*Official* Pioneer N-50 Network Audio Player Thread - Page 3 - AVS | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 369 Old 02-23-2013, 01:14 PM
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I installed the update tonight and I haven't had much time to play around with my N-50 since. No new items in the menu, so gapless playback seems to be something you can't turn off or on. I can say that I'm very pleased with the Controlapp-update (Android), the Pioneer software guys have finally discovered that in 2013 phones have large screens and apps should cater for that biggrin.gif
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post #62 of 369 Old 02-23-2013, 02:26 PM
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Thanks for that Brigitte.

I'd be most grateful if you could test any lossless music ripped from an album, especially a classical music one or a live music one, where an annoying 'artificial' silent gap between the tracks that the original album didn't have would be quite noticeable, indicating that the gapless support had failed. Don't forget to test both playing the album by selecting it from both the Android app as well as from the player's remote.

Regards
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post #63 of 369 Old 02-23-2013, 11:12 PM
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OK, I'm into rock so no classical music and I don't believe I have any live albums, but let's just say I got creative. Here's what I did:

wav (Coldplay in concert, gapless) had an accompaying cue file. I used EAC to split the wav into individual tracks. I then put these individual tracks into a folder, let Asset UPnP (premium version) rescan my library and fired up the N-50. It recognised the folder as an album and ... played the individual tracks without gaps.

It works flawlessly using the Android app as well. I should add that I'm using a Logitech Harmony 900 instead of the Pioneer remote though this won't make any difference. Good work Pioneer!

Will the firmware become available in your part of the world as well or is it a Europe-only thing?
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post #64 of 369 Old 02-24-2013, 08:33 AM
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Oh that's great news, Brigitte, many thanks for trying that out.
I'll definitely be getting the N-50 now, as full gapless support is a pre-requisite for me.

I'm actually normally based in the UK, temporarily posting from the Caribbean on a US based forum, so sorry for any confusion.
From the few posts that I've seen on the subject, mostly about firmware updates on their AV amplifiers, Pioneer usually issues updates for Europe first, Japan next, followed by America & the other regions. I believe only the Japanese region firmware update is also currently available and interestingly the Pioneer Japan site also lists the lower spec'd N-30 as being able to use the same update (the European one does not).
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post #65 of 369 Old 02-24-2013, 10:53 AM
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Hi there,

I installed the upgrade yesterday, so far I have tested gapless with my Pink Floyd flacs and it works OK....
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post #66 of 369 Old 02-24-2013, 11:06 AM
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You won't regret it Cebolla, it's a great player and it just got better.
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post #67 of 369 Old 02-25-2013, 11:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cebolla View Post

Oh that's great news, Brigitte, many thanks for trying that out.
I'll definitely be getting the N-50 now, as full gapless support is a pre-requisite for me.

I'm actually normally based in the UK, temporarily posting from the Caribbean on a US based forum, so sorry for any confusion.
From the few posts that I've seen on the subject, mostly about firmware updates on their AV amplifiers, Pioneer usually issues updates for Europe first, Japan next, followed by America & the other regions. I believe only the Japanese region firmware update is also currently available and interestingly the Pioneer Japan site also lists the lower spec'd N-30 as being able to use the same update (the European one does not).
I updated the firmware on Saturday and so far it has played every format of my gapless albums flawlessly, including Apple Lossless (ALAC).
This is great news for me as it means I can just backup everything I have in my iTunes (which is in ALAC) straight onto my NAS Server.
Previous to this I was converting my ALAC files to Flac prior to updating my NAS.
I'm using a 2TB Iomega Home Media Server and have no problems with this married to the N50 over Ethernet.
Its also nice to see that the pause function actualy works this time as it was 'hit n' miss' with the previous firmware.
The N50 was a damn good machine before. Now its just superb.
Keep the updates coming though Pioneer?
It can only get better and better.
A suggestion for the next update?:-
An artist discography within the menu would be nice so that you can select the artist and then filter the albums by that artist.
At the moment you can only select 'album' (which brings every album on your server up), or 'artist' which when the selected artist is chosen, brings up every track that the artist has done.
Not the end of the world, but it would be a nice feature ;-)
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post #68 of 369 Old 02-26-2013, 11:45 AM
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Pause still not working here by the way.
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post #69 of 369 Old 02-27-2013, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brigitte View Post

