Advice on setup


#1

Hello,

I’m contemplating a fairly serious upgrade to my system and I’d appreciate your insights before I make my purchases.

I currently have the following:

  • several MacBooks (15 inch 2016) running 10.13 (high sierra) & external drives.
  • a fairly extensive audio library in iTunes 12.8 (around 8 TB).
  • an Apple Airport Express with an optical (toslink) link to my DAC
  • a fast router (Netgear Nighthawk X8-AC5300 (R8500))

I’m considering adding a NAS (network attached storage box), an Aries G2 and a Vega G2. The NAS supports both 10GigE and wifi.

My library is mostly CD quality apple lossless (16 bit, 44.1kHz), but I have a fair amount of high def quality (24 bit, 352.8kHz).

I have a major time investment in iTunes – that’s where I have my song ratings and playlists. Is there a way that I can play my high def files through the auralic equipment at full resolution from my laptop iTunes and/or iPhone? Can I do it under iTunes control? If so, how do I configure my system!

Thanks in advance.


#2

So no amplifier and no speakers. I am guessing headphone listener? Any streaming service?


#3

Hi Mimowery,

I see I haven’t provided you with enough info. My amplifier is currently a Jolida integrated amp (will be replaced with this upgrade to an Audio Research Ref 6 and two Mark Levinson No. 536), my speakers are Magnepan 1.6s and a Velodyne DD-12.

Evaluating Deezer and Tidal.

My understanding is that Apple’s Airplay can’t transmit high def – is that correct? Guess I would need to hardwire a usb connection between my NAS box and the Vega G2 (or directly to the Aries G2). Guess that means I would probably use Roon for a nice mobile GUI-based controller of the iTunes library residing on the NAS box.

What’s the benefit of a Vega G2 over running Roon core on the NAS box and eliminating the Vega G2? Is there a downside to simply having the NAS box connect directly to the Aries G2?

Do I really need a preamp with the Aries G2? What’s the downside to skipping the AR Ref 6 and connecting the Vega directly to the Mark Levinson amps?


#4

Here a list of recommendations (based on my experience & personal preferences):

  1. Use a Recommended NAS
    https://support.auralic.com/hc/en-us/articles/206071758-Recommended-NAS-Drive-Models

  2. Install a Recommended UPnP server on your NAS (prefereably Minimserver)
    https://support.auralic.com/hc/en-us/articles/206143848-Recommeded-3rd-party-UPnP-server-software

  3. Install Lightning DS on your favorite iOS devices.

  4. Use Vega G2 to stream from your NAS (via 1-Gbit wired Ethernet connection).

  5. Bypass the investment on Aries G2, and in its place add Leo GX (that’s a HUGE SQ difference maker).

  6. Lastly, experiment with bypassing your pre-amp and using the Volume control on Vega G2 (Vega G2 -> Amp), and let your ears be the judge… That decision is system dependent (i.e., what may work best for me may not be what works best for you).

On my system, and to my ears, keeping the pre-amp in the chain yielded the best results… Here’s my system:

  • Quad 2905 Speakers
  • McIntosh MC275 Amp
  • Tron Seven GT Line stage (pre-amp)
  • Vega G2 DAC + Leo GX Clock

Enjoy your new setup.

BTW,
For network isolation, I’m using a pair of these between my Netgear switch and the Vega G2:

  • TRENDnet TFC-1000MGA 100/1000Base-T to SFP Media Converter
  • TRENDnet TI-MGBSX 1000Base-T SFP Multi-Mode LC Module
  • iPower Low Noise DC Power Supply (5V)

#5

HookEm,

Thanks very much for the advice. I’ll bet your system sounds fantastic. It’s interesting to me that the Leo provides a noticeable SQ improvement – I like the idea of replacing the Aries with the Leo.

I hadn’t considered any isolation hw. I wonder under what conditions that comes into play. I do plan to use my NAS box as a plex server to a couple of smart televisions.

Boomer Sooner :smiley: ,
trjtrjtrj


#6

To be honest, I talked myself into adding the FMCs as a precaution, since I opted not to use Aries G2 to serve the isolation function. That is, I cannot say that adding the FMCs gave me a “lower noise floor, blah, blah”, but it certainly has given me peace of mind.

Hey,
Lincoln Riley is doing a great job at OU, so congrats on a great season (despite not having a typical strong defense this past season). I’m looking forward to a competitive rivalry moving forward.

Hook’em!


#7

The Horns had an impressive win against UGA. I wanted to see Herbstreit’s response to the game since he said UGA should have been in the CFP, but somehow I never caught it.

I’m looking forward to getting my stereo together. Thanks for the advice.


#8

Hi:

I think the iTunes library may bring you some trouble initially. iTunes manage album cover artwork in a separate system folder, when you use ARIES G2 to scan the music folder, there will be quite some albums without cover artwork showing up. What you need to do is to put a album artwork named ‘cover.jpg’ with tracks. It can take quite some time.

Also the Lightning DS wont support rating feature which maybe important for you. So I would say maybe it is a good idea to invest on Roon and try to let Roon manage the music library and let ARIES G2 work as Roon endpoint. You will need a dedidate computer to run Roon Core server. However I would expect the album cover artwork issue will remain the same.


#9

Xuanqian,
Thanks for the help. I have already added album covers to each track (whew – that does take a lot of time and I’m glad I’m not starting there!).

Couldn’t I use the Vega G2 as a Roon endpoint? I plan to use my NAS box as the Roon core.


#10

Yes, you can use it as Roon endpoint for sure.