Media Streamer

Pioneer Elite N-50 Network Audio Player


Setup of the Pioneer Elite N-50 Network Audio Player

Setup of the N-50 was a breeze. I connected a network cable, a pair of RCA cables, and a power cord and I was good to go. I turned on the player and the N-50 automatically configured itself via DHCP on my home network. If your home networking environment requires a more advanced configuration than typically provided by DHCP, the N-50 does provide a "Network Setup" menu to make any necessary changes to the player's network configuration. After about a minute or so of initialization, the N-50 presented a language selection menu. I made my selection and the N-50 immediately switched to the iPod input and was ready for use.

While you can begin using the N-50 at this point, it is important to enable "Quick Start Mode" in the "Power Off Setting" setup menu. Turning this option on not only reduces the normal N-50 startup time of approximately 45 seconds to less than 5 seconds; it also allows you to power-on/off the N-50 using the ControlApp. If you don't enable this feature, you must manually turn on the N-50, wait for the player to initialize, and then you can begin to use the ControlApp.

Since the N-50 relies on software to function, it is a good idea to make sure that the N-50 is up to date with the latest firmware. The N-50 does not allow you to update the player's firmware directly from the internet. You need to simply go to the Pioneer web site and see if an update is available. You can check the current firmware version of the N-50 from the "System Info" setup menu. If a new version is available, the firmware file has to be copied to a PC, unzipped, and then transferred to a USB stick. Once the USB stick is inserted into the front USB input on the N-50, the actual upgrade process is pretty quick and takes only a few minutes using the "Software Update" setup menu.

I always stress the importance of updating firmware as there are often numerous problem corrections and frequently enhancements to be found in the new firmware. In the case of the N-50, the latest firmware update made some huge changes to the player. As of release 1.020, which just came out in February of 2013, the N-50 now supports ALAC up to 24-bit/96 kHz, AIFF up to 24-bit/192 kHz, and gapless playback (WAV, FLAC, ALAC, and AIFF only). As if that weren't enough, Pioneer also upgraded the supported frequency of the front USB input from 96 kHz to 192 kHz. That's pretty impressive for a firmware update!