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NAD CS1 Network Streamer Review

Rate this streamer/DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 72 46.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 74 47.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 7 4.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 3 1.9%

  • Total voters
    156

JeremyFife

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Can't the Amazon app talk to UPnP/DLNA sinks, i thought that is somewhat the default?
It can, but not in hi res (or whatever Amazon call it now). Resamples to 24/48 max so it's not bit-perfect any more. I appreciate that I can't hear the difference, but I voted on the principle!
 

dtaylo1066

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On the 8th Day God declarethed that by 2023 a crappy dac in any device shall be a sin!
 

gvl

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There is no app. Device advertises itself as available for connection to Roon, Spotify/Tidal Connect, Airplay, etc. You just use those native apps to connect to it. If your original App doesn't support these protocols, then you can't use this box.

Sounds like no dice for Qobuz hi-res streaming, except through Bubble UpNp or Roon maybe .
 

PeteL

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I find this expensive for what it is. Tidal connect could potentially be an option for me but it would need to be over the air. I wont walked to an Ethernet wired computer to select music, ever. How robust are these WIFI streaming protocols nowadays? I am not really concerned about fidelity but I can't have lags and dropouts. Not so long ago it was not a given in crowded 2.4 GHz environments. I know it's totally different but My Tidal still gets stuck all the time when at the gym, I have to regularly revert to 5G. I know it's not the same, everybody is connected to the same router unlike at home, but the principle still hold. How does it deal with lost packets, I kinda want to know if these protocols will prioritize smooth operation over robust error correction and data integrity. To be honest I prefer the idea of a control app. Stream wired from the cloud and only the UI on my portable device but maybe it does not make one bit of difference nowadays and you can both have data Integrity and smooth operation over the air 100% of the time. Genuinely asking if someone in here has a deeper understanding.
 
OP
amirm

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Sounds like no dice for Qobuz hi-res streaming, except through Bubble UpNp or Roon maybe .
Roon will definitely work. You can also use Airplay but you will take a hit in quality.
 

milosz

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Amir - did you do a blind A/B test with this and a top-measuring DAC? Can the "poor" specs of this unit actually be heard? Measurements are only good when they actually mean something to what listeners hear. Designing to chase specs that don't actually produce AUDIBLE improvements might be a waste of resources; resources that could be used to lower the retail price, or to add useful features, etc. Measurements are important, surely, and they do tell a story. But chasing gains in performance that can't demonstrably be heard by anyone is folly.

Also, unless someone is streaming lossless content, what does increased SINAD actually do for listeners? Let's not lose sight of what we are after here - equipment that is fit for purpose, not equipment that is designed to impress users or Audio Precision T&M equipment.

No scientific test of audio equipment is complete without well designed blind listening tests with proper statistical analysis.
 

Joffy1780

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Can anyone clarify whether the CS1 has DLNA certification yet? NAD's product sheet still says it is awaiting certification.
 

jensgk

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Roon will definitely work. You can also use Airplay but you will take a hit in quality.
If the Wiim pro eventually gets Roon support - then its probably better in ever way than this streamer. Still also hoping for the promised 10 band PEQ support with the Wiim Pro.

The Wiim Pro has Chromecast. As far as I remember, from my time with using Roon, Roon works very well with Chromecast
 
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amirm

amirm

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No scientific test of audio equipment is complete without well designed blind listening tests with proper statistical analysis.
Sure thing. Last time I commissioned such a test, it cost $25,000. This was 20 years ago so I reckon the cost is now $50K. Let me know how much of that you are going to donate and how we make up the deficit.
 

TonyJZX

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the wag in me thinks they didnt bother to care too much about analog out because... they want to sell you a dac/preamp that they also make

also i think that NAD are kind of being a bit funny by asking $350 for what is essentially a single board in a plastic box

if topping or smsl made this for half that price people would be hitting the roof
 
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amirm

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the wag in me thinks they didnt bother to care too much about analog out because... they want to sell you a dac/preamp that they also make
Good guess but since they don't publish measurements like I do, no one would know the DAC is lousy as to then be ready for upsell.
 

RndmLstner

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Update: After writing my post, I realized the primary market for this item. Consumers wanting a certified Roon Ready Endpoint. It appears to be the cheapest one on the market. If you use Roon and want a certified endpoint, this is as cheap as it gets. If output is a concern, connect it to your preferred DAC. The combo will still be cheaper (& superior) to alternatives. Although as a non-Roon user, I could be way off base.

Original Post:
I recently tried to find a cheap streamer to add as a second source for a whole home audio receiver (DAX88). The primary purpose was to provide a Chromecast receiver. The DAX88 supports airplay but not Chromecast (it's basically a Wiim Mini; same company; in fact you can use the Wiim Home app with it).

Notably, the really cheap push streamers do not support Chromecast. (but do support Airplay). See, e.g., $39 at Amazon.

So I cobbled together the following:
(1) Walmart Onn Google TV box - $20 new
(2) Stereo HDMI Exctractor - currently $16.15 at Amazon (likely cheaper at AliExpress).

