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How much you looking to spend, do you have an ethernet port close or is this going to be wifi? You could hook your laptop to your Wadia DAC by USB and try some free internet radio stations to get an idea but it will be low resolution files. If you decide to buy into a subscription service like Quboz or Tidal it's easier to use a dedicated streamer like the Node2i mentioned above but a tablet or smartphone is the preferred way to control though a laptop can be used.
You have good kit , fully able to do justice to hi-res files, so what you need is a good "streamer", i.e. a device that can connect to internet services such as TIdal, Qobuz, etc, or bridge with Roon (which is a user-firendly software that brings together all the digital content you have, like a "source").There are many such streamers around, the best costing upwards of 6k. As djones mentioned above, you would need to budget it, but any audiophile streamer will sound better than your laptop.
@rsa - having been in your position several years ago I have tried several different "streaming solutions"...
1. Apple TV
2. Computer via usb into my DAC
3. Computer into a USB-SPDIF convertor into my DAC
4. Bluesound Node 2
1-3 presented many unique challenges that took me a lot of effort to investigate and implement in order to get better quality music
Any solution that requires the use of USB cables can have a number of issues that require attention
- the main one being the USB cable itself
- the chipset on board the DAC may not be the best
- the chipset on the DAC may use computer supplied power - which can contain distortion due to hard disk use
Also, To solve other issues associated with the USB interface may require the use of the USB-SPDIF convertor to improve sound quality
So after trying #1 through #3I arrived at solution #4 - the Bluesound Node 2
- out of the box, sound quality is exceptional regardless of the digital sampling used
- it streams via your LAN - Ethernet or Wifi - so no USB power or USB cable related problems
- it has interfaces to most of the popular streaming services
- it has a very good and intuitive and easey to use interface for most platforms
- it is able to stream digital files from NAS drives, USB sticks and Bluetooth devices
- it is easy to setup
- technical support is very good - ir required, one phone call normally gets you up and running if you experience problems and they know about issues not really in their "domain" - e.g. I got help with my specific router
- upgrades are easy to install and I have never experienced any problems with them
You can also opt for the Node 2 Vault, which provides the ability to play and RIP CD’s to an internal hard drive.
Treat the Node 2 to some great cables and the sound quality will surprise you even more.
I was so taken with the ease and quality of the Bluesound products that I now also have the PowerNode 2 for my TV and the Bluesound Pulse Mini speaker for music outside.
It took me a long while to arrive at this solution, so I thought I would provide the details so you could skip a few issues related to Computer streaming.
One last piece of info - the Node 2 has an isolated power supply
- i.e. it has a two pin plug.
- this can cause a little hum on some amps e.g. in my case both Naim and Bryston
SOLUTION: a simple ground wire...
- solder one end of a piece of wire to the neutral side of an RCA plug and attach the other end to the ground pin of a mains plug
- insert the mains plug into any outlet
- insert the RCA plug into any unused RCA socket on your amp or the Node 2 itself
This is ONLY required if a hum occurs.
- e.g. If you have a source component that is grounded with a three pin plug - then this solution may not be required.
- I now have a grounded Phono stage, so there is no need for the ground wire
If you have any other questions just ask
Hope that helps - Steve
@mapman - that’s the start - sounds easy enough
- it’s the "go from there" part that I am talking about.
A pretty effective USB cable is this one from Ebay
But if you want better sound from a USB solution, then you can get into...
What’s the best software for my computer
- will it provide an intuitive and flexible interface?
- at what cost?
- will new OS releases support my software or is there an upgrade charge?
- then there is the threat of computer virus infections and/or system crashes
- what if I change to a computer with a different OS?
You’ll read about how much better a USB-SPDIF interface is
- which one is a good one?
- what’s a good SPDIF cable for this option?
- what’s a good power supply for the USB-SPDIF interface?
Then you might want to stream high definition 24/192 sample rates - hopefully your choices of gear support this resolution?
etc... etc...the list goes on
These were all the little "issues" I personally thought about and chased down from the many forum postings here on Agon, just to see how good I could get the sound.
So - does the OP really only want to "stream music" or do they want a great "streaming option" that will grow over time?
- I guess that’s the question only the OP can answer :-)
My Bluesound Node 2 provides vastly superior sound to my computer streaming into my Schiit Bifrost DAC via a USB cable.
- I don’t have to think about USB or SPDIF cables
- I don’t have to think about compatibility with the next OS release
- Ripping CD’s is a simple task
- I have the major streaming services built into the Node 2 interface
So for me it’s all about ease of implementation and use...
- easy to use with an adaptable interface
- crash-proof implementation
- immune to computer OS upgrade issues
- multi "platform" support - Windows/apple/android ++++
- great technical support
If the OP wants to store digital content from Ripped CD's or downloads - I use a NAS drive with mirrored drives
- if one disk dies you simply replace it with a new disk
- the software on the NAS drive replicates the data on the good disk onto the newly installed disk automatically
- simple and eficient
I’ve had my Node2 in the system for around 4 years and in that time it has not crashed and I only had to call support once - it was NOT a Node 2 issue - they actually debugged my router for me
If you just wanna stream music from the web regardless of quality - then just buy a USB cable and - BE HAPPY :-)
If you want to atream great sounding music for a relatively small outlay (i.e. compared to some people’s rigs) that will grow over time, is easy to use and immune to OS upgrades
- Get a Bluesound Node 2 or Sonos or another similar streaming device that works off of Ethernet or Wifi
Regards - Steve