Pause still not working here by the way.
Strange.
What type of files are you using?
The pause on mine is now working as it should with ALAC, FLAC and MP3. It wasn't working prior to the update.
I can't really say on any other files as these are the only formats I use.
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post #70 of 369 Old 02-28-2013, 11:00 AM
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The original files are Flacs. I'm converting them to WAVs on the go using Asset UPnP as this is the only way to get replaygain support. I disabled the conversion and it didn't make any difference.
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post #71 of 369 Old 03-04-2013, 06:40 PM
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I'm in Australia and downloaded it yesterday from the EU site. AU is not in EU.

It works gaplessly under its own control. With either BubbleUPnP or JRiver MC pushing it remains gapped. It was suggested to me that Pioneer might use a proprietary method af achieving gapless playback.

Reading from the JRiver library, the new ControlApp lists all the tracks and fills the tablet screen but there is still no cover art displayed on the tablet. Maybe next round.

Edit: sorry I missed a page of this thread - was replying to a post a whole page back where I had it bookmarked some weeks ago. redface.gif

To address a comment about Pause functionality, I have found this to be library-related. For example with BubbleUPnP the Pause button was no good with AssetUPnP, but worked with the JRiver library. The new ControlApp Pause seems to work OK with the JRiver library here. A bit of a click sounds through the speakers, that's all.

Edit 2 (sorry): What you can find listed on the Android interface depends entirely on the DLNA library structure. It will look different under AssetUPnP c.f. JRiver for example. My "Smartlists", "Recently Imported", "Top Hits" etc. are those created under JRiver. These appear under ControlApp just as they do under JRiver's Gizmo or BubbleUPnP on an Android tablet.

Now that this thing plays gaplessly and is therefore tolerable for classical and live albums, I've been able to listen without becoming annoyed with it. I have come to appreciate that it's sound quality is simply superb - superior to my other system which has a Berkeley Alpha USB and a W4S DAC-2! This is just grabbing files from the library over a CAT5e cable. These are mostly 24/176s FLACs converted from SACD-ripped DSFs using Korg Audiogate. The Pioneer is an "audiophile killer". Still a little way to go on the ControlApp... looking forward to the next update. smile.gif

Cheers.
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post #72 of 369 Old 03-06-2013, 10:38 PM
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You're right sorepinky, I installed jriver and pause is working as expected. I'll contact Asset UPnP support to report this issue. Thanks for pointing this out!
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post #73 of 369 Old 03-14-2013, 12:43 AM
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Hi all, I've been looking at the N50 and came across this thread, very helpful info thanks.

I am looking at the N50 as as possible replacement to a large CD collection. What worries me is the sound quality, if I part with my collection it would be awful if the quality wasn't as good as playing CDs through my Denon DM37DAB. I guess my question is - can I genuinely reproduce CD quality by playing FLAC files through one of these?

My second question is about how to play my music. If I connect via network cable to a router, can I then select what to play on my PC?

Thanks.
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post #74 of 369 Old 03-14-2013, 01:33 PM
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Originally Posted by thekreator View Post

Hi all, I've been looking at the N50 and came across this thread, very helpful info thanks.

I am looking at the N50 as as possible replacement to a large CD collection. What worries me is the sound quality, if I part with my collection it would be awful if the quality wasn't as good as playing CDs through my Denon DM37DAB. I guess my question is - can I genuinely reproduce CD quality by playing FLAC files through one of these?

My second question is about how to play my music. If I connect via network cable to a router, can I then select what to play on my PC?

