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Mike48

Gapless DLNA/UPnP players?

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My stereo system includes a good DAC, and I'd like to add networked audio capability to the system. I was astounded to find that many current products do not give true gapless playback of sequential tracks. Neither do most hardware reviews mention whether the product does gapless or not. Why this is considered optional for a music system is beyond my comprehension!

 

I am looking for recommendations of players that will do this, over Ethernet and using DLNA/UPnP. (A Squeezebox was once the obvious choice, but they are no longer made.)

 

I've identified the following as being DLNA/UPnP compatible and doing gapless playback:

 

 

  • Linn DS players (a bit pricy, seeing that I don't intend to use the DAC, but maybe the Majik DS)
  • Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6

 

I've identified the Oppo BDP-105 and the PS Audio PWD-II as not providing gapless playback.

 

Surely there are more? Which have I missed? Other comments?

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PSAudio Perfectwave DAC MK2 with the Bridge?

 

Thanks. I own one now. It does not do gapless, except with PS Audio's own EMM software, which they admit is flaky, which they are discontinuing, and which they no longer support (at least not with bug fixes or other continued development). I tried using EMM, and it did gapless in certain circumstances, but I found it impossible to use on a regular basis.

 

PS Audio say they are working on new software to make this work, but I am getting impatient and looking for Plan B.

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The Naim streamers have "Gapless playback available on all lossless file formats and some lossy formats (exc Ogg Vorbis and Windows Media-formatted content)"

 

You can find out more here: http://www.naimaudio.com/hifi-products/type/network-player

 

Since you have a DAC, you could look at the UnitiServe, but that is still pretty pricey and you may not need the other functions. I believe it is gapless, but the site does not explicitly call it out so you may need to double check.


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Are you sure about the Cambridge Audio plays gapless in UPnP renderer mode? A friend has one and it doesn't.

 

LUMIN supports gapless playback in UPnP renderer mode out of the box.

 

I am not sure about Cambridge -- I based my opinion on this link, which says it does: Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6 and NP30 get gapless playback | whathifi.com

 

If that's right, maybe your friend could update the firmware and get the feature.

 

Thanks for the reference to LUMIN. I'll email them and see what they have to say, but $4000 is more than I had planned to pay, especially for a product without a US distributor or dealer.

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The Naim streamers have "Gapless playback available on all lossless file formats and some lossy formats (exc Ogg Vorbis and Windows Media-formatted content)" [...]

 

Thanks! I'll definitely look into the Naim players. I think there's a local dealer -- not knowing Naim's product line, I found the Web site a bit difficult to navigate. I wish audio manufacturers would add "compare" buttons or feature matrices to their sites.

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Cyrus Streamers do gapless IIRC.

 

You may also want to look at product likes such as Marantz, Denon, Pioneer and Yamaha but will take some investigation which do gapless - off top of head I think Denon and Marantz do; Pioneer doesn't and Yamaha I can't remember.

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I've been around this site years now and I *still* don't know what gapless playback means hahahaha !

 

Does it mean that when you select an "album" on your music library the tracks will keep on playing thru to the end? You know without having to keep hitting the play or "next track " button? Like when we used to use CD's?

 

Sorry for daft q/... But sometimes even the basics escape me :)


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I've been around this site years now and I *still* don't know what gapless playback means hahahaha !

 

Does it mean that when you select an "album" on your music library the tracks will keep on playing thru to the end? You know without having to keep hitting the play or "next track " button? Like when we used to use CD's?

 

Sorry for daft q/... But sometimes even the basics escape me :)

Gapless playback means that as the player plays each track, there is no pause (gap) between the tracks (like with a CD).

 

When a player can't support gapless there will be a small (1-2 seconds) pause/silence. Now with most albums this doesn't matter, but on a lot of classical and live albums such a pause is audible and (quite frankly) annoying.

 

Eloise


Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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Yamaha I can't remember.

 

Eloise

 

The Yamaha can do gapless, but with a few caveats...

 

Files need to be playable in WMP and WMP acting the uPNP source. So that's WAV, and MP3 & AIFF (?). That's it. IIRC, the sample rate was restricted to 96/24. New models may have changed, the spec is about 12 months old.

