Your advice/thoughts concerning my digital source

This is going to be somewhat longer – sorry!

A little background: I am in the process of transitioning from a multi-channel to a two-channel system. I’ve already upgraded my speakers and amp to the Magnepan 3.6 and the Belles 350A Ref. My old pre/pro is sufficient for now as a preamp/DAC with its 24/192 Burr-Brown DACs, but which I am planning on replacing with the Wyred4Sound DAC 2, (and going directly to the amp).

I know that the weakest link in my current configuration is my humble little NeoTV, (similar to the Apple TV) but it plays my FLAC files in 24/192 gaplessly! The NeoTV is fed with a 1.5 TB HDD, which all sounds surprisingly good. It served its purpose very well as a video player, but the problem is that I want to keep it as I like being able to control it through my TV, (although the interface isn’t as slick as, say, iTunes). And I know of no other music player that can be remotely controlled from the TV.

Sure, there are several solutions that some close to what I need. Like the Bryston BDP- 2/1 or the Auraliti. Either would be better than the NTV and handle still handle my 24/96, but they require a PC or an iPad/iPhone for control, and I don’t want to go that route if I don’t have to.

So my questions are… 1 If I use the NeoTV straight into the W4S, am I compromising, or under-utilizing the sound quality of my other components too much with such a cheap component? Or do I really need something like that Bryston, (or whatever)? Will the W4S even accept the NTV signal? (I guess I should ask that of W4S).

And…2. If I really do need something like the Bryston for the SQ, would it be feasible to feed the Bryston with the NeoTV, (to still be able to control playback through the TV), or would that wreck the sound quality?

Or… 3. Is it possible to split that USB signal (while keeping 24/96), from the HDD into both the Bryston and the NeoTV?

Any thoughts? Thanks!!

I have Magnepan 3.6 speakers. Bryston 4B-SST²amp and Bryston BP-26 preamp.
I use a Adcom DAC I paid $250 for used, and several CD changers as digital source.
So my sources are cheap.
I tried a Bryston DAcand was seriously under impressed. It was no better than my Adcom. So I returned it.
Instead of a fancy DAC,I bought a used tube preamp (VAC Standard list $4,000 with an additional $1K of factory mods.. I paid $1,400 for it here) to use only as a unusally high quality 'tube buffer' for all my digital sources..
Works for me. And now I am really happy with my digital sources.
The NeoTV will be the weak-link here due to jitter. You can reduce this significantly be reclocking with a Synchro-mesh, but it will not be bit-perfect anymore:

If you want to use USB, you must first find a good USB interface either in the DAC or using a USB converter. Second, you must find a server that supports playback out the USB ports and supports that USB interface. A server that I have had good results with is the Antipodes from New Zealand. Most USB interfaces in DACs can be dissappointing. The best results will be achieved using a USB converter such as the Off-Ramp 5.

Another option is to build your own server. I have had excellent results with the Oct 2009 Mac Mini and putting SSD and more memory inside as well as powering it from an improved power supply such as a Paul Hynes ( If you use Amarra or Pre Music playback software the results will truly be world-class and beat 99% of transports.

It is not possible with most computers to output a music stream to 2 ports, only one.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
Thanks for the feedback!