Discussion in 'DACs' started by rickmusicman, Jul 12, 2017.
Why invest in a Sonica to stream mp3's?
If you want all the bells and whistles, the Sonica is not for you. It won't do MQA at present. I like it for the sound quality and decent price.
If Tidal doesn't start working on their recent server bandwith issues that have surfaced due to MQA then that point will be mute anyway.
I haven't heard the stock Sonica. I had the dealer ship mine directly to Ric at EVS (tweakaudio.com) for his $700 single ended only mod. It's clearly better than my heavily modified Oppo BDP-105. I listen mostly to LPs on my LP only, vacuum tube main system. I use digital in secondary systems for convenience, not sound. Ric's modified Sonica is the first digital piece I've owned that I've been completely happy with. I only use my Sonica to play aiff files from an almost full 2TB drive. It resides in a simple, secondary system; Sonica into Ars-Sonum Filarmonia-SK EL34 amp into Merlin Black Magic TSM speakers. I tried Tidal and wasn't impressed with the selection or sound. Glad they had a free trial period.
I'm pretty new to streaming so please bear with me.
Currently I stream from a Mac laptop to my Peachtree Nova 125SE, which has a built-in asynchronous DAC. Would I be able to use the Sonica in place of my laptop computer and if so, would it give me better sound than my MacBook Air when streaming from Tidal?
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Yes, you can stream directly with the Sonica. I have no direct experience with your streaming setup but I'm guessing that you would get better sound with the Sonica, especially if you bypass the Peachtree DAC.
Set the Sonica's volume control on bypass mode and use a line level input into the Peachtree bypassing it's internal DAC and you are good to go.
Thanks for the reply.
If I were to replace my MacBook with the Sonica, how would I be able to select songs and albums from Tidal? The screen on the front of the Sonica seems much too small for that.
You use your smart phone or tablet; free Sonica app for OS or Android.
Great, I can use my iPad!
Well, I did it, I purchased my Sonica. I'm now streaming Tidal from it, rather than into the DAC that's built into my integrated amp. I expected my music to sound better, but I just wasn't prepared for this much of an improvement! Right out of the box it sounded so much better; more spacious, the instruments had better timbre, and the vocals, oh the vocals. I'm told that it will get even better after it has been broken in for a couple of weeks. Even if it doesn't improve at all, I'm as pleased as I can be with it. Right now I'm playing my music through my LS-50s and they've never sounded so good. I'm expecting great things through my Maggies too.
I'm considering a Sonica for use with a vintage Sansui receiver. I am assuming that it will connect to my network wirelessly. Am I correct? Will it function as a sort of remote volume control? Say if the receiver is playing fairly loud and I need to turn it down to answer a question or whatever are you able to lower the volume? Thanks in advance
Yes. The app allows you to adjust the volume remotely. You can also purchase a separate remote for an additional $30, but only from OPPO directly.
I know I have low chance to get this answered but here it goes: can the Xfinity programmable remote be set up to adjust volume on the Oppo. I have a Yamaha integrated and there is a three digit code which works fine.
Also how does this compare to the slightly more expensive Cambridge Audio CXN SQ-wise.
Possibly, have you checked with Xfinity to see if they have a master listing of the Brands / Models / Codes to Use that their remote supports? You may have to be creative and choose something Oppo branded but not the Sonica to see if the remote will work. I had to do that with my Onkyo receiver, chose a Onkyo AV which allows my Spectrum remote to work.
I have had one for about 2 weeks and really love it. SQ and ease of use is awesome.
After I asked the question it occurred to me to go to the source, here is Oppo's answer:
'Unfortunately there are no universal codes that will work. So you will either need a remote that you can program using the Hex codes from our website, or a learning remote which you teach it the commands from the IR remote.'
Have you looked into Harmony remotes? I'd be surprised if they don't support it.
Edit: Looks like it's supported.
I am on the fence about the Sonica DAC. The big deal killer for me is the lack of gapless playback. Upon listening to files from a server (or in the car, from an SD card or USB stick), I have come to notice that I have more digital albums that segue from one track to another, than I thought I had. I don't see upgrading from my Oppo 105 until they fix this bug. IMHO that should have been a top priority when they set out to design this; they already knew it was an issue on the 105. I will not be tethering a computer to my system either. That is the reason I wanted a network player in the first place.
I've heard the stock Sonica DAC and the Modwright version at AXPONA this past April, and at first listen they sounded impressive. The 105 is comparatively a little darker in presentation, or so I've read, but even so...
...this is exactly how I felt when I first played my 105 the day it arrived. The soundstage! Wow. Digital was finally smooth sounding, rather than the harsh, grating, and soulless mess coming out of my Pioneer DV-45A. I have really liked its easygoing nature, and no doubt when I decide to upgrade, the Sonica DAC will sound even better (since I am planning on getting the Modwright version--I figure I want to take a bigger jump if I am upgrading).
In her box? Oppo has stated they will not be doing "apps" on the newer hardware. However, there is an easy solution. Get a Chromecast Audio, feed the optical digital output to the Sonica DAC. That opens up all sorts of music apps to be played through the DAC and take advantage of its good sound. Pandora, Spotify, etc. can all be cast to it. I use the original Chromecast into an HDMI input on my 105, simply to play audio apps. We use them as background music here, so it's not so much for ultimate audio quality as it is for convenience.
Zero interest in MQA here, so that's not a deal killer.
I am not sure what the Sonica DAC does, but my 105 came with a separate USB-driven receiver/antenna for the WiFi connection. However, even though I had a strong wireless signal in the room, I was getting dropouts on the higher resolution files, especially if I were playing music in surround from the server. Ethernet is definitely the way to go if using high-res. The Ethernet cables today are available in "flat" formats so they are easy to run around the room and tuck behind/underneath things. (They are not the bulky round cables, in other words.)
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