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Big hello to all you KlipschManiacs out there,

     I've finally gotten my main 2 Channel system narrowed down and ready to really dial in.  Currently the main system consists of Forte II's backed up with two REL T3 subwoofers to tackle and tighten the bottom end.  They are driven by a Pass Aleph 30 (30 WPC) solid state amplifier connected with Soniquil speaker cables by Raven Audio and a Soniquil power cable to the amplifier section (plug #6) of an Audioquest Powerquest 2.  For volume and switching duties I'm running a Classe' Audio Four Preamplifier to feed the Pass amp connected by Mogami Gold XLR's, connected to the Powerquest with a Cardas Cross power cable.  For source components i have a Thorens TD 209, using Audioquest Evergreen RCA's (planning to upgrade) and Audioquest Saturn Ground Goody's, to connect to a Parks Audio Puffin, in turn connected to the preamp with Audioquest Evergreen RCA's (another soon to be upgraded interconnect). The Thorens is provided power by the powerquest and the Puffin is fed power by Furman Equipment  For a CD/SACD source i'm awaiting an OPPO BDP-93 from another forum member (I'M STOKED, as i missed out on the Oppo offerings of the last 10-15 years).  And finally, to the main point of this post, for a streaming source  I utilize an Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Reciever/DAC connected to the preamp with Morrow Audio MA2 RCA Interconnects plugged into Furman gear for EMI/RFI filtration and clean power.  The resolution and quality that the Audioengine gives me from Amazon Music HD and Ultra HD is nothing short of incredible.  If you are not using a lossless audio provider for streaming music, like Amazon HD or Tidal, even for a mid-fi set up like mine you are doing yourself a great disservice.  The quality is jaw dropping compared to streaming using any regular service.  To that end I would like to know what streaming recievers and DACS you guys have experience with, and if there are any truly HIFI audiophile bluetooth receivers that are decently priced, (not looking to spend 1500$ 10,000$ 280,000$ like some audiophile gear can be) so looking in the 50$-800$ range.  Also maybe a separate DAC that could take my AE B1 to the next level?  Does anyone have any experience with the IFI Zen Blue?  What about the Bludento BLT-HD?  Is there an obvious unit that everyone here already uses and I'm just late to the party and need to be "enlightened"?  Being able to pull from such a massive library like amazon music is an incredible convenience and while it won't replace my buying/collecting vinyl and cd's it is quite the way to demo music and access music with ease.  Welcome to the 21st Century audiophiles!  Also any thoughts/upgrade advice/suggestions on my system set up would be nice.  My secondary system is Klipsch KLF-30's on a Yaqin MC13S (40WPC tube integrated) that i am currently gathering source components for. 

Thanks Guys!

Rooster-

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Hi, wow, that's a lot to unwrap. I was not aware BT was capable of true hifi. I'm a slow adapter. I prefer cables for music. Am I in the dark about BT? I'm still on the fence as to which 32bit ESS to buy in what DAC. 2016? 2018?


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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Bluetooth will not, to my knowledge, provide adequate sound quality to anyone willing to spend so much on wire and power conditioners.  Untethered will have to be over wifi.

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9 hours ago, glens said:

Bluetooth will not, to my knowledge, provide adequate sound quality to anyone willing to spend so much on wire and power conditioners.  Untethered will have to be over wifi.

 

Actually if you research BT technologies, the latest BT 5.0 and a couple of the latest codecs will transmit 576 and 990 kbps data transmission rates. Far eclipsing the best mp3 data rate @ 320 kbps. I am a wired guy myself, have yet to try bluetooth technology other than the SVS app for my sub settings. Or my phone while in the car. I don't listen to music from my smartphone, I do it from a high res portable player and wired earbuds.

 

But the BT 5.0 LDAC codec has three times the data transmission rate of the best quality mp3 data rate. Now whether your phone or device supports these codecs is another thing. But the OP's Audioengine B1 Bluetooth Reciever/DAC does do aptX hd and 576 kbps. Pretty impressive.

 

And BT tech and their codecs are improving every day.

 

here is a link to some educational reading on BT 5.0 and the latest codecs: https://www.soundguys.com/understanding-bluetooth-codecs-15352/

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Yeah guys, I have to say, that I have been quite impressed with the capabilities of Bluetooth to the Audioengine B1 for streaming. It was truly amazing to hear the quality that lossless tracks streamed via Bluetooth were coming through in. That’s the impetus for this post and my search for a new Bluetooth receiver/dac. I would have never believed it had someone told me, I had to hear it for myself and I am truly a believer in the abilities. Now that I know the capabilities I’m looking for that next step up in quality/performance. 

