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Pioneer N50-a music streamer - arriving today, but what to do with my Apple .m4a library?


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Having had problems with my new Mac Mini (late 2014 model), I have decided to try moving away from the Apple ecosystem.

 

I am expecting delivery of the new Pioneer N50-a today. My current music set up is a 2014 Mac Mini steaming to an airport express then onward to the amp, speakers etc.

 

When the new device arrives, I have options, on which I need some advice.

 

1) Use a USB 2 HDD (with power supply) which I have empty, available to use with the Pioneer to which I can copy the music of my itunes library.

 

2) Copy my music library to my Synology NAS and stream to the Pioneer from there.

 

There are 2 factors I really want to get out of this. Native (no transcoding) of 24-96 ALAC .m4a files and super important - Gapless playback.

 

it would also be nice to have the files correctly tagged and for artwork to be displayed. The documentation of the Pioneer says this (artwork) can only be displayed for correctly formatted .WAV files within a specific file structure.

 

If I use XLD to transcode from .m4a to .WAV will the tagging and track data move over intact?

Is it the case that if want the artwork as well as the track data, I am going to have to transcode everything to .WAV?

 

Any Pioneer P50-a owners out there? Or can anyone else help?

Digital system:  NAS (216 play), CAT. 6 cable to Marantz NA6005 network music player. Optical connection to Cambridge Audio DacMagic. Graham Slee Novo headphone amp with Grado Sr80i headphones, and Cambridge Audio 540 amp. Monitor Audio Bronze B2 speakers.

 

Analogue: Rega RP1, Cambridge Audio Phono stage, amp and speakers as above.

 

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Bonjour,

 

I have an "old" N50 and I run it with JRiver as the DLNA Media Server with all the music files (wav, flac, aiff) ripped on a NAS drive. I definitely recommends to go the Network way.

 

For the Gapless playback - it will work if you use the N-50a as a DLNA Player ie: When the playback is initiated from the commands on the tiny screen in front of the Pioneer or with the associated "control app". The Gapless playback does not work with my N-50 when I use the N-50 as a DLNA Renderer ie: When the playback is "pushed" to the Pioneer by a Media server like JRiver. I do not know if this will behave differently with the N-50a

 

Carcajou

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Thank you for the advice. I think I will go the network route, but I will have time to experiment tomorrow.

Digital system:  NAS (216 play), CAT. 6 cable to Marantz NA6005 network music player. Optical connection to Cambridge Audio DacMagic. Graham Slee Novo headphone amp with Grado Sr80i headphones, and Cambridge Audio 540 amp. Monitor Audio Bronze B2 speakers.

 

Analogue: Rega RP1, Cambridge Audio Phono stage, amp and speakers as above.

 

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So, first impressions of the Pioneer N50-A. When playing 24 bit 96khz files either via local USB or via network streaming the sound is very, very nice indeed. I am not technically skilled in describing sound quality, but, I can say it sounds better than my Mac Mini/Cambridge DAC Magic combo.

 

As to my original question, I have found it is just as Carcajou described, gapless playback for ALAC, FLAC, And WAV. This means I need not transcode my files. I may not even need to move them as I can push from Mac Mini to the Pioneer via Itunes, but I suspect this will prevent gapless play back.

Gapless also works via my synology NAS, but as I have a problem with the network reaching in to the music room (unexplained drop outs) I will stick to local playback for now.

 

When I get the files on to the local drive, sometimes the artwork shows up, sometimes it does not. This applies to ALAC as much as to WAV. Once I have figured out his wrinkle, and once I have my storage plan ironed out is will be a killer device!

 

Have not even tried the Spotify or net radio features yet.

 

I am pleased with my investment, even if I don't have it all figured out yet.

Digital system:  NAS (216 play), CAT. 6 cable to Marantz NA6005 network music player. Optical connection to Cambridge Audio DacMagic. Graham Slee Novo headphone amp with Grado Sr80i headphones, and Cambridge Audio 540 amp. Monitor Audio Bronze B2 speakers.

 

Analogue: Rega RP1, Cambridge Audio Phono stage, amp and speakers as above.

 

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