I thought it might be useful to spend some time compiling a list of the N-50's current problems and requests (no order of importance intended). Note the same problems are assumed to apply to the N-30, unless indicated by a (^).
A Using the Pioneer Control App:
Note (*) indicates problem also exists using N-50's remote control / buttons on the box.
1 iPad/iPhone app version network connection problems (Android app version not reported to have had this problem - certainly mine on a Sony Xperia S doesn't).
2 Lack of cover art for network streamed music file tracks / internet radio station art.
3 Lack of cover art for some front USB music file track types (*).
4 No fast forward, fast back and random positioning within music tracks and internet radio podcasts (ie not 'live' radio stations - though would be nice to have) (*).
5 No ability to pause internet radio podcasts. Pause for 'live' internet radio stations would be nice to have, but not essential (*).
6 Lack of total track time and time to end of track indicators (*).
7 No ability to see Windows/SAMBA shared network folders to navigate through the file structure & play music files without a DLNA server, as can be done with the files in a drive directly connected to the N-50 via the front USB port (*).
8 Front USB port music file tracks are only displayed as a file structure and so it doesn't have the ability to also display a music library structure (ie as given by the music file tags/metadata). This would require the N-50 to have its own internal media server. An alternative would be to allow an external UPnP media server to directly access the files on the front USB port via network folder sharing, so that the USB ports music could appear as part of the UPnP server's own music library. Decent UPnP media servers (eg the excellent free music only MinimServer) have the ability to use media files on shared network folders (*).
9 No ability to create playlists / favourite groups of tracks both from network audio files & audio files from a drive connected to the front USB input (*).
10 The Digital in USB (async USB DAC) input does not display bit depth (^)(*).
11 The Digital in 1 & 2 (coaxial & optical S/PDIF DAC) inputs do not display sample rate and bit depth (^)(*).
12 Require setup option for folder screen to playback screen timeout, currently hard set to 10 seconds (*).
13 Lack of search facility for network media server and internet radio. This is especially a pain when trying to locate a particular internet radio station out of the thousands that are out there! Note, in order for UPnP/DLNA media server music track searches to work, the UPnP media server you're using needs to support UPnP seraches in the first place (eg the MinimServer UPnP media server) (*).
14 Most of the N-50's setup/configuration functions aren't available on the ControlApp (eg screen on/off, setting the current selected internet radio station as a favorite, etc).
B Using a Third party DLNA Controller App:
Note assumes the DLNA controller is only being used to push tracks to the N-50 from a DLNA server and can't account for features missing due to the app itself .
1 No gapless support (ie, via the official UPnP API SetNextAVTransportURI call).
2 No fast forward, fast back and random positioning within track.
C Other problems:
1 Front USB input only supports FAT formatted USB HDDs and memory drives/sticks.
2 USB HDDs can be connected to the front USB input (so long as they have a FAT formatted partition and have they're own power supply, ie, other than the USB port), HOWEVER:
The HDD gets signalled to spin down when another input other than the front USB is next selected. This means the folders and audio files on the HDD are no longer available when the front USB input is selected again. The HDD can be 'forced' to spin up again and its data re-read by the N-50, sometimes, by either putting the box in and out of standby or by pulling out & reinserting the HDD's USB cable. However, once this has failed the first time, usually by the second go, it is never achievable again. Restarting the HDD by switching it off and on again and getting it to spin back up that way does not sort the problem out, as the N-50 does not acknowledge it having restarted and thus does not read its data. The only way to get out of this mess is to restart the N-50 itself by its mains switch.
3 Hot swapping USB memory sticks sometimes makes them unreadable from the front USB input. Only sorted out by restarting the N-50.
4 The Digital in USB (async USB DAC) input does not currently support the 176.4kHz sample rate.
This is due to its use of the new popular and (otherwise) HQ USB audio class 2 (UAC2) interface chip, the C-Media CM6631. C-Media have dropped the 176.4kHz rate from the current official list of the capabilities of the CM6631, because it has proved to be incompatible interfacing with some types of computer USB port hardware. They have also introduced the even newer CM6631A chip, which has the same spec as the CM6631, but also comes corrected with native UAC2 support for 176.4kHz. Several attempts have been made by DAC manufacturers using the CM6631 to correct the lack of 176.4kHz, by combination of both firmware and Windows drivers for the computer, supplied by C-Media. Drivers need to be supplied to these types of machines, anyway, since no version of Windows fully supports UAC2. However as yet they have not been successful, though Pioneer's latest Windows USB audio drivers have been stated to support 176.4kHz since August last year. It's quite possible that this Windows driver fix may now be broken due to the recent firmware update reintroducing the problem, or it may not have worked with all types of interfacing Windows machine USB ports in the first place. Even if a fix is eventually found for supporting 176.4kHz by combination of firmware and Windows USB drivers, no mention has yet been made for providing something similar for Mac-OS connected machines, which have native UAC2 support without the need for third party drivers (^).
5 No automatic update to the firmware over the internet.
Please feel free to add to, amend and comment as necessary. I'm particularly interested in which of these problems are real show stoppers for you, with the intention of getting some feedback about them directly from Pioneer (hopefully). It would be great if you could give them some sort of priority order. Also of interest - how much of a pain is it really to use (or in some cases have to use) more than one app to control the N-50, given that the apps are most likely to be located on the same device? Please try to take into account your own device's ability (or lack of!) running apps at the same time / in the background.
Last edited by Cebolla; 11-16-2014 at 09:32 AM.