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JohnRice

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For the last several years I've been playing back the HD music I bought from HDTracks using an SSD and an Oppo BDP103, connected to an external DAC, but it's never worked quite as well as I'd like, plus who knows when the Oppo app will tank.

So a while back (far too long ago, actually) I decided to start looking for a newer/better way to playback music files in my HT. I looked at various newer DACs, including ones like the Matrix Mini-i Pro 3, which I'm not sure is still available. Eventually I realized I'd get all I wanted with a higher end streamer/DAC, which is a pretty niche product. I needed one that allows me to simply connect an SSD loaded with music and play it back using a mobile app.

So, a couple weeks ago I finally broke down and decided to give the Cambridge CXN v2 a try. There's been too much going on and I didn't take the time to actually hook it up this last Friday.

I will be doing a full write-up later, so more detail is coming. I'm just wondering if anyone else here has used a component like this. The sound quality is everything I'd hoped for. My other main option was the Naim Uniti Atom Headphone Edition, which is... in a word... a bit more expensive. I just couldn't find it in me to take the dive on that one, though I came very close a few times.

Anyone else use anything like this?
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Sorry, I missed this the first time around.

I'm currently using a basic solution: the WiiM Mini . I have it connected via its analog out to my tube integrated amp. I have also tried its optical out into my Denon receiver's digital input. Sound quality is better via the digital out, so I'm investigating inexpensive DACs (under $200) now to use with the tube amp.

It plays every streaming source I've tried, but my main use is for playing back CD rips from my Plex server. The app is pretty good for that, but it does occasionally have trouble with track order from multi-disc sets (I've seen this also with my Denon Heos speakers, so I think it's a Plex issue). It also lacks a real queue function, but to WiiM's credit, they are issuing updates all the time and the device & app work noticeably better now than when I bought it 6 months ago.
 

JohnRice

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it does occasionally have trouble with track order from multi-disc sets
That's a common problem you can fix with a music tag editor. Often, they only have track numbers, but no disc number, or all the disc numbers are 1. So it plays the first track from each disc first, then the second and so on.

I've used a similar thing, Apple AirPort Express to stream from my computer. A decent DAC can definitely improve the audio.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Yes, I've done that and it usually fixes things. I should have kept the discs in separate folders when ripping (live and learn). I still have my Airport Express hooked up to the Denon for use as background music (the Wiim can only have one output active at a time). I might end up with a Schiitt Modi DAC, it's in my price range.
 

jcroy

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A local acquaintance was using a cambridge audio network player over the home wifi or occasionally a usb flash drive, connected to a mostly analog standalone stereo system. As far as I could tell, the cd rips as *.wav files sound fine. Audio of pop/rock music from youtube or other music streaming services sound ok. (Dunno about classical music in non-lossless formats).


With that being said, I take the lazy way out and just use an old laptop computer connected to my standalone stereo. One with an 1/8 inch stereo headphone jack. (ie. This would be considered blasphemy to the more discriminating high end audiophile type folks).

As far as I can tell, classical music *.wav rips from cds sound fine to my ears with this lazy assed laptop -> standalone stereo setup. (I've been listening to von Karajan in recent times).
 

JohnRice

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A local acquaintance was using a cambridge audio network player over the home wifi or occasionally a usb flash drive, connected to a mostly analog standalone stereo system. As far as I could tell, the cd rips as *.wav files sound fine. Audio of pop/rock music from youtube or other music streaming services sound ok. (Dunno about classical music in non-lossless formats).


With that being said, I take the lazy way out and just use an old laptop computer connected to my standalone stereo. One with an 1/8 inch stereo headphone jack. (ie. This would be considered blasphemy to the more discriminating high end audiophile type folks).

As far as I can tell, classical music *.wav rips from cds sound fine to my ears with this lazy assed laptop -> standalone stereo setup. (I've been listening to von Karajan in recent times).
Music has always been the #1 priority in my HT, odd as that might seem. Music is what brought me to audio gear back in the 70s. Since disc based music is sort of past, for me at least, I wanted an updated playback system that would provide the best audio quality I can afford. I'm very happy with the Cambridge CXN v2. It's right at, or a little past the point of rapidly diminishing returns, so I expect it would cost a small fortune to maybe get marginally better sound. I'm playing CD rips as well as high res files up to 192/24.
 

jcroy

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Music has always been the #1 priority in my HT, odd as that might seem. Music is what brought me to audio gear back in the 70s. Since disc based music is sort of past, for me at least, I wanted an updated playback system that would provide the best audio quality I can afford.

Similar sentiments here too back in the day, though not in the sense of an "audiophile" type obsession of buying really expensive equipment.

Back in the day, a lot of record albums I was listening to had a horrible production where the producer/engineering deliberately made the record sound like shit by sabotage. The reasons was stuff like very little cash to pay for studio costs, the engineer/producer was drunk/high all the time, the band was getting into fist fights in the studio with the producer, the engineer / producer hated the band's music, etc ...

As a half gap measure, I was playing around with graphic equalizers (or parametric) in attempts to "clean up" the sound. So in those days, I became a quasi-expert in recognizing frequency ranges and adjusting levels. Though in the end, this was largely an exercise in futility.

I encountered two definitive cases of albums where the original versions sounded like complete garbage, but which were re-mixed and re-released decades later with a "cleaner" sound production. Though it the end, these newer cleaner re-mixes still sounded like garbage.

