Hi-Fi - to stream or not to stream? by Dave

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Hi folks

I'm quite interested in upgrading my Hi-Fi system, which is currently a Pioneer which cost me £1200 almost 20 years ago. It's still working fairly well, except the turntable is in the loft (don't use vinyl now), and the twin cassette deck in U/S (through lack of use as I've never been a tape person). The CD multichanger, amp and pre-amp are going well!

However, I'm quite keen to try something new, and it's either a nice system which is going back to basics with just amp, CD and speakers (like this well reviewed Marantz system) or moving to a streaming system, which might be poorer sonically, but easier to use if I can not only play CDs, but also use to access my entire collection as ripped to my laptop HDD (or a NAS drive)

I like the look of the Marantz M-CR603 and also the Denon CEOL (RCD-N7), both of which are a similar price (would be around £450 with speakers, as opposed to around £599 for the non-streaming system mentioned first). They appear very similar, with the only major difference being that the Marantz has to be connected to the network via Ethernet, whereas the Denon has wi-fi. Both are also well reviewed

So. The thing is, I have no experience of streamed music, and thus I'm wondering if anyone here has? The main worry I guess is poor sound quality, or "dropouts" if the network hung. Would I be better to forget the convenience and go for System 1, and enjoy better sound, or would the reality be that - not being an audiophile - I'd not notice any difference and thus that the convenience would be a far better aspect to concentrate on?

I know no-one can answer this for me, but if anyone has been in the same position and fallen on one side or the other, I'd be interested to know how it went!! :D

Posted 11 Jan 2012, 16:42 #1 

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(Site Admin)
http://store.apple.com/uk/product/MB321 ... topSellers
I have installed this system on many occasions for clients. It works extremely well and having been available for several years is well tried and tested.
With respect to sound quality drop off relating to streaming mp3 as opposed CD quality only those with extremely good hearing will notice, especially if imported at 320kbps. When streaming AIFF files or indeed directly from CD playback there will be no noticeable drop off in quality.
The best thing about this system is you don't have to upgrade your Hi Fi

Posted 11 Jan 2012, 17:51 #2 

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So what does this actually do then? Is it patching a network link into an existing hi-fi system? Looks interesting! (although part of me actually wants a new system! :mrgreen: )

Mick wrote:With respect to sound quality drop off relating to streaming mp3 as opposed CD quality only those with extremely good hearing will notice

I'm thinking this is a good point - I'd like to imagine that I'd be able to tell the difference, but guess I wouldn't really. Having said that, if I can't tell the difference, kind of pointless buying a really good system! I suppose as long as it's fairly good (ie a few hundred quids worth of "good" as opposed to £39.99), then hopefully I'll notice that much difference!

Posted 11 Jan 2012, 22:08 #3 

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It's a fancy network switch/hub. You can connect via Wi Fi and or ethernet, the sound out is via the mini connector, you can also connect a printer via USB.
Use iTunes to stream sounds via wi fi to the switch. It will show up as whatever name you gave it when setting it up.
it can also be used to extend a current wi fi network i.e internet router as well as above.

Posted 11 Jan 2012, 22:27 #4 

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Sounds interesting, as it could help with music but also the printer!

Posted 12 Jan 2012, 09:33 #5 

Money can make a difference.

My system is fairly ancient and my amplifier is a Cyrus II. I added the dedicated power supply for it which cost £250 in the mid 90s. Boy, what a difference, extremely deep bass and rapid recovery from a sudden loud piece

"Don't think of them as problems, think of them as opportunities."
"OK, I think I've hit an insurmountable opportunity!"


Posted 12 Jan 2012, 18:58 #6 

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Oooo I've got a Cyrus II as well, hooked up to a pair of custom-built Celestion Ditton 44's, ancient but brilliant.
For everyday use I have a pair of Edirol MA15d's connected directly to my computer.

Posted 12 Jan 2012, 19:16 #7