Thanks.
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post #75 of 369 Old 03-14-2013, 01:51 PM
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Hi There and welcome to the thread.
Yes your cd collection will sound great.
The DAC in the N50 is far superior to the resolution that CD is capable of and so using Flac or ALAC (if using a Mac) which are both lossless file formats will be identical quality to your current cd collection.
CD's are only 44.1 KHz, (48 KHz on rare occasions) where as the N50 is capable of playing much higher resolution files up to 192 KHz, 32 Bit (studio quality).
It will also stream your music you mention from your PC if you use a proprietory Server Client software. Alternatively you can stream using Apple Airplay being as the N50 supports Airplay.
I have all my music stored on a 2TB NAS Server in ALAC connected to my Router.
In a nutshell the answer is 'yes, better than cd quality,' buy one and enjoy!
You won't be disappointed.
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post #76 of 369 Old 03-14-2013, 05:10 PM
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Although storage is cheap and there's no real problem with the large 24/192, 24/176 etc. FLAC file sizes (unless you are trying to download them when you could just rip them from the DVD-Audio or whatever for less), I see little importance in the bit rate. For example one of the very best sounding recordings that I have played on the N-50 is a FLAC ripped from an HDCD at 24/44 (using the HDCD setting in some ripping software). It takes up little space and sounds exactly the same as the same album available at one of those download sites at a much higher bit rate and price. The bit depth of 24 over the standard 16 of most CDs/players is key here I think. I have a Sony SCD-1, a Conrad-Johnson Premier 9 DAC and CD transport, a Denon Multi-format DVD/CD/SACD player, a Pioneer Blu-ray player and a W4S DAC2 fed by a Berkeley Alpha USB and the N-50 kills them all for sound. All it needs is a decent Android controller like BubbleUPnP (which works with it, but not gaplessly) and it would be a world-beater. Better still would be that the next firmware update use a STANDARD gapless implementation so that standard UPnP controllers such at the one mentioned were compatible. Despite what shill-like comments might appear in this thread, the firmware and the ControlApp both have a long way to go. If you are used to the simplicity of a CD player, this machine might annoy you. Also there are many computer/server/firwall/antivirus issues that could have you ripping your hair out trying to get it to work nicely. I have been through it and it was not fun. Now all I wish for is proper gapless - not this proprietary nonsense. Pioneer - think outside your square!
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post #77 of 369 Old 03-14-2013, 05:24 PM
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Ah, but isn't that the point - Pioneer's ContolApp would give you that simplicity, being essentially a substitute for the remote control with the added benefit of having feedback of the box's display and being able to be away from the box to control it. Surely the extra bells & whistles you'd get from a standard DLNA controller would be a bit OTT to somebody who essentially just wants to simply play their CD album rips.
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post #78 of 369 Old 03-14-2013, 08:28 PM
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Well, I am using it and my point is this: Pioneer's ControlApp is sub-standard because it does not display cover art on the controlling tablet. With a CD, you can hold the case in your hand and read the cover art while the CD is playing. The whole point of network audio is get away from handling CDs. I mean if I'm holding the CD cover (which is neither a bell nor a whistle) in my hand, the disc might as well be in a CD player. With this crummy ControlApp the only cover art is the size of a bug many metres away on the front panel of the N-50. I do not carry binoculars in the hi-fi room, nor a magnifying glass. All other UPnP control applications for Android display cover art right there in your hand. For FLAC, the cover art is embedded in the file. If they can display it on the front panel, then they could display it on the tablet just like every other UPnP control application out there, but no. Try ControlAPP then try BubbleUPnP and tell Pioneer what you prefer. If not for Pioneer's proprietary/secret gapless implementation I'd stick with BubbleUPnP for sure.
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post #79 of 369 Old 03-15-2013, 08:52 AM
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You're right that displaying cover art is useful and is such an obvious omission that I can't believe that Pioneer didn't have a reasonably good technical/cost reason for leaving it out from their last update. Hopefully they'll find some way of incorporating it and other 'missing' features such as full random positioning within a track, fast forward, time to end of track, etc, in another firmware/app update.

However, I thought the point of the current discussions was to answer thekreator's question as to whether the N-50 could be used to stream & play FLAC files ripped from a large CD album collection in as good a quality as playing the original CDs. Using the current version of firmware, especially as it now supports gapless playback, the answer to that question would be yes, don't you agree? Also thekreator's second question was about how those same FLAC file albums would be selected for playback and using the Pioneer ControlApp would be a simple way of doing just that - gapless playback being essential to faithfully reproduce the content of the original CDs.

