Going gapless -- Streamer for use with PWD?


#1

I love the sound quality of my PWD MkII plus Bridge. It really is a world-class DAC. But I’ve had it with lack of gapless, along with the longer-than-normal gaps between tracks that I often get on regular (non-gapless) tracks. (Yes, I know about the pending arrival of WaveStream, but that requires a computer; I run a Synology NAS with MinimServer, no computer in the room – and I don’t want one.)



So I can buy an external streamer, such as the Sonore Rendu or Simaudio Moon Mind. The Sonore looks intriguing because it could use the i2s inputs on the PWD for potentially lower jitter – but it requires an Android controller, and I use an iPad. And, of course, adding another box, another power supply and another cable doesn’t necessarily do anything for SQ. So I would really appreciate hearing from any PWD users who have used an external streamer that works well and is on a par with the PDW SQ.



Thanks - David


#2

Hi,

Just be patient a little longer. WaveStream is in Alpha and it solves all the Gapless problems.

It will be free for PWD II and Bridge owners.

Steven B-)


#3

@Steven: thank you for the reply. Please correct me if I’m wrong about WaveStream not being a solution for those of us who use a NAS not a computer (see first paragraph of my post) – I thought this was pretty clear, since we hear about Windows and Mac versions.



David



#4

Hi,

Sorry I don’t believe WaveStream will work with a NAS.

Steven


#5

Hi Magister,

I know I am not answering your question, but maybe you can reconsider use of a computer. You can have a small notebook in another room, even in a cupboard and all you do when you want to play music is open the lid and the JRiver is already there running. I originally wanted to go the NAS route but a notebook configuration is not too bad, as I have a notebook anyway in the house.


#6

Hi Darek,



Thanks for the thoughts. My setup (Synology NAS with MinimServer, eLyric controller on iPad, PWD MkII with Bridge) is working well and sounds excellent except for the gapless issue. Adding a computer seems to add unnecessary complexity, both in physical terms (where to put it, more cables, more plugs) and in potential SQ issues. So I’d rather not, but I may break down at some point. We’ll see. But I’ve worked hard to bring my NAS setup to the level it’s at now, and am not eager to give up on it. Looks like I have to spend money no matter what (buy a Sonore Rendu or Moon Mind, buy a computer, buy a new DAC . . . ) or just live without gapless for the foreseeable future.



David


#7

could we imagine a Brigde2.0 that could solve this Gapless problem.


#8

You could try this one

http://www.weiss-highend.ch/man301/


#9

Thanks, Gordon, but the only way I could try that one would be if I won the lottery. Just to keep any future suggestions in the realm of reality, I should say that my budget is about half the cost of a Weiss.



David


#10

Well, it goes to show that there are always solutions BUT, at what cost?



“Value” means different things to different people.

With PWD we have great $ value for the SQ but at the reasonable cost of " learning " a few ticks for the set up and perhaps, for now, a computer in the loop.

I think that there are enough people looking at this whole “Streaming” issue that either someone will get it right OR come up with a whole new concept.

I’m working on that new concept now. Hey… Ya never know. :-/


#11
Gordon said: I think that there are enough people looking at this whole "Streaming" issue that either someone will get it right


Indeed, I think this is already happening. I've found several potential candidates to replace my PWD. I haven't heard them yet, so I can't say that they equal the PWD's sound quality, which is a very high bar, and many of them are new to the market, so there aren't a lot of reviews or people on forums who can share their experiences. Just to give one example: prior to buying my PWD, I owned a Marantz NA7004 network player. It worked without any glitches (firmware upgraded easily, for instance) and the SQ was maybe 85-90% of the PWD; certainly not bad. Marantz has a new reference-level player out now, the NA11S1. If it works as advertised (supports gapless, plays DSD) and has very good if not world-class SQ, it would be a very attractive machine. I hope PSA is working on a PWD MkIII and a Bridge MkII in order to keep up with all the competition that's now out there.

David

#12

Gordon -

Actually this "streaming issue" -- I assume you mean gapless -- is primarily a PS Audio issue and this subject has been batted around for years on these forums since the Bridge was first introduced.

Companies, such as Linn, have had gapless on their streamers for years.  Heck, the Cowan portable that I owned at the time played gapless when the Bridge came out.  

So I was surprised, and disappointed, when, after owning the PWD v1 for months, I installed the Bridge and found out that it didn't play gapless.   I got tired of the promises of having a gapless solution from PS Audio and moved on. I've been living with a Linn DS for a few years and couldn't be happier.

So now there's Wave Stream, huh? Sounds like the latest PS Audio "solution" is no more than another try at a band-aid, just like the Silent Server (or whatever it was called) that they were working on.  they've been promising a software solution for years, when the root cause is the lack of "horsepower" in the Bridge.

Based upon past history, even if it is in Alpha testing, I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for it.

Magister -

Like I said above, despite good intentions, PS Audio's track record for solving the gapless issue isn't very good and if you can't live without gapless anymore, you're smart not to wait and should move on.

