Which Streaming Solutions to Use with Direct Stream?


#1

First, I apologize if this has been posted previously. If so, please point me to said thread (thanks in advance).

I’m late to the party, but I am now seriously considering the purchase of a new Direct Stream. I want to stream directly to the Direct Stream via a server and my hard drive (I’m currently running JRiver on a Netbook, streaming to the ‘Bridge/PWDII’ and controlling with JRemote via an iPad). I will want to stream PCM from 16/44.1, all the way up to 24/192, as well as DSD files. What are the best alternatives to the Bridge (no offense to the Bridge!)…? What are some of the setups that ‘you guys’ are using? Sound quality is my primary objective second only to budget!!!

Appreciated…beer_gif


#2

Hey Ben,

The Auralic Aries works well but I think the upcoming Bridge 2 sounds better. With a trade-in for your original Bridge (no details announced but Paul has said there will be one) B2 is probably the best bang for the buck. The Aries does things the Bridge doesn’t, like double rate DSD and being able to play from a USB drive attached directly to the Aries. It also has a Tidal app (haven’t used it myself).


#3

Thanks Steve.

I will trade my PWDII/Bridge in at my local dealer for a new Direct Stream, so I won’t have the original Bridge for trade.

I was hoping to learn of some streaming options that aren’t so pricey since the new DS, even with trade-in, will pretty much shoot my budget…Oh so close only to encounter another hurtle! Besides, I will want to stream music right away…who knows when Bridge2 will be available??


#4

If you’re looking to do it on the cheap consider these DIY options from computer audiophile.com

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/how-is-ted-coding-the-fpgaent/638-geek-speak-raspberry-pi-hifi-here/

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/how-is-ted-coding-the-fpgaent/625-geek-speak-how-build-upnp-dlna-openhome-renderer-less-100/

I assembled a couple of the BeagleBone Black units. They work well (ethernet to USB to DAC; the raspberry pi can do wireless). And under $100. Up to 192/24 and DSD64 work fine. They are dead easy to build. You can get complete kits on Amazon as well as the sources CA lists. The hardest part is copying the image file to the micro SD card (a snap with Windows and the free app they link; more complicated on a Mac but that worked too).


#5

I use an Auralic Aries… double rate dsd (which bridge doesn’t support) and excellent Tidal support. Gapless playback works flawless from all sources. Tidal alone makes the Aries worthwhile… Sound quality from Tidal over Aries + DirectStream is almost undistinguishable from ripped CD’s served over Jriver 20. This setup will incrementally benefit from upgrades to power cables, USB cables, and network cables. Having millions of tracks available at 44/16 on Tidal is remarkable.


#6

My server/streamer is an Antipodes DX. When I was looking for a server last year I considered a few and choose the DX because of what I considered to be its superior SQ especially compared to others including the Auralic Aries. When the Aries was released it was a no for me as there was no Android App at the time. I do not know what the situation is now. I still listened to the Aries and was not impressed compared the DX. I had a bit of a gulp swallowing the price of the DX but I got over it.

The DX does what the posts above say about 2x DSD, acting as a bridge and Tidal etc. It has two USB only outs. One is powered and one is not. The DS works with both. It is wired network connected instead of wireless. It is an all metal case. It rips CDs to internal SSDs. This is considered to be superior for playback. As well it can play back from either USB drives or a NAS. These can be “mounted” on the DX. This means the DX sees the files on the USB drive or NAS as if they are in the DX. The individual files on my DX and NAS are interfiled into one file that I see on my tablet. I find it virtually impossible to tell the difference between the play back of a file on the DX vs a mounted one on the NAS. It is also easy to setup and operate

I have yet to compare playback from the DX mounted NAS file vs one from the NAS over the network into the DS bridge. I suspect that there may be a difference in favour of the mounted file. What will be more interesting is whether there is a difference with Bridge II. It may be in my case that Bridge II when it comes is superfluous for play back.

If quality is a priority I suggest that the DX is worth a definite listen whilst being more expensive that some other products. It proves the rule that what you pay for is what you get. The support from Antipodes over the internet is exemplary. I know I have something that is very very special connected to my DS.

John


#7

http://www.digitalaudioreview.net/2015/05/antipodes-audio-dx-music-server-review/

I can only completely agree with John Darko’s “review”.


