Innuos Zen And The Art Of Digital Music Library Maintenance

For those of us who have digital music collections, the venerable compact disc is only part of the picture these days. Apart from legacy collections of music on such discs, we now have higher resolution PCM music files available along with even larger DSD files (the equivalent of SACD) all of which are now readily available and which add a whole new dimension to the enjoyment of music reproduction.

This means that a CD player alone is no longer enough to allow access to all these delights – we need a new kind of up-to-the-minute digital device that will deal with everything we can throw at it. Enter the Innuos Zen family.


These British designed and Portugese manufactured units have been around for a while but they have recently been updated to Mark 3 spec, so the time is right for a reappraisal of these innocuous looking but supremely versatile boxes. The reason they are so versatile is because of the way the four main functions have been integrated.

All the versions have a built in CD drive which, although it cannot be used to play CDs, will allow ripping of an inserted disc to either .flac or .wav format files. This process can be carried out whilst you are using the device for playback as well, so you can start ripping your existing CD collection as a background task whilst still using any other functions as required.

These ripped files are then stored on an internal 3.5'' hard drive which is available in a range of capacities from 1Tb to 8Tb; the higher range models can be fitted with solid state drives up to 4Tb.

Once the files are stored on the unit, and the unit is connected up to a network, the files can be served out to any network attached device that needs to access them.

Last but not least the unit can be connected to your system as any other source component would be, and this will allow you full playback access to the contents of the drive. In addition to this, any of the units will give you full internet radio functionality along with access to external streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal or Qobuz.

To access these functions, there are two methods used. Firstly, once the unit is connected to your network, accessing '' on any browser will take you to the setup and config pages. These have options to control disc ripping and file imports, view your existing library, set up backups etc. Most of these pages are 'set and forget', so once you have configured your unit as you like, you shouldn't need to revisit them very often. What you will need for day-to-day use is a method by which you can access your library to view and play, and this is accomplished with an application. There are excellent options available for iOS, Android and Windows platforms and any one of these will allow you to start interacting with your music collection, as well as giving you access to all the other built in features.


One of the things we often hear from customers as that they like the idea of an actual item such as a CD which they can pick up and handle, but what people often don't realise is that using one of these superb control applications will, to a degree, keep the tactile and visual part of browsing your collection alive. As long as you take a small amount of care over ensuring that the downloaded track data and artwork is accurate and free of errors, the apps will give you a very nice, customisible browsing experience which in many ways is superior – no more stiff neck reading the spines! With regard to storage space, a 2 Tb drive will enable you to store around 3500 albums in their entirety, and of course if this is insufficient then you can specify the internal drive up to 8 Tb at purchase time. This should be enough even for King Crimson completists.


The Zen range consists of four models. The Innuos Zen Mini (1-8Tb, pictured) is the base model; the Mini Mk 3 now includes stereo analogue outputs alongside the USB and S/PDIF outputs so you can get it up and running with full functionality straight out of the box – of course the addition of an outboard DAC will really make it sing (we recommend the Chord Electronics Qutest as an ideal partner). This version comes with a switch mode power supply as standard but Innuos also sell an upgraded linear power supply to improve its performance; if you buy a Mini with a upgraded power supply you will get a £50 discount on the combined price. The next model up in the range is the Innuos Zen Mk. 3 (1-8Tb standard or option of Solid State drives) which comes in a full width case with an integrated linear power supply. Bear in mind that neither this model, nor any models further up in the hierarchy have any analogue outputs; they all require the addition of an external DAC or amplifier with a USB digital input to make sounds. There are also dual isolated Ethernet ports (remember this is network connected but does not include Wi-Fi so requires an Ethernet connection) along with other mechanical improvements over the Mini. Next up is the Innuos Zenith (1-8Tb) which includes a trick PSU, Mundorf capacitors and a custom solid state drive and at the top of the tree is the mighty 2 box Zenith Statement (2-8Tb plus Solid State Drive option) which turns everything up to 11 for the best possible reproduction of your precious files.


