This week we tested the NuPrime WR-100, a compact multi-room network audio player equipped with analog and digital outputs. A device which, once paired up with a basic DAC, a DAC with an integrated headphone amplifier, or even an active speaker, will allow you to listen to audio files, Internet radio services and music streaming services such as Spotify.
The NuPrime WR-100 is what we call in high-tech jargon a DLNA renderer. In other words, it is a network device whose purpose is to receive multimedia content from a range of sources connected to a home network. As far as the WR-100 is concerned, only audio stream is supported and can be received from any computer or smartphone. As such, the device functions as a sound card which communicates with compatible devices connected to your home network. In practice, the NuPrime WR-100 receives audio stream sent by a smartphone, a tablet, a computer, or even a NAS (Synology, for example), which it then stores in its memory buffer for a few milliseconds before transferring this information to an internal DAC which converts it to audible sound (it can also send this stream as a digital signal via the optical S/PDIF output).
NuPrime WR-100: DLNA compatibility explained
The DLNA transmission protocol is handled by a wide variety of computing devices. Most Android smartphones and tablets feature integrated audio players which are compatible with DLNA rendering devices. To start enjoying your music, simply select the DLNA renderer in your audio player?s playback menu. Windows 10 is also compatible thanks to the Read With command found in the File Explorer. The NuPrime WR-100 can thus be used to read all of your music, from MP3s to 24-bit/96 kHz FLAC files.
But the NuPrime WR-100 network audio player is not limited to the DLNA protocol, which is not the most convenient technology when it comes to listening to music via streaming services. While it is possible to listen to music via Qobuz or Google Music with an Android smartphone and the BubbleUPnP app, Spotify requires the use of the Spotify Connect protocol. To enable NuPrime WR-100 users to listen to music from a wider range of sources, NuPrime has integrated Qualcomm AllPlay technology into the WR-100 network audio player.
NuPrime WR-100: Qualcomm AllPlay streaming
Qualcomm AllPlay technology is compatible with the Spotify Connect protocol. As a result, Spotify?s official app can be used with the NuPrime WR-100. Qualcomm is also compatible with TuneIn Internet radio services. Lastly, Qualcomm technology makes it possible to control several NuPrime WR-100 network audio players simultaneously, thus enabling a multi-room listening experience.
NuPrime WR-100: how it works
Installing the NuPrime WR-100 does not require a degree in rocket science. In our case, we nonetheless had to restart the device in order to configure it. Several options were available to us: first, press the NuPrime WR-100?s WPS button, then that of our Internet router, to connect the device to our home network. Second, connect a smartphone directly via a WiFi connection, then use the NuPrime mobile app in AP mode to configure the device. Or simply use an Ethernet cable. We preferred this last option.
The NuPrime Audio app prompts the user to name the NuPrime WR-100. This is an important functionality for users whose homes are equipped with several media players, as it makes it possible to assign a name based on the room in which the device is installed.
NuPrime WR-100: ergonomics and sound quality
The NuPrime Audio app is able to detect DLNA servers on a home network, as well as audio files stored on a smartphone?s memory card. The app?s user interface is clear and well laid out. As far as audio quality is concerned, the mini-jack analog stereo output is rather weak and of mediocre quality. Fortunately, the presence of an S/PDIF optical output makes it possible to pair up the NuPrime WR-100 with an external DAC. A hi-fi listening experience is thus possible.
NuPrime WR-100 : conclusions
The Nuprime WR-100 is easy to use and its control app is well designed. The fact that it is possible to use the device with any app designed to control a DLNA renderer is attractive. The analog line level output is satisfactory, but it is best to use the digital output with an external DAC or an amplifier fitted with an integrated DAC.