Question DTS PlayFi problems on Audiolab Omnia

podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I have a new Audiolab Omnia and it's stopping and dropping the connection, at random. I have a new CAT6 network cable plugged into it and another in my decent spec Dell laptop. I have stopped using WIFI from my 4G router, as it's so unreliable, even in a small living room, with no obstacles in the way. I reboot the laptop and the DTS PlayFi app loads and I connect to the Omnia. I then launch the Spotify app, playing tunes stored locally. There are no other apps running and no browsers open, running the Spotify web browser, for example. This should work anyway, with a 25 to 35Mb connection via 4G. Anyway, I start playing tunes and it's stopping, every now and then, for no reason. No updates in the background and I'm running Windows 10 Pro, which has been solid with everything I run on it. The DTS PlayFi 'support' pages mention memory problems, but I still have loads of RAM available and I can't see any process hogging my CPU either. DTS PlayFi is part of XPERI now and finding real support, is like finding a needle in a haystack. Has anyone else had these issues and did you find a solution? Playing over Bluetooth, via Spotify Connect, is flawless and I can even skip tracks, using the remote control, but the sound quality is inferior to the network connection, which is resampled at CD quality.
 
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Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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I have a new Audiolab Omnia and it's stopping and dropping the connection, at random. I have a new CAT6 network cable plugged into it and another in my decent spec Dell laptop. I have stopped using WIFI from my 4G router, as it's so unreliable, even in a small living room, with no obstacles in the way. I reboot the laptop and the DTS PlayFi app loads and I connect to the Omnia. I then launch the Spotify app, playing tunes stored locally. There are no other apps running and no browsers open, running the Spotify web browser, for example. This should work anyway, with a 25 to 35Mb connection via 4G. Anyway, I start playing tunes and it's stopping, every now and then, for no reason. No updates in the background and I'm running Windows 10 Pro, which has been solid with everything I run on it. The DTS PlayFi 'support' pages mention memory problems, but I still have loads of RAM available and I can't see any process hogging my CPU either. DTS PlayFi is part of XPERI now and finding real support, is like finding a needle in a haystack. Has anyone else had these issues and did you find a solution? Playing over Bluetooth, via Spotify Connect, is flawless and I can even skip tracks, using the remote control, but the sound quality is inferior to the network connection, which is resampled at CD quality.
Sad to say DTS Play Fi is bit of a nightmare.... I really don't know why Audiolab and before that Arcam went with it.
Check out John Darko on YouTube for his opinion......
Have you turned on 'critical listening' mode?
 

podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I can't find the critical listening mode on the app, or the device itself. I know it's easy to find with an Android, or Apple phone, but I have neither, just the DTS PlayFi app installed and updated on my Windows 10 Pro laptop. I tried to 'Upgrade to Premium', but the website never loads, so the embedded licence key window, will never get an update code. There is an option in advanced settings for PlayFI HD, but it's greyed out. Probably needs that upgrade key. Pity there's no button for 'work correctly and stop disconnecting at random'. It's infuriating, as it sounds SUPERB and then goes quiet, for a couple of seconds. I might convert all my tunes to FLAC container format and stick them on a USB drive. VIWizard looks promising, although it's £46 for a full version. The free trial one just gives you the first minute of each track! ANY help with this DTS PlayFi problem, would be appreciated. I have seen the John Darko video and he doesn't seem too impressed either!
 
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Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
1,423
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I can't find the critical listening mode on the app, or the device itself. I know it's easy to find with an Android, or Apple phone, but I have neither, just the DTS PlayFi app installed and updated on my Windows 10 Pro laptop. I tried to 'Upgrade to Premium', but the website never loads, so the embedded licence key window, will never get an update code. There is an option in advanced settings for PlayFI HD, but it's greyed out. Probably needs that upgrade key. Pity there's no button for 'work correctly and stop disconnecting at random'. It's infuriating, as it sounds SUPERB and then goes quiet, for a couple of seconds. I might convert all my tunes to FLAC container format and stick them on a USB drive. VIWizard looks promising, although it's £46 for a full version. The free trial one just gives you the first minute of each track! ANY help with this DTS PlayFi problem, would be appreciated. I have seen the John Darko video and he doesn't seem too impressed either!
Frustrating when you have paid a significant amount for an 'all in one system' and it doesn't work as planned! The Omnia is DLNA/UPNP compatible I believe so you should be able to use any DLNA media server on your PC and send the music to the Omnia ignoring PlayFi completely. Plus Spotify Connect also should work directly from the Spotify app without using the PlayFi app I believe. Good luck!
 

podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I would like to investigate further and try to find a workaround, but the Omnia has developed a fault, within 3 weeks! I have CDs that play perfectly on my Sony 4k blu player and they are skipping on the Omnia! I've just registered the device online, for the 3 year warranty and it's going wrong within 3 weeks. I don't seem to be having much luck with HIFI these days. I will have to return it and not bother with all this state of the art technology, as it obviously hasn't been executed properly. I'm really annoyed and disappointed.
 
I would like to investigate further and try to find a workaround, but the Omnia has developed a fault, within 3 weeks! I have CDs that play perfectly on my Sony 4k blu player and they are skipping on the Omnia! I've just registered the device online, for the 3 year warranty and it's going wrong within 3 weeks. I don't seem to be having much luck with HIFI these days. I will have to return it and not bother with all this state of the art technology, as it obviously hasn't been executed properly. I'm really annoyed and disappointed.
At least it went wrong within warranty.
Joking aside with everyone wanting everything in one box these days it is perhaps not surprising when they find certain bits don't quite work as well as expected. However you would think Audiolab might get a CD player to work.
If you had researched before buying it might have become quite apparent that Play Fi isn't what it should be.
Personally I would be demanding my money back.
 
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podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I did think this software would be more reliable with cabling everywhere. I cannot imagine what is upsetting it and why it would pause every few minutes, with no other network traffic. New cabling and just the Spotify app, playing tunes stored locally and no web browser open. It's a shame, as the sound quality is superb. The CD player section going wrong, is incredible. The optics/servo/transport/DAC and all the other devices, have been in use since Sony and Philips got the Red Book standard going, decades ago. This technology should be honed and reliable, after all these years and there's no excuse for it. This Dire Straits CD plays without any issues, on my Sony 4k blu ray player and it seems to miss bits, with the Omnia. There is no gap, but it seems to forget to play a split seconds worth of music and then continue. It seems random and the CD is in perfect condition. The Audiolab literature boasts about this device being able to read scratched discs etc. This is a perfect disc. I remember seeing a Cary Audio CD player review, many years ago. This piece of kit costs thousands of pounds and I found out that the CD transport was a NINE quid Sanyo unit and although it would have done the job, I don't think using this part could be justified, considering the asking price of the CD player. If you are paying £1600 for an Audiolab Omnia, there should be a certain degree of quality and reliability. I recently threw a Quad Vena 2 away, due to a volume control issue. I'm either really unlucky, or these manufacturers are making products they know will fail, but hoping they fail outside warranty. I would love to know what the most reliable brands are and see if I can do better. I might see if I can get a CD player and amplifier, instead of another Omnia. I did buy a Canton DM75 soundbase from Richer Sounds, many years ago and although it's not HIFI, it plays my tunes on my laptop, via bluetooth and has never let me down. Might look at German HIFI, if there's a next time, because I've had Wharfedale, Quad and now Audiolab and I think they are terrible.
 