 

Network streamers still have a long way to go. Apart form the sound and gapless play, searching and cataloging is tedious from network players (based on experience with Oppo BD95, Sony AVR), so computers have this wrapped up by a wide margin.


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Apart form the sound and gapless play, searching and cataloging is tedious from network players (based on experience with Oppo BD95, Sony AVR), so computers have this wrapped up by a wide margin.

 

This is where some of the more dedicated streamers (Naim / Linn / Lumin) shine. They have dedicate smart phone apps that do really well at searching and cataloging.


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The Yamaha can do gapless, but with a few caveats...

 

Files need to be playable in WMP and WMP acting the uPNP source. So that's WAV, and MP3 & AIFF (?). That's it. IIRC, the sample rate was restricted to 96/24. New models may have changed, the spec is about 12 months old.

 

Network streamers still have a long way to go. Apart form the sound and gapless play, searching and cataloging is tedious from network players (based on experience with Oppo BD95, Sony AVR), so computers have this wrapped up by a wide margin.

 

Re: Yamaha: An approach that depends on a specific player is not ideal. There are MANY audio players out there, with WMP and iTunes being at the bottom of the heap as to configurability, etc. (but convenient for the newbie). To be tied to one particular program, especially WMP, would be a bad bargain.

 

I'm not sure what to make of your comment about cataloging, etc. I am using J.River MC on a computer to manage and catalog my music files, and it is quite powerful and easy. It searches exceptionally well, and it's a good player for my office system, with a USB-connected DAC.

 

When I'm streaming over the home network, there are a many choices. J.River provides its own DLNA server, and there is a new free one -- MinimServer -- that shows great promise, in that it presents much more of the tagging data from the music library to your chosen DLNA control point. I've tried five control points and settled on UPnPlay (also free) as best suited to my library & my Android phone. I can find anything easily & set up a temporary playlist from my listening chair, and the sound is excellent, so I am sold on network audio, except. . . .

 

There are 2 issues driving me crazy: PS Audio is still figuring out how to make gapless playback work on their PWD-II DAC, and the author of Minim is developing a work-around for some problems with special characters in filenames of music files. I am sure Mimin will come around; I believe PS will eventually, too, but it's been a rather disappointing wait so far. If I weren't an opera fan, it probably wouldn't matter so much.

 

P.S. I just thought - maybe what you mean is that searching on the computer with the music library is better implemented than searching through any of the smartphone apps. If that's it, I agree. And also, if I see something mis-tagged in the music room, I have to go down to the office to correct that -- it's not possible through the smartphone. But still, it's great NOT to have the computer in the listening room, and the apps are catching up in many ways.

Edited by Mike48
add P.S.

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This is where some of the more dedicated streamers (Naim / Linn / Lumin) shine. They have dedicate smart phone apps that do really well at searching and cataloging.

 

Yes, I've tried the Linn app (Kinsky), and it's pretty darned good. What is great about gear that really follows the DLNA/UPnP standards (such as they are) is that you can choose from so many pieces of software that will be compatible. Every listener has different preferences, and there's a lot to choose from out there.

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I am seeing a pattern: that many of the products that do gapless are British. Does this indicate more respect for music on the east side of the Atlantic than on the west? I'm inclined to answer, Yes.

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irtually all the music I buy now comes in the form of downloaded flac files. These have no cue sheets with them.

 

Some of the music needs to be played gaplessly, and I'm under the impression that flac files + cue sheets is a solution to this. If this is so, can anyone recommend a linux program that would enable me to generate cue sheets from the flac files on my hard disk? I have seen software that creates cue files from music on a CD, but I can't find anything that does it from a folder of flac files on the hard disk.

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The Pioneer N-50 will have gapless payback via a firmware update due in the spring. Their receivers already have this gapless update available.

 

The N-50 is a very good player with AirPlay in addition to USB, SDiF, all at 24/192.


David

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Re: Yamaha: An approach that depends on a specific player is not ideal. There are MANY audio players out there, with WMP and iTunes being at the bottom of the heap as to configurability, etc. (but convenient for the newbie). To be tied to one particular program, especially WMP, would be a bad bargain.

