Finally I got a DAC. Always wanted to get one but found that if I have to switch on the PC/Mac just to hear songs, then it is silly… Actually all I wanted is just a way to play music fro my digital music collection to my sound system.
But now I have a NAS, Synology DS1511+, it looked like a good source for the music. Indeed, now I kept all my lossless and MP3 files in the NAS. I just pulled music into my iTunes on my Macbook Pro to sych with my iPhone. The whole collection sits on the NAS and it is always 24 hours on. Lastly, Synology actually has a great software (DSM) and a great iPhone app (Synology DS Audio). The latter is superb. It is a streaming software that allows you to hear your music on your NAS through your iPhone (that means play the music on your iPhone even though the actual files are sitting on the NAS). It even allows you to hear your music through the internet (i.e. the music is in the NAS at home but you dun even need to be at home).
But for this case, we use the Audio Station software and app as a remote control for the NAS.
So I got myself a DAC that works with Synology. Been looking around for one and finally settled on HRT Music Streamer II. Only reason ? It is known to work well with Synology and it is affordable for my wallet. I actually got it for more than $229 SGD (with a free audio cable) but I noticed that it is only USD 149 on Amazon and with the amazingly strong SGD, it is really much affordable if you buy directly from the USA.
The free “audiophile” audio cable given by the store:
So how does it work.. one end goes into the USB port of the Synology DS1511+
And the other end goes to the HRT Music Streamer II.. this will pass the music from the NAS into the DAC for conversion of digital music to analog music:
And of course, the audio cable into the other end of the Streamer II and then on to your amp (e.g. Aux In)
How do you then control the music in the NAS… how do you play it ?
Two (2) ways
Way 1 : Via your PC/Mac. Log on to the NAS via its IP address. Then play the music on the NAS via the Audio Station application on the Synology DSM software. You can use ANY PC/Mac on your network…. since the music is sitting in the NAS and you are just using the PC/Mac as a client to control the playing of the music:
Way 2 : Via your iPhone or iPad. Best best !! The best way to play the music is via this method. It is like using the iPhone/iPad as your remote control (just like the iPhone remote application). Go to download the DS Audio (search for “Synology” in the app store on the iPhone and you should be able to find the DS Audio app).
You should then choose the REMOTE method in the App (and NOT the STREAMING method.. the Streaming Method plays the music to your iPhone/iPad. The Remote method plays the music from the NAS through the DAC to your AMP).
On the log in screen, you should see the USB Mode:
And there you have it. In the next screen, you should see all your music files that are sitting in your NAS (I just place them in the MUSIC folder created by Synology for easy fuss free access)..
And the best part is that you can play a lot of formats.. APE, FLAC, MP3 etc ! Great stuff.. the best way to play your lossless or lossy music from your NAS. Most important is to play your lossless files (high quality) right ?
Playing MP3 shows the album art embedded in the MP3 file:
Playing the lossless music does NOT show the album art though… so sad… probably a bug…
(update: found that you need to have a folder.jpg in the exact folder of the FLAC music for the app to show the album art).
Totally enjoying my music in my NAS !!
For someone who asked about 24bit/96kHz: