High fidelity sound. This has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? However, most people are content with listening to normal-res audio on streaming services or via some physical format such as CDs or vinyl LPs. These people are fortunately unaware that there is a chance that things could escalate to this point High accuracy.
many of The best music streaming services It offers high fidelity audio along with its standard (uncompressed CD quality) and compressed (low quality) streams. On some services, like Tidal, you’ll need to pay a higher price to get access to HD, while others like Apple Music and Amazon Music Unlimited bundle it into their standard pricing plan. However, we’re pointing a finger at you, Spotify – It does not offer high fidelity audio at all!
Accessing high-resolution audio isn’t just a walk in the park, but now it’s just a little easier. The new CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer from Canada-based NAD Electronics is a compact device that you can add to your stereo or home theater system to take advantage of the high-resolution audio offerings on your music streaming services. Just plug it in, plug it into your built-in receiver or amplifier, link to your home’s Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet network, and you’re ready to go.
The affordable CS1 ($349 / £299 / CAD 499) supports dual-band Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and AirPlay for streaming. But what looks really cool is that you can use Tidal Connect and Spotify Connect to stream live and control playback with the Tidal and Spotify apps. MQA support is onboard to enable Tidal’s Master-quality HD music playback, and CS1 is Roon’s endpoint. You’ll also be able to use the Chromecast to play music from compatible apps, and the CS1 will take it from there, streaming tracks in standard or HD format to Texas Instruments’ 24-bit/192kHz PCM5141 DAC.
For connections, the CS1 sports RCA analog, optical, and coaxial digital outputs. The analog jacks allow connection to a wide range of old and new equipment, while the digital outputs allow connection to the latest generation of powered amplifiers, or even a speaker system.
Analysis: High-Resolution Audio doesn’t have to be expensive — or complicated
exist Low cost ways to access high fidelity music, but many of these options are for listening with headphones. And while there is nothing wrong with pursuing sonic bliss across The best headphones Way, some people—me, for example—prefer to listen to music using old-fashioned stereo speakers in addition to an amplifier.
The high-end audio market is full of compact speakers capable of streaming high-resolution audio over Wi-Fi from compatible services like Tidal or Qobuz. But many of these components are pricey, and also require the use of a brand-specific dedicated app to make streaming easier, with some apps doing the job better than others.
Audiophiles looking to add both streaming capability and High-Resolution Audio to an existing stereo setup that lacks these features may find their options limited. One good option is the Node streaming DAC from NAD’s sister company Bluesound. The Node offers all the same features as the CS1, but adds an analog input, HDMI eARC output, and most importantly, application-based control using the company’s excellent BluOS control app. But while the Bluesound Node is worth a lot of money for everything it does, at $599 / £549 / CAD 699 it still costs more than many people want to spend.
For such people, the less expensive CS1 will appear as a more intuitive option for adding high-fidelity audio capability to an existing system. It’s true that you won’t be able to use the BluOS control app used in the company’s streaming-capable products, but not everyone will need the high level of features the app offers (multi-room streaming to multiple components, for example). With CS1, you can just launch Tidal on your phone, tap play, and you’re off and on in HD.
NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer will be available in March.