#8
stevem2 said

If you’re looking to do it on the cheap consider these DIY options from computer audiophile.com

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/how-is-ted-coding-the-fpgaent/638-geek-speak-raspberry-pi-hifi-here/

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/how-is-ted-coding-the-fpgaent/625-geek-speak-how-build-upnp-dlna-openhome-renderer-less-100/

I assembled a couple of the BeagleBone Black units. They work well (ethernet to USB to DAC; the raspberry pi can do wireless). And under $100. Up to 192/24 and DSD64 work fine. They are dead easy to build. You can get complete kits on Amazon as well as the sources CA lists. The hardest part is copying the image file to the micro SD card (a snap with Windows and the free app they link; more complicated on a Mac but that worked too).

Steve:

From a cost standpoint this looks like a ‘no-brainer’ (and budget is a definite factor for me), but from a sonic standpoint can these options compete with the more expensive ‘audiophile renderer/server’ products?


#9

Ben,

I have tried the BeagleBone with my DS but mostly use it in another system. I did not do head-to-head comparisons to the Bridge 2 beta or my Aries. I don’t think the sound quality is quite as good as the Aries (which doesn’t sound as good to me as a Bridge 2) but it is at least as good as a direct USB connection to my Mac Mini and maybe a little better. In short, the sound quality is quite good and for the money hard to beat but you can get better sound by spending more money (the higher-end Aries is about 20 times as much at $1500; the LE version is $1000 IIRC; I have the $1500 unit and it beat the pants off my Mac Mini). Since you are already using JRMC with a Bridge 1, all you would need to do is connect it and select it as the Player (I didn’t even need to change any JRMC configurations).

One other thought. How much more are you getting for your trade-in by including the Bridge 1 with your PWD? If you are getting the standard PSA trade-in allowance (I don’t know if that deal is still on the table as it’s been quite awhile) I didn’t think it needed to include the Bridge. It may make more sense to keep it and trade it in for a Bridge 2. The Bridge 2 beta process is fairly far along. I don’t have any non-public info on a release date (probably still talking months rather than weeks but that’s just a guess) but it is definitely not vaporware.


#10

I use a Raspberry Pi 2 with PicorePlayer on it, streaming from a Logitech Media Server (7.9 with DSD plugin) on a NAS.

I first tried the USB out and I’m now trying an I2S output (made by Audio-GD, connection was a bit fiddly)

Didn’t cost much and works like a charm.


#11

Guys,

Thank you for your great input. I always loved this forum.

Steve, you are right. My trade through my dealer isn’t impacted by leaving the Bridge in or out. I am therefore going to install the original Bridge with the new Direct Stream. Now I have to search for other answers… seems I read somewhere that a specific version of Bridge firmware is required for compatibility with the DS? Does the original Bridge play DSD files? Are there any special settings required in JRiver for compatibility with the DS?

Thanks again! beer_gif


#12

The DS requires the bridge to be at 0.2.15 for it to work. If not the DS will not see it. No the PWD does not play DSD files.

Dennis


#13

Bridge 1 will play DSD64 (single rate) files once it is in your DS. You need to check a couple boxes in JRMC to permit “bitstreaming” (I’m at work so can’t look at the moment but there are probably instructions in the How To section; as I recall, they’re somewhere in tools/options/media servers/add or configure DLNA and then under “Advanced,” which in some versions appears under “Video” just to hide them from people). As Dennis said, be sure to update your Bridge in your PWD before you pull it out.


#14

Excellent. Thanks. I must assume the ‘Bridge2’ will handle DSD…as well as gapless??


#15

Yes to both (same resolutions as Bridge 1).


#16

I found the whole world of streaming content to the DAC to be too complicated.

All my music is on a Kaleidescape server. It doesn’t get any easier or convenient than connecting the Kaleidescape player directly to the DAC. No software to worry about. No need for a NAS. No bridge or other hardware issues. It just works. Then one day I connected the Kaleidescape player directly to the pre-amp and it sounds just as good as the DS.

I’m flipping between the DS/pre-amp and the player/pre-amp now and they are virtually indistinguishable. Which ultimately means even less complication with no need for the DAC. This is restricted to CD/DVD resolution of course, which is no big deal because CD’s sound just fine. The DSD content I have put through the DAC did not make me want to retire a single CD.


#17

It can be complicated.

There are many dedicated music servers/players which are essentially plug and play: the Auralic, Bryston BDP players, etc.


#18

I decided to go ahead and use the Bridge and I will update to the Bridge2 when it becomes available. I pick up my Direct Stream tomorrow. I’ve been reading such excellent things about it, I hope it sounds as good in my system…I must admit I’m a little excitedhappy-132_gif


#19

admitting your excitement is the first step to recovery…