NAD CS1 evaluation: simplistic network banner | Digital Trends

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer.

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Banner

MSRP $349.00


  • Exceptional develop high quality
  • Basic arrangement
  • AirPlay 2, Chromecast, Bluetooth
  • Tidal Get In Touch With MQA


  • No specialized application
  • Irregular streaming solution assistance
  • No hi-res Bluetooth codecs

I confess, I have a soft area for NAD items. As a teenager maturing in the 1980s, I invested greater than a couple of hrs salivating over the firms minimal black receivers, turntables, as well as cassette decks at close friends residences as well as the periodic hi-fi shop. I still love the underrated, all-business layout that attempts any individual to differ with the declaration kind complies with feature.

As Well As while that exact same underrated layout viewpoint can be plainly seen in the firms most recent item, the $349 CS1 Endpoint Network Banner, Im a little pull down by NADs selections for this specific minimal black box.

Why do I require a network banner?

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer connected to a Pioneer AV receiver.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Prior to I study the information, a fast guide for individuals that havent a hint what a network banner is or why you would certainly desire one. If you have a stereo you like, yet it originates from the pre-music streaming period, affixing a network banner is a plug-and-play method to drag it right into the 21st century. These tools attach to your network wirelessly or using Ethernet, as well as theyre generally suitable with a massive series of streaming solutions as well as any kind of electronic songs you could have reduced your computer system or a network-attached storage space gadget (NAS).

Network banners arent brand-new. Actually, among Sonos really initially cordless sound items was a network banner, which gotten here in 2006. They took a rear to all-in-one cordless audio speakers for some time, yet recently weve seen a rebirth of specialized banners, possibly due to the expanding appeal of lossless CD high quality as well as hi-res audio thats currently offered from solutions like Apple Songs.

Simply remember that some network banners have integrated amplifiers that allow you attach nearly any kind of collection of passive, wired stereo audio speakers — or you can run their signals right into your stereo. However the CS1 comes from the non-amplified group of network banner, so youll require a collection of powered audio speakers or you wont have the ability to listen to a point. Any kind of intensified system will certainly do — from a standalone collection of powered stereo audio speakers like Klipschs The Sevensto a state-of-the-art 11.1-channel AV receiver-based house cinema system, or anything in-between. As long as it has an analog and/or electronic input, youre excellent to go.

Not all banners are developed equivalent

Another point you most definitely require to understand: Its simple to concentrate on words network banner in the CS1s complete item name (CS1 Endpoint Network Banner), as well as miss right over words Endpoint. However that word is more vital than you could believe.

Unlike almost every various other type of network banner on the marketplace (well review a couple of rivals momentarily), there is no friend application or physical push-button control for the CS1. As an endpoint gadget, its created to deal with a range of third-party applications as well as solutions, as well as will consistently adhere to the commands provided by those applications. However without those applications, there is no chance to regulate what it does. Also a $30 Bluetooth audio speaker has physical play/pause switches as well as quantity controls. The CS1 has no controls of any kind of kind. For some, this might be a deal-breaker, so Sickness invest a lot of this evaluation aiding you find out if an endpoint (as well as particularly, the CS1) is best for you.

Simple, strong layout

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer rear panel with ports.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Literally, the CS1 is pure NAD: sturdily constructed as well as remarkably substantial for a tool that has no amplifier. If you take a close appearance, you can see why. NAD has actually made use of a steel framework under the plastic skin, as well as I believe that the inner parts are similarly durable, despite the fact that I angle see them. A solitary switch with a small incorporated LED is the only noticeable physical control (though not the only switch, which Sickness reach momentarily). You utilize it to wake the CS1 if it’s in standby setting or send it right into standby setting. I have no concept why this switch also exists. Many network banners deal with their standby settings instantly.

In regards to dimension, it has the exact same impact as 2 of its largest competitors, the $449 Sonos Port as well as $149 Wiim Pro, yet the CS1 stands a little taller. I believe it looks terrific, yet if you intend to put it away, go all out. As I stated above, theres no push-button control as well as no infrared receiver, so it doesnt require to be noticeable for line-of-sight control.

On the back youll locate every little thing you require to attach the CS1 to your system, consisting of 2 electronic results (optical as well as coaxial) as well as one collection of analog stereo RCA results. Immediately, that offers the CS1 a little bit of a side over the Sonos Port, which does not have an optical result. In maintaining with its core duty as an endpoint, there are no inputs on the CS1. You angle utilize it as a means to pipeline an outside resource like a turntable right into your system, something both the Port as well as the Wiim Pro can do.

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer (bottom panel).
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

With dual-band 2.4/5GHz Wi-Fi, a cordless link possibly is the method most individuals will certainly utilize the CS1. However you likewise obtain an Ethernet port for those that desire a wired link to their house network. A 12-volt trigger result can be made use of to power up as well as close down linked tools like an amplifier or receiver when the CS1 wakes from or go back to standby setting, yet nowadays, its uncommon to locate a coordinating input on anything yet premium equipment. My midrange Leader AVR, as an example, doesnt have one.

