Network Media Players

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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  |  Oct 11, 2011  |  0 comments
Logitech Squeezebox Touch From the makers of mice and keyboards comes one of the niftiest bits of audio user interface we’ve ever seen The photo will already have told you that this is in many ways a horse of a very different colour. All the same, its basic input and output features are close enough to those of the rest of the group. Ethernet and wireless network access are joined by a USB socket at the rear and an SD card socket at the side, both of which allow the use of local music storage devices. Output is on the usual pair of phono sockets, or a mini-jack for headphones, or electrical and optical digital connections.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 10, 2011  |  0 comments
Marantz NA7004 Plenty of streaming functions, but we suspect the inclusion of Apple Airplay will pique as much curiosity Marantz’s take on streaming audio is that it needn’t replace more familiar ways of accessing audio and, indeed, the same box can look after new and old sources. Accordingly, the NA7004 functions also as a DAC, a digital radio and indeed an FM/AM radio too, thus covering the gamut of ‘streaming’ audio right back to the 1920s. As a DAC, it includes both types of S/PDIF input and a USB type B socket, for connection to a computer, which means you can use it alongside a computer that’s not on a network. The USB socket on the front is for media players, including the iPod (and other Apple devices), and the NA7004 is also equipped with Apple Airplay for wireless music replay from suitable Apple players.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 09, 2011  |  0 comments
Rotel RDG-1520 Streamer or a ‘digital gateway’? Fact is, this is an easy bit of kit to use if you’re not used to computerised audio Streamer, tuner, ‘digital gateway’ – whatever you call it, this is a very flexible way of getting at tunes. It may not have quite as many options on offer as the Marantz, but it still does plenty: streaming from a computer network (wired or wireless) and playing internet radio, FM, DAB, USB including iPod etc. It does support 96kHz playback off a network, though not off USB and only at 16-bit resolution. What’s more, although it plays the files it downsamples them to 48kHz, so they are no longer high-res in any sense.
Ed Selley  |  Oct 08, 2011  |  0 comments
Yamaha NP-S2000 Slick and sleek, with more obvious audiophile features than most, but is it worth the extra cash? By some margin the most ‘hair-shirt’ of the streamers in this group, the NP-S2000 nevertheless looks a lot more like a bit of high-end audiophilia than the rest. It’s vast and very heavy, and we were impressed to find, after removing 42 screws to get the lid off, that it really is quite full of electronics – two separate mains transformers, a large and well-populated audio circuit board, and so on. Part of the reason why the audio board needs so much electronics is that it has to drive a balanced output, as well as the usual unbalanced, something you really don’t often see on streamers. There are optical and electrical digital outputs as well.
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  |  May 17, 2011  |  0 comments
Naimstream champion Exclusive! Can Naim’s new high-performance streamer improve on the standard of its own CD players? Malcolm Stewart gives the answer. . . The number of digital streaming devices available to the hi-fi enthusiast continues to grow on an almost daily basis.
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.
Ed Selley  |  Jul 02, 2010  |  0 comments
Rip, touch and play Malcolm Steward test runs the Qsonix Q105, a 21st Century music library system for people who have no interest in computers here is a vital question facing any manufacturer of a hard-disk music player. It has nothing to do with what size disks to use or what sort of case to put it in. It is rather more rudimentary, i. e what sort of person is going to buy it? If the answer is the hard-core audiophile, then the manufacturing task is immediately simplified.