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Audioengine B-Fi Review (Streamer)

Ralph_Cramden

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This is yet another device built around the Linkplay A31 module. @amirm has tested several of these now, with similar results. The module is clearly the issue. Too bad, as it offers a lot of features.
 

tomtoo

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Dont know but the name remindes me to
download-5_1.jpg


Uhhps, didnt read the thread. But haha iam not alone,
 

blueone

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Very disappointing. I use a B-Fi connected to a Benchmark DAC3 via Toslink for Apple Play over WiFi. While I doubt the non-optimal SINAD of about 90db is audible, it seems inexcusable to have these errors in digital conversion. I'm probably going to replace the damned thing just because I'll think of this review every time I see it. Good grief, Audioengine!
 
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Alexanderc

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Belkin just released an AirPlay 2 only receiver for $100
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094LGLJB9/
webdam.web.1000.1000.jpeg


Would love to this tested.

Many people just want to add AirPlay to their stereo amps.
I would also like to see this tested.
One can also buy a used airport express for less than half this money, at least in the US (I got mine for around $40).
 

Bombadil

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I confess to being confused (nothing new these days lol). I thought when the digital output was used the device was simply a bridge and the output reflected whatever was put in, e.g. spotify premium at 380, Tidal at CD, etc. Thus when using the digital output one streamer was as good as another with regards to signal quality, and we would choose based on the interface, build quality etc. I'm using the digital output of the Node 2i in my systems and assuming that the SQ I get is not related to the Node2i but to the DAC and other components downstream. What am I missing here?
 

Alexanderc

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I confess to being confused (nothing new these days lol). I thought when the digital output was used the device was simply a bridge and the output reflected whatever was put in, e.g. spotify premium at 380, Tidal at CD, etc. Thus when using the digital output one streamer was as good as another with regards to signal quality, and we would choose based on the interface, build quality etc. I'm using the digital output of the Node 2i in my systems and assuming that the SQ I get is not related to the Node2i but to the DAC and other components downstream. What am I missing here?
This is also my understanding, but I’m sure more knowledgeable people will have more to say.
 

Madjalapeno

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A DIY Raspberry Pi streamer will produce state of the art performance compared to it so software and architecture is not a problem.

Would using a RPi and a HAT and going to an external DAC via SPDIF coax or just USB be better?
 

Luke Lemke

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Who needs a wireless audio streamer? What is the purpose of this device, can anyone explain?
 

Billy Budapest

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There seems to have been alot of Apple created confusion by failing to give specifics on Airplay's capabilities and resolution. Some claim it maxes out at 16 bit/44.1khz, but others report it is capable of 24bit/48khz, just as the converters in most of Apple's devices max out at 24/48khz and TV OS maxes out at 24bit/48khz. https://darko.audio/2021/06/the-best-way-to-stream-hi-res-audio-from-apple-music/
I know that the original incarnation of Airplay converted everything to 16/44.1 ALAC for transport over Wifi. Not sure what the spec is for Airplay 2, although you are correct, AppleTV units output 24bit/48kHz PCM through HDMI.
 

pseudoid

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I had purchased the AudioEngine "D2" spread-spectrum WiFi version (circa 2015), which automatically pairs its transmitter and receiver units.
The D2 has been discontinued but it was advertised as a '24-bit wireless Computer Interface' (@$600/set). Even during the busy evening hours, the WiFi band is known to get very busy but since the D2 uses spread-spectrum to transmit/receive the digital-audio (100ft range), I never experienced much interference or connectivity problems with it. D2's DAC input is said to be a native 24bit/96kHz (95.2kHz) design with a latency of <20mS.
The WiFi (RF spread spectrum) design is quite clever and described as follows:
"The D2 system divides the band between 2405 MHz and 2477 MHz into 37 discrete, 2MHz wide channels. Channels numbered 2 through 38 inclusive are used for system operation. The system scans the spectrum and selects two channels that are 18 channels (or 36 mHz) apart and transmits with 50% of the time on one channel (for example channel 2) and 50% on the other channel (for example channel 20). The system stays on these selected channels until the error detection rate reaches a predetermined level indicating deteriorating RF conditions. The system will then select a cleaner channel for transmission and move there without any drop in audio. In this way the D2 not only maintains it's own audio integrity, but co-exists nicely with other LAN devices."
I recently retired this D2 system from my current audio chain after 6 yrs of continual use and the only design weakness is the rubberized external enclosure treatment which got sticky to the touch as with many other older audio hardware.
I no longer have any use for the AudioEngine D2 and can be made available as a loaner for testing, if the white-hat @amirm wants to play around with it.
 

Eetu

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Who needs a wireless audio streamer? What is the purpose of this device, can anyone explain?
You can connect it to your hi-fi system and stream to it using your phone or tablet as a remote. And don't need an ethernet cable. Like Chromecast Audio, but inferior performance. I guess that's all there's to it.
 

sarumbear

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Belkin just released an AirPlay 2 only receiver for $100
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B094LGLJB9/
webdam.web.1000.1000.jpeg


Would love to this tested.

Many people just want to add AirPlay to their stereo amps.
I love that to be tested too. It’s very affordable. I bought one from Amazon for GBP75 a few weeks ago.

It’s very small. An inch square! The Belkin app recognised it when I touched the iPhone to the unit the app allowed me to configure it simply. From then on it was yet another speaker available to all Apple devices and iTunes.

I don’t have any means to test but sound is fine. As a test I plugged it to my Denon AVR aux input. The sound quality is the same whether I send audio to my Denon AVR directly or via the Belkin device.
 
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Hifihedgehog

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Thanks for finding these "ruffs in the diamonds" (i.e., low quality products with significant compromises to quality).
AKA junk jewelry. ;)
 

Luke Lemke

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You can connect it to your hi-fi system and stream to it using your phone or tablet as a remote. And don't need an ethernet cable. Like Chromecast Audio, but inferior performance. I guess that's all there's to it.
Ok, thanks, I get it. I don't believe these will provide any audible difference compared to regular bluetooth connections, but then again, why not?
 
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