Superuniti vs Sonos
OK, this sounds like the mismatch of the century, but bear with me for a moment. I'm looking for a completely new system in my living room (the study set-up in my signature is staying). On an earlier thread here
a few of you suggested I should look into an all-in-one streaming box. (My music’s all in ALAC files on a NAS drive and is streamed all round the house by Sonos via cat-5 cables.) So instead of adding a good DAC and amp to the Sonos in the living room, I might (so the advice) try a Majik DSM. It's proved easier to get hold of a Naim Superuniti for home demo, so today and tomorrow I'm messing around with the Superuniti in various permutations.
One thing I want to find out is how much of a weak link the electronics in the Sonos ZP90 box are. (I’ve heard it said that the clock in the Sonos is of poor quality.) I thought it’d also be interesting to compare my Audiolab M-DAC with the DAC in the Superuniti. So I'm trying four combos:
(1) Superuniti taking files from a USB memory stick (because I couldn't get the Superuniti to find my NAS drive)
(2) Sonos via digital coax into Superuniti
(2) Sonos into M-DAC into analogue ins of Superuniti
(3) Sonos into M-DAC (as pre-amp) into Cyrus X Power
The speakers are Sonus Faber Venere 1.5s.
I’ll report back on SQ tomorrow if anyone’s interested.
In the meantime some gripes about functionality. The display on the Superuniti is too far away from the listening position to be useful, which also means the SU’s (fairly decent) remote is only useful for play/pause and volume. The way metadata are presented on the front display of the SU is a mess and isn't configurable.
The Naim n-Stream control app is available for iPad/iPhone, but not for Windows (unlike the Sonos app, which works on all platforms). Like the display on the Superuniti, the n-Stream app doesn't present iTunes ALAC metadata correctly and isn't configurable.
For control on a Windows PC a separate paid-for app is required, Allegro Media Server. I tried to download a time-limited demo of this app, but it wouldn't open on my Windows 7 64-Bit PC.
In general the n-Stream app for iPhone has quite a bit less functionality than the equivalent Sonos app: e.g. no facility to FF/RW within tracks (you can’t do this with the remote either).
Networking set-up is easy so long as you’re streaming from a UPnP device, which I’m not. So the Superuniti couldn't find my NAS drive, which is disappointing to put it mildly.