When the uPlay Stream arrived for review a week or so ago I have to say I was a bit apprehensive to say the least as me and computers/streaming and all that kind of stuff just don’t seem to get on with each other. Indeed, I had warned family members that there would no doubt be shouting.
The little uPlay Stream from QED comes with a wall wart, a short ethernet cable and a minijack to stereo RCA cable. It’s really small and unobtrusive and has no buttons on it other than a tiny little sync button on the back. Around the back you get an ethernet socket, the input for the wall wart and that’s about it. On top you get 3 little glowing icons to let you know it’s turned on, connected to the wifi and functioning properly.
It’s compatible with all the main file formats including MP3, FLAC, WAV and what not and has an onboard Wolfson DAC which is 24-bit/96kHz compatible. The uPlay is DLNA/UPnP compatible and can be controlled from your iPad or Android doodad. You can have up to eight of these beasties dotted around your house and it will play tunes from your tablet or smartphone, your PC or NAS drive or even from Drop Box and Sky Drive.
Now here’s where there’s going to be the shouting bit as it’s time to get the uPlayer hooked up to the WiFi and get it playing some tunes. Well there wasn’t ANY shouting at all and set up is very simple indeed. Download the free app’ to youngest son’s iPod Touch (I did need help with this bit), plug the device briefly into the router, press a few virtual buttons on the iPod, unplug from the server and plug into a free input on the pre amp and we’re off – it finds the server automatically and tells you when it’s connected poperly. All that I had to do now was drag a few tunes into Media Player and that’s it. Really very simple indeed and nothing for even a luddite like me to have any fears over.
The onboard DAC is absolutely fine for most listening – it’s actually very good indeed – but I would have loved to have been able to bypass this and plug the unit into the VAD DAC in the main system. However, for the modest asking price of £149.90 including VAT moaning about this would be churlish in the extreme!
There’s actually not a great deal to say about the unit as there’s not a great deal I didn’t really love about it. It’s great for when you’ve got visitors round as you can make up a playlist and play that, it’s fab for playing tunes whilst doing other stuff and it’s perfectly acceptable and high resolution enough to satisfy most folks.
This is a wonderful bit of kit that allows you to play all your digital files easily and without fuss and I’m certain it will be a huge seller for QED. If you are a serious audiophile looking to add the ease of use that digital files allow to your system, but don’t intend them to be your main source, this is for you! If you are a music lover who wants to have easily controllable and inexpensive access to your digital media around the house then again this is for you. No, it doesn’t have the benefit of a digital out which would have made it just perfect, but for the price the uPlay Stream from QED really is a no brainer!
Author – Stuart