The tried and tested server underpinnings of this unit mean that once it's properly configured and set up on your network, you no longer have to worry about file formats and such like. PCM up to 192 kHz? No problem. Native DSD files? No problem. Tidal masters with MQA encoding? No problem. All you have to do is connect it up to your network and your playback system, and the world is your oyster.

Why not come and have a listen to it in our newly refurbished demonstration rooms.

Innuos Music Servers and CD rippers are available from the following branches of Audio T: Brentwood, Bristol, Cardiff, Cheltenham, Enfield, Manchester, Online, Portsmouth, Preston, Reading, Southampton, Swansea, Swindon

ROON - One Music Player And Hi-Fi Controller To Rule Them All

Roon is the latest and one of most exciting innovations to Hi-Fi music replay, so what exactly is it? Roon is a music player and control application (software) designed specifically for music lovers. Roon allows you to view all of your music from a single interface and allows you to play from any supported device in any location within your home and offers some fantastic features designed that enhance sound quality. 

One Control App To Rule Them All
You no longer need to keep opening, swapping and closing different system control apps whilst listening to music from different products, sources and places in and around your home. Roon organises all of your music in an attractive, easy to use single interface and like the wizard Gandalf from the J R Tolkien's books it has a few magic tricks up its sleeve that will allow you to enjoy your music even more...

So what can Roon do?
Roon allows you to control various, previously incompatible Hi-Fi brands with just the one control app. For instance, it can control your streamer and music library and play them through, for example, a high end Naim system and a multi-room Sonos system simultaneously. 

Roon is the software brains in your home audio system

Roon is the software brains in your home audio system

Better Sound Quality via Digital Signal Processing (DSP) and Room Equalisation / Correction
Roon can both up-sample and down-sample music files, but what does that mean in reality? Well two things; firstly and most importantly, it can improve the sound of your music throughout the home. Secondly (using higher resolution audio and Sonos as an example) when previously playing 24 bit music throughout the home, Sonos would mute, as it could not handle anything above CD resolution. Using Roon, it will down-sample the hi-res files so that your Sonos will play quite happily.

Room correction: Roon has the capability to improve how your music sounds by enabling your speakers to work better in their environment. You can set up distances to the listening position and there is a graphic equaliser so that you can fine tune the sound to your liking within your own listening space.

Musical focus and radio: Roon has the ability to find exactly the sort of music that you want to hear, and when it is finished, will continue to play Roon Radio which will play music of a similar genre.

What about the Roon interface?
Roon is the best music app that we have ever seen. It is totally intuitive and incredibly informative. Discography, bibliography, intelligent links, lyrics and more, are readily available. Learn more about the album, artists, who they collaborated with and discover more music that you like. 

Screen Shot 2015-07-12 at 14.10.34.jpg
Sorted by Artist

Sorted by Artist

Sorted by date added

Sorted by date added

Album page view

Album page view

Discover music!

Discover music!

What do I need?
You will need a Roon enabled product and the list of manufacturers is growing. You can view the current supported brands here.

Internet Radio & Tidal Hi-Fi
You can play any Internet radio station via Roon and if you are a Tidal subscriber it integrates your favourite albums right along side your own record collection. It will also allow the replay of MQA files the high resolution format supported by Tidal.

Roon Core & Nucleus
A Roon Core: it’s the traffic cop, the housekeeper, and the brains behind the operation. A PC or Mac is needed to handle the quite substantial processing. Some ripper servers (Innuos for example) can act as the core as it has Roon software built in. The core manages your music collection from many sources, and builds an interconnected digital library using enhanced information from Roon, allowing you to explore your favourite artists and to discover new music genres.

If your system has multiple players, room correction and a lot of DSP in use, then the dedicated Roon Nucleus Core would be well worth considering. Nucleus becomes the centre of your Roon music system.

