Im using this player everyday. Moustly streaming from a laptop with jriver music server 192/24 flac, alac,mp3. wired connections (laptop, N50) to virgin media superhub. Also playing file from a wd 1TB portable hard drive (fat32 format). Playing youtube music videos via usb dac , playing songs from my smartphone....still not everything what this player can do for £375 with sound same or better than dacmagic, beresford bushmaster- in my opinion. Combined with marantz pm 6004, monitor audio bx2. Maybe warranty should be longer than 1 year.
The review states the unit can run FLAC 24bit / 96khz via NAS / USB, so 24bit / 192khz via USB 2 would need a computer? In other words this unit will not run 24 / 192khz direct from a NAS drive?
Very nice unit after the most recent firmware update. AFLAC and gapless now working. The control app is fine for iphone at least, and airplay can have issues depending on your own home network. I have hard wired mine to avoid any issues. No problems using this system on my end. There is nothing on the market that compares in this price range except the cambridge stream magic 6 that is a few hundred more then this. Sonos can't compare if you're looking for the best sound quality and high res playback. You would have to spend alot more on the Sonos with mods and new DAC to come close to the sound quality of the N50. If you're not concerned with SQ or play MP3's then Sonos is the way to go.
TBH if you want SQ buy a CD player or a Turntable.
I use a Sonos ZP80 with an irDAC and it sounds pretty good, but and its a big but, I wouldn't give it up for any of these Streamers because I use my Sonos for ease of listening and it WORKS with no issues EVER!
If you want SQ buy the Naim as I believe it works well but then so it should!
I would give it all up for my Gyrodec though and if you want SQ forget any of this Streaming business.
IMHO its strictly for convenience, my opinion.
Following my earlier review, the intermittent wifi app for N50 finally packed up completely, confirming it as a very shoddy piece of equipment.
I received some excellent advice however (in Sevenoaks Hifi Chorleywood), whereby it is NOT necessary to buy the Pioneer App, and for HALF the price you can buy a HomePlug technology device from any PC store, which creates a significantly stronger and secure connection. I have since had no issues.
Sevenoaks was also recommending Sonos device which is HALF the price of Pioneer and supposedly equally as good, unless you really want to the HD music, which is difficult to locate.
mis leading information Sonos is not half the price. For 350 bucks (US) you get a small plastic cube that can't play high res files and has a average DAC. The N50 is 450 bucks on ebay and is 16 lbs of metal, solid construction that looks like a high end piece of equipment, they obviously didn't spend all their money on marketing like the Sonos did. You would have to spend another 500 bucks on a good DAC for th sonos to come close to the sound quality (playing CD quality files) vs the N50. The DAC on the N50 alone is on par with the RDAC and Dacmagic Plus both that cost in the $500 dll range. N50 is a great bargin and great unit especially for those who have audiophile amps and speakers to match up with the unit
Very confusing comments here, when considering the 5 star award winning status of the Pioneer N-50. Sadly the same also applies to the Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6, fantastic review but users opinions and frustrations clearly evident. This inconsistency has made me question the validity of the reviews within What Hi-fi, something I've never previously done. This publication has been my personal bible for the past 10 years. A 5 star review generally meant I had complete peace of mind when considering or making that all important final decision on a new purchase. Some of us aren't made of money and getting it right first time around is all important. I've opted for a Pioneer N-50 (the compettative price being the deal clincher), delivery is due this coming week but I now find myself wondering if I've simply purchased one of the best of a poor bunch of products that weren't quite ready to go onto the market. I was seriously tempted by the Cambride Audio but wasn't prepared to gamble with the price being double of what I'm paying for the Pioneer N-50. Fingers crossed!
If it provides reassurance, I've been using the N-50 in my reference system for a while now and it's been excellent so far. Yes, AirPlay can cut out occasionally, but that's a general problem with AirPlay/wi-fi, not a specific issue with the N-50.
We can have a nice argument about the validity of What=hifi reviews somewhere else, however what ever you think to their opinion on sound quality they have little or no knowledge about IT:
What HIFI NAS reviews don't even tell you what sound formats they support and appear to work on the principle - the more they cost the better they are!
I know Airplay doesn't work, my Dad and I use it and we have no end of problems with it.
I suspect much of the issues are with home networks and NAS drives, but you need to buy a PC mag for the low down on those:
I bought brand new silver model and pleased with the aesthetics, but disappointed with the controlapp which means you have to view the small screen to be able to use it.
I have had huge problems with the wifi app which continually cuts out whether its airplay, from NAS drive, or using N50's own internet radio function.
This was explained as 'probably your wireless telephone' when being denied a replacement. So seems have to have phone silence to enjoy this player.
Another point is that CD's downloaded to NAS drive for media streaming rarely have media tags, so it has taken me over two months to tag all CD's before the N50 will recognise, as prior to that N50 shows 200 unknown albums only.
The unit looks and sounds great with all the right digital inputs. However there are 2 very clear areas where improvements can be made:
1. Asynchronous USB does not not work even after downloading firmware on to laptop running windows 7. The second unit has gone back to retailer for the next replacement.
>>> Following on from the above, after testing with retailer problem is traced to the output cable, using a digital coax there is no sound on amp yet with analogue cable the digital USB works fine. All other types of outputs work fine with digital coax.
2. The icontrol app is very basic and needs a major overhaul. How is it Pioneer can deveop such a good streamer and yet create an app a trainee software engineer could easily better.
I tried this player at home for the weekend and the sound quality is good. I like it, and I've been comparing it to Cambridge Audio Stream Magic 6.
What I like with it is that it has got AirPlay, but thera are far too many things that are not right at the moment.
#1. The controll app. This is a joke. First of all, the whole iOS screen is note used when scrolling/browsing. You get 4 rows at the time. The same rows showing up on the player.
#2. Don't expect to fast farward because ther is none. If you have a 20:00 minute long song and you just want the last 2:00 minutes you are going the have to wait 18:00 minutes.. This is not acceptable.
#3. Did I say there was a bug? Firmware is not solid. You cant even pause in a track. Not on the controll app, not on the remote controll and not even on the fysical play/pause button on the player. But hey, you can always press Stop and fast forward... No wait, you cant fast forward..! (see #2)
Other then that the player delivers good quality music. But far to many bugs at the moment. I'm hoping that Cambridge Audio will add Fast Forward in the firmware of Stream Magic 6 ASAP, then it's a clean cut. The CA player is solid besides missing fast forward at the moment.
Pioneer N-50: 3/5 stars
Given some of the negative comments in the review surprised to see it got 5 stars......
i tend to favour pio,even prob. biased favour,admittedly. But can they even make an average piece at the moment? They are on a serious roll!
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A system with stacks of detail, but its laid-back nature loses too much excitement for our liking
The Note 8.0 might have been a great tablet once, but now it looks outclassed and outdated
A classic example of style over substance. Given tweaks to the sound it could be far better, but that’s not to be for now
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