When it comes to today’s popular network Media Player, the producers of the traditional High End have a hard time. Their many years of experience includes in-depth knowledge of analog electronics and network Media Player/DAC, but to cope with the creation of a special computer that would be able to pull the audio from a network server, and decode a lot audio formats, and to develop an application that everyone would have it governed, – a lot of work that requires different skills . Just a couple of well-known companies we have decided to do it yourself. Therefore, we are not surprised when we meet in a regular player network platform of the Austrian company Stream Unlimited, which added its own network Media Player/DAC and analog part. Connect – is no exception.
Feature of network Media Player
At first glance, Krell thoroughly approached the business – a powerful body with a thick milled panels hides the analog power supply with a large toroidal transformer, which envied other amps, and separate the analog gain on discrete elements in a balanced configuration and 32-bit digital to analog converters ESS Sabre. And with a huge metal remote control it seems that here it is the undoubted High End: attention to detail, coupled with the generous use of materials.
However, when you try to work with the device you covered disappointment, if not irritation. The remote control skips a line in the menu, and the application itself is running slow and often spontaneously closed. We used a few well-known programs on the server side (Asset, MinimServer), and in all cases the choice of music turned into a painful procedure. The situation changed dramatically when we installed the server software JRiver Media Center ($ 50), but as a management software program was used JRemote ($ 15). In a relatively small increase in the price of the unit we got a fantastic speed, sophistication and ease of management.
Now it’s time to enjoy the sound of network Media Player Krell Connect, which plays very well. Separate credit goes to the way it works with standard-definition files, manage it and especially contemporary music. So the album The Diary of Alicia Keys impressive clear, deep and well-developed bass, expressive voice Alicia Keys and maintenance. Album Consolers of the lonely Jack White wins a powerful drive, amazing sharpness and dynamics. Of course, when playing music in high resolution you get more information, but the player lacks the ability to organize these components – resulting in the composition Diana Krall in 24/96 lose the characteristic rhythmic swing, which is clearly felt in their standard version. Approximately the same situation with the “Symphonic Dances” Rachmaninov in 24/96 – very authentic in terms of detail and timbre symphony orchestra Minnesota lacks organization.
The application has an austere basic interface platform Stream Unlimited, and by today’s standards it’s slow. In addition, several times in response to our actions depend player and unauthorized application reset. There are obvious drawbacks – while playing FLAC to graph displaying bit strange numbers, and files in high-resolution display device shows not track data – a picture, name, and the home menu. The application provides only basic data playback tracks: track title, artist name, file type, bit rate, the rest of the metadata available. Adjust volume and fast-track is not provided.
In our opinion, network Media Player Krell Connect Vintage fit audiophiles who appreciate the tradition of the company and have a large music library CD, which they would like to listen to and the network. Those who are guided by high-resolution formats, you should pay attention to other players.
Price – network Media Player: $ 6,500
Pros – network Media Player: Excellent workmanship; good sound files in standard definition
Cons – network Media Player: Unstable applications; with remote control also works with remarks; no digital inputs – can not be used as a DAC
Verdict – network Media Player: A decent machine for the price, if we forget about the staffing and access to a complete application JRiver / JRemote
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