Help me stream 24/96 music from my media server
Nov 19, 2014 at 3:01 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 12

rage3324

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I am trying to figure out the best way to stream 24/96 ALAC files from my media server. Currently all my music is stored in Plex and i have the plex ios apps on all my devices. 
 
What I have:
1. Headphones
2. Little Dot MKIII and Little Dot I+ Amps
3. iPad Air 2
4. iPhone 4s
5. Media server running Plex 
 
I will be getting a DAC in the next week but waiting to decide on setup so I can choose the correct configuration (USB/Toslink)
 
I do not own a laptop or else this would be very easy :)
 
The configurations I know of:
 
1. Stream via Plex ios app to iOS and use line-out (30 pin adapter for iPad) to connect to DAC
2. Use Plex ios app to airplay to Airport Express and use USB/Toslink to connect to DAC
 
If I understand correctly, the options above will down-sample the music. Am I wrong?
 
What other options do I have to make this all work without a laptop. 
 
Nov 20, 2014 at 9:14 PM Post #2 of 12

rage3324

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Bump
 
Nov 20, 2014 at 9:58 PM Post #3 of 12

Music Alchemist

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Tell me a bit more about your system.
 
Which DAC are you getting?
 
Which device holds your music collection?
 
According to my research, USB seems to be the ideal configuration for connecting to most DACs. I can't offer a technical explanation; it's just something I've read about over and over.
 
As for 24/96, don't worry about it. 24-bit audio (of any sample rate) provides no audible benefits over the 16-bit / 44.1 kHz Red Book standard, which is capable of handling everything you could ever hear. The reason some 24-bit downloads sound different is because they came from a different master, not because they are "HD" or whatever. To learn more, start with this article. (DSD, on the other hand, is a bit more complex, requires special equipment, and should be regarded as a different master anyway.)
 
Nov 20, 2014 at 11:34 PM Post #4 of 12

rage3324

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  Tell me a bit more about your system.
 
Which DAC are you getting?
 
Which device holds your music collection?
 
According to my research, USB seems to be the ideal configuration for connecting to most DACs. I can't offer a technical explanation; it's just something I've read about over and over.
 
As for 24/96, don't worry about it. 24-bit audio (of any sample rate) provides no audible benefits over the 16-bit / 44.1 kHz Red Book standard, which is capable of handling everything you could ever hear. The reason some 24-bit downloads sound different is because they came from a different master, not because they are "HD" or whatever. To learn more, start with this article. (DSD, on the other hand, is a bit more complex, requires special equipment, and should be regarded as a different master anyway.)

I have not made a decision about the DAC yet. I want to figure out how I am going to set all of this up first. As for 24-bit audio, I honestly cannot hear a difference, but I rather my music not be re-sampled/transcoded. 
 
Anyways, a little more about my set up and goals..In my living room I have a XBMC/Plex media server machine running linux that is hooked up to my TV. All of my music and media is on my Synology NAS which is also in my living room. My office is where I listen to music via iPad/iPhone streaming music from Plex. I do not know if Plex streams 24/96 to my iPad so that could be an issue right there. I suppose, to fix that, I could use a different app that does support it. 
 
I have no real reason to own a laptop so I really want to be able to leverage my iPad as my source. Another cheap option would be a chomebook or something
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 12:08 AM Post #5 of 12

TripBitShooter

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Technically 16/44.1 is all u need. As for the DAC, USB is the most convenient in a way, or u can also opt for two other options: coaxial or optical.

The problem with USB is that u sometimes get USB jitter, but this can be solved by products that clean up the signal before it reaches ur DAC. Ifi audio sells such a thing.
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 12:57 PM Post #6 of 12

Music Alchemist

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  I have not made a decision about the DAC yet. I want to figure out how I am going to set all of this up first. As for 24-bit audio, I honestly cannot hear a difference, but I rather my music not be re-sampled/transcoded. 
 
Anyways, a little more about my set up and goals..In my living room I have a XBMC/Plex media server machine running linux that is hooked up to my TV. All of my music and media is on my Synology NAS which is also in my living room. My office is where I listen to music via iPad/iPhone streaming music from Plex. I do not know if Plex streams 24/96 to my iPad so that could be an issue right there. I suppose, to fix that, I could use a different app that does support it. 
 
I have no real reason to own a laptop so I really want to be able to leverage my iPad as my source. Another cheap option would be a chomebook or something

 
Okay, be a bit more specific. Explain how everything is connected to each other and which Synology NAS you have.
 
Generally speaking, if I were you (someone who seems to only listen to music in one room), I would pursue a more elegant solution that has all the equipment used for music in the same room, possibly even with wired connections to avoid some of the issues that come with wireless streaming. Then again, you are using an iPad and iPhone...but it can still be done, and could potentially give you better sound quality.
 