You likewise will certainly observe a small opening identified “Configuration.” Think it or otherwise, if you intend to attach a Bluetooth gadget to the CS1, youll requirement to get hold of something slim as well as sharp as well as utilize it to push the switch thats concealed in the red. NAD doesnt consist of any kind of slim as well as sharp points in package.

Actually, NAD doesnt consist of a lot in the CS1 box in all. You obtain a stereo RCA spot cable as well as a USB-A-to-USB-C power cable, yet thats it. No electronic wires in all. Sickness provide NAD a little credit rating for delivering the CS1 with a charitable collection of global power plug adapters, yet that appears extra like a comfort for NAD (one item for all markets) than a solution to its consumers.

You likewise dont obtain a complete user’s manual. As is coming to be the standard, NAD urges you to download it from the NAD site, in the CS1’s “Software program as well as Downloads” area.

Easy to establish

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer with accessories.
Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Still, those directions wont be required for long when you obtain them — obtaining the CS1 established is really simple. There are a couple of various choices relying on whether youre going wired or cordless. If wired, simply connect the CS1 right into an Ethernet wire as well as youre done. If cordless, it depends upon whether youre an apple iphone or Android individual. After you connect the CS1 right into the wall surface, youll see the little LED flash blue swiftly, after that switch over to a rotating red/blue pattern. Then, apple iphone individuals can most likely to their Wi-Fi setups food selection, where theyll locate the choice to establish the CS1 up as an AirPlay 2 audio speaker. Android individuals can do the exact same, yet it takes place inside the Google House application, which allows you utilize the CS1 as a Chromecast sound gadget. Which it.

Pro suggestion: If youre an iphone individual as well as you intend to utilize the CS1 as a Chromecast sound gadget along with AirPlay 2, you can merely utilize the Google House application as well as conserve on your own an action.

On the one hand, this app-free strategy is type of rejuvenating. No application suggests no tampering setups or made complex food selections, as well as no actual data-logging worries. You dont also need to bother with executing firmware updates due to the fact that the CS1 handles these instantly as quickly as youve attached it to your network.

You’ll require a (third-party) application for that

The drawback to this plan, as I mentioned above, is that with no application of its very own you’ll require to utilize a committed application for every as well as every songs resource you intend to play.

For Spotify as well as Tidal individuals, it suggests you can regulate the CS1 from within these applications. If your requirements are easy, this functions well: if youve ever before made use of a Bluetooth audio speaker, theres absolutely no finding out contour in order to utilize the CS1 — its the specific very same treatment. Attach, strike play, as well as appreciate your songs. Actually, if youre a Tidal HiFi And also client, youll obtain the most effective feasible audio high quality by utilizing Tidal Attach to stream to the CS1 from within the Tidal application on iphone or Android. Doing so allows you stream Tidals Master tracks in Master Top quality Authenticated (MQA) style straight to the CS1, which can executing the last degree of MQA providing required to listen to MQA at its complete high quality.

Irregular solution assistance

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer (top) and Wiim Pro.
NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Banner (leading) as well as Wiim Pro Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

Nevertheless, for various other songs solutions, or for paying attention to your house collection of electronic songs, youll be depending on yet even more applications to finish your paying attention experience. As an example: Theres no chance to inform the CS1 that you intend to pay attention to your individual collection of unusual jazz recordings, so youll need to download and install an application that can do it. Is your collection in iTunes or Apple Songs? Apples applications will possibly function great, yet youll be restricted to AirPlays CD-quality streaming.

Want hi-res lossless audio assistance? Currently points begin to obtain complicated. Formally, the CS1 can manage hi-res lossless right approximately 24-bit/192kHz. Nevertheless, it can’t stream straight from any one of the solutions that use hi-res lossless, like Apple Songs, Songs, as well as Qobuz, which suggests you’ll be playing these tracks on your phone as well as streaming them to the CS1 on your own.

That’s specifically trouble for Apple Songs clients that have apples iphone (which I’m presuming is most of Apple Songs clients). The only method to stream Apple Songs from an apple iphone to the CS1 is using Bluetooth (negative concept I’ll discuss why soon) or AirPlay 2. And also I repeat: AirPlay 2 just sustains 16-bit lossless sound, not 24-bit hi-res lossless. Songs consumers might make out much better. This solution sustains AirPlay 2 on iphone, as well as likewise Chromecast on both iphone as well as Android. Unlike AirPlay 2, Chromecast can manage approximately 24-bit/96kHz. However, because of an insect that has yet to be repaired, Songs declined to stream anything greater than 16-bit lossless over Chromecast to the CS1 — the very first time I have actually encountered such a constraint.

However also if Chromecast had actually been functioning as it should, it would certainly still leave the really highest degree of lossless sound on these solutions (24-bit/192kHz) unreachable.

