INDIANPOLIS – Pioneer moved Apple’s AirPlay technology
from A/V receivers into tabletop music systems
and dedicated component-size media streamers for the
first time with a CEDIA Expo launch of two Music Tap
The systems also connect to multiple music sources,
including Internet radio and USB-connected devices.
The Elite-series component-size network audio streamers
are the Elite N30 and Elite N50 networked media
players, due to ship around December. Retail prices are
expected to be around $500 and $700, respectively.
Both feature Apple AirPlay and DLNA 1.5 networking
as well as vTuner to access thousands of Internet radio
stations. Additional audio-streaming services might be
included by the time the products ship, a spokesman
said. Both can be connected to an optional stereo Bluetooth
module to stream Bluetooth stereo, and both feature
a 2.5-inch color screen to display album art.
They each sport high-performance audio features
such as 32-bit DACs, and both support the highest bit
rates of multiple file formats. They also play 192kHz/24-
bit FLAC and wav files.
The step-up N50 adds the ability to operate as a 32-
bit USB DAC to substitute as a PC’s sound card, and it
can operate in a DAC-only mode for connection to CD
transports. The N50 also adds Pioneer’s Sound Retriever
technology to improve the sound quality of compressed
music formats, and its Sound Retriever Air does
the same for stereo Bluetooth sources.
They come with control apps for Apple and Android
handheld devices, and if an Android smartphone features
DLNA server capability, the app will push the device’s
music to the players. Likewise, AirPlay pushes
music from an Apple handheld device to the players.
In tabletop systems, the company launched the $399
Pioneer-branded MusicTap and the $479 Elite-branded
MusicTap. Both ship in October with built-in Wi-Fi, a 2.5-
inch full-color LCD display, and vTuner, which enables
the streaming of 16,000 Internet radio stations. They also feature integrated pop-out dock for playing and
charging iPods and iPhones.
In addition, both models feature front USB port to play
back music from flash drives and hard drives in the MP3,
WAV, WMA, AAC LPCM and FLAC formats.
With AirPlay, the single-chassis devices play back
music streamed via a home Wi-Fi network from an
iTunes-equipped computer and from Apple’s iPhone,
iPod Touch and iPad. Using Apple’s Remote app on
the handheld Apple devices, users can remotely control
their computer’s iTunes music library via Wi-Fi and play
the library’s songs through the Music Taps. The tabletop
devices also play music from AirPlay-enabled musicstreaming
apps loaded onto the mobile devices. AirPlayenabled
apps include Pandora and iHeart Radio.
The systems, which lack CD, also feature DLNA 1.5
capability to stream music wirelessly from networkedattached
storage (NAS) drives or from PCs that lack
Apple’s iTunes music-management software.
The Elite model adds stereo Bluetooth, while the Pioneer
model is compatible with an optional $99 stereo
Bluetooth adapter. With stereo Bluetooth and Pioneer’s
AirJam app for Apple’s mobile devices, up to four people
at a time can jointly create a master playlist of songs to
be streamed via Bluetooth to the compact systems from
their Apple devices.