• Network Audio

    by Published on 06-25-2015 03:31 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Music Servers,
    3. Network Audio,
    4. USB Interface
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    I've been using Aurender music servers for several years. In 2011 I reviewed the Aurender S10 and in 2014 I reviewed the flagship W20 model. I've watched the company closely over the years, including traveling to its headquarters in Seoul, Korea in 2013. During this time Aurender has made substantial improvements to both its hardware and software. Features that used to be unique have become commonplace and no longer set Aurender apart from the crowd. Continuing to evolve and lead has meant integrating features like the TIDAL streaming services at a very high level and releasing the free product update to its customers quickly. I will not be surprised if Aurender updates its products to support Roon as an audio endpoint (RoonSpeakers) soon after Roon Labs releases its software development kit (SDK). In addition the company has recently expanded its line of server products to include the X series, globally launched in 2014, and N series. Prices for Aurender's entire line range from the entry level N100 at $2,499 to the pièce de résistance W20 at over $17,000. No matter what Aurender hardware one uses, the software is the same. Customers who buy into Aurender at the entry level receive the same software as those using the top-of-the-line. With very few exceptions for items requiring AES or S/PDIF output the software functionality is identical. Over the last few weeks I've been using the Aurender N100H with my current reference system. The sound quality from this system has been stellar as has the entire experience. The new Aurender Media Manager (AMM) application, updated iOS app, and the N100H hardware itself combine to make a very solid solution that touches all the bases for many music aficionados and audiophiles alike. ...
    by Published on 04-29-2015 08:52 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio


    Over the years I've researched countless software and hardware combinations, based on the Raspberry Pi, for use in HiFi audio systems. I'm not alone. Audiophiles all over the world have been trying to squeeze every ounce of audio quality from the device since its release in February 2012. During the early attempts it was "nerd city" with massive tweaking and lackluster results. Now, with the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, the right software, and a few optional add-ons, audiophiles have a simple solution for HiFi sound starting at around $50.

    After publishing the previous CA Geek Speak article with instructions for using a Beaglebone Black as a UPnP renderer, I noticed many user comments seeking additional features. Members of the CA Community asked for WiFi, Spotify, and different audio output options among other things. Satisfying these needs wasn't possible with the hardware limitations of the Beaglebone Black. Thus, I went back to the Raspberry Pi platform and pieced together three different solutions for bit perfect playback. ...
    by Published on 03-11-2015 12:10 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio
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    Warning: This article is technical in nature, but is far from rocket surgery. The step-by-step how-to instructions below make the process extremely easy. That said, this article isn't for everybody.

    This is the second article in the CA Geek Speak series (Link to first article ). If you have a USB DAC and want to turn it into a network capable device or if you want to setup multiple zones for playback and control via iPad for less than $100 per zone, then this article is for you. The instructions below provide a step-by-step guide for creating a UPnP / DLNA / OpenHome renderer with Ethernet input and USB output for connection to a USB DAC. In a way, this device can be considered the poor man's Auralic Aries (Review Link ) or SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server (Review Link ). In the previous Geek Speak article readers were forced to log in to the device and make configuration changes via command line. This time I've taken care of all the configuration myself. Readers simply need to download the preconfigured image file and flash it to a Beaglebone Black (Rev. C) following the instructions. That's it. ...
    by Published on 10-15-2014 11:13 AM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio
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    Over the last couple months I've talked to several manufacturers who expressed great frustration over end user network problems. In no way was this a blame game placing blame on the end user, rather just an expression of frustration that each manufacturer was incorrectly blamed for a dysfunctional product. In addition, some frustration was also expressed toward audio dealers who refuse to learn computer networking basics or enough about networking to support the products being sold. Given the level of frustration by manufacturers and end users I think it's a good idea to publish a little refresher on networking for computer audio and provide the CA Community a glimpse into my network as an example of a network that is rock solid and (almost) guarantees flawless performance. I've never had an issue with computer audio that was traced back to a problem with my network. I don't say that to boast, rather to help readers understand that my network and the following examples should suit them well for audio playback.
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    by Published on 08-13-2013 01:01 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio
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    Theoretically wireless networks should have been capable of streaming high resolution audio since consumers started adopting 802.11g 54 Mbit/s WiFi back in 2003. Streaming 8 channels (7.1) at 24 bit / 192 kHz requires roughly 37 Mbit/s of bandwidth. Thus, high resolution two channel audio should have been a breeze to sling around one's house ten years ago. Unfortunately real life stood in the way. The actual throughput of wireless network devices has never been close to the theoretical maximum. Issues such as latency, dramatic signal losses due to distance and home construction variables, and the lack of technology to harness the power of wireless signals has made wired Ethernet the only game in town. Some computer audiophiles are fortunate to have wired ethernet networks connecting their music servers to their Network Attached Storage devices (NAS) anywhere in their houses. Others are stuck placing components in less than stellar locations because they can't stretch an unsightly Ethernet cable across the living room. With the release of 802.11ac wireless routers, access points, and adapters many audiophiles previously constrained by the lack of wiring may finally have a solution for smooth streaming. ...
    by Published on 05-10-2013 02:01 PM
    1. Categories:
    2. Network Audio
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    Intro
    The following guide was designed for audiophiles. The guide describes UPnP based home audio reproduction, provides use pro and cons of UPnP, examples, and recommendations for successful UPnP audio implementations.

    Overview

    Network based audio can be delivered using several different protocols and technologies such as UPnP, DAAP (Apple), and Ravenna among others. UPnP is the most common network audio protocol in use today. It's used in both two channel single room systems and whole house network audio distribution. Ironically UPnP is extremely simple for end users and a bear for product producers. The more one digs into the UPnP protocols the more divergent information with common frustration one finds. This guide will not turn a novice into an expert. I hope it will provide all the information computer audiophiles need to understand and enjoy UPnP based audio playback. ...
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