Total: $36.15

The Onn connects to the HDMI Extracter via HDMI. The extractor connects to the DAX88 via analog or digital. 4-5w power draw when awake. 1 AC adapter (to the extractor).

With Bubble Upnp app (for accessing music stored on the server) and Android's Chromecast (for casting from apps that support it like Youtube), it operates seamlessly. You could also make it a non-push streamer by installing an app on the Onn if you wanted.

Given the push streaming nature of the NAD device, I don't see the demand given its high price point. The Wiim Mini or Wiim Pro certainly satisfy most needs and are much cheaper. And there are plenty of cheaper options than those two. Roon support is being worked on for both Wiim models according to the mfgr (most recent comment this month) but I get the impression that's been stated for quite awhile and Roon certification process is known to take a very uncertain zmount of time.

In any event, if you use Roon, just buy a miniDSP SHD Studio ($949) and connect it to your preferred SOTA DAC. You'll have your SOTA output, Dirac (via the SHD) and a complete Roon ready streamer. Alternatively, the DAC of the non-studio SHD measured well per ASR review ($1,249). In light of the high price of Roon, a SOTA setup like this shouldn't be a challenge. (Note: I understand Roon has PEQ so this suggestion doesn't apply to those who use Roon's PEQ).
 
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beefkabob

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Sure. In my garage, bedroom, pool etc I don't need a high end streamer. But I want RAAT so they can all be synced.
Makes sense then. The acoustics are so unbelievably awful in my garage that I just wear bluetooth headphones.
 

eliash

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Thanks Amir,

- First, I think this a great device at an acceptable price, which overcomes the problematic issue to send uncompressed/lossless music from a PC or smart phone via WiFi/LAN to your audio installation (i .e. no wired USB connection).

- Second, I would never connect my analog audio directly to a digital network device via its analog outputs (sharing the same ground plane for digital and analog), due to mains hum loop, power-supply and digital noise issues. So I think this device is ideal to connect to your self-selected DAC via electrically isolated SPDIF or Toslink I/Fs and avoid such issues. (to me the built-in DAC is just a cheap giveaway, i. e. just for testing the network connection or "party" application, nothing more...wonder how responses written before would read, not having it on board...)

- Third, as to my knowledge, UPnP is anyway the only standardized protocol to do so and there is a personally-felt huge market gap for such devices!
(...basiscally that gap existed since SlimDevices/Logitech have taken their Squeeze Boxes from the market)
 
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morillon

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Thanks Amir,

- First, I think this a great device at an acceptable price, which overcomes the problematic issue to send uncompressed/lossless music from a PC or smart phone via WiFi/LAN to your audio installation (i .e. no wired USB connection).

- Second, I would never connect my analog audio directly to a digital network device via its analog outputs (sharing the same ground plane for digital and analog), due to mains hum loop, power-supply and digital noise issues. So I think this device is ideal to connect to your self-selected DAC via electrically isolated SPDIF or Toslink I/Fs and avoid such issues. (to me the built-in DAC is just a cheap giveaway, i. e. just for testing the network connection or "party" application, nothing more...wonder how responses before would have read, not having it on board...)

- Third, as to my knowledge, UPnP is anyway the only standardized protocol to do so and there is a personally-felt huge market gap for such devices!

since you are not pointing roon.. I invite you to observe what a very comparable product offers (and its price) ,which is already a few months old, wiim pro... (see re-read this short discussion)
you will then understand our "disappointed" reactions
;-)
(I talk about it all the more freely since I don't have a wiim pro.. and was just waiting for the arrival of such competitors as this nad to see if there would be more successful alternatives on certain points)
 
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eliash

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since you are not pointing roon.. I invite you to observe what a very comparable product offers (and its price) ,which is already a few months old, wiim pro... (see re-read this short discussion)
you will then understand our "disappointed" reactions
;-)
(I talk about it all the more freely since I don't have a wiim pro.. and was just waiting for the arrival of such competitors as this nad to see if there would be more successful alternatives on certain points)
Thanks for the hint!
From my perspective the issue with this device is long term support (10y) for their app.
Couldn't find out whether it is necessary to set up or run the HW, but if so and not successful over a long time, smart phone evolution will likely impact the availability of the whole function, whereas I assume UPnP will stay available on both ends.

One remark added:
In our living room I am running a (self-)modified, audio-wise "beefed-up" SqueezeBox3 since 2007. The point is, even Slim Devices utilising a proprietary network protocol, users meanwhile have been able to keep it running through WinXP over Win7 to Win10 and probably also Win11.
So the changing living-room-laptop environment has never stopped me from using the audio installation as set up 16y ago (no need to do so from an acoustical perspective, not my "hi-end" listening place btw.)...
 
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morillon

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Thanks for the hint!
From my perspective the issue with this device is long term support (10y) for their app.
Couldn't find out whether it is necessary to set up or run the HW, but if so and not successful over a long time, smart phone evolution will likely impact the availability of the whole function, whereas I assume UPnP will stay available on both ends.

you want to project yourself at 10 years on Chinese streamers at 170 or 300 dollars(""nad""")?
whether quality or software...

seriously ?
;-)))
 
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