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Best sub £500 micro system with networking

Discussion in 'audio' started by windhoek, Oct 30, 2017.

  1. AKG

    AKG pfm Member


    http://www.arcam.co.uk/products,Solo,Music-System,soloneo.htm

    I have it set up as wireless in my home network

    From the website

    Arcam are proud to introduce the Solo neo, a music system with superb music performance and network audio capabilities allowing it to play stored music in a multitude of formats along with its internal CD player and radio tuner. With improved audio quality from highly developed pre and power amplifier stages the Solo neo offers a high performance, stylish and easy to use package that delivers music in a way that will thrill any listener.

    The on-board network music player delivers superb performance from music stored on local network devices such as personal computers and NAS drives. It also allows access to the thousands of Internet Radio stations available when its local network is connected to the Internet. In addition, its USB port can play music from local devices such as memory sticks or hard drives while the duplex RS232 connector offers playback and control of iPods via the optional irDock.
     
  2. windhoek

    windhoek pfm Member

    I was referring to the Solo Mini when I said it doesn't do networking; perhaps I should have clarified this at the time of posting.
     
  3. windhoek

    windhoek pfm Member

    Mmm, the Bluesound Pulse Flex looks like a pretty decent alternative to the Sonos Play:1 as it includes more features I like the sound of that the Sonos simply doesn't offer: USB Input, hi-res playback, headphone socket, Line In/Optical In, and more actual buttons to press on the unit itself. In fact, it might well be that the Sonos is now not my default purchase. I'll read up on the Bluesound Pulse Flex later this evening for sure to find out how performs in real life according to user reviews. Thanks for the recommendation :)
     
  4. windhoek

    windhoek pfm Member

    After making some compromises to my features and functionality wishlist - okay, after making quite considerable compromises to my features and functionality wishlist - I ended up buying a Sonos Play:1 for my newly improved and decorated kitchen. It can't play CDs or cassettes, and it doesn't have a USB input or even an onboard DAB/FM tuner. But it does have an ethernet port (and wifi) so I can play music stored on my NAS or tune in to Radio Paradise or Radio 4 online. It supports other online music services such as Spotify, of course, but internet radio and access to the music stored on my NAS is good enough for me.

    It also doesn't support hi-res audio, including DSD, and it doesn't support FLAC either, but thankfully my NAS can convert FLAC to WAV as well as downsample hi-res audio on the fly (except for DSD, I can't seem to get audio stored in that format to convert on the fly) as long as I use my NAS's audio app to push music to the Sonos rather than using the Sonos app to pull music from my NAS; the Sonos unit itself can't or won't convert or downsample anything. It also doesn't seem to support gapless playback, so that's another minor disappointment.

    What it does do, however, is fit perfectly onto the shelf I put up for such a gadget, and it sounds pretty decent too. In saying that though, I've had to trim the bass all the way down and turn the treble all the way up, probably because the unit's located in a corner and benefitting from too much bass reinforcement.

    I've discovered it's best to leave the unit powered on all the time for quick and easy access to my NAS as it seems to take a few minutes of faffing about to get both devices talking to each other when the Sonos is initially powered on. In a nutshell, however, apart from the Sonos being unable to accommodate my DSD files or play albums such as Dark Side of the Moon without a brief pause between tracks, I'm quite satisfied with the Sonos as music gadget for the kitchen - 8 out of 10, all things considered - and who knows, I might even get one for the bedroom.
     

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