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The Topping brand models are getting some traction here, as observed here recently...

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I'll certainly have a look at the articles, but as I've understood it thus far, Bluetooth codecs are (have been?) not lossless, though at 500-some k even mp3 would undoubtedly sound pretty good.

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4 hours ago, glens said:

I'll certainly have a look at the articles, but as I've understood it thus far, Bluetooth codecs are (have been?) not lossless, though at 500-some k even mp3 would undoubtedly sound pretty good.

 

Read one article which mentioned being very careful with multiple levels of data compression via BT transmission. MP3 file is already compressed, then transmitted via BT (wireless) resulting in a second level of compression.

Why the OP is raving about his experience with his Autoengine BT unit. His source signal is lossless (amazon ultra HD streaming).

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I didn't necessarily have in mind streaming mp3s via bt when I said that.  Merely that at that level of compression mp3s would sound pretty good.  Perhaps the bt compression at that level would as well.  I'd still use wifi over bt any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  Speaking in terms of home audio...

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On 1/12/2020 at 6:41 PM, Rooster42 said:

 

I have an Arcam rPlay wi-fi streamer. It has a very good DAC but I have a MHDT Labs Orchid that *I* prefer and the combo is very good. I stream Tidal and the Rplay also has internet radio,

 

Review: https://www.amazon.com/Audioengine-B1-Premium-Bluetooth-Receiver/dp/B00MHTGZR4

 

The Bluesound Node 2i wi-fi streamer is well liked but I have not heard it.  https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/bluesound-node-2i

 

You could try one of these and compare it to what you are using. Purchase from a vendor that allows returns.


DAC's are a personal preference component, so no recommendations.

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Although no longer made, I am very impressed with the Oppo Sonica streamer/DAC that I bought MOMENTS before Oppo announced they were hanging up their cleats :(

 

 

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To add to the thread I thought you might to read about what to look forward to in the coming year with the next generation of bluetooth capable hifi products.

https://www.bluetooth.com/blog/bluetooth-audio-gets-a-big-upgrade-at-ces-2020/

Quote" “Legacy [codecs] can only process up to 7-8kHz [of human hearing],” says Alfonso Carrera Usabiaga, director of marketing at Fraunhofer IIS. “So what’s the point in having streaming audio codecs that are so excellent, when the last mile is bringing the quality down. LC3 has been fundamentally designed to bring this super wideband experience to your ear.”

 

I also would love a plug and play steaming dac that I could add to my Denon X4400H.  I am confused by the "home theater bypass" feature on some higher level products.

 

And lastly, I have been following the development of the new low level IFI products, specifically these 2 products

https://www.amazon.com/iFi-Bluetooth-Receiver-Desktop-Adapter/dp/B07W5RB5GN

https://www.amazon.com/iFi-Zen-DAC-Converter-Unbalanced/dp/B07YZK5MDS?ref_=ast_bbp_dp

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On 1/12/2020 at 11:27 PM, Rooster42 said:

Yeah guys, I have to say, that I have been quite impressed with the capabilities of Bluetooth to the Audioengine B1 for streaming. It was truly amazing to hear the quality that lossless tracks streamed via Bluetooth were coming through in. That’s the impetus for this post and my search for a new Bluetooth receiver/dac. I would have never believed it had someone told me, I had to hear it for myself and I am truly a believer in the abilities. Now that I know the capabilities I’m looking for that next step up in quality/performance. 

 

That has been my experience as well. I was amazed that Bluetooth could deliver such a high quality experience.

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1 hour ago, Les Lammers said:

 What have you compared BT to? I'm not certain it would better wi-fi. https://www.lifewire.com/what-to-know-about-bluetooth-3134591

 

The above article also mentions the double compression effect: compressed source file compressed again by bluetooth transmission. Not a good mix for true hi fidelity. 

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3 hours ago, Les Lammers said:

 What have you compared BT to? I'm not certain it would better wi-fi. https://www.lifewire.com/what-to-know-about-bluetooth-3134591

quoting from the article above

"Most Bluetooth audio products are built not by the company whose employees wear their brand, but by an original design manufacturer you've never heard of. And the Bluetooth receiver used in an audio product probably wasn't made by the ODM, but by yet another manufacturer. The more complex a digital product is, and if there are more engineers working on it, the more likely it is that no one knows everything about what's really going on inside the device. One format could easily be transcoded into another, and you'd never know it because almost no Bluetooth receiving device will tell you what the incoming format is."

