Does the Controller affect sound quality? Maybe an idiot question

Interesting to note that some people believe that any expectation for the controller to make any difference is either ‘nonsense’ or ‘ridiculous’. Have you guys tried a range of UPnP controllers? You might be surprised.

I run my streaming system from a pair of Intel NUC10 mini PCs, one for control and the other for audio. I use JPLAY Femto as my player. Until recently, I was using BubbleUPnP as the control point, running on an Android tablet. I recentl changed over to the JPLAY iOS app, running on an iPad.

The difference was quite astonishing. I’m not a computer geek so don’t really understand how these things work. I am given to understand that the JPLAY app works on a different principle. You can check it out at:

JPLAY – the new reference hi-fi app.

Hope it’s OK to post this link Richard. If not, please delete.

It appears Fatcat, that you are one of the enlightened few!

The JPLAY app works with other UPnP devices. Whether or not it will work with Naim Audio hardware, I know not. A trial is available so it can be checked out at no cost.

1 Like

I knew it. :grin:

From your link above, just in case it gets removed.


I forgot to mention that it is not all roses at the moment. There are issues with the JPLAY iOS app that are caused by a bug in JPLAY Femto. The owner and his associate are working on an update to the JPLAY Femto software, which should solve the issues that currently prevail.

I guess that using the JPLAY iOS app with other UPnP streaming systems, there should not be any problems.

Don’t take my word for it (Or Fatcat’s come to that). Try it out in your setup and let your ears be the judge.

1 Like

It is so like the mains cables debate. Many people dismiss that mains cables can sound different based on a whole lot of incorrect or incomplete theoretical assumptions.

And so it is here. It all rather misses the point that there is evidence, albeit anecdotal, that different apps do sound different. Dismisss it as imaginary if you want, but how does that help?

From what’s been said here, it seems entirely possible, even probable , to me that apps sound different. This raises the question does it make a difference what device the app is running on, and what that device is supported on? Surely yes. Audiophile iPad stands then? Cue sarcastic and derogatory comments.

I haven’t bothered to try any alternative apps or supporting my iPad on anything special when playing from my Melco. Firstly I’m not sure I can be bothered, secondly my instinct tells me that any differences will be small and probably of no great significance, and thirdly if I’m wrong, and it does all make a very sigificant difference then it’s another rabbit hole to get lost down for who knows how long?

I remain completely open-minded but I’ll leave it to others with greater stamina than me to explore uncharted waters. I’ve done enough exploration - time to just sit back and enjoy.

So it doesn’t do anything then.

It is speculation bought forth by acknowledging the empirical evidence and postulating possible mechanisms to explain the empirical observations.

No, it’s the app that querys the UPnP server, browses its content, takes urls and metadata from it to add to the play queue. The streamer plays no part in this, it just receives the data using TCP.

Of course, once the play queue is populated the app can be turned off and the music will continue. If it stays on there will be a little activity as devices broadcast their presence on the network. More if you continue to use the app to browse while listening. In fact a phone generates considerable RF activity more or less constantly. How much any of this affects sound quality is another matter.


Presumably any activity on the network is a bad thing SQ wise.

I am wondering though if with things such as this we are getting very near the limits of what actually matters in practice. It could be that the effects are so insignificant that they will be masked by changes in mains quality or whatever.

Personally I feel I’ve reached the point where I can’t be bothered any more. I won’t be rushing to experiment with different apps or power supplies for network equipment or whatever.

I quite like the notion of just leaving everything alone now - even if it means I’m missing out on the very last quantum of performance.

Chris, that’s the opposite of what others have said, but is how I thought it worked. When I look at the app during play, to see how far a track it’s got, is it the server or the streamer providing the info to the app. I’ve always assumed it’s the server, but others say not.

This from Melco:
– Hybrid mode allows the Melco to automatically select Mode 0 or Mode 1 according to the App that is trying to connect – making the

whole experience much simpler.

– Mode 0 locates the playlist on the App device itself (meaning if the app loses comms the player stops).

– Mode 1 locates the Playlist on the Melco (This means that the playlist is maintained even if the App should lose comms on the network). When playing through USB, the Melco will display the track information and sample rate on the front OLED display.

Mode 0 would suggest therefore that the App is in constant communication with the Melco. Mode 1 would suggest not.

