Need advice and info on streaming.

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Bsmooth

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Need advice and info on streaming.
« on: 6 Feb 2019, 08:09 pm »
Just joined here and I am slightly confused. My wife picked me up a small Yamaha MCR-232BL for christmas, for our smallish bedroom.
I am in the process of ripping my CD's to either MP3 or Flac. Going to store them on USB Flash drives.
I can get a few stations where I am, but I'm on the fringe of radio reception. Recently I was looking and found out about DAC's and streaming as well, neither of which I know much about.
 I got rid of the Yamaha speakers and picked myself up some AudioEngine A5 classics. So far they sound great. I'm driving them from the headphone output as the Yamaha doesn't have much for outputs.
First would a DAC help the sound at all?
Second would a Streaming DAC help me at all? Do you pay for streaming like a subscription? Also I read about the Yamaha WXAD10, and all the reviews were really good, but not even sure you can buy one here in the US.
Plus I'm not sure If I can add any of this to the MCR-232BL anyways.
Lots of questions, hopefully someone would be kind enough to help answer them. Thanks ahead of time.
« Last Edit: 7 Feb 2019, 05:27 pm by Bsmooth »

JLM

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #1 on: 6 Feb 2019, 09:58 pm »
Welcome.  I'll try to help, but it's been a long time since I had such a device.

From what I've found the unit has been discontinued, quite common for such offerings.

Have you tried connecting AM and/or FM antenna(s) to improve reception?

The Audioengine A5 classics should be a nice step up.  I did something similar 40+ years ago to upgrade my system.

All outputs from the MCR-232BL are analog, so no way to add a DAC.  Streaming would involve having some sort of internet connection, which the MCR-232BL lacks, to bring in a service such as Spotify or Tidal which cost $10-20 per month. 

From my understanding the only way you could use USB flash drives would be to use a mini RCA (1/8 inch plug) component plugged into the auxiliary input that could actively (powered) load USB flash drives.  Sorry, don't know anything about such a component, but it seems that using the correct generation of iPhone, iPod, or iPad would be easier.

If you have a computer available a $99 Audioquest Dragonfly Black can drive your Audioengine speakers. Your library can be ripped onto the computer (or USB flash drives plugged into the computer), you can then stream music, and you can also listen to internet radio.

Letitroll98

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #2 on: 6 Feb 2019, 10:08 pm »
Two separate things.  Streaming is an online service that can be free (YouTube, Spotify or Pandora basic) or $10 to $20.  Spotify and Pandora premium service is $10 and you get MP3 320 type sound quality.  Tidal and Qobus are $20 for premium that gives CD quality sound.  You stream the service through your phone, tablet, or laptop.  DACs are components that convert digital signals to analog.  For your setup I'd go with a portable DAC because the only input I can see is the mini jack, which is the exact output you get from portable DACs.  I'd recommend either the Sabaj da2 or da3 as finances allow, the da3 would be best used with laptops and tablets as it consumes a lot of power for a phone, both available on Amazon.  The are about a zillion more models, I know these two sound fabulous.  You'll need a mini to mini jack cable, also on Amazon.  And a longer USB than the one supplied if you want your DAC any distance from the streaming device.  You could also just run the DAC to the speakers and skip the Yamaha.

WC

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #3 on: 6 Feb 2019, 10:40 pm »
Do you have any apple devices with 30 pin connectors still functioning? If so you could use them to stream or stream to them with airfoil satellite (separate program).

witchdoctor

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #4 on: 7 Feb 2019, 12:11 am »
Start with a Klipsch Gate streamer, your active A5 speakers and your phone for the app to control everything. It's $30, does hirez and will stream everything (NAS, music services, etc). Let me know if you have questions:

https://www.amazon.com/Klipsch-1063275-Gateway-Wireless-Multi-Room/dp/B01M5B793S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1549498105&sr=8-1&keywords=klipsch+gate

Doublej

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #5 on: 7 Feb 2019, 12:29 am »
Streaming is simple at the moment. Spend $20 for an Amazon Echo Input. Currently you can stream TuneIn, iHeart and Pandora for free. Don't forget to buy a 3.5mm jack to 3.5mm jack cable if you don't have one as I don't think the Echo Input comes with this cable.

Connect one end of the cable to the Amazon Echo Input and the other to the aux input on the back on the Yamaha receiver and you are good to go.

https://www.amazon.com/Echo-Input-Bring-Alexa-speaker/dp/B07BFRHZLB

If you want to pay for a monthly stream you can get the deluxe versions of the above apps or purchase a subscription to Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, and/or SirriusXM.

Happy Streaming!

Bsmooth

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #6 on: 7 Feb 2019, 01:18 am »
Man talk about some options, now I'm even more confused. The Yamaha has a Dock, and I just happen to have the 1st gen Ipod Touch, the one with the chrome back. But I'm a bit confused, I can't use a DAC or can I, and would it even make a difference? From the sound of it I can stream If I have an apple Ipod Touch?.

JLM

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #7 on: 7 Feb 2019, 12:03 pm »
#1 factor in sound reproduction system performance is the speakers.  #2 is the room/setup.  #3 is the pre/power amplification.  #4 is the source.  #5 is the DAC.