The new Marantz looks interesting...and it retails for $3500...a pretty good price. I think I'd go that route if you can't live with not having gapless anymore. Looks like Mikey likes it...

http://www.analogplanet.com/how-is-ted-coding-the-fpgaent/marantz-launches-na-11s1-reference-class-network-audio-player-and-usb-dac

#13

@chrisg1

Hi

Actually the idea for the WaveStream was inspired by Linn with their Songcast VSC that they struggled with for a very long time.

I have many friends using Linn and most are very happy.

That is except when they visit me and admit [ even with direct comparison] there just seems to be a bit more “soul” with the PWD and the WS VSC appears to be even improving this.

I certainly understand the preference for easier PNP equipment and Linn is a very fine choice.

G


#14

@magister - Like you, I have a synology NAS with Minim. The SQ is excellent with this set up. The gapless issue and lack of a robust controller is annoying, however. I don’t want a computer in the room either but having installed the JRiver set up and being one of the testers of WaveStream I would recommend you hang on a bit longer for three reasons. First, the JRMC and JRemote is an excellent, stable interface. Second, gapless works! Third, the SQ with JRMC and WaveStream is in my system far better than the NAS/Minim setup, and the EMM/Elyric is a distant third.


#15

This is a fascinating discussion; thank you, guys! Chrisg has clearly articulated the reasons for moving on. Then Gordon and David tell us that WaveStream even improves the SQ of the PWD, which is not something I would have expected. I’m particularly intrigued by David’s comments since he started with a setup similar to mine. David, could you tell us how you changed your setup to test WaveStream? I have a low-end laptop with Win7, a couple of years old, that I would use to test WaveStream. If you have a computer specially designed for audio, such as a CAPS server, that might contribute to the good results you’re getting.



I’ve worked hard to tweak my NAS setup (super-careful tagging, for instance) and the idea of introducing another machine and a complex piece of software like JRiver doesn’t appeal to me. I do accept people’s word that JRiver is good . . . just seems unnecessary (I am OK with eLyric controller despite its occasional erratic behavior). But improved SQ is a Siren’s song for me, as for many of us.



I’m busy the next three weeks, then I have vacation in July. If WaveStream hasn’t made it out of Alpha testing by then, I will use my time to listen to alternatives. That seems like a fair compromise.



(the other) David, aka Magister


#16

Hiya David - I use a Lenovo X300 laptop on which I installed Win8 because it came with Vista (aka fistula). The laptop is perhaps 4, maybe 5 years old. I think it is a Pentium II. So nothing special, and definitely not a machine dedicated to, or tricked out for audio. In the interests of always wanting to be able to reset it to wipe out changes that don’t work out in the audio realm, I keep it all quite basic - I don’t spend a lot of time hunting and killing a bunch of processes. All I do is make sure a bunch of programs don’t auto-launch. I mapped the NAS as a network drive and the laptop is wire-connected to an Airport Extreme router, as is the NAS and the PWD.



Like you I resisted the idea of keeping the laptop in the system. Its fan runs and I can hear it, it is ugly compared to the rest of the rig, reminds me of work not play, etc. And I doubted that having an extra piece of gear in the chain was a good idea. Afterall, PS Audio preaches simplicity. But sonically it is a leap forward, and the benefits of the very good JRemote on the ipad make me inclined to keep it in the system. It is stable and sounds fantastic.



The Bridge is NOT the product I thought I was buying, so yes I’ve had a bit of buyer’s remorse. It never really worked properly, by which I mean being unable to do gapless out of the box just isn’t an option or benefit, it is a required feature of any networked audio device, let alone an expensive one. On the other hand, in the PWDMKII version the Bridge is essential listening as my preferred input, and the potential to have a better server and controller in JRiver with better SQ is positive. I still think all of this ought to have been possible to run off a NAS, and hope this will be under consideration once WaveStream is completed.


#17

@dcastle Thanks for the details; my setup is similar to your (wired network, Airport Extreme). So I should be able to hear the improved SQ with my old laptop. It sounds like it really is worth giving WaveStream a chance. My curiosity is tweaked because the whole thing seems counter-intuitive (more complex is not usually better). But I won’t wait forever . . .



David


#18

WaveStream will work with a NAS as long as the NAS is used for storage in conjunction with a computer. WaveStream depends on a computer to work and it’s unlikely we’ll be able to make a version that runs only on a NAS.


#19

OK, let me summarize the available solutions:



1. PWD, but you will have to choose between gapless or NAS, when (when?) WaveStream is ready



2. Go for another product (Linn, Marantz, Weiss, Lumin, etc)



With 2 you definitely have more choices. With 1: more headache, (already) less capabilities, but very good price/sound quality ratio.


#20

I’ve been off the forums for a bit since my system has stablized and WaveStream is a new development for me. So I need a little clarity about the interface as it relates to a NAS and computer so please fill me in on the details because I may not understand how it is applied.



Will WaveStream function like eLyric? In other words, be installed on a computer that communicates with a storage device, like internal/external hard drive or NAS, then stream to the bridge via internet and controlled by a remote app? Or is it completely different functionally?