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?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Posted by celticmoon (My Page) on
Thu, Jul 26, 07 at 1:42

The last classical station in this city just folded and we are having serious weekend withdrawal.

I've looked into Sirius, but $250 for each componant receiver and another $150 subscription per receiver a year seems nuts. (don't really care for Howard Stern and all that.)

I can get lots of free Internet radio that would serve my needs. I understand the reception can be spotty, but can live with that. It is fine in my study where my main desktop drives nice surround Klipsch speakers with subwoofer.

But I want that music in the living room. Too far for ethernet cable so I'm looking at wireless. Have a newer Linksys router at the desktop to serve laptops.

I'm seeing everything from Sony's Sonos at 1k to basic Dlink's for $100. For 1k I could park a laptop at the stereo system permanently! Soundbridge, Squeezebox, EVA, Logitech - yikes! Too many choices, pricing all over the place, and all with critics saying scary things.

I don't care to stream video or pictures. I don't care to stream mp3's (I have a optical lead from my 20G iRiver for that). I just want internet radio in the living room system. Oh, and I am cheap. And DH is a techno neanderthal -so it has to be simple to turn on. (I will tangle with setup.)

Any info/suggestions welcomed and appreciated.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

A few options: if you are using iTunes (on Mac or Windows), you could use Apple's Airport Express, which can work as a wireless router/repeater/media streamer. Around $125 and dead simple if you're attaching it to a Mac; not much harder if you're attaching it to Windows.

Sonos is very nice, but -- especially at its price -- I fail to see where it is markedly better than either Roku's SoundBridge (which I use) or Slim Devices' SqueezeBox. I'm also naturally suspicious that Sony will keep it an open system, since they typically do what they can to close systems. But I may be all wet on that.

Some considerations: generally, bits is bits. Since you're talking only radio, you can get by with an 802.11b solution. 802.11g is better and you might consider it if everything else on your wireless network is 802.11g (a "b" device will only slow down everything else). But radio does not require any more than an 802.11b connection. If you want to try to "futureproof" your choice, make sure the wireless connection is handled by an industry-standard card, not a proprietary card or soldered onto the device.

Think about how you interact with the device. Do you want to go to the computer in another room to change the "station" every time? Would you rather use a remote control where the wireless device is? If so, find out about navigation. It may be a real pain to select a different program if you have no visual feedback of what you're selecting (entering a URL/station address, etc.). Devices with screens are more expensive, but the hassle of not having one will make you wish you spent the money.

Finally, check the appropriate outputs. Some of these devices output digital streams (TOSLink). Others have just a pair of high-level RCA jacks. You'll have to decide which connection is appropriate to your equipment and your listening.


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Thank you, Steve. Good points.

I don't use iTunes, or anything Apple (love the design, hate the proprietary angle). So the Airport may not be a good fit.

The desktop is just a few steps away in the study. Actually given where the seating and hardware all is, it's about the same to get to the stereo as to the desktop.

I struggle with remotes. We sprung for an audio upgrade a few years ago and I *still* can't figure out the universal remote. So end up walking over to the stuff to do things manually as it is. Sad.

One question. When I use an optical output to play mp3's (iRiver iHP 120 player) on the main system, the main Denon amp cannot feed the music to the "slave" amp, the old NAD (because it is in digital format?). Good sound in the living room but no sound in the kitchen or outside speakers that run off the NAD. CD's, radio, television - all other formats go right on through to the NAD fine and out through the hub to wherever. The audio "expert" installer couldn't figure out how to move the optically fed music. Will I have that problem with wireless streaming of Internet radio?

That may be a dumb question, but I just don't get it.



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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Will I have that problem with wireless streaming of Internet radio?

How is the Denon feeding the NAD? Assuming the NAD has no digital-to-analog conversion (because of its age) and assuming that the CD player connected to the NAD is not connected optically, I would think that an analog high-level output from the Denon to the NAD would do the job. If the NAD cannot do D/A conversion, something has to. For MP3 streams, that may have to be the Denon amp.


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Thank you steve,

I'm going to explore the back connections and try to understand how the Denon feeds the NAD, maybe experiemt with playing mp3 CD's also? Not sure whether those make it through to the NAD. If they do, then I'm flummoxed. Are you saying the optical lead from the iRiver is delivering music differently from, say, an mp3 burned onto a CD?

I'm trying but I'm kinda dense about this stuff.


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Are you saying the optical lead from the iRiver is delivering music differently from, say, an mp3 burned onto a CD?

I guess I am. My point is that both CD and MP3 are digital formats. An optical link sends digital information to whatever is connected on the other end, which must convert the digital information to analog information so the amplifier can send a signal to the speakers. Some CD players have digital (optical) outputs, but most do the digital-to-analog conversion internally. Which is why you can play music CDs on the NAD receiver. If you have an analog connection on the iRiver (headphone jack, AUX output, etc.), it can do the digital-to-analog conversion internally as well, and could be hooked up to the NAD that way (if you were so inclined).

