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Arcam rPlay Network Streamer Review & Comments

Discussion in 'Music Streamers' started by Phil Hinton, May 6, 2017.


    1. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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    2. Cebolla

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      According to Computer Audiophile, DTS Play-Fi (the streaming technology used by the rPlay) is flawed. It looks like its controller app has been designed to be used as a relay/proxy, resulting in obvious battery drain on handheld devices! Of course this means that the controller must always be left switched on while the music is playing - even when streaming audio files from a UPnP/DLNA media server. :(

      The only DTS Play-Fi feature/service that doesn't use the controller as the middle man is Spotify, apparently:
      CA Articles - DTS Play-Fi Has Major Design Flaws
       
    3. Ed Selley

      Ed Selley
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      You might need to clarify this bit. On the two devices I installed it on, the app could be closed and the rPlay will keep on working. In terms of battery drain, neither the Motorola phone or iPad Air have shown higher battery consumption than usual running UPnP control apps- most of which admittedly delay the device it is installed on going to sleep.
       
    4. Cebolla

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      It's quite clear from the CA article that apart from the Spotify service, the DTS Play-Fi app streams the audio from the external server to the handheld device it's running on and then from that device to the DTS Play-Fi supporting streamer (such as the rPlay), as opposed to getting the streaming device to stream the audio directly from the server. Hence the need to always keep the handheld device powered on when streaming music so that it carries on playing & the resultant (extra) battery drain in proxying the audio stream. Here's a quote from the relevant section in the article:

      "Music Through Mobile

      DTS requires that all audio sent to a Play-Fi device route through the mobile device controlling playback. For example, when using a Play-Fi iOS application from any manufacturer and streaming music from Tidal, Pandora, Deezer, SiriusXM, etc... all the music must first stream from the Internet to the iOS device, then from the iOS device to the Play-Fi device. The only exceptions are Spotify and the Play-Fi desktop application.

      Think about that for a second. It's like we are back in 2008 when Apple's AirPlay was the only option. By the way, Apple's AirPlay works just like Play-Fi. Not only is this subpar for most novice music lovers, it's unacceptable for technically inclined audiophiles.

      The one device in a home that requires batteries, doubles as a flashlight, is used to notify the authorities when there's a fire or a prowler, receives frequent interrupting SMS messages and calls, is also the single device that all DTS Play-Fi audio must route through.

      Even if the music originates from within one's home network, on a DLNA server, the audio still must route through the mobile device. Imagine if televisions routed all DVD, Blu-ray, and cable TV service through the remote control. Talk about showstopper. This would never happen.

      Compare DTA Play-Fi to Google's $30 Chromecast Audio device. Chromecast Audio doesn't route a single song through the mobile device. It communicates directly with the cloud. Start playing music and shut off your phone. Nothing happens to the music. Try that with a Play-Fi device. The party stops along with the phone.

      I see this as a problem for all users of the DTS Play-Fi platform. Many times I'm disappointed by technology, but I chalk it up to my own strange edge cases. Play-Fi is different in that it's in millions of consumer devices and all mobile phones suffer from battery life issues, text message interruptions, and phone calls."


      Are you saying that when you tested the DTS Play-Fi app to stream music from online services (with the exception of Spotify) and audio files from a UPnP/DLNA media server to the rPlay, the rPlay carried on playing the current track to fully to its end when you switched the handheld device off?
       
    5. Ed Selley

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      Physically powered off, no. That's not a test I've run on any streamer. App, minimised and device in standby, no issue. Also, there were no interruptions from emails, texts iMessages etc.

      Look- I'm not saying that there might not be issues but some of the more lurid issues described in the piece don't seem to have been present under test.
       
    6. Cebolla

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      Ok, fair enough.
       
    7. marksovereign

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      I have one linked up to an Arcam A19 amp , the sound is great, there are a few issues like Amazon Music whilst having an icon on the display is not yet available in the Uk on the Play-fi platform ( DTS say any time) the other thing that does brass me off is that the volume control on the app doesn't work. Sound wise its great, the app is quite intuitive too and I've had no issues with battery life on our iPad Air 2. the internet radio is really good.
      Its a nice piece of kit which hopefully will be fully supported by Arcam and DTS
       
    8. Dunners

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      If you're not getting volume control via the app, you need to connect it via the other RCA outputs... just next to the ones you're currently using.
      One set of RCA outputs (Variable) allows you to control the rPlay volume via the app - effectively making the rPlay a streaming pre-amplifier.
      One set of RCA outputs (Fixed) allows you to only control the rPlay volume via the amplifier you've connected it too.


      As an aside, there's a Paradigm amp that DOES allow you to turn your phone off / leave the network while it continues to play. It's called the PWAmp.
       
    9. larkone

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      'The connectivity of the rPlay is relatively limited but reflects the requirements of a streamer.'

      This doesn't make sense, either it is fit for purpose or it isn't in regards to the role it has to perform. What other connectivity should it have, that it obviously doesn't need, in order for it not to be considered limited?
       