 

I'm not sure what to make of your comment about cataloging, etc. I am using J.River MC on a computer to manage and catalog my music files, and it is quite powerful and easy. It searches exceptionally well, and it's a good player for my office system, with a USB-connected DAC.

 

 

Cataloging, not the right word, sorry, but just a simple search for a network players, the Oppo BD-95, is a prime example has a long way to go. If you wanted to only play, 'Tom Sawyer' from Rush, from a NAS, it would take about 5 minutes of painfully scrolling through the alphabet A-R folder, then Rush at the bottom, then the album....snore, what tedium.

 

Imagine an app like Jriver on a Network Player, now you're talking, but fanciful. As for cataloging or indexing say 40,000 songs, with even a simple database system, is the realm of Linux, yes a computer.

 

A lot better approach would be a device that's controlled by a computer which streams music across a network to a DAC, hmmm perhaps a Network Audio Adapter ;) catchy title!


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Cataloging, not the right word, sorry, but just a simple search for a network players, the Oppo BD-95, is a prime example has a long way to go. If you wanted to only play, 'Tom Sawyer' from Rush, from a NAS, it would take about 5 minutes of painfully scrolling through the alphabet A-R folder, then Rush at the bottom, then the album....snore, what tedium.

 

Imagine an app like Jriver on a Network Player, now you're talking, but fanciful. As for cataloging or indexing say 40,000 songs, with even a simple database system, is the realm of Linux, yes a computer.

 

A lot better approach would be a device that's controlled by a computer which streams music across a network to a DAC, hmmm perhaps a Network Audio Adapter ;) catchy title!

 

Well, that's essentially what DLNA has the potential to do. With J.River running its own DLNA server, you can use a DLNA control-point app to search the library and stream music to a DLNA-compatible DAC like the PS Audio or Linn. Agreed, some implementations are poor, but the better ones are becoming quite good now.

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The Pioneer N-50 will have gapless payback via a firmware update due in the spring. Their receivers already have this gapless update available.

Thanks! I'll put it on my list, and if I don't have anything by the time the firmware is available, I'll give it a listen. No way I'm buying *anything* again until I have heard it do gapless correctly with my own music and my own ears.

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I believe the Sonore Rendu handles gapless playback. . .

This looks like an interesting product. If it works, it's exactly what I have been looking for. Sort of a Bryston BDP-1 that works with streaming and DLNA. Thanks! I had not heard of Sonore before.

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You can check it already with one of the upper level Pioneer receivers.

For the european models SC-LX86, LX76, LX56 the fw update is already available on their website. They can play WAV, Flac, AIF up to 192/24 and ALAC up to 96/24 in gapless via Ethernet and Front-USB (memory device), the LX86 in addition through its USB DAC.

 

Same fw update is scheduled for the streamers N-50 and N-30 in february.


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Just as a general note, though i think you have sussed it out earlier anyway.

 

I have a Linn Akurate DS with Kinsky, but wanted pre amp function for other connections, so went to exchange for a PWD II.

 

The PWD II on the CASH list does indeed sound amazing, when it works and you can get i to play music! Certainly not gapless and more than a struggle to get it to play anything through EMM, which quite frankly is a hideous piece of software.

 

It actually worked better with Kinsky running my Asset UPnP server than EMM, though it didn't give all functions and would only play individual tracks, no album play - but at least it made a sound, it was that bad this was a better resort! After a couple of weeks i gave up, its going back and the Linn remains in place.

 

The brits have it at a canter! Linn i think has nailed it the best i have seen to date as far as soft/hardware goes for streaming.

 

Good luck!

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I have a Linn Akurate DS with Kinsky, but wanted pre amp function for other connections, so went to exchange for a PWD II.

 

 

The brits have it at a canter! Linn i think has nailed it the best i have seen to date as far as soft/hardware goes for streaming.

 

Good luck!

 

I have to agree with that. Marantz and Pioneer are catching up with the software end though and once they do it will be a terrific lower cost alternative.

 

The new Akurate DSM has what you are looking for as far as preamp functionality.


David

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