Send Audirvana to another hifi system on my network

I am so impressed with the difference in sound quality of Audirvana compared to other Windows music software. I have a small hi-fi system attached to this computer and the difference is obvious. I had no issues installing this on a Windows 10 machine and my iPhone app can see my music files. I was hoping that I could cast the music from my iPhone to my high-quality hi-fi system in another room (as I can do with Spotify or Amazon music) but it’s pretty clear I need more hardware or another set up.

I have a system with decent speakers, a new Samsung Smart TV and a 10-year-old Pioneer VSX-1020. Both the TV and the receiver have hardwired ethernet, USB, optical and HDMI ports. How can I get sound to this hi-fi system? Can I make use of the built in DAC in my Pioneer receiver? Will I need to get either a stand-alone DAC or one attached to a computer that is close enough to this hi-fi system that I can run a cable directly from the DAC to the system? If so, do I have to spend a lot of money or are inexpensive ones like the Focusrite 2i2 (about 150 euros) good enough?

I do have an old Macbook that I could dedicate to this task if it’s necessary to have a computer to really make this work well, i.e., play Audirvana-process music on my hifi system.

I’d appreciate any advice in helping me set up the hardware and software to play Audirvana to hi-fi systems that aren’t directly attached to my computer.

Search for Pioneer among network devices in Audirvana.

There are discussions about some other Pioneer receivers but they weren’t helpful.

I’m not really understanding the setup requirements. My Pioneer receiver shows up on my W10 network under the category “Other”. Should it be showing up as something else? Should Audirvana be able to see the receiver since its on the network? When I look at the Audirvana audio out settings, all I see are tabs for WASAPI & ASIO. On the left I just see DAC. Should I be seeing a “Network” tab along the left border and would that give me access to other playback devices on the network?

It should appear on the list of devices you can play to when you click on the stylised speaker icon in the lower left corner (where you select the output device).Screenshot 2021-01-05 at 21.08.16

(didn’t realize I could paste images; that’s a big help!)
this is all I see and in Windows, when I click on the Pioneer icon, all I get is a list of internet stations it can play. I suspect this receiver has pretty limited network functionality.

image

Do I need to buy a streamer like a NAD DAC 2 or a bluesound and hook that up to my receiver? If I go that route, will it see the music files on my shared Windows folder and will Audirvana be able to make use of the streamer?

Not with Bluesound or NAS. You need something with UPnP capability. Even something based on RPi would do.

thanks for your help. I’m a real newbie here with respect to high-res audio streaming.

I think I’m beginning to understand it. If I buy a UPnP DAC and hook it up to my monitor, will Audirvana see it on the network so that I can then stream my local files via Audirvana to the UPnP DAC to the receiver using the analog out of the DAC? Is that the basic configuration to allow Audirvana to stream to any network device? Once I add such a DAC, will I then see the network tab in addition to the DAC tab on my audio out settings of Audirvana?

Would it be cheaper for me and just as easy to use my old MacBook to run Audirvana, by a cheap USB DAC to plug into the MacBook, and then use the analog out of that DAC to feed into the hi-fi system?

Exactly. If you have a UPnP enabled DAC connected to your Amp Audirvana should be able to see it and use it as a UPnP Renderer.
I am not quite sure about the MacBook route though. If you would install e.g. Kodi on your MacBook it would turn your computer into a UPnP Server/Client. But I am not sure if Audirvana can use it as a target. Just give it a try. If it works you could then use an external DAC (e.g. ifi ZEN DAC) between the MacBook and Amp.

If you want to know more about how UPnP for Audio works you can take a look at this article:

Thanks for UPnP link. I’ll read it.

Also, thanks for the tip about the Zen DAC. It sounds like an excellent choice and it’s not expensive. So am I generally correct in assuming that if I use Audirvana + an inexpensive DAC like this Zen DAC or a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2, I don’t need to spend high hundreds or thousands for a standalone DAC because Audirvana is doing a lot of the processing that you’re paying for in a high-end DAC? Would it be fair to say that around $200-300 USD or Euros is a ‘sweet-spot’ and beyong that, there are diminishing returns with more expensive DACs?

