Viewing 24 posts - 1 through 24 (of 24 total)
  • Hi-Fi People: Network Stereo Amplifiers (Audiolab Content)
  • Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    I’ve had a Yamaha CRX-N470D Network CD Receiver for a couple of years. It’s OK. But only OK if you know what I mean. In my workshop I’ve got an old Denon amp with a couple of decent speakers which gives a more satisfying sound.
    I now know what features I want in one box, controlled from one remote or one app on the phone. Apart from an amp that gives a full sound to the music at both low and mid volume, I want network connectivity so I can get internet radio (6 Music) and Spotify. I’d also like to plug in a CD player (which I have) and maybe (but not vital) a turntable. I’ve got some OK speakers (Mordaunt Short MS 5.20) and will probably upgrade these when we move to a house with a bigger listening room.
    I popped into Richer Sounds this afternoon and got quite taken by the Audiolab 6000A Play. It’s a box which combines their 6000A amp with their 6000N network streamer. It’s £800 though, and if I put my Yamaha on eBay I might just about justify it (to myself, not sure about somebody else, but it’s my birthday tomorrow).
    So, who knows about this kind of thing? Any better options for a bit less? Yes, of course I love the idea of the Naim Mu-So, but, I dunno. I think I’ll stick with 2 speakers.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    /cloak of invisibility/

    Premier Icon Atomizer
    Full Member

    I’ve been pondering this in too much depth recently.
    Favourite so far is the Marantz PM7000N – does all I think you need I think plus turntable connection.
    £900 ish looking around.

    Premier Icon twonks
    Full Member

    For a little bit more I got an Arcam SR250 (from Richer Sounds as well)

    It’s a belter of an amp with ish networking capabilities at best. Digital radio works ok but I use an Ipad through a £30 Apple camera kit, then a USB to toslink/coax converter before finally into the amp digitally.

    Sounds a bit of a mess but in reality it is superb. The boxes are hidden away and the Ipad controls content, either digitally straight into the amp (including hi-res) or remotely by controlling an Raspberry Pi with digital HAT, that also connects to the amp.

    Maybe the user interface isn’t as slick as an all in one amp but it isn’t far behind and the sound quality is several steps up on other amps with it all built in.

    Premier Icon captmorgan
    Free Member

    Doesn’t have streaming capabilities but has Bluetooth for streaming and dab for six music and well reviewed at £500

    https://www.richersounds.com/hi-fi/amplifiers-receivers/cambridge-audio-axr100d-lunar-grey.html

    Premier Icon 2bit
    Free Member

    I’ve got a Marantz 510 which does everything required.

    Latest version is the 612 https://www.marantz.com/en-gb/product/network-audio-players/m-cr612

    I’ve got mine connected to a NAS via wifi, turntable & 2 pairs of speakers. It has an inbuilt CD player & DAB etc. Looks like the latest version has Bluetooth & various updates

    Everything controlled by the remote or app. The app for the version I have is absolutely shocking – not sure if the newer version has a better app or not..

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    Some very thought provoking responses, thanks. The Marantz M-CR612 is worth a look but it uses TuneIn for internet radio. Some reviews say that TuneIn is no longer available in the UK. Does that cause a problem?

    Premier Icon andylc
    Free Member

    If you have everything else you need why not just get a Sonos port and just turn your Denon into a networked system? Ive gotten rid of my original hifi now in favour of everything being Sonos but it worked very well, and you actually get a decent app to control it all, plus can easily extend the system in the future. I have changed to the new Sonos Amps and having had various expensive systems over the years including Naim Pre-power combos and the like, a Sonos Amp with a decent set of speakers sounds pretty much as good or better than anything I have owned before.

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    I run a Google Chromecast Audio into my existing amp + cd player and turntable.

    Means I can cast/stream BBC Sounds, Spotify, etc. to it from my phone.

    Google discontinued them last year, but if you can find one then they work perfectly as a way of playing online content through an existing system.

