Step into digital or not?

I have exhausted everybody in HIFI Corner forum about, amplifiers and speakers. The end result was that save up for a SN3 with possible Hicap down the track, then a Kanata 2. The SN3 might happen though the rest is bye in the sky.

Looking at how much money I spent on my Linn LP12 I might have been better off purchasing a ND5 XS 2 and a Uniti Core. I know it is the more expensive option though I like simple therefore I have an Apple iMac which runs OSX and Windows 10. I like stable and purpose built platforms.

Well after spending $14k AUD on a Linn LP12 and phono preamps and connections.

I might have been better off going down the digital path, though I would have nothing to play my vinyl. If I go down the ND5 XS I will be staying place with my current XS system. Please see profile.

As we have a slow internet connection of 25MB/s at best of an evening. The plan was to purchase downloads from QoBuz. It seems to be the best for my location in South East Australia. I must say I was disappointed with the CD only downloads of the available Dire Straits Albums. I look further afield at other artists and resolutions ranged from 24/44.1kHz, 24/96kHz and one if I remember correctly was 24/196kHz.

Given the ND5 XS 2 is capable of higher resolutions I thought that these formats would be out there. Am I looking too deep into this and should be very happy with a 24/96kHz down load?

In my posts in HIFI Corner I was after a better amplifier and speakers. Though my dear wife has said NO!

So with the desire to look down another path and I do not think it is worth the plunge and I just keep playing my CDs and TT. Pocket the $8k6 AUD on an ND5 XS 2 and Uniti Core.

Not having Dire Straits in HiRes was a disappointment. Along with other favourite artists in lower HiRes formats than I had expected. Possibly the files would be take too long to download? I have no idea and this is all speculation.

Money saved on a digital streaming system may better off purchasing MoFi LPs.

The other downside is repurchasing all my albums in vinyl into digital downloads. I can use the Uniti Core to rip my CDs bit for bit, which would be nice.

Then the possible disappointment of lack of connectivity with our WIFI system and poor internet connect.

The reason I considered the ND5 SX 2 is because of its entry price of almost $4,850 AUDk. Which is far less expensive when compared to a SN3 and HiCap at $11,300.

Question, am I really missing out on a music listening experience not having digital streaming and down loads in the mix.

Warm regards,

Mitch.

Slow? SLOW!? Try 1.5MB/s…

Yes, I think so.

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You’re not missing out Mitch at all apart from maybe access to a greater range of music and a bit of convenience not having to get off the couch

Music is music , and if you’ve got issues with internet connectivity I wouldn’t worry about it as that’s an issue

Buy another motorbike :smiley:

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Why not buy a cheap streamer on ebay for a few hundred bucks to see how you get on with it ? if you like it you can sell it for pretty much what you paid and get a nice streamer, if you dont like it still sell it for pretty much what you paid for it …

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Streaming has made a huge difference to my music listening, I listen a lot more, I listen to a much wider variety of music and whilst I understand the ‘Theatre’ of other formats, especially vinyl I don’t miss it. I am very happy with the quality streaming offers.

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@Gigantor if you ever find yourself on holiday in Cairns you should stop by to hear my system. I am of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with your system. You could reinvigorate your experience with the right pair of speakers. Also, Yes you will definitely get something out of digital streaming with the use of an nd5 xs2. New music everyday! It’s great. There is a whole world of music waiting for you to hear it. I have discovered Music that I never would have purchased otherwise.

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When I got my Rega Planar 8 turntable in October 2020, I knew exactly how my system was going to evolve. A new amplifier, speakers and then CD player, no interest in streaming. After all, I also had a Naim mu so.

Purchasing the turntable was a great decision, it sounds wonderful and I don’t consider playing and looking after records a hassle.

Over the passing months though things develop and opinions change. The major one being storage of my LPs and CDs, they take a lot of space up, space I don’t have.

So, I’ve done a lot of reading of this forum and of magazines and I’m now looking at streaming , I even have Quboz on trial on my iphone.
Streaming will not replace vinyl but I may eventually have both.
Good luck with your decision.

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I personally haven’t played a vinyl record since 1988 when i bought my first CD player, and i haven’t played a CD since i bought my first streamer in 2002, almost 20 years ago today!

