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UPNP: is it OK? And what can you do with it? Audirvana V3 under the microscope

Audirvana Versie 3

Intro

Contents

Your editor has long ago purchased a license of the music player Audirvana. When I used iTunes as a music player, this was an ideal way to combine the ease of use of iTunes with the much better playback quality that Audirvana offers. With the arrival of ROON I used Audirvana less and less. Until this newsletter fell on the digital doormat:

UPnP: wireless is also flawless

Wireless does not mean loss of quality. Audirvana did not choose the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) standard by chance.

It was designed to guarantee lossless data transmission over a computer network, including WiFi. Even better, it’s an open and comprehensive standard, accessible to all manufacturers for free. This common language allows devices and programs to talk to each other in the best interest of users who don’t have to change their entire system because they change a component. It is a critical infrastructure in our industry, and a brake on obsolescence.

Yet UPnP remains little known and often accused of not working well. But the standard has nothing to do with it. It is its integration that is to blame. It takes skills to implement it properly, and they exist: more than 7 billion devices worldwide are equipped with it! So customers must demand quality integration from manufacturers, otherwise the temptation of proprietary protocols – supposedly more reliable – will flourish to the detriment of their long-term interests. Audirvana rigorously and fully integrates the UPnP standard, and we will continue to defend it.

A little help?

When testing streaming equipment that does not support ROON, it is often a challenge to find a good player/controller. Bubble UPnP is still the most versatile and is pretty user-friendly but it is not up to par with ROON. Or other players such as VOX or iTunes/Apple Music. Inspired by the newsletter I went back to work with Audirvana. We Updated it to version 3. We see a clear overview of artists, albums or tracks. We can choose network folders or folders on the computer as a data source for music. Audirvana supports the streaming services Qubuz, Hi-Res Audio and Tidal.

The best news for your editor is that with Audirvana and the UPnP protocol applied by this platform it is possible to use the Weiss DAC2 with streaming module optimally as a full working streamer. This delicious DAC is unfortunately not compatible with ROON and could only be used coaxially/optically. Not ideal.

The Weiss is immediately recognized by Audirvana and the connection is stable. And even more important; it all works very fast. Clicking and playing, searching and finding; at least it goes a lot faster than in ROON. Also, my network at home is not as optimized as in the Alpha-studio, but ROON and Audirvana use the same network and then the differences are really noticeable.

Usage and sound

Audirvana from France has always been an excellent sounding music player. The difference with iTunes was – and is – immediately audible. Used as a streamer it is very similar to ROON; what I really miss is the online album and artist information that ROON does offer and Audrivana does not. Because of ROON’s links to music databases like Allmusic, it’s great to read about the music and the performers while listening. On the positive side, as of version 3 Audirvana has well-functioning apps for Apple and Android platforms.

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