Network Player and Streamer Reviews

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Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 01, 2016 4 comments
All-In-One With A Twist
The ELAC Discovery is a one-box solution for people looking to turn their digital music collection, streamed and stored, into analog while using Roon to control playback. The Discovery handles gapless playback and PCM resolutions up to 24-bit/192kHz (WAV, AIFF, FLAC, ALAC, OGG, MP3, AAC) while offering two analog outputs + WiFi for multiroom(s) audio. Here's the twist: Discovery runs on Roon Essentials, which negates the need for a separate device running Roon Server/Core, and Roon Essentials is included in the Discovery's price.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 17, 2016 15 comments
Pre-Made Pi
The sonic.build Sonic DAC is put together from individual products you can buy and DIY. Here's the shopping list:
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Nov 03, 2016 6 comments
In This Corner...
Weighing in at a fit 16 lbs. with 10 digital inputs and balanced outputs stands the Roon Ready and firmware upgrade-able Ayre QX-5 Tweeeenty! And in this corner, piles of stuff.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Oct 27, 2016 3 comments
Musica Pristina’s Virtuoso Network DAC is a Roon Ready DAC that takes advantage of Roon Lab’s RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport) protocol technology for bit perfect network streaming over Ethernet and WiFi networks. RAAT supports “all relevant audio formats today and for the foreseeable future.” Musica Pristina is one of the earliest companies to support Roon’s RAAT with a DAC that utilizes this new network protocol.
Steven Plaskin Posted: Aug 25, 2016 63 comments
While USB DACs have been widely embraced by computer audiophiles for their ease of use and excellent sound, there has been a price to pay for the benefits associated with connecting one’s computer to these DACs. Noise, part and parcel of any all-purpose computer, is the enemy of music reproduction. The computer noise transmitted from the USB cable to the DAC steals from the user the ultimate sonic potential he could be enjoying.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 18, 2016 5 comments
"Timing is everything." Tommy Shaw
The Ravenna IP technology allows for syncing of multiple audio devices over Ethernet using the Precision Time Protocol (PPT) achieving clock accuracy "in the sub-microsecond range". This comes in handy in recording studios where Merging Technologies got its start, and earned its reputation, back in 1990 in Chexbres, Switzerland. As we all know, timing is everything in home audio, too, so Merging Technologies (MT) imbued its NADAC with, among other things, the Ravenna IP technology.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Aug 04, 2016 5 comments
totaldac + Roon
If you've read my reviews of the totaldac d1-tube-mk2 DAC or the d1-dual DAC, you'll know they are among my Favorites. When I received an email from totaldac's Vincent Brient asking if I'd be interested in reviewing his new Roon Ready d1-integral-headphone music server/DAC, I responded, "Yes".
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jul 28, 2016 11 comments
Shhh, Don't Tell Anyone
Simaudio makes fine-sounding, well-made, and (very) reasonably-priced gear. I'm afraid if this word gets out, they'll wise up and at least quintuple their prices, making them more appealing, ya know...sexy, to a certain sect of audiophiles.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 30, 2016 56 comments
Wow
I like simple. I appreciate uncomplicated. Yet I write about computer audio. I also listen to music every day for most of the day so I'm very much interested in the quality of that experience. I've been waiting years for these things to come together and they finally have.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Jun 23, 2016 30 comments
Junior
If you're looking for senior, that would be the PS Audio DirectStream (see review). Junior came into being with lots of senior's genes, of greatest import the FPGA-based digital processing engine developed by Ted Smith. The company then went about saving costs in less critical areas and Junior was born. The question on most people's minds may very well be—how far did Junior fall from the tree?
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 28, 2016 1 comments
Music-In-The-Box
You can serve to it, stream to it, and play to it via WiFi, Ethernet, Bluetooth, Toslink, or 3.5mm analog input. Armed with an ARM CORTEX A9 processor, 2x 50mm (2") speakers and an 89mm (3.5") woofer tri-amped with 60W of digital power, the Bluesound Pulse Mini pumps out a claimed 45Hz - 20kHz of not so mini music. Control playback from your iOS, Android, or Kindle device running the free BluOS control app or via the top-mounted touch controls and you have a world of music-in-the-box.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Apr 07, 2016 25 comments
The New Node 2
The new Bluesound Node 2 looks a helluva lot better than the original Node, at least to my eyes. It's new beauty is not only skin deep as its processor has been upgraded to a 1 GHz ARM CORTEX A9 Multi-core processor, the DAC is now the BurrBrown PCM5122, and the company has also added more connectivity options, integrated Bluetooth, a headphone amp, and improved WiFi performance. Bluesound has also been been working on improving their BluOS app for iOS and Android devices so we're looking at and listening all new Blue Sound.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 31, 2016 42 comments
Fit For Audiophiles?
I've seen this question posed and discussed about any number of things including the Auralic Aries Mini and I always think; this is what's wrong with some of the thinking in our hobby.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Mar 03, 2016 13 comments
Rendu
Streaming your NAS-based music from storage to speakers requires a device that sits in between. The requirements for this device are twofold; it needs to recognize your network attached storage (NAS) and make it available to another device, typically iOS or Android, which acts as your remote control for playback. In UPnP parlance, which I find as clear and easy to remember as Latin, and I never studied Latin, we're talking about a renderer and a control point. The Sonore Signature Series Rendu is, as its name suggests, a renderer whose job it is to serve up your network attached music. It'll also stream from Tidal as you'll learn about below.
Michael Lavorgna Posted: Dec 03, 2015 3 comments
Theory and Application (T+A)
0.5Hz – 300kHz. That's the stated frequency response for the T+A PA 2000 R integrated amp. Add < 0.001% total harmonic/intermodulation distortion and a 105/109dB signal to noise ratio (unweighted/A-weighted) and it appears as if T+A's theories have been applied rather successfully, on paper. The MP 2000 R DAC/Network Client's digital section boasts a 110db signal to noise ratio and we all know that less noise equals better resolution. More or less, on paper. When these two components are R-Link'd together and used to play music through your speakers of choice, theory and application need to add up to music appreciation. Of course T+A knows that and it sounds to me like they know it very well.

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