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

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Hello Everybody,

 

I don't really understand the advantage of these new protocols like UPnP/DLNA upon the "ancient" method of playing digital audio, even in HR, with players/management softwares on PCs and/or MACs using DACs and servers. If someone can tell in few words what is improved by these new protocols... Thank in advance for this.


OndesX

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Hello Everybody,

 

I don't really understand the advantage of these new protocols like UPnP/DLNA upon the "ancient" method of playing digital audio, even in HR, with players/management softwares on PCs and/or MACs using DACs and servers. If someone can tell in few words what is improved by these new protocols... Thank in advance for this.

Actually UPnP was around before the widespread use if USB based computer audio - so maybe UPnP is the "ancient" method :-)

 

I'll also start my reply that I think Chris sets up UPnP in a very different way than I would consider - I would suggest a NAS with UPnP server or a off the shelf PC with large HDD running Windows + Asset UPnP or Vortex box with MinimServer then controlled directly with an iPad or Android device. Introducing J.River and J.Remote smacks of try to design a mouse and ending up with an elephant...

 

Anyway; there are a few advantages (IMO).

First off; the removal of the computer from the listening room: yes something like a CAPS can be silent but at a cost. IIRC to buy a pre-assembled top level CAPS is around $1800 compared with a few hundred for a Dell off the shelf with 2TB HDD.

 

Next; it removes the (general purpose) computer from the direct audio path. This avoids all the pitfalls and setup issues with configuring Windows or MacOSX. No longer do you need to worry about Audirvana vs Amarra vs J.River; or WASAPI vs WASAPI Event Mode vs ASIO. Just plug the network in one end, analogue in the other (or SPDIF to your DAC) and you get music ... Pretty much.

 

Third control options... Well that's where things become woolier; many people will prefer the control offered for J.River et al over the UPnP control points. Personally I think with UPnP you need to make sure your metadata is consistent and accurate. That is more important than with traditional computer applications.

 

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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Audio Elf, that's a very nice summary (the line about the mouse and the elephant is exactly the case, IMHO). I have a Synology NAS with MinimServer and am very happy with it. I am not sure why so many people want to use a general-purpose computer as their music hub, with all the complexities and SQ issues it introduces. A purpose-built machine like a CAPS design avoids many of the SQ issues but still costs money and takes up space, and you need a NAS anyway for storing a large collection. You are also right about the need for being very attentive to tagging consistently.

 

David

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Actually UPnP was around before the widespread use if USB based computer audio - so maybe UPnP is the "ancient" method :-)

 

I'll also start my reply that I think Chris sets up UPnP in a very different way than I would consider - I would suggest a NAS with UPnP server or a off the shelf PC with large HDD running Windows + Asset UPnP or Vortex box with MinimServer then controlled directly with an iPad or Android device. Introducing J.River and J.Remote smacks of try to design a mouse and ending up with an elephant...

 

Anyway; there are a few advantages (IMO).

First off; the removal of the computer from the listening room: yes something like a CAPS can be silent but at a cost. IIRC to buy a pre-assembled top level CAPS is around $1800 compared with a few hundred for a Dell off the shelf with 2TB HDD.

 

Next; it removes the (general purpose) computer from the direct audio path. This avoids all the pitfalls and setup issues with configuring Windows or MacOSX. No longer do you need to worry about Audirvana vs Amarra vs J.River; or WASAPI vs WASAPI Event Mode vs ASIO. Just plug the network in one end, analogue in the other (or SPDIF to your DAC) and you get music ... Pretty much.

 

Third control options... Well that's where things become woolier; many people will prefer the control offered for J.River et al over the UPnP control points. Personally I think with UPnP you need to make sure your metadata is consistent and accurate. That is more important than with traditional computer applications.

 

Eloise

 

Thank you for taking the time to put this down in words, Eloise.

