A new thread in the DS forum pointed me to the Naim NDX player. After a quick read
, it looks like they provide their own UPnP server implementation control point software (for iPad and iPhone). Not sure if third parties can build their own control point apps, but this I believe is the right thing to do.
The Naim unit is also a digital preamp of sorts given the number of inputs it takes. This is not appealing to me at all. I prefer the minimalist dedicated nature of my Linn DS as a source with one input. The cluster of buttons on the right hand side of the front panel on the naim unit looks rather ugly to me.
I would be curious to find out if the Naim player has a digital volume control and how it compares with the Linn DS volume control (which is excellent).
(2011-03-23 12:12)giladt Wrote: Excellent post stunta!
I agree with you completely on the nature of the challenge, and welcome your positive suggestion about how to think about different people at different points on the journey.
My point to Stereophile was: Look how far we've come since launch. The user experience is becoming simpler all the time and continues on that path, so let's embrace and champion networked music systems.
There are of course different people at different stages of their understanding and adoption of networked music systems, but I'd confidently say that the vast majority, regardless of where they are on that journey today, believe in a future of networked, streamed music.
Therefore the role of the specialist press IMO is to educate and inform the market on the key issues of how to get the most out of streamed music e.g. the benefits of an open architecture vs proprietary, the benefits of pull-based vs push-based clocking systems, how to integrate streamed music with the home network, etc.
[P.S. Similarly, not every journalist at Stereophile is at the same point in their understanding of digital. Art Dudley was drafted in to do the review after the original reviewer became unexpectedly indisposed. Had we known, we would have approached the situation differently. It's not the first time we've had a DS reviewed by a DS newbie, and we've been able to provide far better support in the cases when we've been made aware in advance. It was unfortunate in this case.]
(2011-03-22 22:34)stunta Wrote:
(2011-03-22 13:21)giladt Wrote:
(2011-03-21 20:42)stunta Wrote: A stereophile review with the first page entire dedicated to setup issues is quite concerning. Linn has quite a challenge on their hands. I really hope this turns into a positive experience for everyone.
Without meaning to sound completely unconcerned, Art Dudley's review is much more worrying for Stereophile, which runs the risk of disenfranchising all but the most purist of purists, than it is for Linn.
When I read the review, I detected a tone of incredulity around the whole idea of having external network storage and control, like Linn had come up with the whole thing just last week to make the reviewer's life as difficult as possible.
So I was moved to write the first of the Manufacturer's Comments, basically pointing out that the DS was launched in 2007, that Stereophile was involved in the launch, and that its network-centric view of the home is playing out in every realm of consumer electronics, because I believe that the audiophile press has a responsibility to give the right advice about product choices; advice which should cover both performance and networkability.
I agree with you and I am sure many happy DS customers would also agree. But it is not us you need to worry about. Its those millions still using CD players. I personally do not like Stereophile and I feel like their reviewers are still struggling to cope with the "digital age". But the reality is that it is a widely read magazine.
I am afraid that some other manufacturer will send a DS like unit to them and it will take USB input and/or have built in storage and CD drive to rip and will get rave reviews from Stereeophile. You and I know that is the wrong solution but it won't matter. The general public will read Stereophile and go pay for these fully integrated solutions.
You are in the same boat as us in the software industry. We can build a product that is the paradigm of engineering excellence with the most efficient, open design in the world, but if the user experience is not good our product is worthless out there in the marketplace.
I don't have a solution to this problem (I have some ideas which I will add to the bottom of this reply). But I think the first step to solving a problem is accepting that it exists and identifying its cause. I think Linn's problem with the DS is user experience.
If the first page of the stereophile review were positive on the setup experience of DS, you've just won over people who are still stuck in the 1970s. _That_ would be an achievement. Perhaps you see it differently and consider Stereophile reviews as irrelevant.
Here is how I would like us to start thinking about the user experience. In software design we use personas called Mort, Elvis and Einstein. Mort is your most basic user who is not very technically savvy. Elvis is fairly technical. Einstein is... well you know what. The design supports each of these personas so it is layered from easiest (least flexible) to most flexible (least usable). I think this would work very well in the DS world too.
Here is a sample scenario for Mort:
1. I bring a new DS home and I have a bunch of CDs.
2. I go to Linn's website and download one program (lets call this DSapp)
3. DSapp allows me to
- go through a tutorial that shows me how to connect my DS
- runs a connectivity test and gives me the green light if everything is ok
- Perform clean rips of all my CDs.
- Start playing the music on my DS, create playlists etc.
Step 3 means that the DSapp comes with a built-in upnp server and the rips go to a default folder that the server already points to (like c:\users\xxx\music in windows. There may be other things that can just default to something.
For Elvis, we can provider a greater degree of flexibility. Einsteins can setup their own NAS, create subnets and so on.
Edit: Just to be clear, I am not suggesting a shift from the open solution. Current systems will still work and customers are free to use any upnp server, control point, NAS etc. For Morts (and lazy Einsteins ) a single integrated app may be all they need.