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Andover Audio Songbird Review (Streamer)

MacCali

Senior Member
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Dec 21, 2020
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Seems a bit different than the Allo?
Honestly I have no clue. It just has multiple outputs and by that I mean everything, and should be decent, and is electronically isolated so digital signal should fair well. All outputs function so you can feed multiple dacs or rca out too

When I get it I’ll send it in..
 

NoSnakeOil2

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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:

View attachment 139138

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:

View attachment 139139

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:

View attachment 139140

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:

View attachment 139141

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:

View attachment 139143

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:

View attachment 139144

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.

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I really like the new pink panther head!
 
OP
amirm

amirm

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I really like the new pink panther head!
So here is the story on that....

In US there is a law that limits how much work you can give to animals. With my rate of reviews getting so high, I hit that limit especially with the headless panther. Then I realized I still have its head which I have been using from time to time on small products. He had zero hours on him as he did not have to work for months now due to his "injury." So I asked him to post and he did.

Simple explanation....
 

dougi

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Seems a bit different than the Allo?
I have the new iFi Zen Stream (no analog out) winging it's way to me. Price is a bit expensive but when you consider the PI2AES shield alone is US$199, US$399 is not too bad for fully built/sorted device with local product/support etc. (note $A599 here). Usual iFi snake oil-ish promotion (Active noise cancellation ii, iPurifier, Silentpower tech etc). Nearest competitor (meeting the above requirements) seemed to be the Primare NP5 streamer at A$1100 here so good value compared with that.
 
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