Aside from being a powerful, music server, what sets Nucleus apart is that it’s powered by Roon OS – a fast and lightweight operating system optimised to do just one thing: browse and play your music. Roon is a multi-room, multi-user networked audio platform built to the exacting standards for music lovers. For more information on pricing and availability please call Audio T Oxford.

Can I see it working?
Yes you can. Please contact Jon Abson at Audio T Oxford and he will arrange to show it to you in store. If you like it, we can set you up with a FREE trial for a month and if you like it we can organise a subscription for you.

Bluesound Offers a Simple and Effective High Quality Multi-room Music Streaming System

In this months Blog we are focussing on Bluesound multi-room music streaming products and will show you how easy they are to set up and tell you why it is so good.

Bluesound is an award winning wireless, multi-room system that supports Hi-Res audio replay and has been designed to fill your home with high quality sound. It has a sophisticated but easy to use operating system (BluOS) which we will talk more about later.

Music streaming services like Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Deezer, Amazon Music, Internet Radio and many more are supported and the system supports up to 64 players to fill your rooms with high quality sound.

In addition you can play music from your NAS drive (network attached storage) USB drive or via Bluetooth from your phones, tablets and PC's.

The Bluesound system connects via your home's Wifi network (your broadband router) or hard-wired via ethernet cable to the same router. You can control it with the BluOS Controller App for iOS, Android, Kindle (phones or tablets) and there are desktop apps available for Windows (PC) and OS X (Mac). Supported file formats are MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC and OPUS as well as Hi-Res formats FLAC, MQA (Master Quality Authenticated), WAV and AIFF from 16Bit (CD Quality) to 24Bit (Hi-Res Audio).

Let's take a closer look at the products.

Bluesound Vault 2 - Storage and the possible heart of your music streaming system
The Vault comes shipped with 2TB hard drive and allows you to rip your CD collection to the streaming formats FLAC (lossless smaller file with no degradation in quality) or WAV (original copy - large file which takes up more space on a hard drive). It is very user friendly and requires no computer for the initial set-up. Like every NAS (Network Attached Storage), just plug it into your router via ethernet cable, get the app for your control device and you can start setting up the Vault 2. The Bluesound Vault can be used as storage/server and as a player. You can use the analogue or digital outputs on the back and connect the Vault 2 directly to your music system and away you go. 

All Bluesound players or speakers can access the music stored on the Vault 2 .

Vault 2

Vault 2

Vault 2

Vault 2

 Wireless Bluesound Speakers: Pulse Flex, Pulse Mini and Pulse 2

The Pulse Flex can be used as a single speaker or you can buy two and set them up as a wireless speaker pair. Attach a rechargeable Battery Pack and you can take wherever you go.

The Pulse Mini and Pulse 2 are bigger and more powerful. Great if you want more bass and a bigger sound. There are sound controls for bass and treble adjustment if you need them. All 3 speakers support Bluetooth, have an analogue and optical input -  plus a headphone socket.

Pulse Flex

Pulse Flex

Pulse Flex

Pulse Flex

Pulse Mini

Pulse Mini

Pulse Mini

Pulse Mini

Pulse 2

Pulse 2

Pulse 2 on the left and Pulse Mini on the right (available in black or white)

Pulse 2 on the left and Pulse Mini on the right (available in black or white)

Bluesound Music Players: Node 2 and Powernode 2

Node 2 The Node 2 connects to your existing stereo or home cinema system via analogue connection (with fixed output option) or digital coaxial outputs. It is compact and sounds fantastic. I have (Stefan) got one myself and I all I can say is - It sounds stunning, really stunning.

Powernode 2 -  The Powernode 2 does everything the Node 2 can do, plus it can drive a pair of stereo loudspeakers. This is great and gives you various options for use in-ceiling, outdoors or to use as streamer and amplifier connected to an existing set of speakers. With 60W per channel you can choose from a wide range of speakers for your home or office set-up.

