Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
The Computer Audiophile

Article: The Complete Guide To HiFi UPnP / DLNA Network Audio

Rate this topic

Recommended Posts

Nice and concise guide Chris. Sure beats piecing together the puzzle from Wikipedia and various UPnP/DLNA product vendors!

 

A few random questions:

 

1) Is the Cisco SG200-26 switch you recommend a fanless design? I am looking for a modestly priced managed gigabit switch to replace my old Asante 10/100. But it has to reside in my studio so no fans allowed.

 

2) You stated that "A recent update to the JRemote application enables an iPad or iPhone to become a lossless Media Renderer by streaming audio from the JRMC Media Server directly to the iDevice without transcoding into MP3."

I used to have fun sometimes hooking up a Devilsound DAC that Jonathan gave me to my first gen iPad with the Camera Connection Kit (then an iOS update made the iPad query USB power usage and reject the Devilsound; but it still can work with a powered hub).

If JRemote is allowing iPads to act as a renderer--accepting files up to what resolution?--then how about trying to run that out to a DAC via the CCK USB adapter? That could be VERY cool. An iPad as Control Point and Renderer feeding a high-end DAC!

 

3) It seems a shame that Apple keeps locking down the DAAP protocol and keeping out third parties, because iTunes is still one of the best library curation/player interfaces. And according to your survey of UPnP AV Media Server software, solutions for OS X are still very thin on the ground. Any thoughts on this, other than waiting for JRiver Mac to mature a bit?

 

4) Does the Linn Songbox/Kinsky combo work only with Linn renderers? I ask because they have an OS X version and the interface is probably pretty refined.

 

Thanks again,

ALEX

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
according to your survey of UPnP AV Media Server software, solutions for OS X are still very thin on the ground. Any thoughts on this, other than waiting for JRiver Mac to mature a bit?

DLNA is working in the Mac version of JRiver Media Center now.


Jim Hillegass / JRiver Media Center / jriver.com

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've put together a great resource, Chris. I've been an audiophile for a long time but got seriously into digital audio last summer. It would have saved me a lot of time and confusion if a guide like this had been available. You do mention that JRiver can act as a server, control point, and renderer. If you ever revise this, it might be good to expand on this topic a little; in the beginning I really didn't understand how one piece of software fulfilled multiple functions. Perhaps also add a paragraph or two about manufacturer-specific iPad/Android apps vs generic upnp/dlna apps. When I brought home a Marantz NA-7004, I didn't realize I could use any upnp controller on my iPad to play the music. For a while I used Marantz's rather primitive iPad app when I could have had more choices.

 

You're right the Kinsky iPad controller is Linn-centric, but I would encourage non-Linn owners to check it out; I use it regularly to control my MinimServer-PS Audio dac combo. PlugPlayer devotes so much of its iPad screen real estate to a big album cover that there is little room for information about the music, hence the annoying scrolling display. Kinsky gives a much more legible display--particularly important for classical music. I don't think MinimServer is hard to set up on Mac or PC, and you get more control over how your information is display than most apps offer. (Yes, the Synology version is perhaps not for novices due to the complexities of getting Java on the NAS.)

 

Thanks again for a great article -- David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

You're right the Kinsky iPad controller is Linn-centric, but I would encourage non-Linn owners to check it out; I use it regularly to control my MinimServer-PS Audio dac combo. PlugPlayer devotes so much of its iPad screen real estate to a big album cover that there is little room for information about the music, hence the annoying scrolling display. Kinsky gives a much more legible display--particularly important for classical music. I don't think MinimServer is hard to set up on Mac or PC, and you get more control over how your information is display than most apps offer. (Yes, the Synology version is perhaps not for novices due to the complexities of getting Java on the NAS.)

David

 

David: That's the sort of on-the-ground info I'm looking for! To get me to go from library curation/management in iTunes to some clunky DLNA-based server interface is going to take a lot of convincing. I think I once saw the Linn Songbox server, but it was in a system with a Linn renderer. It's good to know that Kinsky can act as a control point for other servers (MinimServer in your case), but can you tell me if Songbox is agnostic to when it comes to what renderers it serves? It should be if it is true to the DLNA standards, but then again, it is a Linn product.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another excellent article.

 

There are a number of other DLNA iOS players that are pretty good. I like 8Player (my files are FLAC 16/44 and 24/96), although I've been experimenting with Remote File Browser because I like the interface. Here is a link. Top 14 DLNA Streaming Apps For iPhone

 

I also have a question regarding use of the iPad mini in a DLNA environment. I am trying to go Seagate Wireless Plus > iPad mini (iOS 6.1.3) > CCK > USB to SPDIF > coax input of Centrance DACmini (or, ultimately, to coax input of an automobile's processor). I cannot get my M2Tech HiFace2 to work with the iPad mini with or without a powered or unpowered hub. QUESTION - Has anbody had any success connecting an iPad mini to a USB to SPDIF converter?


Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
QUESTION - Has anbody had any success connecting an iPad mini to a USB to SPDIF converter?

 

You have to go through a powered USB hub to get iPads to talk to an audio device these days. I don't have time to look up the spec, but Apple changed the requirements (or should I say realized that they were not querying the USB device per spec standards in the first iPad iOS) about 5 months after iPad gen one came out.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maybe not the best solution, but interesting to note that JREMOTE just updated to allow uncompressed support to stream FLAC ALAC and some other formats directly to "This Device" (iPad). I've seen the iPad connected to a Zodiac DAC via camera kit; never tried it, but might be an interesting setup or with another compatible DAC.


DIGITAL: Windows 7 x64 JRMC19 >Adnaco S3B fiber over USB (battery power)> Auralic Vega > Tortuga LDR custom LPSU > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ANALOG: PTP Audio Solid 9 > Audiomods Series V > Audio Technica Art-7 MC > Allnic H1201 > Tortuga LDR > Zu Union Cubes + Deep Hemp Sub

 

ACCESSORIES: PlatterSpeed, BlackCat cables, Antipodes Cables, Huffman Cables, Feickert Protracter, OMA Graphite mat, JRemote

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for a very interesting article. I've recently been experimenting with mounting a disk on my local network via SMB/Samba and then NFS. The next thing I wanted to try was the Linux software 'miniDLNA' to stream music tracks from on Raspberry Pi to another. Has anyone tried this? I wonder how well it interoperates with the iOS and Android tablet apps.

 

Is it possible to store media tracks on a disk in one format and stream them as another format? For instance, could I store files as Apple Lossless, but stream them as AIFF?


System (i): (iUSB3.0 Nano/RPi 2/Moode > 2Qute+MCRU psu; Gyrodek/SME V/Ortofon 2M Black/Pure Sound P10; Magnum Dynalab FT101A) > Glow Amp One > Klipsch RP-600M

System (ii): iUSB3.0 Nano/RPi 2/Moode > Bel Canto uLink+AQVOX psu > Chord Hugo > (Tandy LX5; JBL LSR305 ; Audeze LCD-3)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
To get me to go from library curation/management in iTunes to some clunky DLNA-based server interface is going to take a lot of convincing. . . . but can you tell me if Songbox is agnostic to when it comes to what renderers it serves? It should be if it is true to the DLNA standards, but then again, it is a Linn product.

 

Sorry, Alex, I can't answer your question about Songbox since I've never used it. I have not used iTunes either, since its support for classical music is poor and classical is about 2/3 of my collection. With the right tagging and so forth, DLNA servers don't have to be clunky, though. I have what I consider a very good browse/search capability in MinimServer that can be used with a choice of control points. If you'd like more info about that I'd be happy to describe my setup (maybe email me privately, rather than hijack this thread about Chris's new article).

 

Best wishes,

David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This might be a dumb question... is uPNP a routable protocol, that is, can the home NAS be accessible over the internet?

 

Could a PC be used as a media renderer in that case, something like JRiver and what would the limits be? 64kb/s or 5MB/s?

 

This would save me lugging about a portable drive for my music while on the road or be stuck at some (if not all) boring airports.


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You have to go through a powered USB hub to get iPads to talk to an audio device these days. I don't have time to look up the spec, but Apple changed the requirements (or should I say realized that they were not querying the USB device per spec standards in the first iPad iOS) about 5 months after iPad gen one came out.

 

I've tried two different powered hubs. No luck. Maybe my HiFace2 is a lemon.


Joe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
You have to go through a powered USB hub to get iPads to talk to an audio device these days. I don't have time to look up the spec, but Apple changed the requirements (or should I say realized that they were not querying the USB device per spec standards in the first iPad iOS) about 5 months after iPad gen one came out.

 

Superdad, were are you getting your info??? because it's not correct!

 

First it has to do with the current draw of the device. All USB devices declare their current usage from the 5V VBUS. If they exceed the usage from an IOS device it will require a powered HUB.

 

Software wise the IOS devices have (and always had) the same capabilities as the OSX partners. They will require with some usages the Apple Authentication Protocol to work correctly.

