By Don Lindich
Week 26, 2021
Q. Apple and Amazon now offer lossless streaming, and Spotify will supposedly offer a similar service later this year. What is the best way to play high resolution streaming music using a traditional stereo system consisting of a receiver and floorstanding speakers? For example, I have seen the “BlueSound Node” highlighted in the media, and I believe Cambridge Audio offers similar devices. I don’t know which devices would be easiest to connect to our system or which ones work best. Ideally, we would like to buy a component that receives its streaming signal over WiFi and then plays it through our stereo with great sound quality. We currently have an inexpensive Bluetooth device that connects to our stereo, but it sounds very poor.
-S.M., Oakland, CA
A. The Bluesound Node is certainly an option, but you asked for the best and I still consider that to be the $1,099 Cambridge Audio CXN(V2) Network Streamer. It features top-notch sound, comprehensive features and an excellent display and interface. You can connect it to your stereo with a stereo RCA cable or a digital cable. Given the extremely high quality of the digital circuitry in the CXN(V2) I would use the stereo RCA connection. cambridgeaudio.com
The CXN(V2) is Roon Ready, and combining it with Roon makes it even more powerful. It would take more than an entire column to thoroughly discuss Roon but to sum it up, Roon is a powerful platform for organizing your streaming content and music files, making it easy to locate, enjoy and learn more about music. It’s a music geek’s dream come true and can be used with your home computer and the matching portable device apps, or with Roon’s own Nucleus Core device. If you love music I strongly suggest you check out Roon at roonlabs.com
Q. You recently mentioned we should stay tuned for a review of a new low-priced TV streaming service. I have not seen it yet, is it coming soon?
-J.T., Atlantic City, NJ
A. My week of researching and reviewing the streaming service did not go as anticipated. At this point I am undecided if it merits publicity in the column given the limited space I have every week. I hope to have updates on my website or in this column sometime in the near future.
Q. My wife and I spend a great deal of time cruising in our pontoon boat made in 2012. It has a pretty good stereo for that time period and I would prefer not to replace it. Besides the radio, the stereo has an auxiliary input plug and a 12-volt DC power plug. Unfortunately, both myself and and my older iPhone (which had a headphone/auxiliary output) took an unplanned swim in the lake. I just got wet, but the iPhone drowned and passed away. My new iPhone SE does not have an auxiliary output so I can’t play my content from the phone using the boat stereo input. I found a $40 Bluetooth receiver with an auxiliary output that can be used with my 12-volt power plug. Would that work with my stereo, or is there a simpler solution?
-K.H., Groveland, CA
A. My condolences on the passing of your iPhone. The Bluetooth receiver you described should work, but there is indeed a much simpler solution. Just get a Lighting-to-3.5mm headphone jack adapter, a tiny cord that will give your new iPhone a headphone/auxiliary output. It is simple, reliable, its use is familiar to you and available for under $20.