    Premier Icon bob_summers
    Full Member

    Was just gonna ask, first time I’ve heard of these network boxes, what’s wrong with a chromecast audio? Pity they’re discontinued, have had one dangling out the back of my 8000A for years and it’s faultless. Maybe no good if you need multi room.

    Premier Icon andylc
    Free Member

    Sonos Port does the same thing with the advantage of not being discontinued…

    Premier Icon ajantom
    Full Member

    Sonos Port does the same thing with the advantage of not being discontinued

    Though the Chromecast is much smaller and less than 10% of the price!

    *Edit…actually I just looked on eBay and they’re going for 2-3 times the new price!
    Think I got both mine in the Curry’s sale for £15 each.
    Now people are asking £60+ for them. Still a great bit of kit though.

    Premier Icon susepic
    Free Member

    +1 for the chromecast audio if you can find one

    You *might* be able to do the same using an HDMI Chromecast and using a filter that gives you RCA output to the amp. Might be a bit heath robinson tho, and not sure of the quality
    https://www.audioreputation.com/hdmi-audio-extractors/

    Premier Icon 2bit
    Free Member

    re Internet Radio on the Marantz

    I’ve not used Internet Radio in ages (its pretty much now only Vinyl, NAS or R6 on DAB) but looks like it now uses vTuner – https://support-uk.marantz.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/7095/~/internet-radio-service-by-vtuner

    I’ve not registered or used it so can’t comment sorry. Quick google & it looks like Denon/Marantz/Yamaha all now use vTuner for t’internet Radio..

    Premier Icon twonks
    Full Member

    I bought a Chromecast audio ages ago. It was ok but didn’t support gapless playback.
    As a lot of my music is continuous mixes this was a big annoyance, so it went back in its box and has been there since.

    Not sure if this is still the case as it is a long time since I played with the thing, although from the comments above maybe I should get it on the bay of fleas.

    Premier Icon nick1962
    Free Member

    What speakers ae you using with the Yamaha? What’s the room like? Have you tried the workshop speakers with it? Moved things around done an A/B comparison etc ? You might not need to buy anything. The perceived wisdom is to spend most money on the speakers where you will hear the most difference ,then amp.Yamaha’s network amps and apps are well regarded and the RN 602 D has a good phono stage.If you just want to add a network to your Denon set up then try an Arylic s10 from Amazon @£59.99.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    More good suggestions to help me there ☺️
    Sadly, the Linn speakers in the workshop were so old that they only managed a few weeks of teasing me before the cones disintegrated. It was going into Richer Sounds to get a pair of JBL Ones to replace them that started this malarkey.
    I do have a Chromecast audio, so maybe just put the amp back and have a dedicated tablet to stream radio and Spotify through, saving £800 in the process.
    But once in a blue moon I like to play one of our old CDs. And I haven’t got room for a player as I built my rather super cupboard specifically around the single unit idea.

    Premier Icon susepic
    Free Member

    I have a chromecast audio, and just stream from my phone. Once it’s streaming i can control playlist from spotify on my PC. Works really well. Can also loop it together (using google home) with a second chromecast on the hometheater receiver and have the same sounds through the ground floor.

    I do still have a CD player connected to the amp for that time i want to listen to CDs, last got used about 4 years ago.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Full Member

    Recently bought a Mu-So 2 myself, I’m far from an audiophile (just wanted a step-up from the usual £50-150 Bluetooth speakers I’d had for years), it sounds great to me but it definitely lacks decent stereo separation due to it’s all-in-one configuration. If I’d already had decent speakers I would have got something else (likely the Audiolab, although I did almost convince myself I needed a Unity Atom but thankfully came to my senses :p ).

    Premier Icon bridges
    Free Member

    The perceived wisdom is to spend most money on the speakers where you will hear the most difference ,then amp.

