Simplest setup?

Thanks… I do plan on using just the one folder and I never use iTunes so that shouldn’t be a problem

Slightly off topic, but … Hi-res FLAC and bluetooth? Really?
That’s like playing MP3’s.

Really? It’s the Bluetooth that connects the Flac files to my DAC… I’m new at this stuff … am I costing myself sound? How should I be making this connection?

Yep. Need to switch to another interface, USB, TOSLINK or UPnP over the network depending on what your equipment supports.

Good point. But, out of curiosity, I see these days some cute and cheap Chinese class D amp for Bluetooth 5. I wonder what it sounds like. Many people want a small & inexpensive system which sounds good and accurate. Keeping the files well tagged and stocked in open source format (FLAC) on some HD, is good enough for the next generations! Personally, in on small space of my home I use such a tinny system. Playing my FLAC files (mostly made from my huge CD collection) on Audirvana on a computer equipped with Sony Audio driver and linked by USB (printer-style) cable to one Sony SRS-X88 loudspeaker (DAC included, Hi-Res audio). I guarantee you visitors are always surprised & impressed.

In that setup, BT is fine. You might get better results using UPnP/DLNA over WiFi or even AirPlay.

For the best quality of this small system, I’m not using BT, nor WIFI but USB, with special audio driver on PC to feed the Sony DAC. If I’m correct, nothing should beat this config. It is also quite good on WIFI, without any direct link between PC and LS. Especially true with Tidal files. I have a question for you: what is the quality of Google cast? I use it when listening some music on Youtube. Not very satisfying.

Chromecast Audio supports up to 24/96, so not bad. I assume that Sony supports the same max resolution.

It’s higher than AirPlay, but it’s not supported by Audirvana.

It’s not given that USB offers the highest quality. USB is great for data but it’s a crappy audio interface.

Probably not the protocol’s fault. The source materials quality is what it is.

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Thank you. One more detail regarding USB. Even with the A to B USB connector?

It’s not related to the connector type. It’s more question of implementation. Nowdays pretty much all audio devices use async USB. The result will also depend on the implementation in the device itself. At some point, even the cable might make a difference.

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Small doesn’t need to equate to bad and size certainly isn’t a valid reason to sacrifice quality with lossy compression in the transmission chain. Messing the source material can’t be fixed later, not with any equipment.

Bluetooth is always bad. Wireless ethernet can be and usually is lossless - as good as any wired connection when the link quality is good - it all depends on the source material and the devices which finally render the audio.

Most important are the speakers and/or headphones (and their amplifiers to some extent), this is where at least 90% of any audio equipment budget should end up. Logically, for the last 10% (DAC’s etc), the differences are so small that even the discussion tends to include only 10% science.

We live in an apartment and I mostly listen to music late in the evening and in the middle of the night, but up close (0,7m from the monitors) and not loud (trying to keep peaks at 70 dB SPL); No problems with the neighbours - or the wife…
For this, I use Audirvana on a MacBook hooked via USB to a Topping D10, which serves as a DDC; The coax S/PDIF signal feeds AES/EBU inputs of two Genelec 8330’s and a 7350 sub via a Neutrik impedance converter.

About Chromecast:
When we want to rock the whole house, we use five Google Chromecast Audio’s in a group - it’s an amazing little puck, discontinued, but still available; They feed three old school integrated stereo amplifiers with conventional speakers, an active setup via an external DAC and a preamp in the living room and my “cave” system described earlier.

The CCA’s internal D/A converter is decent and it can be optically hooked to an external one via mini-toslink. I pack a (dedicated) CC audio and a CC 3 when travelling as well, they work fine with a 4G wifi router. For these, I run Plex on a Qnap NAS, of course Tidal etc. work too.

Thanks a lot Jannek. I should visit your home one day.

OK, I am clearly in over my head here. Maybe you folks can help me surface. I have high-def FLAC files downloaded to my iMac. I often play them from my Pono device directly connected to my Plinius 8200 integrated amp and it sounds great, but I want to be able to play them through my stereo system directly from the computer. I bought an Audioengine B1 Premium Bluetooth Music receiver and it seems to work ok though there is some disruption – the iMac is in a different room than the stereo – and after comments on this board I did some re-listening and there is an audible difference (thinner and muddier) with the Bluetooth. So, what do I need to buy/do to play my FLAC files through my system to get the most out of them? I will be buying a new Apple laptop soon – which is what started this whole process for me. I’m open to buying what I need, I just need to figure out what that is. I’m not very tech savvy but eventually I do catch on … FYI, the Plinius does not have a USB connection – RCA only.

Thanks for all your help. I do appreciate it.

You can start with Yamaha WXAD-10. It’s already an improvement over Bluetooth. It really depends how much you want to spend.

Good day
Can I ask you more detail about the UPnP/DLNA over WiFi option. I’m not familiar with these standards. My sony LS is compatible. What should I do exactly on my portable with Audirvana?

Your Sony SRS-X88 is DLNA/UPnP compatible. You should be able to see it as output device if you click on the speaker icon in the bottom right part of the interface, provided it’s connected to the same network as your computer.

Thanks much. I will look into that

Winterlong, here’s what I use to stream my multi channel DSD64/128 and Flac files.

In my living room where my audio equipment is: I have a Marantz receiver connected to an Exasound e38 DAC and Sigma Streamer over WiFi. (Never use Bluetooth.) The DAC is connected to the receiver through 5.1 analog line inputs (and it doesn’t do any processing on the analog inputs). This works great for 2-channel, but not multi ch since Audirvana doesn’t support multi ch streaming. I use other software for that (that’s more complicated). I’m thinking of moving to Roon because of this.

In my office I have Yamaha MusicCast speakers that can wirelessly transmit 24/192 flac and DSD64 (it downmixes multi ch to stereo). Airplay and other formats don’t support DSD and of course only do 16/44.1kHz.

My library lives on the cloud (I use pCloud since the data is in Switzerland with strict privacy laws) and Audirvana handles the data on the cloud.

This is a pretty simple setup and works seamlessly.

In general, I try to stay away from having extra technical layers like DLNA/uPnP etc. to avoid complications (esp. multi ch); they’re not insurmountable, however they require technical knowledge if you really want to mess with it. I have that in spades, but don’t have the time to spend tinkering with it.

Hope it helps. Enjoy whatever new system you end up with.

OK, so this is what I was using without knowing the standard involved. Thanks.