Powernode 2 on the left and the Node 2 on the right

Powernode 2 on the left and the Node 2 on the right

Powernode 2 on the left and Node 2 on the right

Powernode 2 on the left and Node 2 on the right

Pulse Soundbar and Pulse Subwoofer
Both work wirelessly and that is also how they connect to each other. You can play all the music that I mentioned above through the Pulse soundbar with or without the Pulse subwoofer. Our suggestion is to use a subwoofer and you can even use one from a different brand, such as a REL.

Now add two Pulse Flex speakers as wireless surround sound speakers and you have a 5.1 home cinema system - very flexible!

Pulse Soundbar

Pulse Soundbar

Pulse Soundbar under our 55" Panasonic OLED TV

Pulse Soundbar under our 55" Panasonic OLED TV

Pulse Subwoofer

Pulse Subwoofer


Controlling Your Bluesound streaming music system
Open the BluOS app and bring in your speakers or components. This is very easy. You can see them in a list on the right hand side. Select one and play your music or group some of them and play your music in several rooms at the same time.


On the left hand side you see your players inputs, music streaming subscriptions and access to the player settings.

Supported Music Streaming Services

Supported Music Streaming Services

Music playing from Tidal

Music playing from Tidal

All Bluesound players and speakers are compatible with Roon if you want to take streaming music control and sound quality to the next level.

There is so much more we can show you about streaming music via Bluesound, however as always your ears and eyes need to be the judge, so please feel free to email us or call us on 01793 538222 or if you're live locally just come into the Audio T Swindon shop.

Stefan and Andy

Bluesound music streaming products are available from the following branches of Audio T:

Naim Uniti Star Streaming System Offers Flexibility and Outstanding Performance

Just add a suitable pair of loudspeakers to the Naim Uniti Star for a comprehensive and rather beautiful modern music system, incorporating all the features below!

With control by the Naim iOS or Android app. your music will be at your fingertips.

With control by the Naim iOS or Android app. your music will be at your fingertips.


Under the Skin of Uniti Star
This all-in-one player packs a heavy punch.  Uniti Star includes a CD player alongside streaming and amplification technology. The custom integrated CD drive also doubles as a ripper, making Uniti Star the most versatile all-in-one in the range. State of the Art digital technology comes together with the legendary Naim sound quality!

Suitable for use with a wide range of loudspeakers, but the Neat Iota Alpha is proving to be a popular choice with the Naim Uniti range.

As you would expect within the Uniti range there are clear performance differences between the models, and it really makes good sense to come along and hear for yourself what they are capable of. 


Julian, Paul & John look forward to seeing you in store, for a listen to some of the amazing equipment we keep on demonstration.

Naim Uniti products are stocked at all branches of Audio T.

Naim Uniti Nova Music Player Shines Brightly

The long awaited Naim Uniti Nova has finally arrived. Joining its little brothers the Uniti Atom and the soon to be released Uniti Star the flagship of the Uniti range has a stellar (sic!) performance and it is beautiful too.


This is effectively the replacement for the Superuniti, but it is a completely revamped streaming system. With an 80W Naim class A/B amplifier it sounds amazing. We've been playing it with PMC and Russell K speakers to great effect. It will stream music across your network, has Tidal and Spotify built in, plays internet radio and has a USB input that will allow playback from an external drive.


The build quality is superb borrowing the beautiful silky volume control we first saw on the Naim Mu-So devices and as for the display...


This high quality LCD screen, with its built in proximity sensor, is easily visible from a distance and displays album art with great flair. There is also a bi-directional remote whose styling mirrors the unit and its volume indicators. Of course the Naim App can be used to control the Uniti Nova as well. There will be a version with DAB/FM radio in the near future as well and we will be able to retro fit that for you if you wish to upgrade the unit in the future.

So if you want an elegant one box system with that wonderful Naim musicality, battleship construction, ease of use, and the ability to drive almost any speaker, you really don't need to look any further than the Naim Uniti Nova


Why not come in and have a look and listen or join us as one of our many Naim Uniti events over the next couple of months.

Naim Hi-Fi products are available from all branches of Audio T.