In the end, I came to the realization that if the original 24-track multitrack recordings were lousy/shit to begin with, nothing in the world is going to improve the sound. Later re-mixes, re-mastering, etc ... will not do much of anything, other than putting "lipstick on a pig".
 

JohnRice

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Now there's this rather mysterious EverSolo DMP-a6 that was released today. It's a mostly unknown company, but the unit looks amazing, and they did some brilliant marketing by sending units to several YouTubers. Currently, there are no direct sellers in the US, but there are in Australia (Melbourne) and France. Elsewhere you currently have to order it through AliExpress. I've never purchased on AliExpress, but people seem to generally have good experience. EverSolo has an Amazon store, with two DACs, but not the streamer yet.

I'm very tempted to give it a shot.
 

Peter Apruzzese

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Interesting, appears to retail under $1000. There's a 22 page thread at Audio Science Review which I only skimmed. I wonder if it can access a Plex library?
 

JohnRice

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Interesting, appears to retail under $1000. There's a 22 page thread at Audio Science Review which I only skimmed. I wonder if it can access a Plex library?
$859, which is hard to believe. One very slick feature is an internal NVMe slot. What I wonder is, how do you get new files to it? I would hope you can do it over the network, because removing the SSD every time would stink. Unfortunately, it says there is a 2TB max, which doesn't exactly make sense to me.
 

JohnRice

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I fully plan to get an EverSolo DMP-A6, sooner than later, most likely. I'd love to have an alternate unit to compare to the Cambridge CXN v2. I'm just not wild about having to import one through AliExpress, in case there's any problem. I have no idea what I'd do about it, though I would buy it directly from the Zidoo store, which is the parent company of EverSolo.

Apparently there is an upgraded "Master's Edition" but I don't see that on AliExpress, though some European sellers say they have it.
 

JohnRice

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Well…

I appear to have grabbed one on Amazon. It hasn’t been available, but this morning I noticed it was, with a delivery in mid June. So I grabbed one and then it went unavailable again. We’ll see if I get it.
 

JohnRice

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…and my EverSolo DMP-A6 has been shipped. Supposed to be here Monday, though it wouldn’t surprise me if it arrived earlier than that.
 

John Dirk

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…and my EverSolo DMP-A6 has been shipped. Supposed to be here Monday, though it wouldn’t surprise me if it arrived earlier than that.
Congrats, John. I saw this reviewed on You Tube a few weeks ago and immediately thought you might be interested. I hope no one considers this sacrilege but I haven't personally seen the value proposition in dedicated streamers.
 

JohnRice

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Congrats, John. I saw this reviewed on You Tube a few weeks ago and immediately thought you might be interested. I hope no one considers this sacrilege but I haven't personally seen the value proposition in dedicated streamers.
I'm actually not interested in the streaming capabilities. What I want is a top notch DAC with the ability to play high res music files from an attached SSD, and control playback from a mobile device. The components that are able to do that are generally streamers. The Cambridge CXN v2 I've had for a couple months has been great, but this is important enough to me that I'm willing to buy another one so I can compare and decide which I like the best. In the scheme of this absurd little hobby, this is inexpensive enough of a component to buy two and see which one wins.
 

John Dirk

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The Cambridge CXN v2 I've had for a couple months has been great, but this is important enough to me that I'm willing to buy another one so I can compare and decide which I like the best. In the scheme of this absurd little hobby, this is inexpensive enough of a component to buy two and see which one wins.
I'm envious as this is how I've always approached things as well. As a recent retiree, however, I am trying to adjust my thinking to the realities of a "fixed income" of sorts but have had varying degrees of success. :cool:
 

Peter Apruzzese

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I'm actually not interested in the streaming capabilities. What I want is a top notch DAC with the ability to play high res music files from an attached SSD, and control playback from a mobile device. The components that are able to do that are generally streamers. The Cambridge CXN v2 I've had for a couple months has been great, but this is important enough to me that I'm willing to buy another one so I can compare and decide which I like the best. In the scheme of this absurd little hobby, this is inexpensive enough of a component to buy two and see which one wins.
Looking forward to your thoughts. this is pretty much my use case (aside from high rez files). I want an easy to use device with a display and the ability to control via an app and have it access my Plex library on a PC.
 

JohnRice

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Looking forward to your thoughts. this is pretty much my use case (aside from high rez files). I want an easy to use device with a display and the ability to control via an app and have it access my Plex library on a PC.
I can't help you with Plex. I'll be almost exclusively using the DMP-A6's internal M.2 slot, which I understand you can access over the network using the ip address, to play back ripped and downloaded music files. So, at least my observations regarding user experience and sound quality.

The two units have a very different approach, from a technological side. The Cambridge uses rather old DAC chips, while the EverSolo uses more current ones. The DAC chip itself is of less importance than the analog implementation. So it's not safe to assume the EverSolo will be better. The EverSolo honestly seems too good to be true, for the price.
 

JohnRice

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The EverSolo DMP-A6 is here. I won't be connecting it until at least tomorrow, because I have other things taking priority for the next day, and I realize there is no such thing as "I'll just hook it up and then get back to the stuff I need to get done." :wacko:

_NZ70972-1.2K.jpg
 

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