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BeoSound Core with NAS

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politician
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politician posted on Wed, Jan 30 2019 10:50 PM

Whilst my system is capable of playing almost any kind of source (quadraphonic vinyl, quadraphonic 8-track cartridge, cassette, reel-to-reel, CD, SACD, HDCD, Blu-ray Audio, DVD-A), I don't have a dedicated NAS (network audio server). I have no requirement for streaming, and play downloads (including hi-res) by loading them onto a USB stick and playing them via my Cambridge CXU (which feeds into my BeoSystem 3 and then to my BeoLab 90s).

However, I'm wondering whether I'd get better sound quality by connecting an NAS optically to a BeoSound Core and then optically direct to the BL90s. Would that be the case?

If I were to set up my system in this way, could I use any hard drive as the NAS? Would I copy files from my MacBook to the NAS across my wireless network? And to play these files, would I use the B&O app or a different app or program?

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Sandyb
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Sandyb replied on Wed, Jan 30 2019 11:53 PM

I don't have BL90's myself, and those that do may well have experience.

The BL90's have quite a few inputs do they not, both analogue and digital? That''s quite a few options, and some may sound better than others depending on where the DAC is being done.

Judging by the above list of sources, do you actually need to go the streaming route?

How are you routing all those sources to the 90s now - all through the Cambridge / BS3? If that's the case, I'm not sure what is happening to the signal path on its way to the 90s? Possibly not optimal (others may opine), and possibly prompting you sound quality questions?

If I had 90's, I'd get a (more) audiophile streamer (streamer / DAC combo) and add a NAS - there's myriad choices at the high end. Pretty sure that when the 90's were demo'd by B&O a couple of years back, they used one such (from Auralic) to push music to the 90's.

These streamers all tend to have their own music playback / control apps, though most are also Roon ready - Roon seems to be very much the audiophile choice of platforms (seems to do an incredibly good job of integrating your own digital library with your choice of streaming service, be that higher res offerings from Tidal, Qobuz etc). Many who go this route, of having higher end streamers/DACs seem to use the Roon software on their tablet, computer, phone. The B&O app is fine, but a pretty limited experience compared to things like Roon.

As for populating a NAS, can be done across Wifi, but much quicker just to hard wire your MacBook to the NAS, set the transfer going, and come back later. Do-able over wifi, just much quicker wired. 

Not sure if any of that is helpful, but there you go.

 

mbolo01
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NAS = Network Attached Storage, which means that most if not all of the services provided by a NAS are using the local area network.

The common setup for music is to

(1) use the NAS to store audio files uncompressed, with lossless compression or with lossy compression

(2) use a NAS based service to read these audio files and stream them through the local area network. Such services are either usually open standards such DLNA servers e.g Twonky. MinimServer, or proprietary e.g PLEX. These streaming service can leverage different media protocols such as DLNA, AirPlay, Chromecast or proprietary

(3) a compatible controller application that will browse your collection and control the streaming

(4) a compatible audio stream renderer such a modern AV device.

The complexity is to select all these components to meet your requirements including operability, quality and supportability

Connecting you NAS optically to a Core is not a common setup and I personally don’t know any NAS offering optical output

BS Moment, BS Core, BS Ouverture, Beogram 4002, BS1, BL18, BL19, BL8000 + RCV1, A6, M5, M3, A1, P6 (tks Botty), H5, TR1

Millemissen
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politician:

However, I'm wondering whether I'd get better sound quality by connecting an NAS optically to a BeoSound Core and then optically direct to the BL90s. Would that be the case?

If I were to set up my system in this way, could I use any hard drive as the NAS? Would I copy files from my MacBook to the NAS across my wireless network? And to play these files, would I use the B&O app or a different app or program?

Since you are not interested in the streaming options (including the netradio), that a BS Core would offer you, you could stick to your Cambridge device.

The Cambridge CXU is a pretty good playback device.

It is mainly an OPPO with the additional Cambrige audio upsampling capacities - this seems to serve you well now and could be used for your ‘new needs’ as well.

 

As I understand you, you are looking for a wireless option to play the files that you now copy to the USB (in the CXU, right?

If your MAC is cabable of storing all your files, there would not be a need for a NAS - however it may be wise to have the NAS in case your Macbook is somewhere else or shut down.....

The main thing - with the files either stored on a computer or a NAS -  is the server (uPnP/DLNA) running there.

You can easily - e.g. for a start - install a server on the MAC. There are quite a lot of options there nowadays.

This will make the files visible in the UI of your CXU.

You would also be able to manage the content and the playback from a variety of apps on an iDevice.

Have a look at this information from Cambridge:

P.S. In case you still have a free coax or the optical input port on the 90’s, you could dedicate that to the same output of the CXU.
P.P.S. As for differences in the sound quality (this vs using a Core), the only way to tell is to try it out at home.
Testing ‘sound quality’ is a delicate matter and a personal too.
MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

politician
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Thanks for all the input. As I suspected, it's all a bit more complicated than I thought. I was under the impression that all I had to do was attach a hard drive to the BeoSound Core, then attach the Core to the BeoLab 90s, and I would have a direct digital path to the speakers for my files.

Millemissen
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In theory you could do that with your Cambridge - it is just a matter of the size of the USB drive.

But the most important part is, how do you manage these files, how do you navigate (in a comfortable and informative way).

This is what DLNA (or the more proprietary) servers and the control points (e.g apps on a mobile device) is about.

