You can simply add a streaming device and I don't understand you saying your dac has no digital inputs? A quick google shows it has 5 inputs you can certainly run an spdif rca cable or toslink from most streaming devices right to your Classe Dac. I did this and ripped my cd's to an external NAS which I stream from wirelessly.
Read the 2part Sonore microRendu review on computeraudiophile site before you do anything. I agree with @jond that ripping your CDs, storing them on a NAS(e.g. Synology or QNAP) and streaming to your DAC is the way to go. Don't let any unfamiliar terminology deter you. It's not that hard!!! It's so much better sounding than most PC or Mac based solutions. Cheers,
@donjr If you are asking me I have an Auralic Aries Mini which streams wirelessly from my NAS drive and also streams Tidal. Its connected to my dac with an spdif rca cable. I control it using their remote app Lightning DS on my ipad mini. Very simple and satisfying setup for me and it wasn't expensive in terms of high end audio.
Thanks for your patience guys. I have not ripped any cd's yet, nor am I streaming any audio other than Pandora-through my Sonos.
So, Ok, listen. I am an old guy. I have a splendid old guy system with digital in the form of CD's played via my described PS Audio Lambda transport & Classe DAC. Because I enjoy Pandora, I now want to stream cd quality audio via Tidal (because I understand its the only service with hi fi quality sound). I also want to store my CD's digitally and play them. My question is, what are the best devices and means to accomplish this goal?
Thanks to jond,donjr& sbank for your patience with my doddering attempts to communicate my questions!
As Dave said, you can stream Tidal from a computer. Also playback CDs as uncompressed files. 300 CDs would take about 150 GBs hard drive space. Do you have a computer and if so what make? I use a MAC mini in my main system and also a Macbook pro for my secondary systems. With a computer using USB you would only need to get a USB to SPDIF converter for your DAC.
@michaeljbrown Just like Pandora, you can stream Tidal through your Sonos. Just follow the instructions here.
1) For those who haven’t purchased a streamer yet, the process is simple. Just like with a one-box CD player, you can buy a $500 version or a $5000 version - or something in-between. With a two-box version, you can purchase a CD transport and a DAC, The advantage of the one-box version is that it’s simple and takes up less shelf space. The advantage of the two-box version is that you can replace or upgrade either box for better sound quality in the future. The downside of the two-box version is that it takes up more shelf space and an expensive digital cable is needed between them. Using quality power cords and vibration control would add to the cost for each box. Streaming is the exact same. To start, it would be a good idea to determine a price point for getting in the game. Better cables and power supplies can be bought at the start - or later in the game.
2) Producing the best sound quality is what escalates the cost. Digital jitter is a big issue with streaming as it with CD playback. The more expensive units have better jitter control. Laptops are most commonly used as the source for streaming. Unfortunately, laptops produce the most jitter via their noisy operating system (OS). Without qood quality jitter control, the sound quality would be like listening though an old AM car radio. You would immediately dismiss the SQ as unacceptable for a hi-fi rig. But, with good streamer, USB cable, power cable and power supply, the sound quality can almost compete with your analog rig.
3) There are several types of streamers. One size does not fit all. Which is best depends on what components you already have and how much you wish to spend. Also, will you be using the streamer for background music in your office - or will it be used for critical listening in your big rig.
4) For streaming Tidal HiFi, (CD quality), your internet connection should be fairly fast - somewhere around 15mbps or faster. 50-100mbps would be much better if other family members in the household are watching cable TV, Netflix or using another computer while you’re listening to Tidal. The router from the ISP must be able capable of delivering those higher speeds or the digital stream will have serious drop-outs.
Hope this helps a little bit.
Hope you get a good response because I'm also looking for a good streamer for Tidal and want to keep the PC or Mac out of the listening room. I am thinking of an Auralic since I don't really need a DAC and will use my Modwright/Marantz player as the DAC source. Worst case is I would need a DAC/Steamer.
There is a huge variety of streamers, just like there is a huge variety of turntables, CD players and DAC’s. Some streamers simply function as a bridge between the source and the DAC. Some streamers function as both the source and the bridge to the DAC. Some streamers function as all three - the source, the bridge and the DAC. The last version probably has a digital-out to bypass the internal dac which allows connecting to an external DAC - just like a good CD player.
Some older streamers simply transmit a Redbook 16bit/44.1kHz signal - aka, PCM. Newer ones provide PCM and then up-scaling to 48kHz, 96kHz or 192kHz. Some streamers have a built-in Tidal app, some don’t. Additional features might include decoding for DSD and MQA. The DAC would need to be capable of processing DSD or MQA in order to benefit from a streamer with these features. Some audiophiles are very satisfied with the simplest 16/44.1 signal. Others want the latest and greatest offerings. YMMV
When a streamer gets more expensive, you’re paying for the many features that it has to offer. But, you’re also paying for better quality parts - better chips, better clocks, better power supply, better jitter control circuitry, etc. Jitter control and the power supply are huge factors in producing good sound quality. That’s why some streamers are much bigger than others. Some streamers even have a separate box with an umbilical cord for the power supply. This is a similar approach to a two-box preamp.
One of the main considerations for a streamer is whether it be hard-wired vs WiFi vs Bluetooth. The source of the music needs to connect to your rig either with a cable or wireless. WiFi is the most common and convenient. There is no quality loss - assuming you have good mbps speeds from your ISP and router. Some streamers have built-in WiFi and/or Bluetooth reception. If a laptop is being used as a source, then it probably has a WiFi built-in and there’s no need to buy a streamer with WiFi reception. The advantage of a streamer over a laptop is that it doesn’t have a noisy operating system (OS) that adds a lot of jitter. It helps to diagram a flow chart of how the signal goes from the router to the streamer to the DAC.
Streaming ripped CD files on a harddrive - in addition to streaming Tidal or Pandora is another consideration. That adds another level of complexity - which won’t be covered here. There’s plenty of info in the Audigon archives. After subscribing to Tidal, I haven’t purchased a CD in over a year. Tidal has over 40 million tracks and counting - all CD quality.
The following is just 5 brands of streamers. Other Audiogoners can offer more suggestions.
In addition to the above, another consideration is a remote control. When sitting at your listening chair, how do you peruse a menu of music selections? Tidal allows you to find new artists, new music very easily. Yet, the Tidal menu page needs to be displayed on a screen by your chair. Each streamer does that differently. Some have smart phone or tablet apps, some don’t. Just more stuff to figure out when buying a streamer.
My streaming is a simple 16/44.1 - just like my CD transport/dac combo. My streamer is the ’bridge’ variety. Streaming is done via a dedicated Windows laptop as the source - hardwired to a streamer via a USB cable - which connects to the DAC via S/Pdif cable. The laptop, streamer and DAC sit on the equipment rack with the rest of the gear. By my listening chair, I use a Windows Surface RT tablet to control the laptop via the built-in Windows Remote Desktop App. It works great! It remotely controls everything - without ever getting up.
If I were to start all over again, I’d probably purchase one of the 5 brands above for the simplicity of a one-box solution. But, it would be much more expensive to achieve the same sound quality that I have.