A file server allows us to store music – or access it from the cloud – so that we may select songs for playback via a user interface. A portable audio player with a microSD card slot, the Google Play Store and a touchscreen can do that too. A streamer either decodes the song to analogue with its internal DAC or sends it downstream to a third-party decoder over S/PDIF or USB. A portable audio player with an internal DAC (that feeds a headphone socket) and USB output can do likewise.
As Srajan Ebaen noted in our first run at the Shanling M3 Ultra DAP, a portable audio player is functionally very similar to a box that combines the server and the streamer (think: Innuos or Antipodes). And as a follow-up to our podcast, he penned a 6moons piece about this similarity. This article then kickstarted a follow-up podcast discussion between Ebaen and me, which then led to questions from yours truly: could a portable audio player like the Shanling – or the newly released Sony NW-A306 – be deployed as a network endpoint in a hi-fi rack such that it could be controlled over the home network with a smartphone? And who might want to do such a thing?
Listen via SoundCloud, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn or the embedded player below to find out:
👉🏻 As mentioned in this podcast…
Shanling M3 Ultra
🛒 (US) https://amzn.to/43dJz80
🛒 (UK) https://amzn.to/40YbgA4
Singxer USB bridges
🛒 (US) https://amzn.to/3nSNkQe
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