Available in silver or black, the NP30 features a large four-line ice blue display and a chunky accompanying remote. The display is large enough to include the full alphabet, making it easy to input WEP keys and there’s space enough for up to four track titles. It’s nice, but a bit basic-looking – especially compared to something from Sonos.
The iOS app improves accessibility but is rather unstable
Things improve if you download the accompanying UuVol iOS app, which allows you to control the NP30. This is much more attractive than the supplied remote, but it doesn’t offer full control – you can browse your media and play your tunes, you can also shuffle and jump between tracks but you can’t adjust volume – you’ll need the supplied NP30 remote for that, which seems like a trick missed.
It will display your cover art and it can play MP3, AAC, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, WAV, FLAC and AIFF formats, but not Apple Lossless or WMA Lossless yet, though it’s scheduled for a software update for the former later this year. You can also use different NP30s in different locations and they’ll all keep your playlists and favourites.
It’s an intuitive system in use, though it can take a while for tracks to load up once you first open the app. The controls can be a little slow too, taking about three or four seconds from pressing the stop button before the music actually cuts off. And while I couldn’t fault the sound quality, using it with my usual Analogue Audio system and Quad speakers, the iPad app crashed occasionally, just often enough to make it a nuisance.
Hi-fi spec streamer in need of a high end set-up to do it justice
It’s never been easier to get the sounds off your Mac, PC or Nas drive and play them where you want them. The NP30 fits in to this environment and, sonically, endeavours to raise the game. It's a good-looking machine that connects easily to your network, yet there are plenty of cheaper options that don't involve the need for expensive additions. The question is, how much of an audophile are you?
While the Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30 has hi-fi credentials with its native 24/96 streaming rate, but you’ll need a decent system to appreciate it. You’ll also need an iOS device to get the most out of it too. Due in Q4 this year, is the Android alternative which should support the Ice Cream Sandwich incarnation of the Googlephone OS, by which time the bugs might be sorted as the UuVol Remote app crashed just a little bit too often for comfort. ®
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Cambridge Audio Sonata NP30 hi-fi streamer
erm, did anyone actually listen to it?
considering is supposed to be a review of a hi-fi device, not just a toy, one would hope for a few more comments on the sound quality over and above half a sentence tucked away near the bottom.
Full disclosure first, multiple Squeezebox owner here. However, contrary to the article, the current SB, the Touch, does indeed natively support 24bit/96Khz (and the Squeezebox Server supports 24-bit/192Khz files, which it downmixes before streaming to the SB). It also has a Web frontend (in fact, the server with Web frontend, is free, even if you don't have any physical devices, and there is also a software "SoftSqueeze" player that runs in Java). There is also an iPod like "Controller" for hand-held, colour screen, high-speed navigation/control including artwork. There are iPhone and Android apps, some free, which don't have multiple second delays to the controls.
I like CA stuff, I have some myself, but this player seems a bit rough and ready, and expensive, for this market (though they should do well, as Richer Sounds, being the only distributor, don't sell the Squeezebox, nor push the Sonos much (I was in there last week enquiring about Digital Streamers in fact, and it's currenty not their thing)).
The mention of the WEP key made me check CA's website, it does support WPA, so that's alright then ;)
Good luck to CA though, anybody that helps get the message across that Digital Music playback doesn't have to revolve around Apple, the better!
SB Touch most definitely does 24/96
I stopped reading the review after the first couple of paragraphs 'cause it was obvious that either the reviewer was biased or ignorant or both. The SB Touch most certainly does 24/96 and it does it very well indeed.
IIRC, the Squeezebox also uses a 24 bit / 96 kHz Wolfson DAC
Did I miss something here? Why would you pay £400 for something that is basically a media streamer - which can be bought from as little as £45 (or £20 if you don't need a network) and includes HDMI which will plug right into the AMP. Hell, just buy an Apple TV for £99 and that comes with some superb control apps via the iPhone and iPad. And I'm sure you can get Amps to take care of the 24-bit sampling...
Just because it's from a Hi-Fi company doesn't mean it's actually any good or good value.