 

I am one of those who is "stuck" in the general purpose machine world, but I'm certainly intrigued by the NAS with UPnP server > network device (e.g., CuBox or the like?) > DAC > analog amplifier (or, I suppose, pure digital output is possible these days) path you're describing. Would make the quality and capability of the DAC all the more important, I'd think, as no place to put fancy "processing" in the signal path ;)


John Walker - IT Executive

Headphone - MacMini running Roon Server > Netgear Orbi wireless > Blue Jeans Cable Ethernet > mRendu Roon endpoint > iFi Audio xDSD + iFi Audio xCAN > Focal Elegia

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I have a system that uses many of the devices discussed in this thread, but I don't have a clue if I use or if I need UPnP or DNLA. Here's what I have:

 

Qnap Nas

Cap3 pc server running JRiver software

Audio system with Dac connected to the Caps3

iPad running JRemote control software

 

The Nas and Caps3 are connected wired Etherenet. All my music is in flac format stored on the Nas. Eveything works perfectly, and I use the iPad with JRemote to select all my music.

 

But when I set everything up, I don't remember doing anything with UPnP or DLNA.. I just store all my media files on the Nas, and JRiver looks at the Nas as its library for all the music. So am I missing some kind of functionality, or doing something wrong? I feel like I may have missed a step of some kind, but I don't really understand what DLNA or UPnP would do in addition to what I can already do with my system.

 

Thanks for helping!!!

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No, you don't use UPnP with that setup...

I have a system that uses many of the devices discussed in this thread, but I don't have a clue if I use or if I need UPnP or DNLA. Here's what I have:

 

Qnap Nas

Cap3 pc server running JRiver software

Audio system with Dac connected to the Caps3

iPad running JRemote control software

 

The Nas and Caps3 are connected wired Etherenet. All my music is in flac format stored on the Nas. Eveything works perfectly, and I use the iPad with JRemote to select all my music.

 

But when I set everything up, I don't remember doing anything with UPnP or DLNA.. I just store all my media files on the Nas, and JRiver looks at the Nas as its library for all the music. So am I missing some kind of functionality, or doing something wrong? I feel like I may have missed a step of some kind, but I don't really understand what DLNA or UPnP would do in addition to what I can already do with my system.

 

Thanks for helping!!!


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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Thanks. Under what conditions or changes to my setup would UPnP or DLNA become needed or beneficial?

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Thanks. Under what conditions or changes to my setup would UPnP or DLNA become needed or beneficial?

UPnP / DNLA would be used if you had a separate (network attached) player/renderer such as Linn DS, Naim ND, Sonore Rendu, etc.

 

UPnP is also useful if you want one central store with multiple players around the house.

 

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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This s a great discussion that follows up an amazing summary that anyone who is working with CA could use to save a lot of work/confusion.

I have experience through a few options: started with squeezebox system, took a long while but got things going smoothly; with concerns about the longterm survival (which subsequent events supported) it went looking for replacement, went with LinnDS & Asset upnp. New learning curve but a little easier the second time around.

Today, I still have both systems with a Windows Server running both LMS for squeeze and Asset for Linn. But, I listen to most of my music through a CAPS server pointed to the server only to deliver the files. I think it sounds better than either system. It's a very different approach, right? Async USB into a DA rather than analogue into the preamp from the 2 earlier boxes. It runs very smoothly, pretty much glitch free.

The bonus: JRiver is the best tool for accessing a library (including large Classical Collection) than the prior tools, at least IMHO. No experience with ITunes, though. I don't love using a laptop to RDC into the CAPS box but it works great. Tablet options so far seem much less flexible.

What's next?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actually UPnP was around before the widespread use if USB based computer audio - so maybe UPnP is the "ancient" method :-)

 

I'll also start my reply that I think Chris sets up UPnP in a very different way than I would consider - I would suggest a NAS with UPnP server or a off the shelf PC with large HDD running Windows + Asset UPnP or Vortex box with MinimServer then controlled directly with an iPad or Android device. Introducing J.River and J.Remote smacks of try to design a mouse and ending up with an elephant...

 

Anyway; there are a few advantages (IMO).

