned that the primary benefit of upgrading to Pandora One is no commercials. For me, I would rather pay the $36 for the higher quality bti-rate for a better sounding experience.
Audiogon is a an audiophile web site and there are several postings regarding Pandora One on Home Audio Systems.
Based on my research to date, many audiophiles would be very interested in Pandora One if it offered 192k Streaming on Blu-Ray players and other similar in-home devices.
I am hoping that Pandora Product Development can review and consider my enhancement request.