 

The last phrase intrigues me enough to go further into detail here. I happen to know that the new IFI Zen Blue wireless streamer is indeed a device that does tell you what the incoming format is. It is also the ONLY bluetooth receiver on the market that supports all codecs including the new LDAC and HWA codecs 

 

Per manual:

Codec The colour of the ‘iFi’ logo in the centre of the front display represents the file format received:

Format      LED

AAC           Yellow

aptX           Blue

aptX HD    Magenta

LDAC*       Cyan

HWA*        White

SBC           Green

*Available via future firmware update

 

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1 hour ago, 314carpenter said:

quoting from the article above

"Most Bluetooth audio products are built not by the company whose employees wear their brand, but by an original design manufacturer you've never heard of. And the Bluetooth receiver used in an audio product probably wasn't made by the ODM, but by yet another manufacturer. The more complex a digital product is, and if there are more engineers working on it, the more likely it is that no one knows everything about what's really going on inside the device. One format could easily be transcoded into another, and you'd never know it because almost no Bluetooth receiving device will tell you what the incoming format is."

 

The last phrase intrigues me enough to go further into detail here. I happen to know that the new IFI Zen Blue wireless streamer is indeed a device that does tell you what the incoming format is. It is also the ONLY bluetooth receiver on the market that supports all codecs including the new LDAC and HWA codecs 

 

Per manual:

Codec The colour of the ‘iFi’ logo in the centre of the front display represents the file format received:

Format      LED

AAC           Yellow

aptX           Blue

aptX HD    Magenta

LDAC*       Cyan

HWA*        White

SBC           Green

*Available via future firmware update

 

 

Which sounds better, BT or Wi-Fi?  That's all that matters to me.

 

From this review of the iFi Zen Blue: https://majorhifi.com/hi-fi-bluetooth-ifi-zen-blue-review/

 

Sound

It’s important to note that the Zen Blue won’t solve all your fidelity problems… it is only a DAC after all. It doesn’t make any sound on its own. And the quality of your music will be largely shaped by your choice of headphones, speakers and/or external amplifier. The Zen Blue is just there to make sure the highest quality audio can transmit via Bluetooth. Disclaimer aside… it does impart a certain quality to the sound. All those fancy chips inside are doing something after all! The question is… what?

 

I didn’t get the opportunity to use the Zen Blue with a home stereo setup, which is where the fidelity would truly shine. But after pairing it with a few different headphone amps to get a feel for it, I came away with a general impression: smooth. The effect is subtle, and it’s tough to describe without getting too abstract. But music felt smoother, lows and highs felt clearer, and the midrange emphasis received a slight shift. I noticed a slight, glossy shine in the high-mids as well as the highs. The lows and the low-mids get smoothed over in a way that makes all the frequencies sound very cohesive. I wouldn’t describe it as warm… and it doesn’t boost the highs in that classic “hi-fi” way either. Smooth is the word that keeps coming to mind. It takes all the frequencies and gives them a nice massage, relaxes them and helps them all play nice together.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Les Lammers said:

Which sounds better, BT or Wi-Fi? 

There is no debate to be had there. Everyone should now be aware of the fact that WiFi is better SQ over BT. The Zen Blue series is all about lower cost, higher performance. For those that want higher SQ than BT can provide, while still maintaining an ultra low price point, check out the following link

Product Of The Year 2019:‌ Desktop Components- The Wondrous iFi ZEN‌ DAC Headphone Amp/DAC Combo Review!

 

stretching the budget and you could have a better dac with this...

https://www.whathifi.com/reviews/audiolab-6000n-play

available here...

https://hifiheaven.net/shop/Audiolab-6000N-Play-Wireless-Audio-Streaming-Player-Black

 

 

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On 1/12/2020 at 11:38 PM, billybob said:

The Topping brand models are getting some traction here, as observed here recently...

 

Although I am only using the COAX and OPT inputs of my Topping D70, it is the best DAC of 7 I have owned in the past 18 years.

 

Vocal Harmonies, acoustic guitar, snare, ride cymbal, Piano attack, massed strings / brass from orchestra. All my toughest challenges to PCM 16 / 44 digital seem to be no issue for this DAC.

 

I interviewed for a position with Asahi Kasai AKM microdevices in recent months and was impressed by the company. I wanted to make sure I had the best in AK chips in the new DAC. The implementation of the two AK4497 chips was beyond my expectations. For $ 550 USD with BT ten years ago you could not gfet these functions and would have had to spend at least 4 times this much on a DAC of comparable performance.

 

On the down side owners manual is too small and does not address BT pairing. I have not tried USB yet. Having too much fun playing all my CDs again.

 

For example Simon and garfunkle early LP glockenspiel or similar instrument sounded more cohesive in the soundstage instead of just background filler.

 

 

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