Thoughts around a Lejonklou Streamer

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donuk
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Thoughts around a Lejonklou Streamer

Post by donuk » 2016-01-29 14:39

Hi Fredrick. I was going to make this note a PM to you personally, but then, I thought, why not, others might find this of interest. So here goes:

Glad that things are obviously going well for you with your new product.

Now, I would not presume for one minute to advise you how to design your streamer, but perhaps I might make a couple of suggestions about features you might think of putting in the box.

1) Please do have an internal volume control. All the DACs I know of have this feature on board; please make it a switchable option, as Linn do. There are some folk out there who, for example find my ADS/1 straight into a Tundra 2, much better than ADS/1 into a Majik Preamp and 2200 power amp. Several people have heard this comparison on my system; the difference is great.
So now I am saving to either get Lejonklou solo power amps, or a Lejonklou pre or a better streamer.
I think you might sell more by keeping the internal volume control as a switchable feature.

2) Obviously control software is a challenge for any small company (and Linn too apparently.) I use Lumin exclusively, have tried most of the others. The advantage with Lumin is that it keeps its data on board the control unit. i.e. it stores images and metadata actually on the iPad. Although it is a pain to reload your library after adding new tracks to your NAS, it does work more quickly and reliably. Especially if you have a large CD collection and try a track-search. Linn stuff is useless.

3) I understand you are not a great fan of Linn SPACE. I have found that after some adjustment I can get rid of some persistent bass booms in my listening room. But the main joy I have with SPACE is to be able to use it as a tone control.

Now I know most red-blooded hifi buffs do not like tone controls, but there is no escaping them. They are used in loud speaker cross-overs, in RIAA circuits, either analogue or digitally, as I hardly need to tell you. In almost all recordings of the last 40 years, digital processing and equalisation has occurred inside the recording studio. So if one has to embrace the digital domain, then use it for our advantage as much as possible.
So why do I use tone controls? At my age, my hearing, my listening room, and my musical expectation (I have told you before that I am a jazz musician), I find most recordings too bright. I like to sit in the audience not by the high hats or next to squeaking guitar strings. By using a slight downward HF slope in SPACE I can bring most of my recordings to my liking on one compromise setting. If you were to incorporate this sort of feature, your new streamer would be even greater than I am sure it is going to be. Better still have the facility for a number of pre-sets accessible from the control software. By actually being honest with oneself and admitting to using a tone control I have stopped all debate within myself about which cable sounds brightest (an expensive tone control in some circumstances). For example Linn Silvers sound very slightly brighter than Linn Blacks to my ears. But which is actually better at conveying the music? (Silvers.)

I can sense a number of sighs and curled top-lips among fellow forum readers. But I stress these points - all the features I am asking for should be switch-out-able. For those who insist on the sanctity of pure signals - forget digital, and therefore most commercial recordings. Once something is, or has been, in the digital domain, it will have been hacked, chopped, normalised, equalised, compromised, dithered, and filtered to hell and back.
If we have got to have it these days, let’s use it to our best advantage.

Just some Friday lunchtime thoughts from sunny downtown York
Donuk

—————
I hope that the original poster will forgive me for renaming this topic. The original was “The New Lejonklou Streamer” and was probably appropriate at the time, but as the project is currently awaiting a blood transfusion, “Thoughts around a Lejonklou Streamer” seemed more fitting. /Fredrik
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by rowlandhills » 2016-01-29 15:46

A couple of thoughts from me on those points, some of which are the opposite of Don's views (sorry!) :

1 - I agree that this would be useful to some, and that a Lejonklou Streamer + Tundra combo might well be more tuneful than a Streamer + inferior preamp + Tundra combo. However, I wouldn't compromise the performance of Streamer + Sagutun + Tundra, and if that means no variable volume then that's what it means. From a usability perspective though, having the ability to control volume in the control point is very helpful (I'd say essential for my family to use the system) so perhaps you could have your streamer send control signals over the optical link to a Sagatun?