Mine is set to 'Hybrid" which is the default mode. I may try Mode 1 to see if any improvement in sound.

EDIT: Melco say Mode 0 should be used with their own app for best results. So this doesn’t make much sense.

I recall talking to Will about this during one of the first betas after the NDX2 was released. I had a server discovery issue, which turned out to be caused by an incorrect router config that prevented wireless devices (in this case my phone running the Naim app) from exchanging discovery messages with UPnP servers that had wired connections. He explained that discovery, browsing and play queue selection were performed entirely by the app, not the streamer.
I’m not sure that all streamers work like this. The 1st gen Naim streamers allowed you to browse using the remote, so I guess they must have worked differently.

1 Like

Thanks Chris. So what you are saying is that the Naim app is communicating with Asset and telling it what to send to the streamer.

In practice, it doesn’t really matter how it works, but it’s interesting that others have said very clearly that it works the other way round. Who knows? Maybe I’ll write to my contacts at Naim for clarification, simply because it’s made me inquisitive.

I believe the Naim app browses the UPnP server (or Tidal, Qobuz, …), obtains the Url of the track/album you choose/select, which is then provided to the streamer to enable it to stream the selected track/album from the server. The app does not tell the server what to stream.

1 Like

You could also ask if the streamer is communicating with the app during playback. And how frequently.

I think it does, at least with the 2nd gen Naim streamers.

Found this post from Steve H which seems to be consistent with what I understood from Will.

1 Like

Surely the app tells the streamer what to stream from the server?

Edit: This article The Complete Guide To HiFi UPnP / DLNA Network Audio - CA Academy - Audiophile Style suggests that the Server is instructed by the app (the Control Point) what to stream to the streamer (Renderer).

1 Like

Surely that could means, the app populates the play queue on the streamer, with URLs from the server.

These are the three simple questions I’ve asked Naim.

When I browse my albums on my NAS, which runs Asset as the server, am I browsing the nas directly, without going via my Nova?

When I choose an album, am I telling the server what to send, or telling the Nova what to ask for?

When I check the app during listening, is the information about elapsed time etc coming from the server or the Nova?

Hopefully simple questions will elicit simple answers and we will then know exactly how it works, at least when using Asset on a NAS.


Before this topic closes with everyone satisfied that the answer to the question " [Does the Controller affect sound quality? Maybe an idiot question]" is no, then I would just like to toss a spanner into the works with my recent issue.
Earlier this year I updated my streamer from a SuperUniti to a NSC 222, I had never previously experienced any issue streaming music, including Hi-Res from my NAS to the streamer via a network switch, all LAN.
However, I started to notice that randomly I had brief pauses in play, sometimes once every 3 or 4 days and sometimes half a dozen times a in a night. I even had a piece of music jump backwords several times by about 30 seconds every few seconds!
As nothing else had changed since my SuperUniti I thought it must be the 222.
I posted this anomaly on the forum to see if anyone else had experienced similar - no takers!
I contacted my dealer to arrange for the unit to be returned to Naim but first I was asked by Name to describe my network and carry out some tests. Having done this the response from Naim was the “mesh” wi-fi in my house was the probable cause, the 222 being more prone to this than the SuperUniti for some reason.
The explanation given by Naim was as follows: Double NAT (Network Address Translation) occurs when your mobile device is connected to a router that is obtaining its internet connection from a second router with its own separate network. This setup can lead to complications as your network traffic is being routed through two different routers, potentially causing performance and connectivity problems. This though could be due to the network type you are using it sounds from your details that this is what is known as a ‘‘Mesh’’ network as these have multiple NAT codes.
The recommendation was to switch off the remote discs (it is a BT Smart Hub 2) and this should solve the problem.
The conclusion is that having done that, at the expense of other things in the house, it is better if the app on the iPad is switched off after the play que is loaded but still has happened if the app is active, showing the cover art and other meta data.
I will carry on trying to fix this issue.
So the answer to the question “is the sound quality affected” is sort of YES!


Paul, all your story there tells anyone is set your network up correctly. It has nothing to do with if a remote control changes sound.

More widely, can I just say that if people are getting this ‘serious’ about hifi then perhaps, just perhaps they may have health issues that need addressing.