Pioneer NC-50DAB


Pioneer NC-50DAB

         Network receiver Pioneer NC-50DAB

The computer, and through it the Internet, has become for us practically everything that is somehow connected with information, including musical content. Now, few people will look for a store that sells CDs - you can download (buy) your favorite album over the network, and numerous music services provide the opportunity to listen online. Well, a Hi-Fi, as always, is designed to provide sound quality.

Price 11,056.71$

The "digit", in which the vast majority of music is encoded today, must be converted into analog signals, and the DAC is now the central link of any modern system. Digital streams can come to it in different ways, but the Ethemet input with a network player and an asynchronous USB type B port provide the best sound quality today. In many devices equipped with both types of interfaces, in our testing experience, the first option gives the best result.

In addition, it has a number of other advantages: the ability to connect wirelessly, work with NAS servers, access to many PCs included in the local network, and access to the Internet with its radio stations and services.

Reasonable Preferences

Perhaps that is why, and also taking into account that the Pioneer NC-50DAB belongs to the affordable market segment, the developers of the network receiver did not equip it with a type B USB port. However, the device is by no means deprived of inputs: it has two type A USB ports, optical and coaxial digital inputs, RCA line and MM phono input, It also has a CD drive and FM / DAB tuner, wireless switching is provided by Wi-Fi technologies (dual-band 2.4 / 5 GHz), Bluetooth (version 4.1), airplay.

To listen to music, just connect speakers to the NC-50DAB. Thanks to the built-in branded Direct Energy FID amplification unit, operating in a pulsed mode with a linear power supply on a custom transformer, the receiver provides an output power of 2x50 W (at 4 ohms, 10% THD at 1 kHz). There is also a low-level subwoofer output,

Pioneer NC-50DAB

That very central link - the DAC - is based on the audiophile digital-to-analog conversion chip ESS SABRE32 Ultra DAC (ES 9016) with a special circuit to eliminate digital noise. Digital circuits have their own power supply.

Traditional appearance

The Pioneer NC-50DAB looks like a traditional Hi-Fi component of rack dimensions (10x44x33 cm) in a sturdy case with an aluminum front panel. It houses a 3.5-inch color LCD, a round volume knob, one of the USB ports and a 6.3mm headphone jack. To the right of the disc tray are CD playback control buttons and one for selecting inputs. Initial setup and most of the functions are accessible via the remote control or smartphone/tablet app with menu display. Everything is arranged logically and simply, and should not cause great difficulties, although working with a network player requires some preparation, but no more than for a laptop.

Detail and energy

With the Arslab Classic 1 bookshelf speakers (from 41,650 rubles), which are quite suitable for the NC-50DAB in price and design, we play The Best of Play Bach CD with jazz arrangements by Jacques Loussier of works by J.S. Bach. The sound is clear, transparent, balanced, with good focus of trio instruments and stage organization. It is distinguished by vivacity and rhythm, the bass range is confidently registered, and the treble is light and clear.

Accessible from the remote control or from the application, the P.Bass function makes the bass unnecessarily convex and weighty, which in this case destroys the natural sound. But we admit that sometimes, as, for example, when listening to the Tons Jones & Jools Holland CD, someone will want to turn it on for more drive from the groovy rhythms.

Pioneer NC-50DAB

When connecting such a high-quality third-party source as the Esoteric X-03 SACD player via digital and line inputs, we get a significant increase in detail, scale and timbre saturation of the sound, which provides more pleasure from listening to Violetta CDs than when playing with your own CD drive. This testifies in favor of the high quality of the DAC and the amplification unit of the network receiver.

Pioneer NC-50DAB's two USB ports can be used to connect flash drives or external drives with music files. These inputs are not equal: the one on the rear panel provides an increased level of power signal and is intended for more demanding devices. Our experiments with the Sony NWZ-A17 Hi-Res music player, which the receiver perceives as an external drive, showed that the sound from the rear port is better - due to deeper bass it is larger and livelier. However, in general, in terms of purity and detail, it is inferior to what a CD drive gives. Naturally, this also applies to Bluetooth broadcasting from the same gadget, but as a means of mobile listening, such playback can be called quite satisfactory.

Main fairway

Best of all, the NC-S0DAR plays files received over the network from PCs or NAS servers; Hi-Res formats provide an additional boost in sound quality. We recommend using a software server that provides "unpacking" FLAC-type formats (for example, Asset UPnP); in this case, the receiver receives a WAV file, and the sound becomes even more perfect due to increased detail, timbre saturation, depth and weight of the bass.

A. Netrebko's glass in the CD-copy of Opera Arias perfectly articulated, it has a lot of characteristic nuances, the exact transmission of subtle gradations of dynamics makes the performance lively and emotional.

The recording of Symphonic Dances by S. Rachmaninoff in 24-bit/96 kHz format pleases with the scale of the musical scene, excellent micro-dynamics, which allows one to appreciate the beauty and naturalness of the quiet voices of wind instruments, the swiftness and ease of transitions to fortissimo, as well as the gentle and ringing sounds of percussion.

When listening to classics, it is important that the device can play tracks without gaps (gapless) - and Pioneer copes with this.

The inherent energy and accurate reproduction of rhythms inherent in this receiver makes playing modern music exciting; for example, Gwyneth Herbert's album Ten Lives (24/48.2) pleases with an excellent combination of articulate and expressive vocals and a wonderful instrumental arrangement with funny acoustic effects,

Pioneer NC-50DAB

And if your own collection does not seem extensive enough to you, the boundless content of the Internet, available through radio stations and music services, is at your service. The sound quality of these streaming broadcasts is still worse, but let's hope for further diffusion of technologies that will allow all these resources to move to higher bitrates - of which we are already seeing a number of examples.

The Pioneer NC-50DAB is an all-in-one device for playing music from almost anywhere it lives today. The sound quality is very high for this chain segment. Provide the network receiver with suitable speakers as well as broadband Internet access – and enjoy!

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