StreamUnlimited's Audio Streaming Client

During the course of my recent spate of streamer reviews, I came across Vienna, Austria-based StreamUnlimited. If you check out their website, you'll see some familiar faces on both their product page as well as their "Network" page which includes "customers and partners". Among those listed we find Pioneer, T+A, Musical Fidelity, Naim, Simaudio, Wadia, Bang & Olufsen, Sony, Denon, Pro-Ject, Creek, and more. I know what some of you are thinking—Ah Ha!

Well, I kind of agree in that its always interesting to understand in a very general way where some pieces of technology are sourced from. Like output transformers and Asynchronous USB technology to name just two. But I also think its important to avoid overstating the importance of parts-sourcing. In other words, I believe you can hand a bunch of designers the same DAC chips and parts, lock them in a room and they'll come out with an equal number of different sounding DACs. It's all in the mix and the skill and intentions of the mixologist(s). Or if you prefer, engineering and voicing.

Here's a video from StreamUnlimited showing off their Stream700 High End Audio Streaming Client:

interesting music selection - Marc Seales, M. Ward and the soundtrack from Flashdance? Really?

You can download the Stream700 High End Audio Streaming Client feature list here.

Finally, for now, there are a number of things I don't know as well as a number of things not many people know. One example is how many other companies are out there offering OEM products similar to StreamUnlimited? Another unanswered question is for those companies listed on the StreamUnlimited website, we don't know who uses what, what modifications they make if any, and what other technology they incorporate in their streaming solution in addition to what's provided by StreamUnlimited.

That said, from a certain perspective it's amusing to imagine the scenario where one company can implement a firmware upgrade and a hefty chunk of audiophiles with streaming products from various manufacturers simultaneously enjoy the exact same upgraded benefits. Like being part of club without realizing you're a member or owning a Windows-based PC.

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COMMENTS
jmcgowan's picture

Very Interesting and good to know. Typically of lots of products only a handfull of companies actually make the products, but they are repackaged, rebranded etc by many. You are correct though the implementation can be very different. StreamUnlimited's user interface looks pretty good, it will be interesting to see how many products it shows up in. 

 

As an aside do any of the streamers out there have a video output so you cab use your TV for browsing songs etc? Or is the I-pad/Iphone app they way things are headed?

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Looks like it will be an option from StreamUnlimited.

From their Stream700 High End Audio Streaming Client feature list PDF (under "UI"):

TV screen UI (OSD), HW prepared (requires also DENC chip) / SW driver not integrated yet.

Whether or not a given manufacturer will choose to include this option remains to be seen. In general, I have not seen this capability included in many audio-only devices.

Vincent Kars's picture

http://www.digitalfidelity.com/

Used by Naim.

XMOS, a lot of async USB DACs use their receiver.

Personally I prefer audio companies to use products like these with a large installed base rather  than inventing their own buggy wheels.

Michael Lavorgna's picture

Personally I prefer audio companies to use products like these with a large installed base rather than inventing their own buggy wheels.

I have no issue here either but I was expecting some would. I'm glad I was wrong.

The one interesting aspect in this scenario is we're obviously talking about a much larger feature set as compared to something like async USB. And people react to what they perceive as limitations, no Apple lossless support for example, as some sort of inexplicable shortcoming or something that was somehow overlooked by the manufacturer when in fact this piece of the puzzle is being sourced from a third party.

So you have multiple streamers with the exact same specifications in terms of file format compatibility (to stick with this example), which makes perfect sense once we learn they’ve all sourced their streaming technology from the same company.

I’ve been in touch with StreamUnlimited and will have a Q&A with them that I hope to publish in a few weeks.

jackgreen's picture

Thanks for informative story.

Wavelength's picture

Michael,

The problem is not really the server companies or the linux distro etc... Most audio companies really do not understand how to pull this kind of product off. So they rely on companies to help them out.

The big thing here is that the people who originally did all the work Voyage Linux are not getting paid. Companies like this and other Server companies take this code recomplile it and modify and suddenly they think they own it. Just because you change a few ALSA setup files does not make you the owner.

So how does this effect the end user? Well by not getting paid the originators of the code really have no modivation to make this high end and believe me there is allot of changes required to make it high end.

It also means support for ALC and other file types are or will not be supported. Even though ALC source code is now available from Apple.

Thanks

Gordon

Michael Lavorgna's picture

This is indeed an interesting problem as presented. Of course I have no information beyond your comments but taken at face value it certainly appears as if the market is ripe for this kind of ‘talent’. As this technology matures, I’d imagine companies will want/need to differentiate themselves which can be a challenging task when using a sourced/shared solution. As you point out, there’s also the issue of time-to-market for new features that becomes an unknown variable if the technology is not developed in-house.

It will be interesting to see how this market matures.
 

kavon yarrum's picture

Glad you were able to decipher GR's post. 

All I see is a jumble of unsubstantiated claims. 

Probably won't see him again. He generally posts then

never appears again to answer any questions. 

kavon yarrum's picture

Can you provide a coherent clarification to your post and provide specific examples to back up your claims?

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