Now should thekreater subsequently wish to create playlists, save & retrieve playlists, randomly search through file system for audio files, run a local media server, access third party music services, etc - ie the 'bells and whistles', then certainly using a DLNA controller app such as Skifta or BubbleUPnP would be necessary. Yes, it is a shame that Pioneer have left out providing DLNA renderer gapless support from their last firmware update and appear have concentrated on just the player itself.

I can understand your frustration of using your favoured DLNA controller app and not being able to seemingly do the simple task of pushing an album's track files to the box to be played back gaplessly. Again there must be some technical difficulty in providing this and hopefully it will be overcome in another firmware update. However, as you are probably well aware, NONE of the N-50's rival network audio players in a similar price/quality bracket have this ability, even those that have had also been recently updated to support gapless playback. So it's quite possible that the particular combination of hardware & software technology just does not allow it, however incredible as that may sound.

Personally, I do use and have used BubbleUPnP, but I also now use the latest version of ControlApp - they sit side by side on my phone. I'm happy to use the ControlApp to play back my live albums as I'd rather have the minor inconvenience of missing cover art than not have gapless. I can always fire up BubbleUPnP if I need to see the album's cover!
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post #80 of 369 Old 03-15-2013, 09:26 AM
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If nobody mines but has anyone compared the pioneer to the marantz na7004 ? curious as it may be in my future.thanks
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post #81 of 369 Old 03-22-2013, 08:09 AM
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Hi,
You mention your use of BubbleUPNP as a control app for the Pioneer N-50. Could you do me a favor please ? If you have upgraded your N-50 with the latest firmware, you should now have gapless playback. If so, could you launch BubbleUPnP (latest version), go the Devices tab, do a long press on the entry for the N-50, and select info.What does BubbleUPnP reports in the ensuing display about gapless support ? Answer to this question can tell me if Pioneer engeneers implemented gapless playback using official UPNP standards (hopefully), or using proprietary methods available only through their custom control app or the front panel.

Help from anybody else would be great, of course!

Andre Gosselin
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post #82 of 369 Old 03-22-2013, 12:21 PM
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I just found this thread....I have had my N50 since July last year.
I did the firmware update a few weeks back and also the upgrade to the IPOD software.
The IPOD app is great you can see more than 4 items like in the first version.
But I have run into a snag..
When I play a 24Bit FLAC, I see wma //48 on IPOD display and wma 192 on the Pioneer display.
I actually placed the same file on a USB stick and connected to the USB port on the front and it recognized the file as a 24 Bit FLAC.
So I thought it was my network routers. I bypassed and went directly into my desk top PC Lan port and the player saw the same drive as always , but still displays the wma 192 for the same 24 bit file.
Next is to eliminate the desktop and try on a laptop.
I have a feeling it's the firmware that caused this.
My dealer has an email into the Pioneer rep to see if they have had any issued with the firmware upgrade.
Anyone else experienced anything like this?
Dan
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post #83 of 369 Old 03-22-2013, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by andregosselin View Post

Hi,
You mention your use of BubbleUPNP as a control app for the Pioneer N-50. Could you do me a favor please ? If you have upgraded your N-50 with the latest firmware, you should now have gapless playback. If so, could you launch BubbleUPnP (latest version), go the Devices tab, do a long press on the entry for the N-50, and select info.What does BubbleUPnP reports in the ensuing display about gapless support ? Answer to this question can tell me if Pioneer engeneers implemented gapless playback using official UPNP standards (hopefully), or using proprietary methods available only through their custom control app or the front panel.

Help from anybody else would be great, of course!

Andre Gosselin

It reports gapless playback for the N-50 as "unsupported".

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post #84 of 369 Old 03-23-2013, 05:24 AM
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Update on N50 problems...it was all Media player in Win 7, tags, etc the way it was recognizing the flac files.
Took a long time to figure out what was going on.
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post #85 of 369 Old 03-23-2013, 07:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cebolla View Post

You're right that displaying cover art is useful and is such an obvious omission that I can't believe that Pioneer didn't have a reasonably good technical/cost reason for leaving it out from their last update. Hopefully they'll find some way of incorporating it and other 'missing' features such as full random positioning within a track, fast forward, time to end of track, etc, in another firmware/app update.

