Pioneer Expands AirPlay To Additional Devices

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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 systems.

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.


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