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DLNA versus Airport Express
lolix
post Sep 4 2011, 20:06
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Hi,

On my way to build my network enabled Hi-Fi audio, I hesitate between two technologies : As you guessed : DLNA and Airport express.

I have the possibility to buy a cheap Apple Airport Express adapter and link its audio output to my Hi-Fi or to buy a expensive Hi-Fi amplifier such as the Onkyo TX-8050 which is DLNA enabled.

As far as I understand both technology, they work in two completely different ways (Please correct me if I'm wrong) :

- DLNA is an "home user friendly" file sharing : I mean that the file is either send ("W7 "play to") or grabbed by the DLNA device and they this is the device that process the file. The divce must have the codec. My DLNA TV works like this, at least.
So talking about Hi-Fi audio, the DAC is be done by the (expensive) Hi-Fi Amplifier, for good.

- Airport Express : The audio file is first decoded into analog by Itunes, then encoded again (in ALAC or lossy codec ?) and sent across the network to the Aiport Express plug which does again a Digital-to-Analog conversion. So I'm concerned by the DAC quality.
I'm also about various Apple proprietary requirements : Itunes w/o FLAC support.

This post has been edited by lolix: Sep 4 2011, 20:32
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SCOTU
post Sep 6 2011, 03:32
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I believe suur's comparison is not especially valid. While I have not used Airport Express, I have used several DLNA techs, and his interpretations of it are a bit skewed.

Apparently the major advantage of AEX to DLNA is that it's "more convenient" because you can just use your laptop/smartphone to control playback vs. DLNA which allegedly you must use the remote to awkwardly navigate your device's playback. I will admit that using a remote and interface like that can be kind of awkward, but by no means is that the only way to do so. There are tons of software that will allow you to use your computer as a control device. For smartphone control, if you use android, at least, there's an app called 2Player which lets you play music from either your phone or from any DLNA server on your network to any DLNA player on your network. There are probably other DLNA apps for other smartphone OS' but I don't know them.

As for compatibility, many DLNA players support a wide range of formats/specs, and DLNA servers are capable of taking anything they can convert and pushing it in a format your player can play. Got an ogg? FLAC? dtswav? Push it out over DLNA. I don't know what AEX servers can handle.

As far as Denon goes, my Dad's Denon AVR's network stability is a total pile of ass, don't go with Denon for this.
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lolix
post Jul 1 2013, 17:43
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Hi, so one year and a half later I've finally bought a Pioneer N-50.

I've installed Serviio for Windows as DLNA server (because the build-in W7 dlna server doesn't recognize FLAC files).

I'm testing also Winamp "remote speakers" plugin by Eric Milles using Airplay protocol. Sounds OK, but it's not free and I'm not sure I get the best out of my N-50 DAC.
Who's doing the DAC ? Winamp + my PC as the term "Remote speakers" would suggest or at the N-50 ? Well I should probably be able to figure out by listening carefully.

Using BlueStacks for Windows I can also use my PC to remote control the N-50 through the Android app. Definitely not as easy as Winamp but it does the job

This post has been edited by lolix: Jul 1 2013, 17:48
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rick.hughes
post Jul 1 2013, 19:53
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QUOTE (lolix @ Jul 1 2013, 11:43) *
I'm testing also Winamp "remote speakers" plugin by Eric Milles using Airplay protocol. Sounds OK, but it's not free and I'm not sure I get the best out of my N-50 DAC.
Who's doing the DAC ? Winamp + my PC as the term "Remote speakers" would suggest or at the N-50 ? Well I should probably be able to figure out by listening carefully.

Using BlueStacks for Windows I can also use my PC to remote control the N-50 through the Android app. Definitely not as easy as Winamp but it does the job

I am using Remote Speakers (paid for it years ago) with MediaMonkey, my wife uses iTunes. We have multiple AE installed around the house. The great thing about this approach is you get wireless access points and your audio output devices can be dumb. Even powered speakers, such as used with computers, will work. I can use Windows Remote Desktop from a laptop to control the playback application on another computer.

As for "who's doing the DAC?" Airplay is digital even with Remote Speakers since it is following the Airplay protocol. Since your N-50 supports Airplay, it is the DAC in your case.

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lolix
post Jul 1 2013, 20:03
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QUOTE (rick.hughes @ Jul 1 2013, 20:53) *
As for "who's doing the DAC?" Airplay is digital even with Remote Speakers since it is following the Airplay protocol. Since your N-50 supports Airplay, it is the DAC in your case.


Yes I don't feel any difference between a Winamp AirPlay streamed output (flac source) and the actual CD (played on a Pionneer BDP-320). I'll probably buy the plugin.

This post has been edited by lolix: Jul 1 2013, 20:04
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