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The Computer Audiophile

Article: The Next Track: Network Streamers

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jcbenten   

I listened...for a bit  but then tuned out.  A very short history of streamers (Squeezebox, etc.) and what is available today highlighting any advances in technology would be helpful.  More product definition (as to capabilities) is needed and more product names need to be given to allow searches/comparisons because some will not know what is available.  I know it is not supposed to be an ad for companies but examples are needed.  Anything from a receiver with the capability (as the one of the hosts) to your premise of adding streaming to a current system.  Such as: Simple: Sonos or Bluestream; Midstream: Sonore or Auralic; High - End: Meridian??   Apple and Google fit in somewhere.

 

I guess my feeling is that it was too shallow to be really beneficial.

 

 

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kirkmc   

We thought of that early in the show's history, but we decided that it would add a couple more minutes to the show, and not every guest might be prepared to mention something interesting. Maybe we'll do a "next track" episode at some point, where we record a number of guests making their picks of best music of the year. (Hmm, @DougAdams, what do you think about that?)

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LCC0256   

I enjoyed the podcast as I do most all the ones Kirk and Doug do. I learn something of interest to me from every show. (Guess I am part of the shallow minded - oh snap) I especially enjoy the shows when  Chris C is a guest. The main reason for that is both Doug and Kirk are adept at picking Chris' brain for sound quality improvement suggestions and/or explaining some of the basics on how digital audio is evolving. All 3 bring distinct and significant contributions to the subject matter of the show.

 

 I believe this site has benefitted from Chris' decision to include links to  Kirk and Doug's show. All 3 of them have helped me better understand and use my computer and existing audio equipment (along with suggestions for upgrades/improvements) to enjoy my music library. Thank you gentlemen - keep the shows "streaming"  

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As much as I love podcasts and interviews of this sort, I think what this topic needs is more diagrams. I'd do 'em myself but unfortunately my current life chapter doesn't leave much room for this kind of activity and I'd rather be listening to music/my system anyway. For me, the irony is less computer audio = more sonic bliss. But, computing is a hobby too... I think it would be useful for people to see the configurations from basic to complex, including power supplies and cable options. And seeing as how I love spreadsheets, a cost comparison would be a nice complement to the illustrations. Sadly, I haven't the time to indulge in this myself.

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kirkmc   
On 9/25/2017 at 9:08 PM, jcbenten said:

I listened...for a bit  but then tuned out.  A very short history of streamers (Squeezebox, etc.) and what is available today highlighting any advances in technology would be helpful.  More product definition (as to capabilities) is needed and more product names need to be given to allow searches/comparisons because some will not know what is available.  I know it is not supposed to be an ad for companies but examples are needed.  Anything from a receiver with the capability (as the one of the hosts) to your premise of adding streaming to a current system.  Such as: Simple: Sonos or Bluestream; Midstream: Sonore or Auralic; High - End: Meridian??   Apple and Google fit in somewhere.

 

I guess my feeling is that it was too shallow to be really beneficial.

 

 

Thanks for your comment. We've already discussed in-home streaming:

 

https://www.thenexttrack.com/♫-episode-50-streaming-music-in-your-home/

 

I think it's pretty clear from the episode description that we were covering hi-fi separates. In a half-hour podcast, we can't cover everything. Check out the other episodes; you may find that we've covered other topics that you are interested in. 

 

Oh, and the show notes have links to the two specific units we discussed. The goal of an episode like this is not to provide an exhaustive list of products. It's to educate people about a type of product. When we do an episode about amplifiers, would you expect an exhaustive list of what's available? 

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10 hours ago, feelingears said:

As much as I love podcasts and interviews of this sort, I think what this topic needs is more diagrams. I'd do 'em myself but unfortunately my current life chapter doesn't leave much room for this kind of activity and I'd rather be listening to music/my system anyway. For me, the irony is less computer audio = more sonic bliss. But, computing is a hobby too... I think it would be useful for people to see the configurations from basic to complex, including power supplies and cable options. And seeing as how I love spreadsheets, a cost comparison would be a nice complement to the illustrations. Sadly, I haven't the time to indulge in this myself.

 

4 hours ago, kirkmc said:

It's just a podcast... If someone wanted to write an article and fill it with graphs and diagrams, that would be great. 

 

Is someone listening in on our conversations :~)

 

Kirk, Doug, and I had this conversation following the recording of the episode. I want to design a flow chart to help purchasing decisions and educate people. It's a big undertaking, but would be very helpful.

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On 9/27/2017 at 8:23 AM, The Computer Audiophile said:

Kirk, Doug, and I had this conversation following the recording of the episode. I want to design a flow chart to help purchasing decisions and educate people. It's a big undertaking, but would be very helpful.

 

@The Computer Audiophile Yes, the diagrams would ideally cover the main layouts a signal could travel, from source to stereo. The networking gets complicated for wired and wi-fi, and then the options for power supplies, etc. as espoused elsewhere here on the CA site. And then there's the software from iTunes to Roon. And owned music files vs. streaming... But if it were me I'd start with the basic configurations and work my way towards a networked setup with one (or two) archetypes for each option. Each option would involve certain hardware and software elements from basic to complex. Maybe branch from points in the diagram/chart to show greater complexity/flexibility if one uses certain other hardware (which then morphs into another archetype).

 

In a sense, the archetypes rely on the protocol/medium choices (because we naturally obsess about it here at CA) of how the signal propagates: USB, Ethernet, Toslink/coax, AES, I2s, etc. because converters often have power supplies and all these boxes need outlets, cables, etc. Maybe this is slightly beyond the scope of layouts but I do think it's useful for people to know these requirements. And, useful because people may need/want to experiment with the sound to see what satisfices or is in fact excellent despite conventional wisdom/bias.

 

It seems that setups are essentially dictated by one's physical space (and power outlets), so that's why these diagrams would be useful for illustrating how to achieve high quality audio in increasingly complex configurations. (Or, just buy KEF LS50 wireless or Kii Three and be done with it all?)

 

Anyway, just some thoughts or perhaps encouragement! 

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rodrigaj   

@feelingears

I agree that diagrams would go a long way in making Computer Audio understandable. In addition, a glossary of terms with cross links to alternate names for the same component would make it easier to understand.

 

For example, this podcast used the term streamer for half a dozen different devices, each of which do different things.

 

I own a Sonore Rendu. Is that considered a streamer? When I bought it, I thought I was buyings a renderer. Is a renderer the same as a streamer? Lumin uses the term network music player. Auralic uses the term wireless streaming node and wireless streaming bridge within their Aries lineup.

 

In the old days, everyone knew what was a receiver: a tuner, preamp and amplifier. Now anyone trying to decipher and compare  products needs to wade through endless number of names that mean the same thing.

 

It is no wonder that this podcast ended with "why does it have to be so complicated".

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@rodrigaj Oh man, I love the Beecham quote! 

 

And your point about the old days is spot on: I am very tempted by something like the KEF LS50 Wireless or a Kii Three. Either of those products would obviate all these diagrams and essentially be one of their own, with a picture of said "system" alongside a computer! Ha ha ha...

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