2 - On software, I wouldn't try to develop anything yourself. Servers and Control Points are a well established set of options now, and can be developed by others. I'd pick something like MinimServer and Kinsky and make sure that your kit works well with those, and people can make their own choices.

2 - I wouldn't personally even attempt to recreate SPACE. There's a heck of a lot of maths in the algorithm, and more to the point a series of measurements around exact physical positions and driver responses etc. of individual speakers which mean that I'm not sure it's a valuable effort for an individual to do. I'd rather Fredrik focuses on improvements to other products than trying to recreate space. Applying a digital filter which can be tuned to individual preferences might be worthwhile, but not the aspects of SPACE which attempt to handle individual speakers, rooms and so forth.

(As a side note, it should be possible to use Konfig to work out what filters would be needed through SPACE, and then apply those through a customisable filter in a new Lejonklou streamer, without needing to handle all of the calculation in something Lejonklou specific, if people did want to do that).
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by tokenbrit » 2016-01-29 19:20

Personally, I don't need any of those features, but would only be bothered if their addition impacts performance (can't see Fredrik allowing that ;) or if they significantly impact the price since I'd be paying for something I won't use (can't really see Fredrik allowing that either :)

DVC is of no interest to me, but I can see how that could open up sales to those without a pre-amp. I'd say it would be very important (imperative?) that the facility to turn off DVC would completely remove any impact to purest performance of the streamer, though, similar to the source direct feature in Sagatun.
Optical link to Sagatun for volume control would be a nice to have, but I can see that others might see it as a must have.
SPACE? That seems so tied to speaker profiles that I can't see how it could (or should?) be in a Lejonklou product, but I can see how a basic digital treble or bass roll-off could be useful to some. Again, for me, this feature would have to be completely transparent when disabled as it would need to stay all the way OFF for me ;)
Server & control point, I'd hope that the streamer would be agnostic to the server choice as long as it (the server) implemented standard protocols. What I'd hope is that there wouldn't be any degradation in the musicality of the streamer from supporting the most popular formats including ALAC, but SQ first even if that means re-ripping CDs or limiting server choice to one that will convert on the fly if there's a single format that makes the streamer musically superior to all others.
Additionally, Internet radio / TuneIn support would be nice, but in no way a deal breaker for me

What an interesting challenge. I hope the project goes well. Saving has already begun :)

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by ThomasOK » 2016-01-29 19:44

I have to say I think rowlandhills suggestion of an optical link out of the streamer to the optical control input on a Sagatun is a brilliant idea if it can be implemented without loss of musical quality. Or if there is a small loss maybe it could be switched out if not desired. Since the Sagatuns have this facility built in it would be a matter of putting an infrared flasher in the streamer and having it controlled via the volume control in the control point. I'm sure it is not a totally trivial task to engineer this but I think people who do mostly streaming would find it helpful.

As you can imagine I am not a fan of digital modifications of the signal and I don't like SO at all in any of the systems I have tried it in. So I find implementing it questionable. On the software front, since it will be a UPnP streamer it should work with any existing server software and control point software. However, there is still a lot of software programming necessary in the device itself to make sure it responds properly to the commands and so that the DAC, etc. all work optimally for most musical performance. This is where I expect the software work to be.

I do think that Internet radio is an important capability as many get some of their music that way.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by Ozzzy189 » 2016-01-30 18:41

I'll keep it simple, like me. What Thomas OK said. Bang on.
I use my remote control for volume, I'm still fairly traditional in that respect.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by lejonklou » 2016-01-31 14:22

Thank you!

Excellent input.

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by donuk » 2016-02-22 21:24

Of course, the ultimate streamer would have a built in analogue volume stage.
This means that instead of buying two boxes, extra money and effort could go into producing a streamer with no compromises.

Just a dream.....