Bluesound Hi-Res Music Listening Event At Audio T Portsmouth

On Thursday the 5th of October we are holding a Bluesound Hi-Res listening event. Bluesound is a multi-room high resolution streaming system which allows you to add great sound to any room.

Bluesound also gives you the ability to add music streaming to an existing Hi-Fi system. And with the Vault 2 ripper and streamer you can rip and store your entire CD collection on to the 2TB (terabyte) hard drive, which equates to approximately 2600 CD's - freeing up space in your home if you have your CD stored in racks or towers.

Click on the poster to book your place.

Click on the poster to book your place.

Using the Bluesound app you can stream from a number of music services, such as Spotify, Qobuz, TIDAL and of course any music you have stored on computers or servers, from the comfort of your sofa. Now you have the convenience of millions of tracks at your fingertips.

On the day we'll be recreating the ear opening demonstration that was conducted the Bristol Hi-Fi show earlier this yearA representative from Bluesound will allow you to listen and hear the difference in sound quality between MP3, CD and MQA from the TIDAL Masters collection.

This will be a great opportunity to introduce yourself to the Bluesound range of streaming products, or if you are already acquainted, it will be an excellent chance to ask any questions you may have.

Meet the Bluesound family

Bluesound family

Bluesound family

The Awesome Vault 2

The Awesome Vault 2

In the meantime if you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact us or pop in.

Click here to reserve your place or drop in on the day between 12-7 pm.

We look forward to seeing on Thursday 5th October.

Nick, Joe and James

Bluesound Hi-Fi is available from the following branches of Audio T:

Acoustic Energy Brings Back Some Old Friends

Many years ago there were two best selling speakers from Acoustic Energy the AE109 and the AE100.

Now the company has resurrected those model numbers and having heard them, for very good reason, these two new models promise to be every bit the giant killers that their ancestors were.

The AE100 is a very compact stand mount speaker with a big heart. Like its bigger brother the AE109 they employ trickle down technology from some of the manufacturers more upmarket speakers, most notably the wide dispersion tweeter and rear facing slot mounted port.

The cabinets come in two finishes a rich walnut, or for a small premium in satin black. Coupled with their curved edges, sleek lines and compact dimensions this makes the AE109 and AE100 very room friendly.

Now to the good bit, the sound quality! As the eagle eyed among you may have spotted we've just received our Uniti Atom the wonderful small single box streaming system from Naim. Well what better device to try out some small but perfectly formed speakers with, than a small but perfectly formed system?

The sound from both speakers is surprisingly large and spacious with a richness and scale which completely belies their size. This has been very apparent on our new fave recording Kraftwerk's 3D the catalogue. This recording has subterranean bass notes and crystal clear highs, a perfect test of any speaker/system combo and the little Acoustic Energy speakers acquit themselves masterfully.

Needless to say we're quite excited by both of these products, why not come in and see why?

Paul, Francis, Jason, and Boswell - Audio T Brentwood.

Acoustic Energy loudspeakers are also available from the following branches of Audio T:

Musical Fidelity Encore 225 All In One Music System

When you open the box for the Encore you are presented with an 18.3 Kg beast of a unit! This 225 watt box of musical delights is really solidly built and as such fills you with confidence even before you plug it in.


The Musical Fidelity Encore 225's purpose is to provide a one box solution designed to take away the fuss that usually entails when you take your first steps into streaming. There is no need to have a separate storage unit such as a network attached storage (NAS) drive as the Encore has its own 1TB (upgradeable) hard drive built in. You can connect the Encore to your network and you can drag and drop music onto it. Not only that, but it comes equipped with a CD drive which can work as a CD player but is also a ripper. Copying your CD collection could not be simpler, just put it in the drive and the Encore takes care of the rest. Using the Apple or Android App you then simply find your music and press play. The large high resolution display on the front panel will then show the artwork and track you are currently playing. It's not limited to playing music from the hard drive or CD though, as the Encore integrates the music subscription service Tidal through its App allowing CD quality playback from their large jukebox in the cloud. Also around the back of the unit you will find 3 pairs of RCA inputs, 4 digital inputs and a couple of USB inputs for expanding the units storage. Also on the front panel it has a high quality headphone output.