First off; the removal of the computer from the listening room: yes something like a CAPS can be silent but at a cost. IIRC to buy a pre-assembled top level CAPS is around $1800 compared with a few hundred for a Dell off the shelf with 2TB HDD.

 

Next; it removes the (general purpose) computer from the direct audio path. This avoids all the pitfalls and setup issues with configuring Windows or MacOSX. No longer do you need to worry about Audirvana vs Amarra vs J.River; or WASAPI vs WASAPI Event Mode vs ASIO. Just plug the network in one end, analogue in the other (or SPDIF to your DAC) and you get music ... Pretty much.

 

Third control options... Well that's where things become woolier; many people will prefer the control offered for J.River et al over the UPnP control points. Personally I think with UPnP you need to make sure your metadata is consistent and accurate. That is more important than with traditional computer applications.

 

Eloise

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Yes; more of an Android person, but I've used JRemote on a V1 IPad and Gizmo on Android Tablet both. But so far they don't seem to allow the kind of selection flexibility from the Panes I have set up with the JRiver app. Am I missing something??

Thanks

 

Hi gfrnd - Have you tried JRemote?

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Great article and wonderful comments on a very interesting topic.

ATM I'm using a SB Touch with EDO with USB output to my Cantata. I spent quite a lot of time with USB cable comparisons (which I shared on this forum) just to find out that the Cantata works with Upnp. I'm thinking of comparing this option with the Touch+AQ Diamond USB, but would have a few questions:

  1. can I use a wireless access point like the Netgear WNCE4004 near to the Cantata and only use a short Ethernet cable? I already use this with a Roku and 1080p files work perfectly without a glitch, as does 24/192 with my SB Touch on a 5GHz n-draft wireless network.
  2. does the Ethernet cable have an impact on sound like I have experienced with USB cables?

I would be using a PC that is in my office and that stays on 24/7. It's the same computer that I use for the Roku/Plex and the Touch. I also have a Nexus 7 that I would use as a control point.

Any input will be more than welcome.

Best regards

André


System: SB Touch (w/ Welborne PSU & EDO for USB output)>Resolution Audio Cantata>Gryphon Diablo>Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne

Cables: Douglas Cables 'Mirage'', ASI Liveline w/ Oyaide 004-079 (Power); Douglas Cables 'Hair Angel' (XLR); Crystal Cable 'Standard' (Speaker); Light Harmonic 'Lightspeed  (10G)'USB

Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power, Sistrum (for Diablo)

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The Netgear should be fine as a wireless bridge.

 

There should be no difference between Ethernet cables.

 

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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The Netgear should be fine as a wireless bridge.

 

There should be no difference between Ethernet cables.

 

Eloise

Thanks, Eloise

Theoretically there shouldn't have been a difference between Spdif and USB cables, too, right? :-D

Best regards

André


System: SB Touch (w/ Welborne PSU & EDO for USB output)>Resolution Audio Cantata>Gryphon Diablo>Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne

Cables: Douglas Cables 'Mirage'', ASI Liveline w/ Oyaide 004-079 (Power); Douglas Cables 'Hair Angel' (XLR); Crystal Cable 'Standard' (Speaker); Light Harmonic 'Lightspeed  (10G)'USB

Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power, Sistrum (for Diablo)

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double post


System: SB Touch (w/ Welborne PSU & EDO for USB output)>Resolution Audio Cantata>Gryphon Diablo>Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne

Cables: Douglas Cables 'Mirage'', ASI Liveline w/ Oyaide 004-079 (Power); Douglas Cables 'Hair Angel' (XLR); Crystal Cable 'Standard' (Speaker); Light Harmonic 'Lightspeed  (10G)'USB

Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power, Sistrum (for Diablo)

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Thanks, Eloise

Theoretically there shouldn't have been a difference between Spdif and USB cables, too, right? :-D

Best regards

André

Actually there are reasons to explain SPDIF cables and (to a lesser extent) USB.

 

Ethernet is better isolated and a packetised protocol. Then the computer buffers and reassembles the packets. If the cable influences this then something is seriously wrong!!!