Your last resort for obtaining the CS1 to provide its best efficiency is to download and install an application like the outstanding Bubble UPnP for Android. Bubble allows you search your exclusive collection of electronic songs as long as it’s accessible on a DLNA or UPnP web server, and afterwards stream those tracks at complete high quality to the CS1. At the very least, NAD states you need to have the ability to. However, Bubble did not identify the CS1 as a DLNA-compatible gadget, so it failed back to Chromecast. Hindered once more.

MP3, AAC, WAV, FLAC, as well as ALAC — they’re all sustained. Practically every style you might desire, other than DSD, which I need to state, is actually unsatisfactory offered NAD’s audiophile follower base. You might still have the ability to play them — an application like Bubble can do on-the-fly DSD transcoding to PCM, yet this really feels incorrect.

The last nail in the high quality casket is a terrible one: In spite of its assistance for MQA using Tidal Attach, the CS1 is not a complete MQA decoder — it requires an application like Tidal to aid it out — so you wont have the ability to play any kind of MQA submits you could have in your individual collection at their better-than-CD-quality resolution.

If your eyes are starting polish over as well as you’re asking yourself why not simply utilize the CS1’s Bluetooth link as well as disregard every one of the Wi-Fi streaming migraines, that’s definitely an alternative. However because the CS1 just sustains both worst Bluetooth codecs— SBC as well as AAC — you’d be far better off purchasing a suitable .

After that we enter into the concern of innovative attributes like multiroom sound. The CS1 can be made use of as component of a multiroom system, yet just via third-party software program: Apple House if youre specifically running AirPlay 2 audio speakers as well as Google House if every one of your equipment is Chromecast-compatible. You’re out of good luck if Amazons Alexa runs your wise house — the CS1 isnt suitable keeping that community.

This makes my task actually hard. Youd possibly like to understand what its like to utilize the CS1, yet the reality is, it entirely depends upon what youre attempting to do with it, as well as the platform/app/streaming procedure youve selected to utilize.

End of the line for endpoints

NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Streamer (top) and Wiim Pro.
NAD CS1 Endpoint Network Banner (leading) as well as Wiim Pro Simon Cohen / Digital Trends

These are the basic facts of collaborating with an endpoint network banner rather than the type of network banners constructed by Sonos, Denon Heos, Bose, Wiim, as well as also NADs sister firm, Bluesound. Each of these cordless sound firms has a committed application, providing you great deals of choices you merely don’t hop on the CS1, such as:

  • streaming straight from songs solutions at their optimum audio high quality
  • incorporating accessibility to numerous audio resources in a solitary user interface
  • global search
  • producing faves as well as playlists throughout songs resources
  • changing EQ or tone control
  • multiroom monitoring.

Even better, if you choose you dont value their app-based controls as well as attributes, you can still utilize them as endpoint banners. Sonos as well as Bluesound assistance AirPlay 2, while Denon Heos, Bose, as well as Wiim sustain both AirPlay 2 as well as Chromecast sound.

These systems likewise have one more crucial advantage: global control.

With rigorous endpoint banners, like the CS1, if you start playing songs from your Apple Songs application over AirPlay 2, that songs will certainly quit the minute you leave your home, due to the fact that it’s being regulated by your phone, not the CS1.

In a similar way, if another person in your house wished to stop briefly that songs, they would certainly require the Apple House application by themselves phone — as well as the CS1 would certainly need to currently be established in the application.

And also if your partner gets on Android, as well as not an iphone gadget? They have no control in all due to the fact that also if the CS1 has actually been included in Google House, that application considers the CS1 as a Chromecast gadget as well as it wont recognize that the CS1 remains in the center of playing an AirPlay 2 session.

There is a means to draw out an in a similar way effective attribute established from the CS1, yet it comes with a rate: utilize Roon. Roon is a fantastic electronic songs system with a broad attribute established that satisfies audiophiles specifically. The CS1, as a qualified Roon endpoint, allows you utilize Roon to take care of every one of your electronic songs and afterwards stream all of it to the CS1. The catch? Roon expenses $15 each month or $830 for a life time.

As I claimed in the introductory, it can be challenging to obtain a feeling of a network banners audio high quality, due to the fact that it inevitably depends upon the equipment to which its attached. What I can state is that the CS1, when attached to my Leader receiver, seemed concerning the exact same to me as the Sonos Port as well as the Wiim Pro when playing resources that worked with all 3 tools. This held true whether I made use of the banners electronic or analog results, so if the CS1s DAC is of probably better than the ones in either of the various other banners, I presume my stereo (or my ears) werent approximately the job of having the ability to discriminate. Every one of that to state, the CS1 has every little thing it requires to provide terrific audio high quality.

NADs Endpoint Network Banner CS1 is durable as well as sustains 3 of one of the most preferred significant audio streaming innovations: Bluetooth, AirPlay 2, as well as Chromecast, as well as under some situations, it allows you play up to 24-bit/192kHz hi-res lossless sound. However its dependancy on third-party solutions as well as its absence of a friend application seriously restrict your capacity to deal with it by yourself terms, making it tough to suggest when various other items on the marketplace can do even more as well as often set you back much less.

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