 

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Ditlev
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Ditlev replied on Thu, Jan 31 2019 1:45 PM

I currently use an Oppo105 and a Bluesound node 2i to connect to my NAS. I am also planning to trial a ROON setup. All good options, and down the line I will probably settle on one of them. 
The Oppo has great sound, but terrible UX. Bluesound/Roon both have awesome UI/UX and feature set...still not sure what path to take. 

I do have a Beosound Core on the way (got it as part of a deal with a B&O shop), and we will see if it will make it way into the setup or not...it may just pop up for sale soon. Time will tell. 

They are all hooked up to BL90s.

:)

Ditlev
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Ditlev replied on Thu, Jan 31 2019 1:45 PM

- double post - 

politician
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Millemissen:

In theory you could do that with your Cambridge - it is just a matter of the size of the USB drive.

But the most important part is, how do you manage these files, how do you navigate (in a comfortable and informative way).

This is what DLNA (or the more proprietary) servers and the control points (e.g apps on a mobile device) is about.

 

MM

At present, I select and play files using the CXU's remote and its user interface on my TV. If I connected the CXU's optical out to the BeoLab 90's optical in, would I still be able to control it using its remote and my TV but get a direct digital signal path to the speakers?

Millemissen
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I am rather sure that this won’t be possible (using your BeoSystem 3).

However to be quite sure I would have to ask ‘someone in knowing.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

Geoff Martin
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Hi,

In order to maintain the highest signal quality, you should connect the digital output of the player (in your case, the CXU) to the digital input of the BeoLab 90's (use coaxial if you want to use sampling rates higher than 96 kHz, as is specified in the BL90 Technical Sound Guide). (This is the way I normally connect an Oppo Blu-ray player - HDMI to the TV and S-PDIF to the BL90's, with a Power Link connection between the TV and the BL90's)

However, this raises the question of user interface, If you have a B&O TV and you use that for navigation of the CXU, then its Power Link output will override the BL90's digital input and you've lost the digital signal path. There are three ways to avoid this issue.

  1. Use another navigation method for the player. In my case I use the Oppo app and leave the TV off. I assume that Cambridge has an app as well.
  2. If you have a BV11/BeoSys4 or later, create a Speaker Group that turns all loudspeakers off. This way the Power Link is disabled, and the BL90's will default to the digital input from the player, but you can still navigate on the screen of the television.
  3. Set the digital input on the BL90's to have a higher priority than the PowerLink.This works well if your player is an audio-only source. However, if it's also a video source like a Blu-ray player, this is the least smart way to do it. This is because, when you're watching a movie from the player, the digital input will "win" and the latency management performed by the television (assuming a BV11/BeoSys4 or later) will not be used, so you'll have lip sync problems.

I hope that

  1. I've understood the question correctly and
  2. this helps

 

Cheers

-geoff

Millemissen
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@Geoff

Thanks for chiming in 🙂

To 1: Unfortunately, it is not possible to use the Cambridge Audio Connect App with the CXU.

To 2 (and 3): That surely would be the best solution - but also a quite radical one (exchanging the Sys3 with a Sys4).

@politician

So there is your answer to that question.

If you are not willing to swap your system, my advice would be to look for a seperate solution, that you could connect directly to the coax input of the 90’s and control with an app on an iDevice.

Some of these are already mentioned from other posters.

There are ‘boxes’ with an integrated harddrive, which again would eliminate the need for a seperate NAS.

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

politician
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@Geoff Martin

Thanks for your input. If I've interpreted your answer correctly, I should continue playing hi-res files via a USB stick in the Cambridge CXU, but connect the CXU to the BeoLab 90s via S/PDIF. (This would mean switching my main CD player, the Beogram CD 5500, from the S/PDIF connection to the optical.) I should then give the S/PDIF connection a higher priority in the Lab 90s' settings than the "automatic" option, so I get digital sound but am able to control the CXU via the display on my TV. (Since this uses the BeoSystem 3, I have to adjust the latency manually anyway). Have I got all this correct?

Sandyb
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Not quite - if you connect the Cambridge directly to the BL90's, but the TV is not part of the path, so you won't be able to control the CXU on the TV display.

It seems that if there is no Cambridge CXU app, then you either stick with what you've got, or you need something else (as in 2 or 3).

And if its the case you need / want to get an additional bit of equipment, if music listening is a high priority, which owning 90's would suggest, I'd get a dedicated streamer outputting straight into the 90's. As mentioned before, most come with pretty good apps, will pick up your local music, often have USB in (for your hi res files).

As such, I agree exactly with MM's response ( If some of your hi-res files are >96 hz, quite a few streamers have co-ax outputs)

 

 

Millemissen
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Sandyb:

As such, I agree exactly with MM's response ( If some of your hi-res files are >96 hz, quite a few streamers have co-ax outputs)

In addition to that, often the ‘boxes’ without a built-in DAC solution are called Streaming Transports.

Should you start looking for a seperate soultion for playing music directly to the 90’s, there is no reason to focus on (and pay for) a solution with a built-in DAC - you won’t benefit from that anyway.

Also these ‘boxes’ mostly offer way more options than just to play files from a USB stick/harddrive - in fact I know of noone, that just does this!

And not all with a USB input port will accept large hard drives.

There are tons of solutions nowadays (in different price categories) - so it could be hard to find the right one.

Since you are familiar with Cambridge, it might be an idea to start the journey looking at their CXN streamer - here is a review:

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/cambridge-audio-cxn-v2

MM

There is a tv - and there is a BV.

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