However, I thought the point of the current discussions was to answer thekreator's question as to whether the N-50 could be used to stream & play FLAC files ripped from a large CD album collection in as good a quality as playing the original CDs. Using the current version of firmware, especially as it now supports gapless playback, the answer to that question would be yes, don't you agree? Also thekreator's second question was about how those same FLAC file albums would be selected for playback and using the Pioneer ControlApp would be a simple way of doing just that - gapless playback being essential to faithfully reproduce the content of the original CDs.

Now should thekreater subsequently wish to create playlists, save & retrieve playlists, randomly search through file system for audio files, run a local media server, access third party music services, etc - ie the 'bells and whistles', then certainly using a DLNA controller app such as Skifta or BubbleUPnP would be necessary. Yes, it is a shame that Pioneer have left out providing DLNA renderer gapless support from their last firmware update and appear have concentrated on just the player itself.

I can understand your frustration of using your favoured DLNA controller app and not being able to seemingly do the simple task of pushing an album's track files to the box to be played back gaplessly. Again there must be some technical difficulty in providing this and hopefully it will be overcome in another firmware update. However, as you are probably well aware, NONE of the N-50's rival network audio players in a similar price/quality bracket have this ability, even those that have had also been recently updated to support gapless playback. So it's quite possible that the particular combination of hardware & software technology just does not allow it, however incredible as that may sound.

Personally, I do use and have used BubbleUPnP, but I also now use the latest version of ControlApp - they sit side by side on my phone. I'm happy to use the ControlApp to play back my live albums as I'd rather have the minor inconvenience of missing cover art than not have gapless. I can always fire up BubbleUPnP if I need to see the album's cover!

Netgear NeoTV550 has gapless playback, 192khz support and multichannel support, including bit-perfect playback, does not need DLNA or upnp, has ios, android, windows and mac osx control, for under $100 and it has been out for years.
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post #86 of 369 Old 03-23-2013, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sorepinky View Post

It reports gapless playback for the N-50 as "unsupported".

Thanks for this info. Sad news indeed, as I had some hope that the N-50 could be a unit featuring a real UPNP gapless implementation, in the sense that it would work in cooperation with independent UPNP control points featuring gapless support, for ex. BubbleUPnP, instead of locking you into a proprietary control app.

The situation with the N-50 looks a lot like what I saw on the Cambridge Audio StreamMagic 6 network player. Good device, great sound, but with a proprietary implementation of gapless playback, which forces you to use the Cambridge Audio app if you want that feature. Like what you say about the Pioneer control app, the one by CambridgeAudio is well under par if you compare it with what BubbleUPnP can offer in terms of functionnality, support, and ease of use. But alas, no way to get gapless playback with BubbleUPnP (or any other UPNP control points I tried) on that renderer. At least, the CambridgeAudio app features album art display, contrary to what you have to endure with the Pioneer app.

The only way so far I found to listen gaplessly to my music on the StreamMagic 6 with BubbleUPnP as a control point is to connect the StreamMagic through USB audio to a PC running foobar 2000 with the foo_upnp component installed, and select the Foobar renderer in the BubbleUPnP devices tab. This solution works great, but evidently this requires dedicating a PC to your device and amounts to using the StreamMagic as a DAC, not as network streaming device. I suspect such a setup could work on the Pioneer N-50. Have you tried it ? BTW, its no wonder that the BubbleUPnP + Foobar2000 + foo_upnp bundle works great, since the upnp components come from the same author (bubbleguuum).

In the BubbleUPnP forum, the author was unable to identify any network player implementing UPNP playback the correct way with the proper UPNP API (namely SetNextAVTransportURI if you are technically inclined). I am starting to wonder if such a device exists, and if we are not running after a dream ?

Regards
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post #87 of 369 Old 03-23-2013, 04:50 PM
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I've been looking into using the N-50 as a USB DAC (it's very cheap compared to say a W4S DAC-2 and sounds better) but there's a big problem - it does not support 24/176 via USB digital input even though it supports 24/192. It supports 176 via the network input however. It's really a most annoying machine for so many reasons including this - especially if you have hundreds of ripped SACDs in 176!

