How To Setup Network/PC Streaming to Home Audio

Thanks davidl, I have thought a little bit about a NAS. The little bit of research I did was that iTunes didn’t perform well in a NAS environment (I could be wrong however). I will look further into it as an additional option.

Scott

To clarify a little. I store all the iTunes files (in the iTunes folder) on the NAS ( mine is Synology) and edit the meta data using iTunes but point the player (Minimserver) to the iTunes media folder on the NAS to pick up the music to play: there is no iTunes involvement in playing the music from the NAS.

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@sjf99 welcome to digital audio streaming! As you might be aware already, it might make sense to rethink your media management strategy. Because of its limitations, iTunes is not the best choice, if audio quality is your main target. There are plenty of software options available. @Paul already mentioned Audirvana and as you can read in the comments of your post, Roon seems to be very popular as well in this community.

I personally do use Roon, because it is an independent software solution that works with a broad range of audio equipment. One of my main reasons to use Roon is, that it supports the two most popular high-res audio streaming services (Tidal & Qobuz) and works seamless with local audio files as well (including NAS support). So a perfect solution for your large library. And the library management is a real stronghold of Roon. Migration from your existing iTunes library to Roon should be straight forward (@pbphoto already explained this).

In terms of hardware, there are plenty of ways to go. As this is a PS Audio forum, you should have a look at the PS Audio DirectStream DAC, if it fits into your budget :slight_smile:. This device is superb from a sound quality perspective and also comes with an optional network bridge (Bridge II) that can be used as a Roon endpoint.

Of course, there a plenty of alternative solutions. I think in general, you have the choice of selecting:

  1. DAC with integrated network capabilities (similar to the PS Audio DirectStream)

  2. External bridge that connects to the DAC

If you go for option 2, there are USB bridges like the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 or network bridges like the Sonore Rendu series or the SOtm sMS-200ultra.

Your idea of using an allo digione player to a schiit modi 3 DAC is not a bad starting point. However, I would definitely rethink your AMP option. Under all circumstances, avoid using a Receiver. Go for stereo equipment that is made for one purpose only: Music. There is great equipment out there, even if you are on a very limited budget (for example on PS Audio: Sprout100 as combined DAC/AMP). But please, don’t use a Receiver. Just don’t.

Have fun!
Cheers,
Alex

Absolutely - I’ve used both:
PS Audio DS DAC with bridge 2 and the original Sonore Rendu ethernet-to-SPDIF converter. Excellent sound quality in both instances.

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On a side note, does anyone use or find Cat 8 cables to have any advantage in SQ?

Thank you for the detailed information and things to think about. Much appreciated. Question. With Roon. It does have the ability to play iTunes playlist / access iTunes library (at least I think). By Accessing the music this way will Roon process it thru it’s player, or simply act as a type of pass thru. Curious. Does that make sense?

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I am not 100% sure, because I never used iTunes. But the way that Roon operates, is to be the central media management and player software. To my understanding, Roon can access an existing iTunes library (including playlists) and will make its own index of the music. The library management of Roon is really powerful. So you should then get rich information of your existing music inside of Roon. Roon will access the music files directly and use its own software to play the music.

Please see the documentation about importing iTunes here:
Roon Knowledge Base - iTunes

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Hey pbphoto do you know if to configure/connect the Airport Express to the existing network for initial setup if you have to “hard wire ethernet” to the existing home router or can it be wifi enabled from the Airport Express to the router? Thanks.

Scott

If you buy a used AE, there is a reset-to-factory default button. From there, you use the Apple Airport Utility app to configured the AE. Yes, initial setup requires a hard ethernet connection.

Sorry for my poorly- worded question pbphoto, in terms of after initial setup. Can the device just be part of the wifi network and not be hard-wired ethernet connection? It wasn’t clear to me in my initial research. I assume that it can be simply wifi enabled long-term? Thanks.

Scott

Yes, it is a wifi device after the initial setup.

Thanks. I really like this as an initial foray into the steaming world (planned pairing initially with a schiit modi 3 with the airport express). I think a good way to get my feet wet and evolve out from there. Thanks for the initial tip. :slight_smile:

There are several generations of AE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AirPort_Express

I currently use the original ancient first generation “G” model to stream to my Schiit Bifrost 4490 - sounds great. I also have the first generation “N” model for its ethernet-bridge (wifi access point) capabilities - my DSjr is connected to its ethernet port.

I recommend either the first generation N or the 2nd generation models because of their ethernet-bridge capabilities and you can update them with the latest Airport Utility app.

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Yes, I picked up the 2nd Gen AE and should be good to go to setup.

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The Bit Perfect utilizing a headless Mac Mini is spot on advice. It can get you up and running while still using iTunes. Once you decide if streaming is a valid sonic option for you other means can be pursued. Paul used to have a FAQ laying out how to do this. It is pretty straight forward. Good luck.

Thank you for the response. This appears to be an interesting option too. When you say headless Mac mini I’m assuming you just mean without monitor and keyboard? And also I’ll see if I can find the FAQ on how to do the setup. It’s all pretty new to me.

Scott

What’s up Scott, listening music already…? Check out the playlists at For Qobuz users

@sjf99 I am a big fan of Roon because I am technology challenged. I don’t think Roon can play your apple playlists but I believe there are a variety of services that can translate your playlists to Roons system. Roon has a member forum that can possibly answer your questions better than here. Good luck on your journey to streaming.

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Clearly he doesn’t want Roon, I pissed him of suggesting it Apr 21…

Thanks minnesotafats, appreciate the help.