I understand the arguments people have for staying with older technologies, including in terms of sound characteristics and/or quality, but for me the convenience of streaming by far outweighs any of those arguments.

To each their own ofcourse!

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You’re missing out on convenience and having access to a much wider range of music. Not only streaming services like Qobuz but a whole world of internet radio as well.
I’m down to two sources, vinyl and streaming. All my CDs got ripped to a NAS so streaming for me is a mix of local, Qobuz and internet radio, I’ve kept my CD5si in its box for about 15 months now just in case I ever felt the need to play a CD again but I haven’t and doubt I ever will.
Don’t get too hung up about hi-res, when you get a well mastered file it can sound fabulous but so can a well mastered CD quality file. I was listening to Dark Side of the Moon last night on a 24/192 download but the mastering was awful, dull and lifeless. The CD quality rip was far more enjoyable.
As for your internet, I’m about 50km as the crow flies from London and the best I can get here is 14Mb so 25Mb is more than enough.

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I resisted the move to streaming for some time and I understand those who like the physical presence of CDs and vinyl.
I would however echo the sentiment of others here by saying my listening habits and tastes have changed since the introduction of a streamer. I find I am exploring far more music than ever. Some has really surprised me. My main problem now is finding time to listen to everything I would potentially like.

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In my view by not getting into streaming you are limiting both sound quality and choices.

To my ears streaming from my own store of downloaded music or ripped CDs sounds significantly better than vinyl (regardless of whether or not hi res). That is a generalisation as much depends on the mastering, and some digital releases have been ruined by the so-called “loudness wars”.

Don’t get hung up too much on hi res: except where the mastering is different (which happens), the difference is mostly pretty subtle, sometimes described along the lines of ambience: “more air”, and sometimes none evident. There is a good resource these 2L.no website, where you can download a selection of music of varying resolutions that have all been generated from the same highest res sources

Regarding Dire Straits, I have some excellent sounding downloaded digital music of theirs, among the best sound quality in my collection! I am not at home at this moment if I remember this evening I’ll check details.

There are of course alternatives to ND5XS2. A different beast, but I started streaming with the original ND5XS, was tempted to add a power supply, then found that selling the ND5 and CD5 I could get better sounding going down a different path.

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Get the amp and speakers and change the wife! :wink:

Seriously though, is the BluSound Node 2i available where you are. A great sounding and relatively inexpensive streamer to dip your toes.
Ive had one for a year or so, It’s been my first dip into digital waters (other than CD), great for exploring new music, it supports a wide range of platforms. It’s now in an upgraded version so you might pick up a used or ex dem quite cheaply and see where it leads.
I havent felt the urge to upgrade it, but I tend to still buy any new discoveries I hear on LP where available.
:heart:

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Thank you everyone. You have given me much to think about.

Warm regards,

Mitch.

A few things.

The vinyl vs CD vs Streaming deabte is personal preference, I still enjoy LPs for most things but have become quite frustrated with the cost of vinyl, poor quality pressings and a sense that we are being taken for a ride with many re-releases, though some are excellent. Upgraded my 30 year old LP12 last year and really enjoy it but for practical reasons I’ve played very few LPs in recent months. Never really liked CDs but they can sound very good as can CD quality streaming,

I’ve been with Qobuz for several years - their CD quality offerings in UK at least are very expensive compared to buying and ripping a physical CD. As much as we like to support independent stores, if you use Amazon any CDs or LPs may have AutoRip copies available to download - limited to MP3 320kbps unless they’changed it.

Hi-res audio is a mixed bag, I’ve been delighted with some purchases, disappointed with others, most seem marginally better but not much. Many will argue CD quality is good enough, even with very high-end streamers**. I’ve been of the opinion that if I can buy hi-res downloads cheaper than CD quality I will, but recently I’ve been suspicious that some downloaded hi-res purchases sound worse than internet streamed CD quality. Odd.

25 Mbps should be more than adequate to stream CD quality, and potentially hi-res audio provided a streamer has a stable, preferably wired connection, and reasonable buffering implemented. Is your ‘speed’ based on a wired speedtest or one over wi-fi, as wired is generally better than traditional wi-fi, and wi-fi can often be improved with newer technologies if the wired speed is significantly higher.

