Buying Streaming System for my Niece

Labpro

Well-Known Member
Apr 13, 2020
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49
105
Boston
I am a vinyl and CD enthusiast, and know very little about streaming.

I’m trying to determine the best path to setting my 30-year-old Niece up with a Bluetooth enabled streaming solution.

Here are some of the specifics:

1. Ease of use and dependability is almost as important as sound quality.

2. She does not listen to vinyl.

3. She currently uses Spotify and Airplay from her phone or Mac book.

4. She lives in a small apartment.

My budget is $2,500-$3,000. A little more is OK if it makes sense.

She liked the new KLH Model 3 speakers (88db into 6 ohms) when doing some YouTube searches.

Id like to buy new (versus used) in hopes of having access to some sort of technical support.

Thank you for the advice.
 
Headphones or speaker?
Will she appreciate high-end audio or prefers convenience?
 
Speakers…..looking at KLH Model 3 for example.

Easy to use and very dependable. Best sound for the money.
 
1. Ease of use and dependability is almost as important as sound quality.

Streaming does not mean wireless (BTLE or whatever the kids are taken with to illicit levels today ). Wireless does not mean ease of use, nor dependability, and especially not sound quality. Where audio is concerned it still has a lot more drawbacks for a static at home system in (per #4) a small apartment sure to be ground zero battleground of increasingly higher powered wi-fi signals and ever more sources of interference.

Should her desires only be met with a packaged product recommendation anointed a shining Apple certification. Their ecosystem and their store will surely offer the only acceptable options. :)

2. She does not listen to vinyl.

Let me guess. It is all she hears like the rest of us though. :p:p:p

3. She currently uses Spotify and Airplay from her phone or Mac book.

Currently. How likely this is to be adaptable defines any further conversation. If she has years upon years of DRM locked and bought-but-not-owned local files the game is over. Same deal with stated sources.

Streaming services alone pose no issues anywhere on any device or base OS.

4. She lives in a small apartment.

Taking as a given your time is free and freely offered.


1 hour and $15 general wiring and power inspection concluding with installation of Hubbell HBL5262/HBL8200 outlet(s) (or equivalent).
1 hour interior design and functional acoustic space decision making seminar directly attached to above.
1 hour isolation and room preparations window shopping directly attached to above.
2 years of faster internet might go further per dollar than it would on audio alone? Ask.

At this point you should have every idea what is possible. Sharing in your interest having a slightly more personal depth at the level of improving emotionally engaging teledrama music snippets included. Spotify taking on a reproduction she values under $3K is attainable unless she has latent WBF interests paired with extraordinary hearing abilities.
 
@Labpro - Given she has a small apartment and keeping things simple maybe something to consider would be powered speakers along with something like one of the Bluesound streamer/DACs.
 
@Labpro - Given she has a small apartment and keeping things simple maybe something to consider would be powered speakers along with something like one of the Bluesound streamer/DACs.
Good suggestion....thank you. I am going to a local audio store to check our the Bluesound streaming systems. I read that a lot of the Bluesound customers are having issues with the App, among other things. The store manager claims this is no longer the case?
 
@Labpro - I can't answer your question about Bluesound as I haven't owned one. I mentioned them as 'food for thought" given their seeming popularity and cost within your budget range.

Regarding Upscale Audio I'd suggest calling and speaking directly with Kevin Deal the owner to inquire about his after service support on the specific brand(s) you are interested in.
 
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Neumann active speaker kh120 a ~1.3k€ a bargain that speaker can make party too max spl 112db.


Streamer/dac pre cambridge audio cxn v2 ~1k€
Amazing wolfson dacs in there very musical.

P.S cambridge magic app controls everything via mobile phone
 
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Thank you for the suggestions. I’ll research both! There is a local Cambridge Audio dealer, so I’ll pay them a visit.
 
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I like the KEF Wireless option. Everything included with these active speakers and DAC.

 
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I wanted a simple (good) system for my wife. Got frustrated with JRiver/laptop... blah...
I went with what DasgutOhr recommended.... the Cambridge CXN V2. It's connected to a Parasound Integrated and Maggies.... Great sound AND simple to use!
 
Hi Lee, thank you for your suggestion and advice.

Someone mentioned powered speakers, so I did some YouTube video research…..some old show coverage.

I know YouTube is not great, but I have been somewhat able to get a flavor of the sound when considering past purchases.

Anyway, they all sounded a bit sterile to me? I’m a tube and horns guy, so what do I know!

I know of a KEF dealer about an hour from me. I may make the drive to hear them.
 
Hi Bruce, Thank you for the suggestion! I am going to listen to the Cambridge unit. I’ve read good things about it.
 
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I would say if she likes KLH model 3, get her KLH model 3.
You just need to buy an extra box that has Wi-Fi streamer/DAC/amp in it and you're done. I presume she wants Wi-Fi and not wired Ethernet.

Cheapest I can think of that's reliable would be the Sonos Amp or the Bluesound Powernode.
Something more expensive would be NAD C700.
And then there is Cambridge Evo 75 which I'm less familiar with.

I have to admit, I usually just recommend people to get Apple HomePods or Sonos Five/Era 300 or Bluesound Pulse 2i.
 
While I really love iFi audio products, I don't find their streaming/WiFi setups to be the easiest or the most user friendly. So if
Labpro is not a streaming person and his niece is using Airplay, I really don't think iFi is what I would recommend. My older local audio dealer also sells iFi products and I would say 30% of the time, I have to help him out in setting them up. I have never had to help him out setting up Bluesound /NAD products.
 
While I really love iFi audio products, I don't find their streaming/WiFi setups to be the easiest or the most user friendly. So if
Labpro is not a streaming person and his niece is using Airplay, I really don't think iFi is what I would recommend. My older local audio dealer also sells iFi products and I would say 30% of the time, I have to help him out in setting them up. I have never had to help him out setting up Bluesound /NAD products.
I did have trouble with their streamer. According to other users that problem has been solved. All of their Wi-fi products have been plug and play. In any event set up is a one time event. Get the loal compute rgeek to do it for her. It is well worth the effort, IMO.
 
Hi Lee, thank you for your suggestion and advice.

Someone mentioned powered speakers, so I did some YouTube video research…..some old show coverage.

I know YouTube is not great, but I have been somewhat able to get a flavor of the sound when considering past purchases.

Anyway, they all sounded a bit sterile to me? I’m a tube and horns guy, so what do I know!

I know of a KEF dealer about an hour from me. I may make the drive to hear them.

It’s not tubes and horns but for $2,700 it’s not sterile either.
 
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