If you leave the 24-bit files as is, you may want to ensure that your DAC either supports it natively or downsamples without any type of extra processing that would alter the sound, and that your streaming app and other equipment do the same. If you convert the 24-bit files to lossless 16-bit / 44.1 kHz, the prior problem becomes a moot point, but you don't have a normal computer, and I'm not sure if you are able to access your server remotely in a way that would enable you to do that. I'm guessing the music would sound the same either way.
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM Post #7 of 12

Music Alchemist

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The problem with USB is that u sometimes get USB jitter, but this can be solved by products that clean up the signal before it reaches ur DAC. Ifi audio sells such a thing.

 
This is more of an issue with USB-powered DACs. If the DAC has its own power supply, it's less likely...but I'm assuming he's getting a portable DAC to connect to the iPad and iPhone. I'll need to see which DAC is purchased before commenting further.
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 2:01 PM Post #8 of 12

rage3324

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This is more of an issue with USB-powered DACs. If the DAC has its own power supply, it's less likely...but I'm assuming he's getting a portable DAC to connect to the iPad and iPhone. I'll need to see which DAC is purchased before commenting further.

 
It will be a dedicated desktop DAC for home-use only. So I would get a dac with its own power supply.
   
Okay, be a bit more specific. Explain how everything is connected to each other and which Synology NAS you have.
 
Generally speaking, if I were you (someone who seems to only listen to music in one room), I would pursue a more elegant solution that has all the equipment used for music in the same room, possibly even with wired connections to avoid some of the issues that come with wireless streaming. Then again, you are using an iPad and iPhone...but it can still be done, and could potentially give you better sound quality.
 
If you leave the 24-bit files as is, you may want to ensure that your DAC either supports it natively or downsamples without any type of extra processing that would alter the sound, and that your streaming app and other equipment do the same. If you convert the 24-bit files to lossless 16-bit / 44.1 kHz, the prior problem becomes a moot point, but you don't have a normal computer, and I'm not sure if you are able to access your server remotely in a way that would enable you to do that. I'm guessing the music would sound the same either way.

 
I have Synology 413j that is running Synology OS. The media server is running Openelec (linux variation) and host XBMC and Plex Media Server. Everything is hooked up via wire to my router, so the only wireless component is the iPad. My office is close enough that I can run a wire through the wall to connect it to the router, which I will probably do if I purchase a switch/airport express. I should state that I listen to music all over the house, but I only do critical listening in the office where my amps are. 
 
The more I think about this, the more I think I should get a laptop. mac mini. or airport express to make this a more "elegant" solution. In the case of the airport, I would just accept the down-sampling, but I do not like the idea of the music being wireless transmitted to my iPad and then wireless transmitted back to the airport. At the end of the day, I want to keep all of my music in my personal cloud so it is accessible anywhere
 
Nov 21, 2014 at 5:48 PM Post #9 of 12

Music Alchemist

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  It will be a dedicated desktop DAC for home-use only. So I would get a dac with its own power supply.
 
I have Synology 413j that is running Synology OS. The media server is running Openelec (linux variation) and host XBMC and Plex Media Server. Everything is hooked up via wire to my router, so the only wireless component is the iPad. My office is close enough that I can run a wire through the wall to connect it to the router, which I will probably do if I purchase a switch/airport express. I should state that I listen to music all over the house, but I only do critical listening in the office where my amps are. 
 
The more I think about this, the more I think I should get a laptop. mac mini. or airport express to make this a more "elegant" solution. In the case of the airport, I would just accept the down-sampling, but I do not like the idea of the music being wireless transmitted to my iPad and then wireless transmitted back to the airport. At the end of the day, I want to keep all of my music in my personal cloud so it is accessible anywhere

 
Smart move about the desktop DAC.
 
I'm in nearly the opposite situation you are in. I currently use a portable DAP for listening, own laptops and a 12 TB external hard drive array, and only experimented with wireless streaming to my tablet once or twice. However, I do want to get a dedicated music server to use for future desktop audio systems, but only with wired connections.
 
I guess you just need to see how things work out once you get the DAC, then expand into other devices if need be.
 
Dec 3, 2014 at 6:52 PM Post #10 of 12

AlrightMister

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First, it's important to know if your plex server will stream your files to the IOS client unmolested. If it won't, since you're looking to setup a dedicated listening spot, you may want to rethink the iphone/ipad as source or look for an IOS DLNA client that will allow full bit rate streaming and skip your plex server altogether. Your Synology probably has a built in DLNA server right?
 
Dec 3, 2014 at 10:33 PM Post #11 of 12

rage3324

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I decided to pickup a macbook air so my issue is now slightly different and hopefully more straight forward. What is the best music app for managing and streaming music from a NAS device? I used to use foobar on PC but can be persuaded to use iTunes if that is the best and easiest choice
 

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