As previously mentioned the Encore has 225 watts per channel plenty enough for the vast majority of speakers out there and enough to always keep things under control. We have tried it on a number of different speaker makes and models including Dynaudio, Neat, Bowers and Wilkins, PMC and it worked well with all of them so it's certainly not a fussy amplifier. We also tried a variety of music genres. Playing Antonin Dvorak Op. 77 Scherzo performed by the Berlin Philharmonic String Quartet showed just how much grip on the speakers the amplifier has as the dynamics of the performance shone from the first bar onwards. Tippers Gulch from his Backwards Forwards album memorised with the scale of the sound stage and again this showed the amplifiers control as the speakers didn't trip up once as the sounds in the track twisted and turned. It not all about power though, as the Encore is really good at resolving the detail. On Agnes Obel's Aventine you could hear every last nuance in her voice and the strings giving the impression the artists were in the room with you. All in all we think the Encore is a great sounding product and perfect for the modern ways of music consumption. The Encore 225 offers a lot of product for the money. Of course you can come and hear it for yourself, Just give us a call for a demonstration on 0117 926 4975.

Thanks for looking.

Martin, Max and James. Audio T Bristol 

Musical Fidelity Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:

Musical Fidelity Encore 225 Music Streamer Offers Stunning One-Box Simplicity

After last month's introduction to Musical Fidelity at Brentwood, here is a more in depth look at one of the stars of their range the Encore 225 Music Streaming System

This beautifully built machine is a complete system in one box. The Encore 225 comprises an amplifier with the same power amplifiers as the Musical Fidelity M6si integrated, and CD drive which can rip your discs to internal storage (1TB and 2TB versions are available). It can also play CDs, has a host of inputs for external devices, can access Internet radio and Tidal and can even be seen as a network storage device by other products such as Sonos!

The build quality is exceptional with  very solid casework edged with heatsinks which are necessary as this baby runs weighted very much into class A.

The Encore 225 has a beautiful high resolution display which will show your album artwork as it plays.

In its simplest form just pop in a CD which it will rip automatically to internal storage in a high quality file, go to "my music" and playback from the usual sorted list, but it can do so much more, acting as a digital and analogue hub with enough inputs to satisfy most people.

So what does the Encore 225 sound like? Put simply it is just superb!

Seen here with the Dali Opticon 5 floorstanders it is currently filling our dem room with a big, warm, detailed and expansive sound, full of rhythm and music whether you're listening to the Bruckner Motets or the latest album from Deadmau5. We've been loading ours up with music and playing with the control features, both from the front buttons and the dedicated app and it has been a delight to use.

This one definitely has the Boswell seal of approval!

So in conclusion the Musical Fidelity Encore 225 is a gem of a system, all in one box and a breeze to use!

And there's more......

At the moment Musical Fidelity are offering a trade in for a limited time, where you will get the cost of your old Musical Fidelity amplifier (up to £1550) off the Encore 225 which is a great deal!

Come and have a listen!

Paul Francis Jason and Boswell

Musical Fidelity Hi-Fi products are also available from the following branches of Audio T:

Dreaming About Music Streaming? What Does It All Mean?

There are a raft of new products available that allow you to stream your music and the idea behind this blog, is to highlight one or two products and explain the basics of how to incorporate a "streamer" into your existing Hi-Fi system.

Streamers - Clockwise from top left: Bluesound Node 2 £499, Yamaha WXAD-10 £149, Sonos Connect £349, Naim ND5XS £2430, and Yamaha WXC-50 £329

Streamers - Clockwise from top left: Bluesound Node 2 £499, Yamaha WXAD-10 £149, Sonos Connect £349, Naim ND5XS £2430, and Yamaha WXC-50 £329

Firstly perhaps I should explain what we mean by "streaming". There are two forms of streaming:

1. Directly from the Internet via a service like Spotify, Qobuz or Tidal. These services are a little like SKY, you pay a subscription every month and get access to their massive, and constantly updated, music library. Prices are usually £10-20 a month. The streamer needs to support the service you are interested in and not all streamers support all streaming services.