How about we coin a phrase: "hapless gapless" for this half-baked gapless the manufactures pass off at their customers to make sales?. smile.gif We don't find out how bad it is until they have our money and we've suffered an ordeal!

An option around hapless gapless might be a tiny desktop PC connected to the N-50's USB digital in. WIth that tiny PC connected to the network cable (the one presently attached to the N-50 from the router) and JRiver installed on it for proper DLNA gapless like this...


(btw - I only blurred stuff because I don't understand it. However it looked specific to my network and I'm paranoid)

... it could read from the existing library over the network cable and be set to convert 176 flacs to 88 on the fly.

Big compromise attaching USB compared to networking jitter-wise though ??? And I don't particularly want to suffer "Windows updates" and antivirus bla bla bla just to get real gapless playback!

Why can't the manufacturers and software writers just play nicely instead of driving their customers bonkers? As far as Pioneer is concerned, the whole problem would be solved if they'd simply implemented gapless to the standard that they claim to be certified by.

All I want to do is use BubbleUPnP for everything and have gapless playback. JRiver's Gizmo keeps losing its track list button and is unfriendly after 10 minutes. Bubble UPnP cannot control the JRiver renderer gaplessly because of something JRiver isn't doing correctly in its library look-up when controlled by third party control points despite their "proper" gapless. Why should this all be so much trouble? AARRRRHGGG! biggrin.gif

Anyway thanks for info on foobar etc... Your software combo might work with the N-50 too. I will look at that today, however I'm a bit reluctant to go over to a crude-looking foobar after using JRiver which is excellent apart from its unstable Gizmo app and its oddball behaviour under third-party control.

Cheers.
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post #88 of 369 Old 03-24-2013, 11:28 AM
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Originally Posted by sorepinky View Post

I've been looking into using the N-50 as a USB DAC (it's very cheap compared to say a W4S DAC-2 and sounds better) but there's a big problem - it does not support 24/176 via USB digital input even though it supports 24/192. It supports 176 via the network input however. It's really a most annoying machine for so many reasons including this - especially if you have hundreds of ripped SACDs in 176!

Have you updated your Pioneer USB driver to version 2? It's supposed to have corrected the 24/176.4 support, re Pioneer's official update history for the Windows USB driver :

CHANGE HISTORY – WINDOWS DRIVER FOR
A-70-K/-S
N-50-K/-S

Ver 2.000
Initial driver for A-70
Support for 176.4kHz audio

Ver 1.000
Initial driver for N-50

Download from Pioneer Europe at:
http://www.pioneer.eu/eur/support/software/N-50-K/page.html
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post #89 of 369 Old 03-24-2013, 12:28 PM
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Originally Posted by mlknez View Post

Netgear NeoTV550 has gapless playback, 192khz support and multichannel support, including bit-perfect playback, does not need DLNA or upnp, has ios, android, windows and mac osx control, for under $100 and it has been out for years.

Erm, I don't think you can compare an A/V HD media player to a hifi stereo network audio player as thay have different purposes. The N-50 has an audiophile quality stereo DAC, is made from high quality components, and is specifically designed to output hifi quality analogue stereo sound to a hifi stereo amplifier. Ironically, you'd need to connect the N50 (or other box with at least a similar quality stereo DAC) between the NeoTV550's digital output and the stereo amplifier to get anywhere near the SOUND quality from any stereo music streamed via NeoTV!
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Good points Cebolla. I guess that NeoTV thing is something like the junky WD Live TV which I tried. It sounded very poor. Thank you for pointing out the USB upgrade. I missed that one. With that new USB driver, there's probably no reason not to grab somthing like a Lenovo Tiny ThinkCentre PC and install a second copy of JRiver on it. Of course the minute you buy it, Pioneer could release a proper gapless firmware and the money would have been wasted.

Pioneer if you are reading: See what you have done - driven your customers to the point of using your NETWORK audio player as a DAC because the firmware sucks.
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