I have a 82/ 180 setup at present and am wanting to change how I play my digital music files, which is currently direct from my Mac PC through an Apogee Duet to the 82.
I like the look of the Audiolab MDac, however I understand I will need some kind of network streamer to use with this. I intend to use the streamer with a USB stick and/ or wired independent HDD connection only, to be controlled via an iPod Touch. I don’t need any WiFi streaming capabilities or connection to my Mac, although Internet Radio would be good. Can anyone recommend a good streamer?
The alternative to this may be a Naim product - I could maybe stretch to a second hand Qute, although I am wondering if this would give better performance over the system described above.
Thanks for any help.
The Audiolab MDAC isn’t in the same league as an 82 / 180 setup, I fear you may be disappointed.
A ND5 XS would a be better match, even if it’s still not quite up to the standard of the 82 / 180.
I feared that may be the reply… but thank you anyway.
Unfortunately way out of my budget, hence the query regarding a cheaper alternative.
If you have a Mac, ideally Mac Mini that you can dedicate but any Mac will do, try Audirvana: it is low cost software that is very good sound quality wise if optimised,. You would feed a USB output to the DAC. If the DAC doesn’t have USB input, or if it is not galvanically isolated on its USB input, you will also need an isolator if some kind to block the RF (and it may be beneficial even if the DAC does have galvanic isolation).
Audirvana costs about £60 but is available for next free trial. The phone/tablet control app is extra (but trustable eithiut) There is a low cost but isolator/convert or (USB to SPDIF) called Gustard U12, costs about £150. The combination Is capable of feeding a much better DAC than yours, giving extremely good sound quality. When I first got mine I used it in this way into a Hugo DAC, which sounded better than feeding the Hugo from ND5XS. I now use it with my Dave DAC, but without the Gustard. When I first tried it with Dave, I also had a comparison with a Melco N1A, and they were indistinguishable, though admittedly only a very brief comparison.
You can use the Mac for storing your music, with the simplicity of a one-box solution, or Audirvana can access music stored on some other device on your network. Audirvana can stream from Qobuz and from Tidal, the latter allowing MQA first unfold. It’s Achilles heel is that it does require your stored files to have good and consistent meta data - I find that a bit of a pain, but to put up with it for the sound quality, as I would have to pay a lot more I think for something sounding as good. But as it is available on trial you can decide for yourself.
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