Network Media Players

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 |  Jan 26, 2015  |  0 comments
No sooner had A&K started selling its flagship AK240 portable hi-res audio player than it announcedit had also upgraded its two original portables, the AK100 and AK120 – reviewed issues 370 and 375 respectively. While the junior members of the AK club have been given new finishes and received a raft of performance enhancing measures (including Cirrus Logic CS4398 DACs) the AK240 remains the out and out leader of the gang. The defining feature of the flagship model is the presence of an extra XMOS processor, which provides native DSD support at both 2. 8MHz and 5.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 03, 2019  |  0 comments
Since the demise of the iPod Classic and the rise of the smartphone as the portable audio device of choice for the majority of users, the digital audio player market has struggled to flourish. This hasn’t stopped some specialists from carving out a niche, though, and Astell&Kern has been offering a considerable range of high-end players for some time. With an eye on keeping things in the real world, the A&norma SR15 is at A&K’s more affordable end of its extensive product range and is £100 more than the AK70 (HFC 428) that’s more recently been updated to mkII. The specification of the SR15 improves on the AK70 mkII and it’s fitted with 64GB of internal memory, which is supplemented by the inclusion of a microSD card slot for a card up to 400GB.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Nov 19, 2018  |  0 comments
Eagle-eyed readers will recognise the form of the Auralic Aries G1 from our review in the January issue of its high-end Aries G2 sibling at £3,899. Understandably the G1 sacrifices some of the features of the flagship model to come in at less than half the price. The principle is the same, though, and this is a streaming transport that focuses on the business of accessing your digital music files on a home or external server and presenting them to an outboard DAC via its digital output connectivity.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Aug 19, 2018  |  0 comments
Network audio has become a big part of our hi-fi listening habit as more of us get more comfortable with the prospect of streaming music from pay services like Tidal and Qobuz or from a networked server containing a music library at home. It’s an area that’s seen considerable expansion in the last decade, but is still pretty much dominated by a few familiar names. For any company to make inroads into this sector, it needs to have a front end that goes the extra mile at a competitive price. Auralic has been impressive in this regard and first began to carve itself a reputation for well thought-out and capable products at competitive price points with the likes of its Aries Mini music streamer (HFC 425) and the Altair DAC/preamp with music streaming (HFC 428).
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jun 14, 2019  |  0 comments
Auralic’s Vega G1 streaming DAC builds on the success of its Aries transport series, but there’s a twist
Ed Selley  |  Mar 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Island in the stream A music file player that doesn’t stream, what’s going on? Jason Kennedy examines the first in a new breed of transports The engineers at Brystson have made the radical decision to build a digital music player that doesn’t stream music from a computer. Their angle is that streaming is bad, but digital music files are not. Is this then a brief diversion from the tidal onslaught of streamed music over solid software, or it could signal a new angle that brings us music files without the complications of streaming. Bryston’s approach is to let you access music files stored on USB drives, be they thumb drives or hard drives which you stock up with music on the computer and then plug into the player.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Oct 08, 2018  |  0 comments
Looking at the latest CXN network streamer/digital preamp/DAC, nothing has changed cosmetically from the original and between us and the barcode label on the carton, no one else will have a clue that this is the updated version. In matters of hiding your brighter light under the same bushel, the CXN V2, with its enhanced usability and slicker streaming properties, looks very Cambridge Audio and pretty much foolproof.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 14, 2015  |  0 comments
