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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/20/magazine/neil-young-streaming-music.html   "But Young hears something creepier and more insidious in the new music too. We are poisoning ourselves with degraded so

As Sam Tellig once said about one of those horned gramophone things, the solution to the "tubes v. solid-state" controversy is to use neither.

Historically, "high end" audio has been driven by classical music. If you don't listen to classical music, you don't need it. Not cuz there's any magic to classical music.  Not cuz classical

I don't want to come off the wrong way here, plattetude.  People who care about sound quality in audio reproducing equipment definitely occupy a niche, nothing more -- and there's no superiority in it.  But I assumed Bonner singled me out to ask about this because he DOES care.

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I'm surprised, though.  Am I remembering right that you sing in a chorus?  So, at least in happier days, you heard unamplified live music all the time.  I'd think the sound of things like SONUS reproducing music would bother you.

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Are you saying that the way that Sonos delivers audio from the source (files in your library, streaming, etc.) is flawed for an audiophile? Because there are Sonos appliances that have optical outputs for connection to whatever audio system you have (so you aren't dependent on an inexpensive DAC).

I understand that the Sonos bookshelf speakers might not sound like what you want, but as a way to put together a mutli-room system with differing level of discerning users I would say that it is pretty hard to beat.

(By the way, we hated our Orbi network. Too glitchy and laggy. Fought with it for about a year, gave up, and went with Google.)

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44 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

I'm surprised, though.  Am I remembering right that you sing in a chorus?  So, at least in happier days, you heard unamplified live music all the time.  I'd think the sound of things like SONUS reproducing music would bother you.

You remember right.

For active listening, it's not my first choice -- I've got my main AV receiver with some decent Martin Logans for that (and a set of mid-level AudioTechnica cans that are good enough), but for streaming to multiple rooms, whether it's NPR programming or musical company while I cook, I think it's a great option. It's partly a lifestyle thing -- once kids are in the picture, the idea of actually sitting down and critically listening for more than 10 minutes? Not happening.

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On 5/17/2020 at 12:23 AM, Sneakeater said:

(I still haven't been able to figure out how to get my bedside clock radio/CD player, which is nominally hooked up to my WIFi network, to play downloads stored on my desktop*)

I actually don't think it's possible.

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7 hours ago, plattetude said:

You remember right.

For active listening, it's not my first choice -- I've got my main AV receiver with some decent Martin Logans for that (and a set of mid-level AudioTechnica cans that are good enough), but for streaming to multiple rooms, whether it's NPR programming or musical company while I cook, I think it's a great option. It's partly a lifestyle thing -- once kids are in the picture, the idea of actually sitting down and critically listening for more than 10 minutes? Not happening.

This def provides enough information for Bonner to make a determination.

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7 hours ago, SLBunge said:

Are you saying that the way that Sonos delivers audio from the source (files in your library, streaming, etc.) is flawed for an audiophile? Because there are Sonos appliances that have optical outputs for connection to whatever audio system you have (so you aren't dependent on an inexpensive DAC).

I'm saying that as speakers -- as sound reproducers -- SONOS aren't up to snuff.  They can't do what good speakers do.

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29 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

I'm saying that as speakers -- as sound reproducers -- SONOS aren't up to snuff.  They can't do what good speakers do.

Yeah. I agree with that. But the ability to easily interface with the equipment that powers those good speakers is worth a look.

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To me -- and again, I understand I'm in a niche -- that's kind of the end of so-called "high end" audio (and I understand most people won't miss it).

It doesn't matter how good the interface is with other equipment.  It doesn't matter how easy it is.

It matters how good it is at reproducing the sound of live unamplified sound.

What can I say?  I'm a dinosaur.

I'll be dead soon enough.

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It's interesting, but in my mind, some music (certainly some of the music and artists I'm fond of) isn't really meant to be listened to on million dollar stereo systems. I mean, some music which moves me may have been best listened to on a car radio, cruising down the Meadowbrook Parkway on our way to Jones Beach in 1972. Indeed, some music was even produced to be listened to just that way, critical listening be damned.  But boy, did I have (what was then) a nice stereo when I was in high school and into college. I suppose if I had a little more room here I'd have something much more worthy than I do now.

 

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I guess I don't understand my use case for Sonos if I have a low loss stream as my source? Aren't I still going to need some amplification + dac+speaker in every room and can't I get that better and more future proofed outside of an eco system?

What I don't like about Sonos is not just the sound quality ( where I'm in plattetudes camp of different horses for courses - but I have two spaces where I want good sound)  but also the integration of the non-amp electronics and speaker and the walled garden nature of it.  If that makes sense.

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If you want two (or more) spaces with good sound, you can get a two (or three) zone receiver. The Sonos solution is for easy extensibility into as many rooms as you want with no added hardware footprint, but comes with the caveats that the speaker is the speaker (and really, it's not a terrible speaker) and you're using it for streaming only. It's really the only decent option in the "whole house" niche. But absolutely, if you need to integrate other components into the stream, you're better off with a workhorse of a receiver (and whatever degree of pre-amps and speakers you want to invest in) that has the power you need for clean, pure listening. I haven't shopped for a receiver in years, but I'm sure these days there are all kinds of WIFI enabled receiver options with iOS/Android remote control apps. Ease of use there will be your biggest differentiator -- "can I access my base system quickly and easily for whichever room I'm in?" I used to be a big Marantz fan, but they've lost some sheen in the past 10-15 years. I'm happy with my Onkyo, but YMMV.

The multizone thing -- if, on the other hand, you're looking for surround sound in more than one room, then each room = dedicated AV receiver. But then we're talking about home theater optimization more than critical listening and you've got a lot more tradeoffs to juggle.

Times when I've been in-market for this kind of thing, I've found a lot of good info and discussion (and a lot of chaff, natch) at AVSforum.com.

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1 hour ago, Anthony Bonner said:

I guess I don't understand my use case for Sonos if I have a low loss stream as my source? Aren't I still going to need some amplification + dac+speaker in every room and can't I get that better and more future proofed outside of an eco system?

SONOS plays a digital stream, and it *is* the speaker. You don't need amp/DAC/speaker, because it's all part of the solution. It'll accept virtually every file format of audio with the limitation that it won't go above 44.1khz (actually, I think it can handle 48khz, but not high resolution files of 88, 96, or higher, but at that point you're beyond CD quality, which would point to Tidal's "Master" streaming level or a couple of tiers of Qobuz). So for Sonos, you're buying the speaker; your home computer provides the networking (and local music library if you want to stream that too). The only thing you'd need amplification or DAC for is for any attached component that by definition you'd want to be connected to a dedicated receiver. So in that case, it's a hybrid solution (as I have), where you've got Sonos for streaming around the house and my base system for my CD/SACD/BluRay/turntable components.

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 I dont like the integrated solution is what I was (poorly) trying to say before.

Given speakers are not a rapidly changing tech it seems treating them like they are is a weaker outcome.  I guess what is the piece that changes (other than software) and how do I buy that? Is it the wireless bridge?  Are the DACs in a Chromecast good enough as a source into a good amplifier?

I have a very long old house so I'm trying to keep wire runs to a minimum but if I need to run Cat6 I'll run Cat6

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