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Article: exaSound PlayPoint Network Audio Player Review

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Dude! Didn't you know that some of the best Hi-Fi engineers in the world are in Canada! And here I am, a "Kentucky Yankee" extolling the technological superiority of Canada in many aspects of engineering, TV production, animation (2D and CGI), and in clinical research, let alone in Hi-Fi products. Not at all making the USA look bad (we Americans do have a lot of cool, kick-ass tech savvy, too), but I like to think of Canada with the ranks of the United Kingdom, especially the Brits and the Scots, in engineering prowess.

 

I'm just glad to know our northerly friends don't fool around in the Hi-Fi world.

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17629v2   

"Dude! Didn't you know that some of the best Hi-Fi engineers in the world are in Canada! And here I am, a "Kentucky Yankee" extolling the technological superiority of Canada in many aspects of engineering, TV production, animation (2D and CGI), and in clinical research, let alone in Hi-Fi products."

 

Actually, Canada is one of the biggest countries for high end audio. The US is number one, but Canada is either second or third.

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MikeJazz   

Hi Chris, this is an excellent review packed with useful information.

 

I would like to know from you if it's possible to address your performance concerns, such as with mode " Roon Server running on the PlayPoint. Music stored on a NAS."

 

I noticed that recently Roon recomended a NAS configuration where it's roon server database would be on a SSD drive. This makes a lot of sense and I would wonder what would happen if you implement such solution on your NAS.

 

Let's have your feedback.

 

Thanks for the great work, and I would ask exasound to expand the range of this great product to support other DAC's...although the pack just looks great.

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Hi Chris, this is an excellent review packed with useful information.

 

I would like to know from you if it's possible to address your performance concerns, such as with mode " Roon Server running on the PlayPoint. Music stored on a NAS."

 

I noticed that recently Roon recomended a NAS configuration where it's roon server database would be on a SSD drive. This makes a lot of sense and I would wonder what would happen if you implement such solution on your NAS.

 

Let's have your feedback.

 

Thanks for the great work, and I would ask exasound to expand the range of this great product to support other DAC's...although the pack just looks great.

Hi @MikeJazz - Thanks for the kind words and good questions.

 

This is kind of confusing if you don't eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff, like some of us unfortunately do :~)

 

Roon suggests running its server software on a NAS with an SSD. Yes, but this wouldn't change anything with the PlayPoint because you'd only be using the PP a a RoonReady endpoint in this scenario. All the Roon software would be running on a NAS. It's a great solution, but different from the one where I had some performance issues.

 

When I had the performance issues, Roon Server was running on the PP and my music was stored on a NAS that was just serving files.

 

Does this make sense and answer your questions? Let me know and I can discuss it further.

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exa   

Hello Chris,

 

Thank you very much for the comprehensive and insightful review. We designed the PlayPoint to take the hassle out of the listening experience, and just get on with the enjoyment.

 

One thing I’d like to remind readers of is that PlayPoint isn’t just for stereo. Ted Brady’s CA review of the PlayPoint’s multichannel prowess, “Computer Audiophile - The exaSound Playpoint Stereo/Multichannel Streamer Review”, is worth a look.

 

He summarized that it’s “…a clearly unique approach to multichannel streaming,” and that it“…does everything it’s advertised to do, runs in 3-4 different scenarios, and is built very well, too.”

 

Thanks again for running our new product through it’s paces, and we always look forward to reading about your thoughts on the new and notable.

 

George K.

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ednaz   

I've got an e22, and it's much loved not just by me, but by my wife and a long list of guests who are totally rude when they come and flop down in the audio room with eyes shut and intensely listening to the sound of Bill Evans in my listening room instead of coming to dinner. My question is one of incremental value - check that, incremental pleasure. I've got a setup that has a Corning USB3 cable from my music server to the e22, because of the server being about 16 feet from the DAC. The server is a 4 core i7 that does nothing other than serve music 90% of the time, to one to three rooms, but downloads new music or rips new music a couple hours a week.

 

My issue is, will this raise the audio bar for that main room, replacing the Corning USB interface with wireless and a short USB2 run to the e22. Switching to wifi would be the biggest change. Damn hard to imagine the sound from the e22 getting better, but as a big fan of wretched excess...

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exa   
I've got an e22, and it's much loved not just by me, but by my wife and a long list of guests who are totally rude when they come and flop down in the audio room with eyes shut and intensely listening to the sound of Bill Evans in my listening room instead of coming to dinner. My question is one of incremental value - check that, incremental pleasure. I've got a setup that has a Corning USB3 cable from my music server to the e22, because of the server being about 16 feet from the DAC. The server is a 4 core i7 that does nothing other than serve music 90% of the time, to one to three rooms, but downloads new music or rips new music a couple hours a week.

 

My issue is, will this raise the audio bar for that main room, replacing the Corning USB interface with wireless and a short USB2 run to the e22. Switching to wifi would be the biggest change. Damn hard to imagine the sound from the e22 getting better, but as a big fan of wretched excess...

 

Thank you for the good words and the good question. If the 16 feet USB cable gives you a convenient link between your e22 DAC and the i7 PC, I would say don't change anything. Always keep your audio system as simple as possible. The PlayPoint can be of incremental value - and pleasure to you - if:

 

  • You need to cover distance greater than 16 feet, the maximum allowed for USB.
  • You need the benefits of using a centralized music library that can serve several playback points without sacrificing sonic fidelity.
  • Using a computer for audio doesn't fit in your lifestyle, you need a device that works more like an audio appliance.

The PlayPoint won't make the sound from the e22 better compared to our proprietary Asynchronous USB/ASIO. The PlayPoint makes Ethernet and Wi-Fi sounding uncompromisingly as good as USB, while supporting DXD / PCM 384kHz / 32bit and native DSD256.

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Gadgety   

Interesting. A suggestion I have is to publish an image of the audio chain in a flow diagram, or in this case, the alternative audio chains make it faster to read, and also to compare various set ups suggested in different reviews.

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