    10. Blues Rock

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      Not as attractive looking as my Cambridge CXN music streamer doubt the Arcam sounds as good either
       
    11. Ed Selley

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      Ironically, the answer is below. For a small additional outlay, digital inputs become more common which the rPlay doesn't have. It's worth pointing out that the outgoing AirDac was much more limited as a streamer but did have a digital input included in the spec.
       
    12. marksovereign

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      Thanks for the headsup I'll try that!
       
    13. marksovereign

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      I didn't buy it to look good I bought it because I like the Arcam Sound and the fact it can be powered direct from my Arcam Amp. I bought it initially for my second system I the kitchen but its so convenient and discrete I've bought one for my Arcam SR250 too.
      Personally I prefer the Arcam sound I wouldn't swap any of my Arcam kit for Cambridge
       
      Last edited: May 8, 2017
    14. Crocodile

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      Off topic but that's a pretty damning indictment of the SR250's streaming capabilities. Something Arcam seem to agree with.

      Just out of curiosity, what differences have you found? Strikes me as odd that in the first paragraph of their blurb Arcam say:

      "It also features an SPDIF output that can be connected to an AVR, such as the AVR850."

      Which seems to imply that they don't believe the DAC in the rPlay is any better than that in the FMJs. So the message seems to be that having spent thousands of pounds on one of their streaming amps you then need to spend a further £400 to get a decent streamer. But at the same time the DAC in that streamer is no better than the one you already have in the amp. :confused:

      It's also a shame that as well as sharing the Arcam sound it also shares the Arcam traits of looking like a 20-year-old DIY project & costing twice as much as it should...
       
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      Last edited: May 9, 2017
    15. Dunners

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      Looks, to be fair are completely subjective.
      I don't believe the fact it has digital outputs implies anything about the quality of the audio from the streamer... me thinks you're reaching.
       
    16. Crocodile

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      Having a digital output for connection to a high-end DAC is a good idea. My issue is that Arcam seem to think that the best use of this output is into an AVR. That's not mentioned at the bottom of the blurb as in "What else can we think of to pad this out", it's right at the top of the list of features.

      Why would they recommend connecting to an AVR if the DAC in the rPlay is superior?
       
    17. Ed Selley

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      At a guess, because since the demise of the D33, there's nothing else in the range that it could plausibly be connected to and it isn't great marketing to plug other people's stuff.
       
    18. marksovereign

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    19. marksovereign

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      The DAC in the SR250 is excellent, initially I was just streaming from my Mac through an apple tv into the sr250 digitally using the SR250 Dac to allow me to access all my apple ITunes files. The Streaming app on the SR250 is not that clever the DTS playfi app is much better hence me buying another Rplay which threatens to be able to do multi room but i've not had chance to play yet.
      I think Arcam regard streaming kit to be hidden away rather than be a thing of beauty! That said I prefer an ipad interface rather than one of these ridiculously small screens you get on some streamers. The SR250 is a great piece of kit if you get what its for!
      PS the FMJ stereo amps don't have inbuilt DACs
       
      Last edited: May 9, 2017
    20. Blues Rock

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      Well atleast the Cambridge CXN doesnt down sample Hi Res Music you can only play Hi Res music over DTS playfi.
      Cambridge make some great stuff Arcams a bit laid back sounding for me
       
    21. marksovereign

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      Hi fi is horses for courses and we all like different sound and Hi-res music isn't important to me as I have an extensive library of cd as well as ripped cds.
      If you are playing Hi res music then maybe your speakers need upgrading as Q300 maybe don't offer the opportunity for your source to shine
      Personally I prefer Arcam, I did demo an CXA 80 but it didn't do it for me as I found the sound a little to abraisive allied to the fact that Richer sounds had to open 2 boxes in store to find one that worked!
       
    22. Blues Rock

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      I dont listen to Hi res music either flac rips from cds good enough. Hires is a big rip off and not much better either
       
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    23. MartinH32

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      That is one ugly looking box :eek:
       
    24. mijacmad

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      Hmm with the right equipment 24/96 is pretty amazing compared to normal flac rips.
       
    25. Blues Rock

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      A lot of Hi Res is just upsampled I enjoy my uncompressed flac files so thats enough for me
       
    26. Blues Rock

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    27. mijacmad

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    28. Blues Rock

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      You can hear an Upsampled Music Track
       
    29. deSade

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      Hi Guys,

      New to the site & streamers. :hiya:

      This is a noob question about streamers - I have an Arcam AVR550 and like the idea of just streaming music to it (front left & rights are B&W CM9's), and was think about just buying an Audioengine B2 to stream music from Tidal HiFi on my phone.

      Would units like this Arcam do away with the need for using my phone (and getting the Audioengine), and offer a more 'fixed solution?

      Thanks
      Tony
       
    30. Cebolla

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      Hi Tony,

      What exactly is, your issue about using your phone to stream from TIDAL?
      For example, would it be ok to just use the phone for running a controller app?

      BTW, if your phone is an Android device, you should be able to use the BubbleUPnP controller app to get your existing UPnP supporting Arcam AVR550 to stream the TIDAL Hi-Fi FLAC tracks, without the need for a device like the rPlay - ie, the AVR550 is also a streamer!

      John
       

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