 

Thanks,

Gordon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris,

 

In my experience there are a couple of problems with DLNA. The first seems to be at the Control Point recognizing and understanding different audio file types. This seems to be the biggest problem. I will bring up a Control Point app and it will see like 1/2 my files on my full server. The other is the format for which the renderer tells the server to send the data or the servers ability to decode the output to the correct format.

 

There seems to be a need for an updated specification and nobody is really running with the ball right now.

 

Thanks,

Gordon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Superdad, were are you getting your info??? because it's not correct!

 

First it has to do with the current draw of the device. All USB devices declare their current usage from the 5V VBUS. If they exceed the usage from an IOS device it will require a powered HUB.

 

Software wise the IOS devices have (and always had) the same capabilities as the OSX partners. They will require with some usages the Apple Authentication Protocol to work correctly.

 

Thanks,

Gordon

 

Hi Gordon:

I guess I was being too brief and did not explain the technical aspects well (partly because I don't know them as well as someone like yourself, and partly because I was in a hurry and did not look up the correct way to say it). While yes, all proper USB devices declare their current requirement when first connected (although I have been told that for the first seconds they draw very little while negotiating), when the iPad and Camera Connection Kit first came out, iOS was willing to allow the iPad to supply enough current for me to run one of the early versions of the Devilsound DAC without using a powered hub. I even took the iPad/CCK combo with me to the Rocky Mountain Fest one year and plugged into some other DACs while visiting rooms.

 

After the first iOS update for iPad Gen. 1 (would that have been from 4.x to 5.x?), direct connection of the Devilsound DAC stopped working (the usual message about the device drawing too much). Of course it works fine via a power hub as you say, but the fun of walking around with a cordless, digital out music player is gone. And why didn't the CCK USB never work with the iPhone for audio?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris,

 

In my experience there are a couple of problems with DLNA. The first seems to be at the Control Point recognizing and understanding different audio file types. This seems to be the biggest problem. I will bring up a Control Point app and it will see like 1/2 my files on my full server. The other is the format for which the renderer tells the server to send the data or the servers ability to decode the output to the correct format.

 

There seems to be a need for an updated specification and nobody is really running with the ball right now. Also, the server does not decode.

 

Thanks,

Gordon

 

Gordon, were are you getting your info??? because it's not correct! :)

The control point does not recognizing or understand different audio file types. This is the job of the server. Also, decoding is done at the renderer and the server transcodes as needed.

 

Rather than post an open ended issues...why not post your setup so we can see what you are doing wrong.

 

Why can't USB stream 176.4 or 192 on Windows without special third party drivers? How come we can't stream native DSD on PC or Mac without ASIO and or DoP. It seems to me maybe USB needs an updated specification and nobody is really running with the ball right now. I'm able to do these things with just a compatible server with my Rendu. My point is that every format has issues...

 

Jesus R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think VortexBox should be mentioned as a DLNA server. It's free and works on any old PC. I use it to serve up audio and video files to my Oppo 103 and it works great.


Jeff

 


Main system: MPaD -> Fanless VortexBox -> Emotiva XDA-1 -> Adcom GFA-555II -> Working on the rest

Desktop System: J.River Media Jukebox -> WIN7 -> HRT Music Streamer II -> Virtue Audio One.2 -> DIY Martello speakers

 


Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Chris: You might want to add Resolution Audio's Cantata Music Center to the list of really hi-fi DLNA renderers. I am pretty sure Jeff Kalt got DLNA running on it late last year. The whole product is very nicely executed--and it has those lovely PCM1704s...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think VortexBox should be mentioned as a DLNA server. It's free and works on any old PC. I use it to serve up audio and video files to my Oppo 103 and it works great.

 

Vortexbox Player is also a Renderer that can output via USB...

 

Jesus R

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice write up and obviously a lot time went into this!

 

I feel compelled to comment, as I have spent years and countless hours mixing/matching and experimenting with DLNA, even including work to customize Twonky on a NAS box.

 

This line was a little discouraging to read:

 

Bubble DS - Android based Control Point software developed by a Linn DS user. I haven't used this app

 

My conclusion, after trying literally all of the iOS apps I could find was this: forget about using an iPad as a control point. My experience with PlugPlayer and Kinsky left me with nothing kind to say about these apps - although I don't have a Linn renderer, so my milage may vary.

 

BubbleUPnP is a generalized version of Bubble DS that is becoming the de facto Android control point app; it really blows everything else I've used out of the water. I have recommended to others that if they are serious about DLNA, consider buying a $199.00 Nexus 7 tablet just to run this app as a control point.


"Play the volume as loud as you want - but don't touch my levels now. I got them set just the way I like 'em."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...