Choosing the Right Music Streamer for Your System Part 2

 

Choosing the Right Music Streamer for Your System Part 2

Last time we talked about some easy ways to add streaming music to your sound system. This time we’ll be concentrating on solutions for higher performance systems.

You’ll see that some of these products are referred to as “Roon-ready.” What does that mean? Well, Roon is a software that goes beyond album art and track titles to show you what you want to know about the music you love. Roon finds and displays detailed metadata for your music, including reviews, ratings, recording and release dates, multi-tiered genres, high-resolution artist photos, and lyrics. It’s a way of getting back some of the information we lost without album covers, and even goes way beyond that. If you like diving deep into info about your favorite artists and love discovering new music, Roon is a God-send.

Now, back to the hardware… Digital audio is available from many sources, and the Cambridge Audio CXN (V2) network streamer is able to deliver from those you love the most. Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2, Qobuz and Tidal offer a world’s-worth of content, there’s Chromecast built-in to make things even easier, and it’s Roon-ready to enrich the experience of finding new music. With digital optical and coaxial inputs, asynchronous USB socket, aptX Bluetooth (via adapter) and internet radio, the CXN (V2) brings the planet’s music into your home. It offers dual Wolfson WM8740 digital-to-analog convertors, which upscale any digital audio information to an information-packed 24bit/384kHz using Cambridge Audio’s unique ATF2 technology. Music is delivered with the sort of warmth, depth, nuance and unity not often associated with digital audio.

All-in-one streamers

A convenient new category is becoming increasingly popular: the all-in-one streamer. As the name implies, this type of component includes streaming capabilities along with a preamplifier, power amplifier and DAC. Just add a good pair of speakers and you’ll be enjoying a high-end listening experience in no time. Here are three we recommend…

Delivering incredible, full-on HiFi sound from a compact, convenient all-in-one system, the new Cambridge Audio Evo features proprietary StreamMagic technology that makes all digital files and streams sound better. StreamMagic optimizes playback for every current format, from Roon to MQA-powered TIDAL Masters, Spotify Connect, Apple AirPlay 2 Chromecast and Qobuz, and is ready to adapt to whatever the future may bring, too. Combining streaming smarts and high-class amplification in one box means Evo only needs speakers connected to serve up thrilling sound quality. Streaming music from Evo means saying goodbye to yards of cables, and hello to intuitive, straightforward functionality in one sleek, good-looking box. There are two versions available: the Evo 75, which offers 75 watts per channel, and the Evo 150, which features 150 watts per channel plus a built-in moving magnet phono stage.

The Naim Uniti Atom streaming player lets you enjoy all your favorite music and radio stations. It expertly handles all the top music-streaming services – including Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and Qobuz – and offers Apple AirPlay 2, Chromecast built-in and Bluetooth playback. It can also seamlessly play with other music systems around your home and connect to your TV via HDMI, so your favorite shows and movies sound better, too. The Naim App, available for both Apple and Android devices, makes it simple to control your Uniti Atom, and even link up other music systems around your home into a stunning multi-room set-up. There’s also voice-control support for Google Assistant and Apple Siri. The built-in amplifier creates 40W per channel into 8 ohms.

If you are a dedicated music enthusiast looking for a compact solution, check out the MOON ACE all-in-one hi-fi system. Intuitive and easy-to-use, the ACE’s advanced MiND 2 (MOON intelligent Network Device) streaming technology is Roon-ready and in conjunction with its high-resolution, 32-bit/384kHz DAC allows the playback of all major file formats, including DSD and MQA (via local files and Tidal Master files). It has a built-in phono stage so you don’t have to forget about your records, as well as 8 digital inputs, including USB (Hi-Res audio), SPDIF (2), Optical (2), aptX audio for Bluetooth, WiFi and Ethernet. Its high-end Class A/B amplifier delivers 50 watts per channel, or the ACE can act as a dedicated streamer in a higher powered system.  

Featuring the world-renowned MOON sonic signature of visceral tight bass, transparent midrange, precise natural highs and lifelike sound, the ACE will always deliver an unforgettable performance. It’s undoubtedly one of the finest sounding and most complete all-in-one streamers available. 

Streaming server

If you have a large library of digital music, the Aurender N100H music server offers a powerful solution. With 2TB of storage, it supports DSD (DSF, DFF), WAV, FLAC, ALAC, APE, AIFF, M4A and other major formats at native bit and sampling rates. Equipped with a high performance USB digital audio output, Ethernet port, 120GB solid-state drive for cached playback, it’s the ideal solution for playing high resolution digital music collections from Network Attached Storage (NAS) drives.