2. Music stored locally on a computer or network hard drive (NAS drive). Usually these are CD's that have been copied onto a computer / NAS drive, or music downloaded from the internet.

Bluetooth or Airplay could also be considered "streaming" but neither are a particularly high quality method so I'm not going to cover those. However a number of streaming products do include them.

Our Apple iPad Mini with the Tidal App. 9 out of 10 Streamers use an App as a remote control so you will need an iPad / iPhone or Andriod phone or tablet (like a Samsung)

Our Apple iPad Mini with the Tidal App. 9 out of 10 Streamers use an App as a remote control so you will need an iPad / iPhone or Andriod phone or tablet (like a Samsung)

So why bother with streaming?

The two main reasons are:

1. Easy access to your entire record collection without having to go looking for the CD.

2. By adding more streamers you can get music all around your house, easily controlled by a tablet or smart phone

You can make playlists, or you can just play a random selection from your whole collection, it's great to hear some of the older stuff that got buried at the back of your CD rack and forgotten about. If you subscribe to a streaming service you have access to millions of tracks and never need to buy a CD again!

What about quality?

Typically streamed music is around the same quality as CD. You can make it better if you get the more expensive kit but most of the time it's roughly comparable to CD quality. Tidal and Qobuz are better quality than Spotify if you are using a streaming service but are more expensive, but do allow you to stream (Qobuz / Tidal) and download (Qobuz) 24bit Hi-Res music. 

However copying (ripping) your CD's is where it can seem complicated because there are so many different file types used to store music. Pretty much everyone has heard of MP3, but that's the lowest quality 'lossy' format which in the process of conversion removes some of the information to allow it be compressed down to the smallest possible file size.

You could start with Apple Lossless, it's better than MP3, Itunes is easy to use and it's widely supported - it's a proprietary format and will only work with Itunes and the Apple ecosystem. However, we would recommend FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), it's the next step up in quality it's an open (not hardware dependent) lossless (No data is removed from the converted file) format and is widely supported. WAV is the original CD source file but it's uncompressed, so it takes up a lot more hard drive space and there can be problems with track information (meta data) being transferred correctly, so unless you are going for high end quality we would suggest using FLAC or ALAC if you're an Itunes user - FLAC will not play on ITunes. If this seems really daunting then there are several products that will rip and store your CD's, making the process as simple as possible. e.g. Innuos Zen Mini or Naim Uniticore

Time to look at kit.

If you want to dip your toe into the "streaming" water, Yamaha have just realised a new product, and at £149 it's very affordable.

Yamaha WXAD-10

Yamaha WXAD-10

The Yamaha WXDA-10 uses Yamaha's MusicCast technology which is also incorporated in a good number of other Yamaha products including most of their recent Home Cinema Amps. The MusicCast app is pretty good with all the normal streaming services like Spotify etc.

Yamaha MusicCast app

Yamaha MusicCast app

The WXDA-10 only has analogue connections so plug it into an aux input on your amplifier and follow the instructions on the app to set it up in 5 mins.

Another recent addition to our collection of streamers is the Bluesound Node 2 £499

Bluesound node 2

Bluesound node 2

The Node 2 can be connected with normal analogue interconnects, but also has digital outputs.

bluesound node 2 back panel

bluesound node 2 back panel

It's an obvious sonic improvement over the cheaper Yamaha. The Bluesound boasts MQA (Master Quality Authenticated)  compatibility (yet another new high resolution music file format!) along with all the other usual features, and a decent app better used on a larger ipad.

Bluesound App

Bluesound App

All the streamers mentioned or pictured are available for demonstration in store, where you can try the apps for yourself. We will always try to answer any questions you have.

Yamaha Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:

Bluesound Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T: