I have loved music since I was a teenager. At that time I only had a compact cassette player. I started to listen to music a bit more seriously when the CD format became popular in the late 80’s. Over the years I built up a large collection of CDs and at some point I bought what is still today my main Hi FI system: a Galactron MK 2120 amplifier, a CD player Linn Karik and a couple of Infinity Kappa 7i speakers.
All was good and when I wanted to listen to music I just picked up one CD and played. In the early 2000 the possibility to rip a CD in the MP3 format plus the availability of tools to automatically associate from the internet all the related metadata made it possible to store all my CD collection into a hard disk. I could rip all my friends CDs collections and share mine as well, plus download from the network all the music I ever wanted to listen to and much more. I ended up very quickly with an extremely large number of songs. I believe this situation is quite common among music enthusiasts born before the 80’s. Lately with the streaming service availability the problem of access to the music simply disappears. Still, in my opinion the dematerialization of music media comes with two serious shortcomings. The first one is about the quality of listening experience. Already with a mid Hi FI system a careful listener can tell one compressed MP3 playback from an original CD soundtrack. The degradation continues when you transfer the data over a Bluetooth connection and again decrease during the necessary digital to analog conversion step. The second problem I suffer from is how to select and play a desired track or a full album from a very large library or a streaming service in a comfortable way.
With these two concerns and aside from the phone + ear pad experience I was interested to add wireless streaming capability into my existing HI FI system and give it a second life.I have tried a different set up but never to my full satisfaction, at least within my budget possibilities.
I value as the most important factor to have for a wireless receiver the Wi-Fi connectivity and this is to overcame the BT quality intrinsic limitation.
The second important factor is the presence of a good sonic DAC that is the key to get closer to the CD sound quality.
Then a good user interface to help the browsing of a large library or a streaming selection from a platform service.
Here comes the ARYLIC S50pro+
I added this little box about 6 month ago for a very reasonable price. I used it just as an extension to my existing system. It can also be configured as a multi room audio system but I did not explore that path.
The setup is quite straight forward, you connect the S50pro+ line out to the home amp and the RJ45 to the lan (otherwise you can connect via wi fi) and the power plug. The S50pro+ has a line-in input connection, so you have back the home amplifier slot used to connect the S50pro+. There is also one optical link-in plug. This allows me to connect the TV optical audio out into the hi-fi system and then broadcast to the speakers the many
musical app available with the smart tv. This is a very valuable expansion, as the big TV screen makes the use of interface much more comfortable than from a phone. The ARYLIC S50pro+ comes with a little remote which I initially underrated but after usage I find out that is actually a very friendly tool to have. From remote you can select the
input source (Wi-FI, BT, AUX in, Optical in,USB), adjust the volume, adjust treble and bass and select one over up to 6 pre-loaded content (ex. web radio channel). With these flexibilities you can sit on the chair and forget the mobile phone app. The mobile phone app (4STREAM) is actually the main interface to the system and is connected to all possible streaming services you can subscribe to and to any DNLA media server at wifi reach. I am just not a fan of any mobile app, I use them as anyone else does but in general I do not particularly like to use app phones. I’d rather prefer a web browser option but of course anyone can see things differently. Saying that, my conclusion is that I am very satisfied with the usability and connectivity options available. As well, when it comes about the sound quality I recognize that the DAC used in ARYLIC S50pro+ is also quite good.
The he wi -fi streaming results are nearly as good as the original CD quality. After adjusting a bit the bass from the app equalizer (the ARYLIC S50pro+ comes with a sound set too much colored to my taste as default)
I played in parallel the same song from a uncompressed streaming service and from my CD player and switch with the remote from one source to the other. The two sounds are really comparable as it comes for details and timbre. I am really satisfied with the audio quality results especially when you consider the price paid. I normally do not use BT anymore. I hope that sharing my experience with ARYLIC S50pro+ answered to some
of your question, because myself as well before understanding which streamer to choose I was really doubtful and confused.
Enjoy the music