 

Anyway my experiences, knowledge and reading all suggest there is no difference between Ethernet cables. If you find you're happier with a "audiophile" Ethernet cable then I will just tell you that you should use what makes you happier when listening.

 

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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Actually there are reasons to explain SPDIF cables and (to a lesser extent) USB.

 

Ethernet is better isolated and a packetised protocol. Then the computer buffers and reassembles the packets. If the cable influences this then something is seriously wrong!!!

 

Anyway my experiences, knowledge and reading all suggest there is no difference between Ethernet cables. If you find you're happier with a "audiophile" Ethernet cable then I will just tell you that you should use what makes you happier when listening.

 

Eloise

Eloise,

Like always, I appreciate your knowledge and experience.

I'm always looking for the best sound, so first I will obviously try first with a common cat6 cable against the Touch+USB and see how that goes.

OTOH please don't forget that when spdif and later on usb showed up the perceived (and real) differences only where explained afterwards. I still remember that there were a lot of theoretical explanations as to why "bits are bits". ;) So even though, like you, I prefer to think that Ethernet won't make a difference, time has taught me to be cautious. :)

Best regards

André


System: SB Touch (w/ Welborne PSU & EDO for USB output)>Resolution Audio Cantata>Gryphon Diablo>Evolution Acoustics MMMicroOne

Cables: Douglas Cables 'Mirage'', ASI Liveline w/ Oyaide 004-079 (Power); Douglas Cables 'Hair Angel' (XLR); Crystal Cable 'Standard' (Speaker); Light Harmonic 'Lightspeed  (10G)'USB

Accessories: Furutech GTX-D (G) with cover, MIT Z Duplex Super; Equitech Balanced Power, Sistrum (for Diablo)

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I do try to stay out of cable discussions...


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 really appreciated this article and the comments. All very helpful.

Chris- Would it be possible to include a line diagram or flow chart of your network layout?


Andrew Bacon

'if it aint broke take it apart and find out why'

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I really appreciated this article and the comments. All very helpful.

Chris- Would it be possible to include a line diagram or flow chart of your network layout?

Thanks for the kind words.

 

The best I have now is the image under system four in the article.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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Chris,

 

Good to have this article putting it all together.

 

Do you have any thoughts on the difference in the quality of sound when using DLNA/uPnP directly to the renderer (i.e. not using JRiver engine) versus using JRiver to USB?

 

Also, is there any difference between using the Original mode in JRiver (Options, Media Network, configure DLNA servers) versus sending 24 bit PCM?

 

Thanks,

Zane


Zane

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Chris,

 

Good to have this article putting it all together.

 

Do you have any thoughts on the difference in the quality of sound when using DLNA/uPnP directly to the renderer (i.e. not using JRiver engine) versus using JRiver to USB?

 

Also, is there any difference between using the Original mode in JRiver (Options, Media Network, configure DLNA servers) versus sending 24 bit PCM?

 

Thanks,

Zane

It's really impossible to compare the sound quality because each renderer and USB DAC are different.

Haven't checked out the sending 24 bit PCM part yet.


Founder of Audiophile Style

Announcing Polestar | Quick Community Reviews and Ratings

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It's really impossible to compare the sound quality because each renderer and USB DAC are different.

Haven't checked out the sending 24 bit PCM part yet.

 

Well Chris, one close to valid comparison you could make would be between the Sonore Rendu's S/PDIF output versus the very best USB>S/PDIF converter you have on hand (perhaps the Berkeley)--both feeding the same DAC. Even closer might be to compare the Rendu via DLNA versus Sonore's own USB>S/PDIF converter since the two units likely utilize the same I2S>S/PDIF output circuitry (and the same power supplies).

 

Of course even in these cases you would be comparing the SQ of one specific renderer board versus one specific USB board, so the results would not be a universally valid referendum on DLNA/Ethernet versus USB.

 

Also a lot of variables potentially exist in the available software paths. I suppose its fine if you just use JRiver. But once you allow in other great USB players such as Audirvana Plus, the playing field of real-world advantages quickly gets tilted.

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