I'm new to AVS forum but felt compelled to start a thread on this new device as information is still pretty sparse on web.
I received the CD-N500 last week and so far very happy. I'd had the Yamaha AS-700 amplifier for a couple of years which was connected to an iPod dock. Like a lot of people I have many CDs (I guess over a 500 - mainly alternative rock but a bit of everything). In recent years I ripped many of them via ITunes and got into the habit of using Sounddocks. Not meaning to make this sound like Ipod Anonymous...
If you read some threads on this device, you have I guess a lot of younger people wondering why anyone would bother with CDs anymore. For me, the reason is I dislike the idea of losing quality with the compression. Also, it seems amazing to me that in Australia, it is often as cheap or cheaper to buy the CD that buying an album on iTunes. I also get some albums exclusively on MP3 as I've had a subscription to eMusic.com for years.
I have previously looked at routing MP3s to the stereo with a Squeezebox, but I was frustrated by this solution. Squeezebox was always being updated with it's firmware and would frequently stop working. It also needed a PC or NAS to be serve the music which I found a little painful. I guess the thing for me is also that I work with computers all day and so when I listen to music to relax I really wanted to be as unaware of the technology as possible. It bugged me that when I bought a CD, I couldn't just slap it on (needing first to convert to MP3 on my PC).
The AS-700 is a great amplifier, however I always felt it that it was being unfairly limited by its source and so had been on the lookout for a CD player. I was set to buy the CD-C600 carousel but then came across the CD-N500 in an announcement and became very interested.
So what would the CD-N500 do in addition to play CDs:
1. Play Music from a NAS (like the Squeezebox)
2. Play Internet Radio (like the Squeezebox)
3. Play Music via Airplay from an iPhone using the wireless network
4. Play Music from an Ipod or HDD that was directly connected via the USB on the front panel
It was point 4 that interested me most. By plugging the iPod into the CD player, the MP3s are played via the Yamaha DAC which you can expect will be superior to the DAC included in an Ipod. So when I do want the convenience of a playlist, I can expect to sound noticeably better. I'm confident that it does.
Even better, the Yamaha has an app that you can install on an Android or Ipod to control the CD-N500. So the arrangement I have and like is I have a 120GB iPod Classic that remains permanently connected to the CD player. I have Speakers A & B. Speakers A are a pair of Paradigm 5se Mk3's in my living room and B are ceiling mounted speakers on my deck.
Now I can be listening to music on my deck and choose the music from my Classic ipod via my iPhone or Android tablet. There's none of the usual wireless or network flakiness when the music is playing because the ipod is connected directly. Also quite exciting is that the CD-N500 can play FLAC and Apple lossless. So I should be able to plug in a 2TB drive and play FLAC from that though I haven't tried it yet.
Other things I like:
* Very nice looking CD player (mine is silver) and good solid build quality. Perfect match for any of the Yamaha AS/RS range of Amps/Receivers.
* The internet radio is also great. It's amazing how good it sounds these days with many stations streaming at 192Kbps. Setting up favourites via a website (http://yradio.vtuner.com
Once connected to the network, I updated the firmware from v1.03 to v1.05. It seems very stable.
Things I'd like to see in future firmware update:
* When on Internet Radio, I'd expect vtuner.com would be serving the Artist and Songname as well as the music, but the LCD screen and Ipod App don't seem to share this information.
That's all for now, but will post further updates as I get to know the device a little better.
Cheers for now.