So, as question states, how do our homemade and very economical streamers compare to commercially produced products?
Like for instance the denon ceol n10, or the Cambridge audio cxn v2, the blue sound etc
Does our gear and setups compare, or are
They a way off?
For instance my setup;
Rasp pi 3b+
SMSL sa30 amp
Would this sort of average setup compete?
they’re on par sonically, if not better in some respects. The HifiBerry DAC2 HD has top end Burr-Brown decoders in it, for example. You might find those in the Cambridge Audio, but if I recall, they’re using older DAC chipsets in those.
Differences are really going to come down to amp and speaker pairings.
After that it’s a question of features, stability, ease of setup. I don’t think your average music lover is going to fiddle around with a Raspberry PI’s ALSA settings, or understand what I2C connections are. The nerdy ones certainly will.
Then you have things like streaming integration with Spotify, Qobuz and Tidal. The big audio companies are going to get preferential treatment when it comes to negotiating with those guys.
If you like it, be happy. If you have infinite money to throw around, go test out a Cambridge Audio and listen for differences.
For years I have been reading about all these standalone DACS/Streamers and how great they are and I always wondered how they compare to my Onkyo TX NR656 mid level receiver. Enter Volumio.
After a techy friend came over to my house and I shared with him High res music via Qobuz through the mConnect interface, he subsequently set me up with a Rasberry Pi/Dac hat combination and got me up and running on Volumio. I subsequently upgraded the power supply to remove the annoying lightning bolt, but more importantly also upgraded the DAC to the Audiophinices 9038 Dac which is reported to be one of the better Rasberry Pi Dacs.
So sound quality. Once I got it all set up and the sound synchronized, I did notice improvements with detail and perhaps even bass as compared to my Onkyo. The more you listen the more new things you hear.
The other improvements I can speak to include the speed of the Pi and moving from song to song is fantastic, the WiFi, songs and album art load immediately. I also really like the Volumio user interface directly from web browser on MacBook although it really should let you sort albums by artist etc. But generally the Volumio interface is easier to navigate than the Qobuz app which is fancy and looks nice but less user friendly.
Note also, there is an article floating around out their that compared the Primo (which has the ESS Sabra DAC 9038 and the reviewer said it was slightly superior to the BlueSound. I suspect The $1,0000 Cambridge DAC referenced above would be a different comparison.
EDIT: Sorry robcee, I replied to you instead of OP Anglepen.
I liked the look of the CXN when it first came out in 2015, never fancied paying the asking price though.
On one hi-fi forum the general consensus was that standalone brandname streamers are overpriced for what you’re actually getting - and someone persuaded me to get a Pi and use Runeaudio.
I started by going USB out to an Epiphany Acoustics E-DAC (an O-DAC in a metal case).
Then changed to Volumio and have now got a Hifiberry Digi+Pro going coax digital out to Khadas Toneboard (which I put in a metal enclosure).
Sounds great to me, but I need to investigate whether it’s the Hifiberry or Khadas that’s responsible for brief dropouts to nearby electrical impulses - almost certainly airborne rather than on the mains itself. That’s an issue I (probably) wouldn’t have from a branded streamer.
The CXN (now on version 2) uses twin Wolfson DACs. The proprietry upsampling they use is supposed to give it its award-winning sound.
However, I know of one owner who’s convinced that the upsampling is having an adverse effect - and was wondering if it could be turned off!
I still like the look of it though.
Another one would be the NAD M33, with its touchscreen display and, according to reviews, fantastic built-in class D amplification. It should be good though, they want £4000 for that!!!
Does anyone made a comparitive test between the Allo Boss and the Hifiberry Dac2 HD ? As I read from the comments Robcee has some experience with the new Hifiberry Dac2 HD ?
To answer the subject : I’ve dome some tests with Marantz and Pioneer streamers, NAD and Cambridge Audio DAC’s and now the Allo Boss (with lineair power supply). All connected to Rotel amps and B&W 802 loudspeakers. The Marantz sound a little more ‘surround’ and ‘subitle’, but anyhow it is very, very difficult to find out the slight detail difference.
I have a DAC2 HD and an original DAC+ but I haven’t done any in depth listening comparisons between the two. They both live in different systems and both sound great.
I think most people would be hard pressed to hear much difference between the two in an identical setup, but maybe with some extensive listening.
I’m running a Pi3 with Hifiberry Digi+ pro via toslink into LS50 wireless II speakers. The sound is absolutely fantastic. I think the difference in sound between your setup and the ones you mention would be negligible and not worth the significantly extra outlay. For me the Pi setup wins.