By combining hi-fi sound quality with real world convenience, all-in-one digital music players signify a step-change for the hi-fi industry. Their allure is like that ofCD in the eighties, appealing to both audiophiles and music lovers alike who simply want a fuss-free way to hear music, which in the modern age could be stored on a smartphone, laptop or sophisticated NAS drive. Cambridge Audio clearly gets this and its Minx Xi combines features cherry picked from its affordable separates range, packed into an even more affordable do-it-all single box. So what you get is a 40W (claimed) Class AB amplifier derived from the company’s 351A integrated amp, dual Wolfson WM8728 DACs lifted from the 351C CD player, the streaming functionality of CA’s NP30 network player and Bluetooth connectivity courtesy of the company’s BT100 apt-X receiver.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 13, 2011  |  0 comments
Cambridge Audio NP30 Small and attractively priced, but have corners been cut on performance? A simple, unassuming little box, in keeping with the rest of the Sonata range, the NP30 keeps things simple on the input and output front, without actually scrimping. There is wired Ethernet (the one interface common to every device in this group) and a wireless connection via the supplied antenna, plus front and rear-mounted USB sockets for local media players. Output is analogue on phono sockets, or digital electrical and optical. In addition to the obvious functions of playing from local media and the computer network, various internet streaming services are accessible via UuVol, Cambridge Audio’s platform for streaming content.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 12, 2011  |  0 comments
Cyrus Stream X The digital-only output may restrict the appeal, but Cyrus’s latest has some nice features to it Cyrus offers a range of three Stream devices, of which this is the simplest, offering as it does just a digital output. It’s Stream XP includes a DAC and hence analogue outputs, while the flagship Streamline goes the whole hog and includes a power amp and speaker outputs. For the purposes of this review we alternated between Cyrus’s own DAC X and a Cambridge Audio DacMagic, the latter keeping the total price more in line with the rest of the group. In terms of features, this streamer is rather out on a limb in present company.
Ed Selley  |  Jun 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Game- changer After 25 years in hi-fi, Cyrus has launched three new streaming-compatible products. Jason Kennedy examines the new technology Streaming is the bandwagon to be on in 2011. Any electronics manufacturer worth its salt has realised as much and many are already fighting for a slice of what is considered to be the future of audio. Cyrus has jumped in with three new streaming-compatible products that compete head-on with the leaders in the field, each contained within the iconic half-width Cyrus case and bursting with features.
Ed Selley  |  Nov 29, 2011  |  0 comments
Denon gets on stream Denon has entered the network audio player market with an inexpensive, iPod-friendly player. Malcolm Steward streams his tunes The Denon DNP-720AE is quite a late arrival at the network player party, but it compensates for its tardiness by bringing with it a genuinely useful gift: Apple Airplay, to cater for those who keep their music library in iTunes and that is an extraordinarily large group of people. Despite the number of services and features it offers, the appearance of the player is delightfully simple. The fascia contains only an on/off button, a push button for input selection, a rotary cursor control, which will be familiar to iPod users, and a centrally mounted, three-line, Organic Electroluminescence Display.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Jan 15, 2015  |  0 comments
You might be forgiven for gaining the impression that there is really only one option when it comes to portable digital players capable of 24/192 resolution – Astell&Kern. But it was always only a matter of time before other players appeared. Those in search of an alternative to the somewhat pricey players from iRiver pricked up their ears whenFiiO trailed the availability of a more affordable unit using the same Wolfson WM8740 DAC. A similar frisson was felt when it released an excellent portable headphone amp – the E17 – a year or two ago.
Hi-Fi Choice  |  Feb 01, 2019  |  0 comments
Our recent Group Test of entry-level network music players (HFC 442) showed there are some very impressive low-cost models to help you get started in streaming, but Google perhaps offers the bargain of the lot. It has a growing range using its own Cast streaming platform and for £70, the Chromecast Ultra supports video, but we’re more interested in the Chromecast Audio at just £30.
 |  Jan 21, 2015  |  0 comments
What the world needs now – to quote the great Burt Bacharach – is love, sweet love. Well perhaps, but there’s a sizeable number of consumer electronics companies who think this is no longer quite so pressing, and instead we should all be given network music players to play with. So much so that now it feels like you can’t move for the things. Love isn’t all around anymore – as The Troggs once sang – audio streamers are! Krell’s new Connect needs to be special then.

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