If you're half-way serious about sound reproduction, I wouldn't invest much in this piece.  It's a typical feature rich, quality poor, and now out of date plastic product marketed to pre-teenagers.  With your Audioengine powered speakers I recommend looking for a mid-fi DAC/preamp and rip your CDs to a connected computer (BlueTooth/Apple Play would be sweet to avoid a wired connection).  The computer would provide access to streaming and internet radio, so no need for AM/FM.  Your system would then be similar in configuration to mine.  Check out DACs here under the Cheap and Cheerful Circle for suggested DAC/preamps.

lacro

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #8 on: 7 Feb 2019, 03:58 pm »
I agree with  Doublej but instead of the Amazon Echo input, get an Echo Dot. Connect it directly to the second analog input on the speakers, not the Yamaha. This will give you a wifi internet enabled streaming devise with VOICE commands, and there is a whole lot more use for the Dot. Another added feature besides the free streaming sources Doublej suggested is any music you have ever purchased from Amazon, either CD's or downloads is available to play on the Echo Dot free.

The Echo Dot is currently $49.95, but is often $29.00

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0792KTHKJ/ref=fs_ods_aucc_dt

Doublej

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #9 on: 7 Feb 2019, 04:12 pm »
If you are looking to stream your own library then yes get a streamer with DAC and preamp. Then you can connect it to the Yamaha aux input and see how the sound changes. You can also connect it directly to the Audio Engine speakers directly and see how that sounds too.

Perhaps something like this Pioneer Elite N-30?

https://www.amazon.com/Pioneer-Audiophile-Network-Player-AirPlay/dp/B00AW0SV8G

I agree with lacro. If you can find the Echo Dot 3 for $30 it's well worth the extra $10 for the light ring alone (as well as the ability to operate it as a standalone sepaker).

randytsuch

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #10 on: 7 Feb 2019, 05:45 pm »
Did you have a budget in mind?

mboxler

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #11 on: 7 Feb 2019, 06:05 pm »
Seems like Bsmooth is just learning about music streaming. 

Why not create a free Pandora or Spotify account, install the app on the Ipod Touch (assuming it is connected to his wi-fi), and play through the dock?  Or is the assumption that the dock won't work this way.

He can always upgrade from there.

Bsmooth

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #12 on: 7 Feb 2019, 08:11 pm »
Yes I am just learning. I did go with the Klipsch Gate. For that small amount it seems a good way to learn. So If I understand correctly I then download a Klipsch streaming app and from there somehow Ican access different music streams ?

Bsmooth

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #13 on: 8 Feb 2019, 01:48 am »
Update the Klipsch streaming app doesn't work with my old Ipod touch. So I may have to invest in say a Kindle Fire instead.

witchdoctor

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #14 on: 8 Feb 2019, 03:02 pm »
Update the Klipsch streaming app doesn't work with my old Ipod touch. So I may have to invest in say a Kindle Fire instead.

Bsmooth congratulations! The app will work with your phone too. Do you have an android or apple device?
Step 1 is to download the app to your device, please post what type of device you use and I will try and help.
I have the Gate running in my HT which is shockingly good and another one hooked up to a Paradigm Active A2 speaker in my kitchen, it is working great. The app is very easy to use, no worries. If you do get a fire tablet you'll like it, make sure you get a tablet that has Alexa and you can run the system with voice control. "Alexa play Bob Dylan (or whatever) in the living room (or whatever)" and it plays. I find Tidal is excellent but this streamer will also do hirez so once Quboz is available it will be worth checking out IMO.

BTW, when you setup your Gate keep it near your WiFi router to help download the updates. Then place it wherever you want.

witchdoctor

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #15 on: 8 Feb 2019, 03:06 pm »
Bsmooth, watch this video from Klipsch on how to setup your Gate:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TG2GXnRueoc

witchdoctor

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #16 on: 8 Feb 2019, 09:08 pm »
I have been listening to Tidal in the "Critical Listening" mode through the Gate and it is sooooo analog sounding. It almost feels like listening to a turntable which I am pleasantly surprising. I hope to try some hirez tracks later.

Doublej

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #17 on: 9 Feb 2019, 12:49 am »
With the Klipsch Gate does one have to keep the app open for streaming or is it like a Chromecast meaning once the streaming starts you can close the app(s)?

witchdoctor

Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #18 on: 9 Feb 2019, 03:38 am »
You should keep the app open.

Bsmooth

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Re: Need advice and info on streaming.
« Reply #19 on: 9 Feb 2019, 06:43 pm »
Well I received the Klipsch Gate today. I don't have a great way to hook into my receiver, especailly since I am running mu Audioengine A5's out of my headphone output on the receiver.
So I unplugged my speakers from the headphone and used the Gate 1st coming out of the headphone output into the gate and used the out of the Gate to go to the speakers.
 I'm not sure If thats right, but thats how I did it.
 At first I did sime with and without the gate installed and I must admit at first i didn't notice anything. then I stopped doing a/B tests and just left it in. That was at 11:30 just before lunch. I was going to eat right afterwards. I just couldn't stop listening, I put on a few CD's. Dave Matthews Crash is one of my favorites, and I listened to it and it sounded pretty darn good, I also listened to  some Lame MP3's. I heard Love Reign O'er M by the who. The piano notes were almost startling coming out of the speakers. I'm sure you heard a veil was lifted, well this wasn't a veil, it was a blanket. Everything had more of an attack If thats the right term.
 I'f the DAC in the Gate is making all this difference, its amazing.
 Now If  this device which is definitely Cheap and Cheerful Hifi can make this much of a difference, now all I need is to get a Fire tablet and try the streaming as well.
Thanks very much witchdoctor for your help and very good advice! Also check out his mini review of this device.