I'm guessing that the NAD is old enough that it does not do any digital-to-analog processing internally. If that is so, then you could feed a digital source into the Denon, which could do the conversion and then send a high-level analog signal to the NAD for amplification in your kitchen.

Hope that helps!


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Progress here.

You are right Steve. I am playing a CD burned in mp3 format now and the Denon moves it over to the NAD fine and it is also playing in the kitchen, outside, etc. So the Denon must be converting the format to analog so that the NAD can use it. No wait! I get it! It is the CD player doing the conversion *before* feeding the music, since the leads are analog leads between the CD player and the Denon. Unliike the lead from the iRiver which is optical. Huh. You'd think that fancy expensive Denon could do an internal conversion.

BUT! No matter. Because winging its way to me is a Logitech DJ unit (list about $250, $88 on Amazon). Just what I wanted and more. Almost got the older simpler Logitech Mysic System for $58, but I am taking your advice re: a better remote. This remote does have a screen, and is set up kinda like an ipod with a scroll wheel. What grabbed me though was that I can search and play *anything* off my computer: internet radio, stored music or any existing playlist. Search by artist, album, or genre. Even random picks or shuffle. (No itunes, boohoo. Precisely why I hate their proprietary angle. May not be compatible with Rhapsody, but I don't subscribe anyway).

Sooooo, seeing as how there is over 30 gigs of music already stored and tagged pretty decently here at the desktop, how could I resist? And there is a set of available high end analog connectors at the ready from a big dish satellite unit I took down - already coded into the universal remote. Looks workable.

It would be cool to call up anything from the sofa.

Will come back and post whether I run into much trouble with interference from the phones or router.

Thanks!


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

So the Denon must be converting the format to analog so that the NAD can use it. No wait! I get it! It is the CD player doing the conversion *before* feeding the music, since the leads are analog leads between the CD player and the Denon. Unliike the lead from the iRiver which is optical. Huh. You'd think that fancy expensive Denon could do an internal conversion.

The Denon may well be capable of internal conversion for the CD player, but, depending on the CD player, it may not be able to feed a digital signal to the Denon. In any case, it works, and it sounds like you've got just the product you were looking for on its way. Enjoy!


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

A follow up:

I am extremely happy with this wireless Logitech DJ. Piece of cake to set up. No problem from the Denon to the slave amp and beyond. Very, very nice remote. I am amazed that I can use the remote to select any song and hear it anywhere around the house (speakers in kitchen, and outside are on same system). WOW. Easy to navigate my 4000+ song library by artist, genre, album, etc. Even plays existing playlists with option to edit playlists on the fly. All with the remote. Very cool.

I do think the USB connecting wires could be longer, especially because of the directives to place the streaming unit X feet away from the desktop computer AND from any existing router (sheesh, then give me more than 5 feet to work with already!). I had to relocate some things to eliminate noise. And I get a rare hiccup in the stream. No biggie. Rearranging my USB connections to make this puppy a direct connect out the desktop (rather than hub) may help that. The negatives (short wireless range and only one receiver at a time) are not factors for me in my setup. So it is perfect for what I wanted.

Getting Windows Media Player to learn and save Live365 Internet stations was a little dicey for me. Trying to merge Live365 Internet radio (new to me) and the Logitech DJ (also new to me) with the Windows Media Player was a stumble. Had to save stations one by one. But I now can scroll through 27 saved stations on the remote - from Mississippi blues to Reggae dancehall to Celtic traditional to South American classical guitar. Thousands more out there to add if I want.

Wonderful. Fabulous. I'm loving this!

Almost happy the last local classical radio station folded and led me into this journey. Best $89 I've spent in a long, long time.

And thank you Steve for your help.


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

That's great news! I'm glad it worked out so well.

One thing you might want to do is buy some USB extender cables to get a longer run and maybe not have to rearrange so many items.


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Quote from OP
"Too far for ethernet cable so I'm looking at wireless."

I'm a little perplexed by this statement, since the industry standard for ethernet cable runs is 100meters (approx 330 feet).

Was the distance between the equipment really longer than that ?


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RE: ?'s about streaming internet music to home system

Steve, saw your post *after* taking apart and reconnecting everything Friday night. A USB extender would have been easier. Oh well, wires behind the desk are all tidier now at least.

And Saaber, I wasn't clear on ethernet. I don't have anywhere near 330 feet, but I still couldn't see snaking cable through the house. I meant that it was too far in terms of hassle and esthetics to link the LR sound system with the study desktop computer by hard wire.

This solution is working for me.


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