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Andover Audio Songbird Review (Streamer)

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Andover Audio Songbird hifi streamer and switcher. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $149.

The Songbird is quite small and is powered by micro-USB jack which strangely is in front, not the back:

Andover Audio Songbird review Streamer DAC.jpg


The one button in the front controls the input. As you push it, it changes color with no indication on the box or the manual as to what they mean. Fortunately there is an App and it shows the selected input. The back shows rather rich functionality:

Andover Audio Songbird review Bluetooth WIfi Streamer DAC.jpg


You have both digital input and outputs! There is also wifi and Bluetooth. I focused on wired Ethernet so didn't have to mess with configuring those.

I used the hub in my monitor to power the unit as I do with USB DACs and it all worked well. The app instantly found the device which was a relief. It was impressed that the app was rich in functionality and indexed my library with reasonable speed.

Andover Songbird Measurements
I fired up my Roon player and using Airplay streamed my test tone to the Songbird and measured the performance of Aux Out:

Andover Audio Songbird Measurements Streamer DAC.png


Well, this is very disappointing. The company advertises this as a high-resolution device yet we are far, far short of 16 bit performance with SINAD of 77 dB. Spectrum shown is quite noisy indicating a very low quality DAC implementation.

Airplay truncates to 16 bits so let's test digital output to see if we get full performance there:

Andover Audio Songbird Toslink Measurements Streamer DAC.png


This is much better but we are still short of 16 bit performance.

I then fed the same Toslink output to Gustard X26Pro that I had on my bench to see what its performance would be. This time I am using the company App to play the source file:

Andover Audio Songbird App to Gustard X26Pro Measurements Streamer DAC.png


We see peaks at multiples of 100 Hz which usually indicates improper conversion of 24 bit test signal I am using to 16 bit. Where that is happening, I can't tell you.

Finally, I wanted to see how well it handles analog input and whether it is digitized and it is:

Andover Audio Songbird Analog In Toslink Out Measurements Streamer DAC.png


So again disappointing performance. Shame.

I also tried to test Toslink in but it simply would not work. I used the same cable as Toslink out so can't be the cabling. Maybe a defect in the unit I have.

Conclusions
The functionality behind the Songbird id quite nice. You get an input selector, DAC, digital in and out and streaming. And at a great price with good packaging. But where is the performance? Maybe they are using some smart speaker IC used for mass market devices with who cares about performance specification. Or maybe it is a good IC but poorly implemented. Either way, this could have been a killer device. Even if its internal DAC didn't perform well, we could use an external DAC with it but that path is neutered somehow as well. There is nothing top hang my had on performance wise.

On strictly performance basis, I can't recommend the Andover Songbird.

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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 

AdamG247

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OK, so the Bodyless Panther Head means what? Decapitated product. Shrunken Head Design, Out of Body Sound?
 
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amirm

amirm

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OK, so the Bodyless Panther Head means what?
Means donations need to be made for me to buy superglue and give his body back to him....
 

Mike-48

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If you are going to test "streamers," it would be helpful if you would set up a Roon and/or DLNA system to check the operation for which the device is designed. Yes, it's nice to know about the DAC, but also, does it work properly as a streamer? Lately, for some reason, cheap streamers are being released that can't accomplish gapless playback on DLNA. Since gapless playback is essential for several kinds of music, it is a critical feature that the potential buyer needs to know about. Can this player accomplish this with its Ethernet input? On streaming services such as Qobuz? When playing local files with DLNA (or whatever protocol it supports)?
 
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amirm

amirm

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If you are going to test "streamers," it would be helpful if you would set up a Roon and/or DLNA system to check the operation for which the device is designed.
??? I used Roon as I said in the review. And their own app. Both used networked streaming. If these are not the way to test it, I don't know what is.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Since gapless playback is essential for several kinds of music, it is a critical feature that the potential buyer needs to know about.
I am not in the business of functionality testing. I did read their FAQ and it said they support it in some circumstances. You should seek out other reviews for such information. I am here for performance testing. If anything fails there, like Toslink, I mention it but otherwise is outside the scope of what I do.
 

dougi

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These cheapish streamers seem to have a host of issues. I previously posted some on the Arylic S50 PRO. Even worse because I used 48 KHz, 24 bit sampling. It definitely resamples to 44.1 on the digital output. Not sure if it does also on the analog:

1625462968889.png
 

kion

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Would it be lossless (no conversion) if I feed it 16 bit audio and use optical out?
 

Koeitje

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Would it be lossless (no conversion) if I feed it 16 bit audio and use optical out?
Why bother? Just buy something that works instead.
 

Mike-48

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??? I used Roon as I said in the review. And their own app. Both used networked streaming. If these are not the way to test it, I don't know what is.
My error, I overlooked Roon, saw only Airplay. Regrets and apologies.
 

Koeitje

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MacCali

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Andover audio states that optical out can only do max cd quality, only aux out is 24/192 or whatever it maxes out at.

Basically it’s an expensive airport express with app
 

MacCali

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Would it be lossless (no conversion) if I feed it 16 bit audio and use optical out?
If you use air play doesn’t that make it lossless by default? Optical out has max cd quality. No clue why they chose to do that and it seems kind of foolish cause no one wants to use their internal dac
 
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