Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra or Cocktail Audio (Novafidelity) N25

huoc

Novice Member
Hello,
I would like to ask the users of any of these devices for help.
I am about to buy one of the two streamers in the title. It will be connected to a Moon 240i's DAC via USB as per my plan.
Both devices seem very capable with similar features, so it is up to the usability (the Pro-Ject is cheaper so the N25 must justify the higher price.)
My ripped music is stored on a NAS drive. SMB and UPNP servers are there. AFAIK both these units are capable of UPNP and file system scan and library build, I am curious about their metadata handling. I listen to a lot of classical music, so it is very important to me to search the library by composer. What metadata can these units handle and sort and filter by?
Another question of mine is gapless playback. I read that both are capable of gapless playback, can someone please confirm?
Thank you very much!
 

jamieu

Well-known Member
Hello,
I would like to ask the users of any of these devices for help.
I am about to buy one of the two streamers in the title. It will be connected to a Moon 240i's DAC via USB as per my plan.
Both devices seem very capable with similar features, so it is up to the usability (the Pro-Ject is cheaper so the N25 must justify the higher price.)
My ripped music is stored on a NAS drive. SMB and UPNP servers are there. AFAIK both these units are capable of UPNP and file system scan and library build, I am curious about their metadata handling. I listen to a lot of classical music, so it is very important to me to search the library by composer. What metadata can these units handle and sort and filter by?
Another question of mine is gapless playback. I read that both are capable of gapless playback, can someone please confirm?
Thank you very much!

It looks like the Pro-Ject comes with a customised version of Volumio, so might be worth also reading up on Volumio to see if it will work for you. No idea how 'cut back' the Pro-Ject version is compared to the normal version. Volumio's not bad for a free music player/app, but it doesn't have the most polished of interfaces either.

The Cocktail Audio Music X Neo seems to come with an app caled Music X Neo. I have never used it, but from the screenshots it looks fairly bare bones and at least visually, fairly poorly designed from an interface point of view.

Both support UPnP so you could always use a 3rd party UPnP/DLNA control app like mConnect or BubbleUPnP with them, although no idea how good either of those apps are with classical music.

Not sure how technical competent you are, or if you are looking to save costs, but the Pro-Ject is basically a Raspberry Pi in a nicer case with properly mounted sockets. So you could instead just install the standard version of Volumio or Ropieee XL (Roon/DLNA/Airplay) on a regular Raspberry Pi for under £60. You can get a nicer looking aluminium case for £16. It's also small enough to hide out of sight. It could also be a cheap route to working out if Volumio works for you and if you think it's worth later upgrading to the Pro-Ject — it's a nicest looking unit for sure, but sound quality wise it shouldn't offer any improvement over the regular RPi, assuming the Moon 240i's DAC has well designed USB inputs, which I am guessing it does.

It's a complete curve-ball, but if you have a large classical music collection held locally then I can't help but think Roon might be worth taking a closer look at. The latest version has paid a lot of attention to classic music and composers. The easiest route would be a Roon Nucleus plugged directly into your DAC via USB but that starts to work out expensive once you include a Roon subscription, but there are DIY alternatives and other configurations that would bring that cost down substantially. You can trail Roon out on a Mac/PC to get a feel for how it works.
 
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huoc

Novice Member
Thank you very much for the super detailed answer. I do not know if I am ready for the DIY route, but I will definitely check your recommendations.
 
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ColinJM

Novice Member
Hi Huoc, I bought a Novafidelity N25 last summer after comparing it with a Bluesound Node2 and finding the sound noticeably better.

Good points
  • the sound is good,
  • it can play music from my chosen sources (Tidal & Spotify),
  • works well with my local music files (stored on a NAS) and can be used to rip CDs to this easily too.
  • I've used BubbleUPnP with it and it worked fine

Less Good points
  • the supplied app (MusicX Neo) is quite basic
  • I haven't found a way to connect to it from my Windows PC - just my Android devices
  • I can use the normal Spotify App and connect to the N25 ok, but although Tidal say they can link to the N25, I can't get Tidal Connect to work
  • So I'm forced to use the native MusicX Neo app to play Tidal sources. Although this works, the search options are quite limited
  • Quite often MusicX Neo only returns a certain number of hits (so misses the early albums from some groups)

You can reach Novalfidelty support in the UK quite easily. Whilst helpful, they can't do much about things in the parent company (e.g. an upgrade to the app).

Options
- I've tried Roon
Whilst it worked, I didn't find using it wonderful (It insisted on running full screen, landscape on my tablet). I also don't think it's worth the money for me (though people who have a lot of local music files love its searching options)

- I found BubbleUPnP was just as good a solution (and free/low cost)

Hope this helps
If you get the chance, make sure to listen to different players.
I heard an amazing Linn streamer first, then the Bluesound (not acceptable for me), then the Novafidelity (which I could afford and sounded much better than the Bluesound)
 
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huoc

Novice Member
Hi Huoc, I bought a Novafidelity N25 last summer after comparing it with a Bluesound Node2 and finding the sound noticeably better.

Good points
  • the sound is good,
  • it can play music from my chosen sources (Tidal & Spotify),
  • works well with my local music files (stored on a NAS) and can be used to rip CDs to this easily too.
  • I've used BubbleUPnP with it and it worked fine

Less Good points
  • the supplied app (MusicX Neo) is quite basic
  • I haven't found a way to connect to it from my Windows PC - just my Android devices
  • I can use the normal Spotify App and connect to the N25 ok, but although Tidal say they can link to the N25, I can't get Tidal Connect to work
  • So I'm forced to use the native MusicX Neo app to play Tidal sources. Although this works, the search options are quite limited
  • Quite often MusicX Neo only returns a certain number of hits (so misses the early albums from some groups)

You can reach Novalfidelty support in the UK quite easily. Whilst helpful, they can't do much about things in the parent company (e.g. an upgrade to the app).

Options
- I've tried Roon
Whilst it worked, I didn't find using it wonderful (It insisted on running full screen, landscape on my tablet). I also don't think it's worth the money for me (though people who have a lot of local music files love its searching options)

- I found BubbleUPnP was just as good a solution (and free/low cost)

Hope this helps
If you get the chance, make sure to listen to different players.
I heard an amazing Linn streamer first, then the Bluesound (not acceptable for me), then the Novafidelity (which I could afford and sounded much better than the Bluesound)
Thank you very much for taking the time for such a detailed answer!
 
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