    I think this is pretty sound (!) advice. The Audiolab will be capable of delivering excellent sound quality, if it’s anything like their classic offerings such as the legendary 8000A. Above that, and you’re paying for some really esoteric equipment, and rapidly diminishing returns on investment. But you’d then really need to upgrade your speakers, if you want the best out of something like that; the MS speakers are ok, but believe me, if you pair that amp with something like Focal Aria 906s, Castle Avon 2s, B+W 707s, and you’ll instantly hear the benefits. Ok, so those are pretty expensive, and you don’t need to spend that much. But they’d be in the area of speakers I’d be getting, with such an amplifier. Their greater sensitivity will deliver greater dynamic range, for starters. And many people think amplifier power output is about how loud it will go; true, but it’s more about having the ability to drive the speakers to deliver that proper ‘ooomph’ when needed, for example for low frequency sounds, and again, to create more dynamic range; the difference in sound levels from the quietest to the loudest sounds. Obviously this is all dependent on how good your acoustics are; no good throwing money at hi-fi is you have poor acoustics, you need to sort that first, and that can cost a LOT more.

    What’s the room like? Have you tried the workshop speakers with it? Moved things around done an A/B comparison etc ? You might not need to buy anything.

    This is also sound (sorry ) advice. Have a play around, see what sounds best. Could be that the ‘workshop’ speakers are better than the MS’s.

    As for streaming; I’ve never been satisfied with things like Chromecast, just not good enough sound quality. Sonos I wouldn’t waste my money on; style over substance. Very overpriced in my opinion. But then I’m an Apple ‘fanboi’, so I use Airplay via an ancient Airport Express, into a ‘proper’ hi-fi, and 2 Homepods (which are astonishing given their small size and relatively low price). That works far better than anything else I’ve tried, but probably no good if you’re not an Apple user.

    Another option, and a bit cheaper than the Audiolab, is a Yamaha WXA50 streaming amplifier; this has wi-fi compatible with Airplay and all sorts of other protocols and services. It also does Bluetooth, but I’m not sure how much Bluetooth audio streaming has improved; last time I looked it wasn’t very good for ‘proper’ hi-fi quality sound.

    Premier Icon bridges
    Free Member

    I missed this bit:

    But once in a blue moon I like to play one of our old CDs. And I haven’t got room for a player as I built my rather super cupboard specifically around the single unit idea.

    Do what I’m doing; rip all your CDs to AIFF files (the proprietary uncompressed CD file type), which you can then convert to MP3 or whatever, as needed. Airplay will process AIFF files (I think iTunes/Music converts to ALAC, but I’ve done ‘listening tests’, and can’t tell the difference between an AIFF track file played through a Mac connected to an amp, and from a CD). Then you don’t ever need a CD player again.

    Premier Icon gwaelod
    Free Member

    The Audiolab seemed to get some bad comments on the AV Forums website due to the app/system used for streaming (Play-Fi?) which apparently was a bit pants – whether or not thats been fixed now though I have no idea but maybe worth checking.

    If you have the cash the Lyngdorf TDA 1120 seems to be the one to get. I use a Chromecast audio into the back of my amp – wish I’d bought about 5 before they were discontinued – brilliant things.

    Premier Icon BigJohn
    Full Member

    Cor blimey, what a minefield!

    Having taken on board all of the good information given in this thread (that Arylic s10 looks interesting) I’ve decided to leave any major investment until we move house and put up with the slightly limited sound until then.

    But…

    When I took the advice given by nick1962 to do an A-B comparison, I found, surprisingly, that the Yamaha seems to drive my new £79 workshop speakers (JBL Control 1) a bit better than the Mordaunt Shorts, so I did a bit of a switch around and now I’ve got quite a nice set-up in the workshop. Shine On You Crazy Diamond was sounding particularly stonking yesterday evening. So if I want my fix of CDs and Vinyl, that’s where I’ll go. And if I swap a cable I can stream RadMac on Listen Again when I’m working there.

    Surely I can’t be the only one who listens almost exclusively to Radio 4, 5Live 6 Music and Spotify and is struggling to find something that gives me that in good quality, and with a single remote control to achieve that simply.

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