These days our music is scattered all over the place. I have my massive iTunes music library on my home computer, I have a selection of music on my phone, I listen to Pandora Internet Radio at work, Sirius Satellite Radio in the car, and I even have a couple of (gasp) CDs scattered about. Cambridge Audio has one product that brings all that music together and lets you enjoy it at the highest quality; the Sonata NP30 Network Music Player.
The Sonata NP30 is like a brain for your jumbled mess of music. Connecting wirelessly to my home network was a breeze. Then by using UPnP (Univeral Plug and Play), the NP30 is able to access any music on any computer in the network, and it actually enhances the quality of the audio. It supports most file formats, and can play up to studio-quality 24-bit files. I was fortunate enough to use Harman Kardon's beautiful GLA-55 computer speakers, so I could really hear the clear, undistorted sound. You do need to use an Ethernet connection to get the full 24-bit play in all its glory.
You also have access to music streaming services like Pandora, and over 20,000 Internet radio stations, as well as Podcasts. Navigation for that many options needs to be good, and it is on the player, with a fast-scrolling dial that you push in to select. Options show up on the four-line LCD display. You can browse the thousands of stations by genre, station location, station name and more, and it saves up to 20 presets. Want to know what they are listening to in Croatia? UuVol radio can take you there. From Croatia, it only took me seconds to find all three Internet streams from my favorite local radio station: WXPN, WXPN-HD2, and Xponential radio.
UuVol is one of the ways Cambridge Audio really makes this player work. The platform provides the venue to aggregate all of your sources of online music. By signing up, you can organize your favorite Internet radio stations and streaming services in one place, and you can access them all through the NP30, without needing a computer. I created an account at UuVol.com and entered the registration key on my NP30. From there you can add any stations or streaming services the NP30 supports, which include Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius and plenty more.
On the UuVol website, I entered my log-in information for Pandora, and I was instantly able to use it on my NP30. I was even able to “thumbs up” and “thumbs down” songs through the player. The remote has an interaction button that will bring up the specific menu for each music service. I wish I had an iPhone or iPad to use the UuVol Remote App for iOS devices, and control the NP30 that way. It would have made scrolling through my media even easier. The included IR remote does the job though, and has plenty of clearly labeled buttons.
At $600, this is a reasonable price for people who are serious about audio. You will want to have a receiver and quality speakers to get the full 24-bit sound. Cambridge recommends their AR30 V2 receiver and speakers from their Sirocco range. You also need to know how to get your computer open to UPnP. I had to dig around in my router settings and get the right ports opened.
The Sonata NP30 can be the centerpiece of any audiophile's AV rack. All the music in the world is at your fingertips. You can forget about docking your phone, you can leave the computer in the other room, and you'll never, ever, need to dig through that pile of CDs, so just get rid of them already! EG