As others have said, you could start far more cheaply with streaming than a Naim device just to test the water, add a flexible monthly streaming subscription, and see if it appeals. You can upgrade in due course.

If your existing amp/speakers work well with your LP12 a streamer will just add another more budget source - you might be surprised, you might back off and stick with the LP12/CD player.

Biggest advantage of streaming is being able to audition a broad variety of music whether or not you decide to purchase it as a download or just audition and later buy on physical media.

I’d love a Uniti Core, but there are so many other options such as running a media server on your Mac (though it needs to be on) and ripping CDs via it too. Works well for me with an old Mini and a USB CD/DVD drive.

If you’re in the Apple ecosystem I’d even consider Apple Music monthly which can Airplay in CD Quality to Airplay/Airplay 2 enabled devices - there are many many options here including Naim.

  • I believe someone mentioned some time ago that Naim mostly use CD quality at shows/demos, that may have changed but showed their confidence in lossless CD quality.
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Dear Alley_Cat,

I am not sure where to start with my reply. Please excuse me if it is a little disjointed.

In your third paragraph you mention Hi-res as a mixed bag. This is something I would wish to avoid. Possibly I am misguided in thinking that you get what you pay for. If I purchase a Hi-res download I would expect it to be of a better quality than a normal CD rip. Wasting money on a poor recording would niggle myself on money not well spent. With CDs and LPs I have an expectation with what you are going to receive. Though I have been disappointed with one LP purchase by Miles Davis, “Kind of Blue”. I would like to hear this on another system as I detected some breakdown on the right channel when a trumpet or cornet is played. It did make me wince a little.

With regards to internet speed our internet is shaped to a maximum of 26 MB/s between 7pm to 11pm for evening viewing, Shelley likes her Foxtel. Outside those times there is no minimum limit. Yes my speed test was via a wifi connection to the iMac. Hence I was considering purchasing downloads of what I have on vinyl rather than streaming on low internet speeds. If the reproduction is good enough I might consider selling my Linn LP12. This last comment is just a thought as it depends if what I have on vinyl is available as a down load.

This is something I already do on the iMac with an Apple Music subscription. We have a family plan in order that I may stream music before purchasing it either as a CD, LP or download. My wife streams her radio shows and music via an Apple Home Pod in the kitchen/living room.

With regards to equipment, I have a possibly a misguided brand loyalty that is more expensive on my pockets than needs be. I do like systems that just work out of the box as in the case of Apple. All computers and tablets are Apple, USB chargers are Apple because of their low RFI not to interfere with my amateur radio hobby.

I may have to look outside the circle when it comes to other streamers. Any recommendations will warmly welcomed.

I hope I have covered everything in your post.

Thank you very much.

Mitch.

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“Digital” is just another source of music. Yep, it’s as big a PITA to set up, as it is upgrading a Sondek. :laughing:

You may already have on LP**, all the music to which you want to listen (aka The Good Stuff!)

** that’s “vinyl” for the youngsters on this forum. ( I was shocked to realise this evening, that the eponymous The Yes Album is nigh on fifty years old, and still a monumental piece of work :slight_smile: )

OTOH, if you get some sort of streaming system, wether Naim or Raspberry Pi, you might discover new “to your taste” music…or not!

In any event there’s a world of FREE Internet radio of every conceivable genre out there.

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There are SACDs at least of Love over gold, Brothers in arms 20th anniversary edition and Alchemy. My copies are SACD rips at 24 bit 88KHz.

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There are SACDs of all six studio albums plus Alchemy.

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You could get Dire Straits in a million megahertz and it would still be the same boring old stuff you’ve heard a million times before. Most of these remasters are just retirement income for those who peaked 30 years ago. If you are happy with CDs, why get a streamer? I only got mine because 2,000 CDs had consumed the wall space in our modest house. I don’t use internet streaming, which pays musicians virtually nothing, so all my music is bought.

Getting a better amplifier will improve your music. Getting a streamer is another way of listening, but not necessarily better. It sounds like you are bored. Getting a streamer won’t fix that.

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