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Pale Blue Ego
2006-05-16, 09:28
Today's Stereophile e-Newsletter has Wes Phillips taking a hack at the ReQuest F2.250 audio server. Like most of these one-box players, it is essentially an expensive computer ($3500).

One thing was confusing about the review. Wes says the F2.250 has a fan and was designed to go in a closet - yet he connected a $650 touchscreen to control it. He says he installed the F2.250 in his office and controlled it from his listening room with a Java remote installed on his wireless laptop. Yet Wes also says he connected the analog and digital outputs to his audio system (he would have to to hear any sound). I have to assume that he ran long cables from the office to the listening room, which seems totally counter-productive. Why not just skip the audio server altogether and run a long cable from his computer?

The $3500 F2.250 has a 160GB hard drive. The $5000 F4.500 has a 320GB hard drive. That's a lot of cake for a drive that costs maybe $30 more than the 160GB. But the F4.500 has outputs for 4 zones and the F2.250 only supports 2 zones. What's the deal with these zones? Well, to use zones, you have to run audio (RCA) cables from the ReQuest server to various rooms in the house. Then you need amps and speakers in each room. If you want to CONTROL the playback from a different room, you also need some kind of networking and a computer or laptop at each location. Seems very clumsy and redundant compared to the Slim method, where audio AND control signals travel over 1 ethernet cable or through the air via wireless.

Wes also had some trouble with the FreeDB database (don't we all?). It wasn't clear whether the database is preinstalled on the hard drive or whether it gets lookups over the internet, but it's clear that you're stuck with FreeDB for lookups.

Wes also lost several thousand cool points by calling Ogg Vorbis 'Vogg Orbis'. He liked the sound of the ReQuest, but for critical listening he said he would use his megabuck Ayre Universal Player. Sooo...the ReQuest seems like an awful lot of trouble and expense just for background music. He's gotta keep all those CDs close at hand for when he really wants to listen to them, sorta defeating the purpose of loading a music collection on a server.

It's amusing to read reviews of these expensive audio servers. It just makes Slim's design seem infinitely more elegant, flexible and futuristic, as well as ridiculously inexpensive in comparison.

snarlydwarf
2006-05-16, 09:40
Eeek.. long RCA cables? I may not know diddly about hardware: but... um... isn't there a problem running long RCA cables? I thought there was a reason professionals use XLR connectors (ie, balanced) for long low-power runs. Long speaker cables, sure: that's a PA system and not a big deal.. but long RCA cables is bad, isn't it?

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-16, 10:14
Whew, that's a lot of cash for the resulting clumsy setup...

Didn't this firm do any market research? Or will they be selling it to the same folks that buy this garbage:

http://www.referenceaudiomods.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=NOB_C37_C&Category_Code=VOLUME&Product_Count=2

http://marigoaudio.com/vtstuningdots.htm

and the grandaddy of them all:

http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/product/present/newgenpwbdevice.html

ModelCitizen
2006-05-16, 10:30
ReQuest F2.250 audio server: What an incredibly stupid product.

From linked review:
"The standard bakelite knob is certainly the best sounding compromise"

So, someone will buy it I guess. There is no hope.

MC

Pale Blue Ego
2006-05-16, 10:33
ReQuest doesn't really sell to consumers. Their market is custom installers, who do whole-house systems for people with lots of money and little audio or computer experience. That's one reason they name and price products according to the number of CDs they hold. They want to de-emphasize the fact that the 500-CD server is just a 250-CD server with a larger hard drive.

Requiring a video screen for an audio component is another boondoggle that makes little sense. Sure, you can make a fancier graphical interface and do things like screensavers that move with the music, but that's just fluff. It's an admission of GUI failure that you need a big display to find the music you want.

ModelCitizen
2006-05-16, 11:18
ReQuest doesn't really sell to consumers. Their market is custom installers, who do whole-house systems for people with lots of money and little audio or computer experience. That's one reason they name and price products according to the number of CDs they hold. They want to de-emphasize the fact that the 500-CD server is just a 250-CD server with a larger hard drive.

Requiring a video screen for an audio component is another boondoggle that makes little sense. Sure, you can make a fancier "graphical interface and do things like screensavers that move with the music, but that's just fluff. It's an admission of GUI failure that you need a big display to find the music you want.

QED. It's for idiots and someone will buy it.

Quote from linked review:
"Application of the VTS Tuning Dots to the window behind the listening seat. This is a large window measuring four feet by eight feet. Improvements in soundstage dimensionality and image clarity were readily apparent, as well as the removal of harmonic smearing."

They seem to be talking about 40mm plastic discs that you stick to the four corners of your window.

F******* unbelievable. I have a cardboard box that, if you stick it over your speakers, makes the music sound fantastic. It can be had for a mere $700. A pair is $2,000. I'm certain to sell some.

MC

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-16, 11:35
F******* unbelievable. I have a cardboard box that, if you stick it over your speakers, makes the music sound fantastic. It can be had for a mere $700. A pair is $2,000. I'm certain to sell some.

MC

Just as long as you don't encroach on my patent, which is a paper bag you put over your head with holes for your ears.

It immediately improves dimensionality, airiness and soundstage.

Manila brown only, $1000. RoHS compliant and manufactured in an ISO 9001 facility.

P.S. ModelCitizen, you haven't seen anything until you've seen that last link. The previous two are downright reasonable compared to that one. It's one of the strangest pages on the WWW.

ModelCitizen
2006-05-16, 11:51
you haven't seen anything until you've seen that last link. The previous two are downright reasonable compared to that one. It's one of the strangest pages on the WWW.
http://www.belt.demon.co.uk/product/present/newgenpwbdevice.html
It's so bizarre (and it comes from a UK Demon account) that I assumed it was a pisstake.

I think my cardboard boxes will sound at least $700 better than your paper bag idea (good though it is). Perhaps I ought to increase the price and advertise it on the Audiophile forum. There's bound to be more takers then.
Maybe we could join forces and sell a complete solution for $7k or so? Or is that too little?

MC

Mark Lanctot
2006-05-16, 12:13
I think my cardboard boxes will sound at least $700 better than your paper bag idea (good though it is). Perhaps I ought to increase the price and advertise it on the Audiophile forum. There's bound to be more takers then.
Maybe we could join forces and sell a complete solution for $7k or so? Or is that too little?

MC

For specially-chosen cardboard products like that calibrated to be a matched system $10K would be in order...

Back on topic though. ;-)

rudholm
2006-05-16, 12:30
Back in the early days of the CD, I worked for Philips. There are still CD snake oil salesmen out there today, but back then there were more of them since people had less understanding of the implications of digital media. At the office, we would take the ads for the funniest of these products and pin them up to the bulletin board in the copier room.

Vibration Rings, Error-reducing felt-tip markers, Surface Conditioners...

joncourage
2006-05-16, 20:50
QED. It's for idiots and someone will buy it.

Quote from linked review:
"Application of the VTS Tuning Dots to the window behind the listening seat. This is a large window measuring four feet by eight feet. Improvements in soundstage dimensionality and image clarity were readily apparent, as well as the removal of harmonic smearing."

They seem to be talking about 40mm plastic discs that you stick to the four corners of your window.

F******* unbelievable. I have a cardboard box that, if you stick it over your speakers, makes the music sound fantastic. It can be had for a mere $700. A pair is $2,000. I'm certain to sell some.

MC

Now *that* was funny.

(I'm assuming these are Squeezebox compatible?)