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Streaming music from Laptop to Home stereo
Comet
post Mar 28 2010, 21:33
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Hello:

My traditional old 2 channel music system, (CD player, amp, speakers) has started to break down and I'm in the market for a change. I really like the idea of streaming music since it was introduced to me.

I own a simple Toshiba Satellite laptop computer connected to two external hard drives full of music that I currently download to for storage. I want to connect this to a new integrated amp that I have not purchased as of yet. I'm looking at the Bryston B100 or the Moon i3.3 integrated. I want the result to be a basic system of a laptop, integrated amp and speakers - a very simple system. My most important characteristic I hope to achieve is the best sound quality that is reasonable under these circumstances.

I know that if I had a desktop computer, that a co-axial cable between it and the integrated would give me very good sound, but all I have is a laptop. The Moon integrated has a USB out and also an optical, while the Bryston only has the toslink. Would the USB out give me inferior sound as compared to the optical? Or, because I'm not talking very expensive equipment, I really should not notice an appreciable difference.

I have good quality audio files to begin with, Flac and Wav, so I want to give them the best sounding chance possible under the limits that I've given above.

It might also help to know that I won't be using wireless at all.

Also, if there is a better streaming scenario that you could offer that would give me great sound please let me know.

Thanks so much and I hope someone can help me and possibly give me some other great ideas. The giving of your time and your expertise is very much appreciated.

Comet
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garym
post Mar 28 2010, 21:52
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a Squeezebox player of some sort is just the ticket. Bit perfect player that handles FLAC natively, can run wired or wireless, and is not reliant on your computer's soundcard (no resampling, noise inside your computer, etc.). Also a helpful active forum. See here:


http://forums.slimdevices.com/index.php
http://www.logitechsqueezebox.com/products/overview.html

A much anticipated product is the Squeezebox TOUCH. I hope to see this in the next month or so, but not sure.
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Comet
post Mar 28 2010, 22:04
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Hi garym. Thanks for responding.

Can you tell me how the Squeezebox would work into the system I described? Does it connect in between my laptop and my integrated? And does it use the USB or Toslink connection?

Thanks
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Notat
post Mar 28 2010, 22:51
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Any digital connection between laptop and your stereo has a fighting chance of sounding optimally excellent. Whether it actually sounds excellent is dependent on good engineering and that, unfortunately, will be difficult for you to asses.

USB direct to the integrated amp is digital. You can get a USB to TOSLink converter to make a connection to the other integrated. Squeezebox uses a digital wireless or wired Ethernet connection to your laptop or home network.

This post has been edited by Notat: Mar 28 2010, 22:52
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Comet
post Mar 28 2010, 23:06
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Thanks for your response Notat.

Given my outline of what I have i.e. laptop, integrated and what I want to achieve, out of the choices you have given, which direction would you move towards?

And what about the suggestion of a squeezebox that garym gave?

Thanks
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Notat
post Mar 29 2010, 04:42
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It seems like the USB connection direct to the integrated amp is the cleanest setup. I'm personally happy when I plug my computer or iPod into the stereo using an analog connection.

Squeezebox can be difficult because the device itself, your network and server software running on your laptop all have to be happy for it to play. If Squeezebox appeals to you, and you can stomach iTunes on a PC, you should also consider Apple's airport.
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southisup
post Mar 29 2010, 05:04
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Don't discount an analogue connection from your laptop line-out or headphone socket to the amp. This is how I now do it. Measurably superior does not always mean audibly better. Worth a try.

Edit: clarification.


This post has been edited by southisup: Mar 29 2010, 05:06
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