Network Player and Streamer Reviews

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Michael Lavorgna  |  Jun 08, 2017
The guys at Sonore and Small Green Computer recently released a software upgrade to their SonicOrbitor OS, version 2.5, which is delivered via hardware, a microSD card. The cost is $20 including shipping (or should that read—mailing?) and performing the upgrade takes all of minutes. The result? A better microRendu.
Michael Lavorgna  |  May 16, 2017
"Take 'em to the bridge"—James Brown, "Sex Machine"
Can a piece of hi-fi be a sex machine?
Steven Plaskin  |  Mar 22, 2017  |  First Published: Mar 23, 2017

SOtM has developed an ARM board for the sMS-200 and their own Linux software called Eunhasu, which means Milky Way in Korean. The sMS-200 has an attractive case with all connections made at the rear of the device. The soft footers add stability to the small sMS-200. There are two LED indicators on the front panel that indicate power and network activity. The rear panel has the Ethernet input, audio-grade USB 2.0 output, 2 USB 2.0 inputs for external USB storage devices, a reset button, a microSD card, and the DC power input. I also noticed at the Ethernet input LEDs that indicate network activity.
Steven Plaskin  |  Dec 08, 2016
The Nimitra Computer Audio Server is the design of Keetakawee Punpeng, the creator of Fidelizer. I have previously written about Fidelizer Pro, software that optimizes the Windows operating system for use with music software. Keetakawee, who hails from Thailand, decided to combine his software talents and computer hardware knowledge to create a reference audiophile music server. He also wanted a server that would not only be better sounding than an off-the-shelf computer, but a device that would be effortless in terms of setup and use. The Nimitra was conceived as a plug and play device that would take the frustration out of the use of a computer for audio and let users concentrate on their enjoyment of music.
Michael Lavorgna  |  Dec 01, 2016
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  |  Nov 17, 2016
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  |  Nov 03, 2016
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  |  Oct 27, 2016
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  |  Aug 25, 2016
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  |  Aug 18, 2016
"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  |  Aug 04, 2016
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  |  Jul 28, 2016
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  |  Jun 30, 2016
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  |  Jun 23, 2016
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  |  Apr 28, 2016
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.

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