My 83 year old father has suggested getting into streaming but he is strictly classical music (he is a pianist and organist). Doing a bit of research has suggested IDAGIO as the best (currently the only - the other service is offline due to being taken over by Amazon) purely classical streaming service. He would take one look at some of the album art, playlist pictures or Explicit tags on something like Tidal and turn it off in contempt.
Does anyone have experience of IDAGIO and the best way to access/stream it in terms of reliability and SQ? Unfortunately very few HiFi streamers support the service with Bluesound and Burmester being the notable exceptions. Thus the options seem to be:
- Buy a Bluesound Node (whatever the current model?) and control it through the IDAGIO app - mum has an I-pad.
- Use the I-pad, buy a USB ready DAC, an Apple camera adapter, link it all together and hope it works!
- Use my mum’s rather old laptop, buy a usb DAC etc…
Number 1 seems the most expensive but also the most likely to work without any issues - has anyone come up with an alternative, good quality and reliable option?
I have downloaded the free version of IDAGIO onto my iPad at home and I read out some of the catalogue over the phone - dad was generally impressed so I think he is tempted. He would subscribe to the Premium+ service which costs £13pm and plays full CD resolution - that seems to be the highest possible.
If you want Idagio I would also talk to Innuos, who say they have Idagio support under development. Their servers are excellent and well supported.
Before you write off Tidal, remember that when you first sign up you tend to get lots of US pop, hiphop, etc. thrown at you at ramdom because their servers have no idea what you like. As you use the service it learns, and throws suggestions out that are more related to your musical tastes. Also you tend to browse the artists and categories you have saved, so it’s easy to ignore the stuff you’re not interested in.
I would also look at Qobuz which gives you lots of lossless 24 bit material and doesn’t have the Jay-Z connection that influenced Tidal.
You might also consider Roon if you want a more tailored browsing experience in conjunction with Qobuz or Tidal along with any locally stored music you may have, but there is an additional subscription cost.
IDAGIO also have an Apple TV app.
So if your dads TV is HDMI and has an optical out, it would be possible to stream to an optical SPDIF input on a Dac.
Apple TV also has apps for Berliner Phil. Digital Concert Hall, and NY Met Opera on Demand.
This is an interesting option - I assume an Apple TV product would be required? We have an old one but don’t seem to be able to upload new apps to it - would it have to be a new(er) generation product?
I must say, this seems the easiest option and with the least complexity, which is critical.
I have also discovered that Sonos also supports IDAGIO so it seems to be the £400 Sonos Port vs th £550 Bluesound Node2i.
I know that IDAGIO is a small player streaming wise but I am a little surprised that so few manufactures’ streaming products support it.
Idagio is a fully integrated service on Sonos. You haven’t said what he intends listening to it on so you could pick up something like a 2nd generation S2 software Sonos Connect on the bay and use it as a transport into a DAC or even use the built in DAC depending on the quality of the target system. I used a Connect with my old system (Musical Fidelity A1 and Rogers LS2 speakers) and it was absolutely fine with that even with the built in DAC.
Looks like we were both replying at the same time. I suggested a Connect because all the reviews say the Port is not as good as the Connect, and you can pick up a Connect on the bay for about half the price of a Port
So an older generation Sonos product would support IDAGIO without issues? So do I need to look for an Series 2 Sonos Connect?
To give you an idea, the rest of his system is:
Audio Analogue Crescendo CD player
Rega RP3 TT
Arcam Alpha 7r amplifier
Tannoy Revolution Signature DC6 stand mount speakers.
Look for a 2nd gen Connect with S2 app, that’s the current Sonos platform and should support Idagio no problem. That system looks on a par with my old MF A1 and Rogers LS2 based system so I don’t think something like a Sonos Connect would be out of place in it even with the built-in DAC. If you do go down that route, invest in a better interconnect cable than the bell wire that comes with a Sonos but no need to go mad.
Thank you, that is really useful information. I’m all for keeping it simple and reliable as, if it is not, my father, who is partially sighted, will get fed up with it.
The Sonos Connect is a well built unit and the software is simple and reliable. And the one thing they do is support pretty much any streaming service you can think of.
Just one further thing - to ensure that it is a gen 2 product is there anyway of knowing, other than trusting the seller?
I remember there was news about Sonos ‘bricking’ older devices a year or so ago - clearly I don’t want to end up with a door stop!
You can ask the seller to provide a screenshot of the system information section in the Sonos app and that will show if it is running the S2 app. That also has the serial number so you should be able to see if the serial number on the bottom of the unit matches the screenshot from the app.
In fact I have that very screenshot from when I was considering selling mine a while ago. Look in the Connect section, it says S2 for Sonos OS and has the unit serial number
The Sonos Connect I’ve listened to sounded pretty dull. I think your system deserves better - or at least use one into a separate DAC via SPDIF.
A Sonos Connect with built in DAC is totally out of its depth in a Naim system even at NAIT XS2 level. In my old MF A1 based system it sounded every bit as good as my old Arcam Alpha CD player
Thanks again. I read somewhere this morning the serial numbers also give you an idea, which will explain why many listed on eBay have pictures of the serial number included.
I think if we can get one for a good price it is worth a try. Options are limited for IDAGIO unfortunately.
Correctly or not I am assuming that it will be similar to ‘budget’ or slightly better CD player with a good quality audio stream. My dad is a musician rather than an ‘audiophile’ so he tends to go by tone more than anything else. If it is a bit ‘flat’ then that could be an excuse to get him a DAC at some point.
The problem with most other routes is the expense - he just wouldn’t bother if he thought it was too much. Though he really appreciates them, the only reason he has the AA CDP and the Tannoy Signatures is because I bought them for him as a surprise both times. If he had known in advance he would have said not to as he was happy with his previous Sony CDP and his Tannoy Mercurys. This time it is his idea at least🙂
It may be that your dad will be happy with a Sonos Connect, but I borrowed one for a while about a year ago and thought it sounded pretty dull to say the least. I ended up buying a little Yamaha streamer which was cheaper and sounded quite a bit better, but it wouldn’t have the built in Idagio support you want. This was for my daughter who uses it with my old A&R A60, and the Sonos certainly couldn’t hold its own in that system. So yes, if it was me I would be looking at a separate DAC if you choose the Sonos.
What sort of interconnect was it using? The bell wire that it came with? When I had mine in the old system I upgraded it to an Audioquest Chicago and that fairly opened the sound up.
Just to update on this. My father is really enjoying IDAGIO and the music it has given him access to.
He is currently using the IDAGIO app on my mum’s old iPad Air 2 - the first time he has ever used an iPad /computer in his life. Because his eyesight is so poor mum does need to help him find the recording after I have saved what he would like to his favourites - my only criticism of IDAGIO so far is that the text and album icons could be bigger/more legible. Dad is signed up to the £13 pm package which gives lossless + access to everything except the live concerts.
I have just ordered a Cyrus Soundkey portable DAC to upgrade the output from the iPad. This will be connected via an Apple camera adapter (the one with separate power) to the Arcam amplifier. The output of the DAC is 1.7 volts which I think will work well with the amplifier. We use inline attenuation from the AA CDP anyway (improves refinement/pre amp not being overloaded) so I predict that the volume range on the amplifier will be similar.