Media Server Reviews

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 29, 2022  |  17 comments
Ah, domesticity. Just when I had the reference system sounding better than ever, the husband decided to relocate his electric keyboard and music stand, which had been positioned along the right wall of the detached music room, to the dining room in the main house. His reason was rational: While I did the reviewer thing in one space, he'd be free to practice keyboard and sing in another. But what was rational to him screwed with my reference sound and drove me to the brink of irrationality.
John Atkinson  |  Mar 23, 2022  |  10 comments
I start this review with a confession. I have consistently found that when I play CDs on a transport and feed the digital data via AES3 (AES/EBU) to a D/A processor, the music has more drive, particularly at low frequencies, than it does when I send the same 16/44.1 data to the same D/A processor via my network.
Julie Mullins  |  Mar 04, 2022  |  2 comments
I've been on a Kim Gordon kick lately. It began a few months ago with rediscovering some Sonic Youth albums and picking up Gordon's solo record, No Home Record. I recently finished reading her memoir, Girl in a Band, about her life, art, and musical career. I tend to read books rather than listen to them, but this time I listened with the Audible app, and I found the experience compelling. Gordon's delivery is direct, her voice even-keeled, almost deadpan. She's giving us the straight dope. Subtle inflections are detectable: moments when she felt strong and proud; leftover cobwebs of postbreakup pain. Her humanity came through.
John Atkinson  |  Nov 24, 2021  |  9 comments
In the summer of 2021, MoFi Distribution's Jonathan Derda emailed me about the South Korean HiFi Rose brand. "This brand strikes me as being the spiritual successor to the original SlimDevices Transporter and Squeezebox Touch," he wrote. "We're all really excited about it."

Jason Victor Serinus  |  Sep 29, 2021  |  22 comments
On the face of it, playing and streaming digital music files is a straightforward process. You direct data from various sources—some local, some "in the cloud"—perhaps via a reclocker/signal conditioner to a digital-to-analog converter (DAC). "And the music comes out here."

Not so simple. Bits, it seems, aren't bits, or not only. A digital datastream is also an analog signal. Noise and other signal errors endemic to multi-function computers not designed primarily for music playback can affect how music sounds. And then there are the practical issues of setting up and connecting everything optimally, and then organizing music files correctly, which can be especially difficult when ripping files from multidisc sets.

Robert Schryer  |  Sep 21, 2021  |  54 comments
In 1968, I was a 2-year-old toddler living in Paris, France—my birthplace—on the 14th floor of a diplomat-occupied apartment complex overlooking the Seine. My dad, a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was stationed in Paris, working security at the Canadian embassy. My mom and I were there with him.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Apr 06, 2021  |  0 comments
A digital front end comprises several elements: data storage, library management, program control, signal distribution, signal conditioning, and digital-to-analog conversion plus all the necessary interconnections. All this can be contained in a convenient single box, or it can be distributed.
John Atkinson  |  Feb 24, 2021  |  11 comments
In 1979, I visited Philips Electronics' renowned Research Center in Eindhoven, Holland, to examine a prototype of what would eventually be called a compact disc player. In 1989, I returned to the Eindhoven lab to witness the birth of the first sigma-delta DACs, which eliminated the problem of large linearity errors at low recorded levels in resistor-ladder DACs.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Jan 29, 2021  |  11 comments
Is this all there is to it? I had done some superficial investigations of Volumio online, after the Primo was suggested to me for review. I had learned that the Volumio player software is available for several hardware platforms including Windows, Mac, and Raspberry Pi, but I had not tried it before. I discovered Volumio's reputation as an efficient, Linux-based music player, installable with an SD card on minimal hardware and said to support virtually all music formats and resolutions including DSD and multichannel. But I had not experienced any of this for myself.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Nov 27, 2020  |  19 comments
My, how we've grown! The experience that convinced me of the inevitability of streaming was in 2010 with the tiny, tidy Logitech Squeezebox Touch that, despite being discontinued and disowned by its manufacturer, still has a cult-like following. Since then, we have seen an explosion of devices for file playback from local or nonlocal storage and web streams.
Kalman Rubinson  |  Sep 28, 2020  |  11 comments
On the cold and sunny morning of February 19, 2020, a dozen or so audio critics and writers gathered at Gilmore's Sound Advice on New York's far West Side to see some new NAD and DALI products that had been unveiled the prior month at CES. It was a friendly group, and we kibitzed over coffee before clustering in the arranged seats for presentations and auditions. I doubt any of us realized that it would be the last time for the foreseeable future that we would experience this familiar rite.
Jim Austin  |  May 15, 2020  |  27 comments
At the 2019 AXPONA, I took part in one of my first official meetings, as editor of Stereophile, with members of the manufacturing community: the German company T+A. They were presenting in the room of Texas dealer Lone Star Audio, which was owned by the late Jim Hench. They had a corner hallway to themselves: two rooms and, at the time when I arrived, a hallway table brimming with coffee and pastries. Fortuitous timing.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  May 01, 2020  |  94 comments
I am a Sharpener. I can acknowledge being a Sharpener—someone who, as explained by Stereophile reviewer/psychology professor Robert Deutsch in our March 2009 issue, tends to look for and exaggerate differences—without feeling a need to enter a 12-step program or confess to a crime. That's because there's nothing wrong with being a Sharpener.
Jason Victor Serinus  |  Apr 03, 2020  |  30 comments
We carry within us the wonders we seek outside us.—Rumi

There are plenty of difficult obstacles in your path. Don't allow yourself to become one of them.—Ralph Marston, The Daily Motivator

Put these two quotes together, shake vigorously, and you've got the essence of a music server. Unless your container isn't tightly sealed, in which case you've got a mess.

John Atkinson  |  Dec 23, 2019  |  32 comments
High-quality playback of digital audio is evolving in two opposed directions. One is where a smart wireless loudspeaker, like the KEF LSX or DALI Callisto 6 C, needs to be connected to a simple source of data. The other is where a smart amplifier takes the data from wherever it needs and sends it to a pair of dumb loudspeakers. NAD's Masters Series M32 integrated amplifier ($4848 with its optional MDC DD-BluOS module), which I reviewed in May 2018, is a great-sounding example of the latter approach.

In the spring of 2019, NAD introduced the Masters Series M10 ($2749). At first I assumed that the M10 was a stripped-down, less-powerful version of the M32, but the new amplifier offers a unique set of features.

Pages

X