Yet another streaming question

Hi all,

So I’m now ready to begin my streaming journey, having started to rip my CD collection. I’m aware there are 1000 ways to skin the streaming cat, so it might be easier to start with what I’d like to do, and then see what solution out there best fits.

My criteria:

  • I’ll be streaming FLAC files from my laptop/HDD and using Spotify (not another service)
  • I want to browse/play from my library using MusicBee (thanks @Gyroscope ) from my laptop and also a tablet (can be either iPad or Android)
  • I want playing FLACs to sound equally as good, if not better, than playing a CD from my CDP (Rega Planet 2000 into a Nait 5i and Neat Elite SEs)
  • I’d like Spotify to sound as good as possible. I know it’s inherently limited, but would an up-sampling product like a Lindeman Musicbook help?
  • I ideally want a combined streamer & DAC unit, although happy to get separates if it would sound better for the money
  • Budget is ideally around £1-1.5k but happy to stretch up to £3k if it’ll bring noticeable improvement. Also happy to get s/h.
  • No Pi


  1. Can I store the music on my laptop (making backups of course) and access via a tablet and stream to device?
  2. If I store music on an external HDD (not NAS) that’s plugged into the streamer, can I still browse it via my laptop/tablet?

Bearing all those in mind, can anyone recommend a solution? In terms of joint streamer/DACs, I’m aware of the list below which are generally recommended. I don’t know if there are aspects of any that are better suited to my particular criteria above though. Or if I should be looking at something else.

Bluesound 2 (maybe as a budget option to compare others against)
Cambridge Audio 851N (as above)
Auralic Altair / Vega
Lindeman Musicbook
Lumin D1/2

Not so interested in Aurender or Melco as a) they’re generally more expensive; b) have heard mixed reports about reliability and user interface quality.

Many thanks in advance!

I would not store the music on your laptop, use a streamer with the storage. If you use an external DAC, it will give you better flexability, and there are very good DAC’s available from £100 and up.
An Innuos will give you a ripper, streamer, and storage, and a new one is less than a grand.

Thanks. I’m not sure I need a dedicated ripper and storage device though. I’ve got dbPoweramp on my laptop which is doing the job ok (and once I’ve finished, I won’t have use for a ripper anymore). And I have external hard drives I can use for the storage.

Well Adam will be along to tell you to get a Pi, to stream with. Job done.

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Hah thanks, edited the above to say no Pi.

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Like that’s gonna help.


There is a Lumin for sale on here, or a least there was.

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I have the Cambridge Audio 851N and it is a very nice bit of kit.
It already has Spotify Connect, does Tidal and is Roon Ready if you like that sort of thing.
I have a separate NAS with all my FLAC files and it finds them all without a problem.
I also have a digital otput from TV that goes into it which is great for watching music performances on TV and the sound through the stereo.

I don’t really use my laptop, I control the whle thing with my phone.

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I have an Aries mini with the music stored on an internal hard drive. Seems good so far. May do Spotify or Tidal in the future.

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Just as a first impression, the external (I assume USB) HDD is doing a lot of heavy lifting. It’s plugged into your laptop, it’s plugged into a streamer of some description, you can get at it from a tablet.

Any particular reason for


I thought it might be simpler than a NAS, not needing an ethernet connection to my router (which would involve a wire trailing across my floor). Also more discreet as it could be a small size drive, as opposed to a larger unit.

Can a NAS connect wirelessly too?

Gone :slightly_smiling_face:

For info the Lumin is best used with either a drive connected via USB (my preferred option) or a network drive. You can use the Lumin as a Spotify connect device and control playback with the app.

The D1 and D2 both have an onboard DAC.

By eliminating the pi and Nas options you’re really restricting yourself. Low power Linux systems are ideal for streaming - they are stable for months and use very little power, but they can easily run the programs needed for file serving and streaming.

You can get a product from an audiophile company, but you’re paying a huge amount for their r&d - they have had to find out how to do this, and you are left at their mercy for updates etc.

I’m your place I would get a NAS from a reputable IT company, and a great streaming DAC like the Okto. This would be easy to set up and use. If you want even easier then one of the modern streamers like Bluesound or Cambridge audio that can output to a USB async DAC (I think those can), and also accept an external HD for storage. I’d still suggest using a NAS though.


The NAS normally just plugs into the router. It doesn’t need to plug into your hifi. Some can act as a player as well, but that’s optional. Their benefit is that they are always accessible, on all the time, so if you’re playing, ripping etc, you can always access the files.

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Ok thanks. I thought it had to be plugged into both router and streamer.

To be honest I don’t need something that’s on all the time as I don’t get to sit and listen to the hifi all that often. But if it’ll work better than a standard external drive and can sit unobtrusively next to my router then that’s ok.

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Ditto what Adam says. NAS usually wired to the router. Most other things wireless.

You should use the NAS for more than just music. You can back up your files to it, or use it for live file storage. I use mine for loads of stuff: multiple backups, music and video streaming, photo server, PC backup. It means that any family member can watch or listen to anything in any room, and all their files are backed up so any PC fuckups aren’t a disaster.

Get one as a music storage thing, it’s a really good plan.

Then get an adequate streamer, so you can get used to how it works.

Then get a decent DAC so you can make it sound great.

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we have no localised storage of files here. 3 laptops, phones, 2 desktops and a NUC, all files stored on a NAS. We keep all photos and a copy of the music library on the NAS. Recordings from the CCTV stored on the NAS.

NAS auto backs up to an external USB, which (before CV19) got rotated off site. A spare NAS acts as another backup

Music served by Auralic Aries mini, which is also the renderer for the main system