I am afraid that I can‘t say much about more expensive DACs as I don‘t own nor have heard other dedicated DACs.
What I can tell is that a good DAC can make a great difference. If you compare the MacBooks internal DAC with the Zen the difference is incredible.
I also own a FiiO M11 (digital audio player) which also seems to have a decent DAC but the same player used with the Zen as DAC still sounds better.
In the end I think you will have to try and hear for yourself if high end DACs are worth the money. For me the Zen is good enough and very affordable. Reviews also state that you get great value for the money with it.

Yes you’re right. I guess I’ll have to take a high-end DAC home and see for myself. I currently have the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 hooked up to my computer (effectively replacing the inboard sound card) and I am so impressed with the clarity and smoothness, especially with Audirvana. I plug my Sennheiser headphones directly into the Scarlett. I tried an RME Baby Face Pro when I bought the Scarlett and although I would definitely get the RME for live recording and audio editing, for simple playback, I couldn’t hear much difference between it and the Scarlett. At least to my ears and for playback only, it seems a couple of hundred dollars/euros is enough to spend on a DAC.

Thanks for discussion; it will help me settle on what DAC to get for my family room stereo.

Audirvana is playing the role of the transport in this scenario. It’s a decent transport, but can’t make the average DAC better. Getting a decent DAC is essential.

You have some options to tune the sound to your liking, for example by playing with the oversampling or using plug-ins.

Understanding Audirvana as the “transport” is very helpful, thanks! I’ll check out higher-end DACs.

Hi I use a raspberry PI with an spdif hat,
Something like justboom digihat. Just burn moode to the SD CARD there’s a complete guide on the moode site, I use the optical in on my audiolab which has a DAC, sounds great I think it was £68 all up. It’ll show up as a upnp renderer in Audirvana.

If you want to spend more the allo signature is well reviewed for the spdif output.

I must say I like the raspberry pi route to trial this stuff it’s quality is sufficient and you haven’t broken the bank of you want to upgrade or change direction. I’ll probably go the external DAC route at some point.

Cheers

Yes the PI is an attractive option. I was just a little put off in my reading about how much work it is to set up. You’ve reassured me though that it’s not too bad. Could I get such a system running in 2-3 hours as opposed to fiddling with installation and settings all day?

I have been unable to cast to a Chromecast Audio endpoint from Audirvana. Bluetooth to my DAC is no problem but BT suffers from quality degradation. It’s not terrible but the difference is audible for critical listening. Any suggestions without replacing 4 Chromecast modules?

It strikes me the simplest route would be to use the MacBook and a decent DAC like the Audioquest Dragonfly plumbed into your hi-fi. You can control the MacBook from an iPhone or iPad using the remote app and you can do music “admin” on the MacBook. I have a similar setup using a Mac MINI as the music server and Gold Note DAC but it is essentially the same arrangement. I use screen sharing on my iMac to “administer” the headless MINI. It is worth checking versions of Audirvana and the MacOS if you want to use Direct Mode and you will get advice here on how to do the kext patch if required.

Yes that makes sense and I have a black Dragonfly. I hooked it up to my receiver using its 3/8" input. I’m amazed at how much better putting it through the DAC is compared to simply running it from my 2010 Imac’s 3/8" output. I guess Apple didn’t put in very good DACs in their imacs at least in 2010. I’m using the Audirvana app on my iPhone as a control point and that works okay (sometimes it loses connection to imac). A couple of questions if you don’t mind:

  1. do you think there would be any difference in quality if I used an adapter to allow the Dragonfly to go into RCA cables instead of the thin 3/8" headphone cable? These cables would then go into analog RCA inputs on my receiver.
  2. what is “Direct mode” and how is that different from the setup above?