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by macrotech2 » 2016-02-22 22:37

But then the analogue stage would only be of use if you had no other sources. Seems unnecessary if you have to use a preamp.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by donuk » 2016-02-23 00:11

Of course.....
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by ThomasOK » 2016-02-23 03:49

On the other hand, once the streamer is finished and out I could see the possibility of a combo streamer/analog preamp being a future product for those trying to simplify their systems with fewer boxes. Whether it could be accomplished with acceptable musical performance for the money is another question altogether, and would certainly be a deciding factor.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by macrotech2 » 2016-02-23 08:27

Definitely sign me up for one of those!
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by Music Lover » 2016-02-23 17:01

ThomasOK wrote:On the other hand, once the streamer is finished and out I could see the possibility of a combo streamer/analog preamp being a future product for those trying to simplify their systems with fewer boxes. Whether it could be accomplished with acceptable musical performance for the money is another question altogether, and would certainly be a deciding factor.
Based on the market trend, inbuilt pre is almost a requirement if the product should sell to a "non-Lejonklou" customer.
Strangely (or not given Linns marketing), even many Linn customers consider that a pre should be inbuilt in the DAC/streamer (whatever it's called)
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by donuk » 2016-02-24 10:25

Also, if Mr L's alleged new streamer is to be useful, and have features for the masses, may I further suggest this:
Have two Ethernet sockets, forming in effect a small "switch". This would mean that one could plug in both the network and the NAS. In many cases a switch would be unnecessary. More economic on power and neater. Probably better sounding - only one cable between NAS and streamer (as with the Melco).

Those must-have features that I suggest Freddie discards include:
Twin headphone sockets for those loving musical evenings.
A hole in the case to contain a clever pencil sharpener
A bottle opener on the back
A USB socket for phone charging
A pretty coloured graphic display that goes up and down in time with the music
A clock.

But if I get further ideas I will let you know.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by beck » 2016-02-24 10:53

I really like the creativity that this tread unlocks. Brilliant! I am just glad I do not have to consider buying a streamer. I will take my vinyl with me to my grave.:-)

Donuk, I share your view on digital recordings.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by Music Lover » 2016-02-24 11:57

donuk wrote: Those must-have features that I suggest Freddie discards include:
*thumbs up*
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by ThomasOK » 2016-02-24 14:05

beck wrote:I really like the creativity that this tread unlocks. Brilliant! I am just glad I do not have to consider buing a streamer. I will take my vinyl with me to my grave.:-)

Donuk, I share your view on digital recordings.
I would certainly hope you would instead leave them to someone who could appreciate them. ;-)
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by donuk » 2016-02-24 19:55

Of course, the other thing Mr L should incorporate in his new streamer is a valve. Preferably an obscure directly heated triode last used in a Russian tank transmitter. If only to drive the blue panel indicator lamp.

And also get an Italian to design the black box.

And somehow make it extremely heavy with visible bolts.

Then the British hifi press would love it, regardless of the sound.

I hope Mr L appreciates all this free design consultancy.........

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by lejonklou » 2016-02-24 21:14

All thoroughly noted with appreciation, Don!

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by Ozzzy189 » 2016-02-24 22:00

I'm getting worried don, you're turning into paulsurround! Lol X
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by macrotech2 » 2016-02-24 23:17

Ozzzy189 wrote:I'm getting worried don, you're turning into paulsurround! Lol X
That was exactly what I was thinking. Perhaps they really are the same man1
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by ThomasOK » 2016-02-24 23:18

You forgot the big knob with really nice little clicks as you turn it - doesn't even matter if it does anything. And, of course, some big blue meters!
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by donuk » 2016-02-24 23:44

Ozzzy189 wrote:I'm getting worried don, you're turning into paulsurround! Lol X
Praise indeed, Ozzy
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by Azazello » 2016-02-27 11:42

Split the discussion about my moderation to another thread.

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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by ThomasOK » 2016-02-27 13:14

I was wondering if Lejonklou is investigating MQA and do you have any thoughts about it? I know little about it but it is starting to get talked up as the next big format.
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Re: The New Lejonklou Streamer

Post by matthias » 2016-02-27 15:23

ThomasOK wrote:I was wondering if Lejonklou is investigating MQA and do you have any thoughts about it? I know little about it but it is starting to get talked up as the next big format.
MQA, the next big format?

http://www.computeraudiophile.com/f8-ge ... ces-27127/

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