Some years back a dealer said to me, three companies stood out in the streaming market. Naim, Linn and Sonos because that got the software/interface right, others made good gear but were let down by control side. Is this still the case or is everyone up to speed now.
I don’t have much experience of other hardware, but in all honesty I think it largely boils down to user expectations and preferences - what might be a great minimlaistic interface that gets the job done well for one person might be seriously lacking in options or customisation that another user might want.
I know there’s always a lot of noise about how well Naims app works but tbh I find it pretty easy and (generally) reliable. Haven’t had much experience with other manufacturers but the few I have imo struggle.
Preference amongst the ergonomics of control apps is very subjective.
I have and use Auralic, Linn and Naim apps and for the basic task of finding and playing music either from local storage or my streaming service, I find them just about equally usable. I certainly don’t find the Linn app “limited” and it’s the only one with a version that runs on a laptop or desktop. The Auralic app has one very useful feature in that it offers access to album booklets where the streaming service provides them. (Not the Rovi database.) But it only runs on IOS and doesn’t fully support MinimServer. The Naim app strikes a pretty happy medium for me and I don’t really understand why some users get so exercised about it.
After Roon I just cannot see myself using anything else
Indeed. It sets a very high bar.
As long as the kit is standards compliant there are loads of good apps for uPNP playback from local NAS etc. Or you can use Roon.
Combined with features like AirPlay, Chromecast and Tidal connect you need never use the manufacturer’s app for anything other than setup.
Some manufacturers, such as Sonus Faber with their latest Omnia range, provide no app at all. Why invest in an app that won’t keep up with service based ones such as the Tidal app?
As much I like the Roon interface, and I am a lifetime licensed user for some years, I still think the provided app is an important add on that can make a streamer or any product a lot more or less attractive to many users.
Roon is not free and requires an extra investment and some hardware more than the streamer itself, requires at least in latest version a constant internet connection. The lack of internet causes the software to stop working even with local files.
I think the Naim app could be better visually, but it works off line and is functional, I think maybe Naim with time could improve on it visually, because it will add value to their streamers and attract more potential buyers. And if my internet fails the Naim app will be my savior for listening to music.
For me Roon is a delight for what it offers, an app that works with almost all hardware I have, and one app for the whole family to use, an interface that is visually beautiful to me at least, and is easy to navigate and discover music.
The Naim app is simple and functional, if it could be better, for sure it could, but I still think it will be, and hope Naim invests a little more love on it visually. The new Focal and Naim icon is ugly, really ugly.
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