I did think this software would be more reliable with cabling everywhere. I cannot imagine what is upsetting it and why it would pause every few minutes, with no other network traffic. New cabling and just the Spotify app, playing tunes stored locally and no web browser open. It's a shame, as the sound quality is superb. The CD player section going wrong, is incredible. The optics/servo/transport/DAC and all the other devices, have been in use since Sony and Philips got the Red Book standard going, decades ago. This technology should be honed and reliable, after all these years and there's no excuse for it. This Dire Straits CD plays without any issues, on my Sony 4k blu ray player and it seems to miss bits, with the Omnia. There is no gap, but it seems to forget to play a split seconds worth of music and then continue. It seems random and the CD is in perfect condition. The Audiolab literature boasts about this device being able to read scratched discs etc. This is a perfect disc. I remember seeing a Cary Audio CD player review, many years ago. This piece of kit costs thousands of pounds and I found out that the CD transport was a NINE quid Sanyo unit and although it would have done the job, I don't think using this part could be justified, considering the asking price of the CD player. If you are paying £1600 for an Audiolab Omnia, there should be a certain degree of quality and reliability. I recently threw a Quad Vena 2 away, due to a volume control issue. I'm either really unlucky, or these manufacturers are making products they know will fail, but hoping they fail outside warranty. I would love to know what the most reliable brands are and see if I can do better. I might see if I can get a CD player and amplifier, instead of another Omnia. I did buy a Canton DM75 soundbase from Richer Sounds, many years ago and although it's not HIFI, it plays my tunes on my laptop, via bluetooth and has never let me down. Might look at German HIFI, if there's a next time, because I've had Wharfedale, Quad and now Audiolab and I think they are terrible.
if this was from a new poster I might have assumed were simply an Audiolab knocker....
Did you audition this device before purchase?
What do you mean when you say you threw away a Vena 2?
Wish I could afford to do that....
Perhaps stick to separates?
And here was me thinking you recently said :-
"It's the best bit of kit, I've ever bought, since getting into HIFI, back in 1988 and I'm using Q Acoustics 3030i on matching stands, on the end of Tellurium Q Ultra Blue cables. Overall, it's a slightly soft top end and rolled of a bit early, bit there is no hint of grain and I can listen to my tunes, literally for hours, every day. "
 
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Tinman1952

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if this was from a new poster I might have assumed were simply a Cambridge knocker....
Did you audition this device before purchase?
What do you mean when you say you threw away a Vena 2?
Wish I could afford to do that....
Perhaps stick to separates?
And here was me thinking you recently said :-
"It's the best bit of kit, I've ever bought, since getting into HIFI, back in 1988 and I'm using Q Acoustics 3030i on matching stands, on the end of Tellurium Q Ultra Blue cables. Overall, it's a slightly soft top end and rolled of a bit early, bit there is no hint of grain and I can listen to my tunes, literally for hours, every day. "
Err... twice you've referred to Cambridge when the Omnia is by Audiolab........ 😉
 

podknocker

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Feb 5, 2021
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I didn't get a chance to audition the unit and I thought that Audiolab would supply a quality product, especially with the number of people buying Audiolab kit and raving about the great British HIFI companies etc. When it's playing, it's superb sound quality and it is the best sounding device, I have ever heard, since getting into HIFI. It really is a pleasure to listen to, but then it will stop giving pleasure and the mood turns to frustration. The fact that it stops playing tunes from my laptop and the CD player skips, when playing discs in perfect condition, is unforgivable. If I'd auditioned the device in a shop and it hadn't failed, unlike mine, I would have bought the unit, without hesitation, for the sound quality alone. I'm not questioning the sound, I'm questioning the build quality and lack of endurance testing, before releasing an expensive HIFI product. It probably cost Audiolab £300 in parts and labour, licencing and shipping. I doubt there's much cash spent in R&D into how a CD player works. They must, like many brands, make a load of profit on these products. I'm never buying UK HIFI again. It's shocking. My Quad Vena 2 developed a motorised pot issue and it did this a month out of warranty. I couldn't sell it and I'm not into hoarding useless British HIFI, in a small flat.
 

Tinman1952

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I didn't get a chance to audition the unit and I thought that Audiolab would supply a quality product, especially with the number of people buying Audiolab kit and raving about the great British HIFI companies etc. When it's playing, it's superb sound quality and it is the best sounding device, I have ever heard, since getting into HIFI. It really is a pleasure to listen to, but then it will stop giving pleasure and the mood turns to frustration. The fact that it stops playing tunes from my laptop and the CD player skips, when playing discs in perfect condition, is unforgivable. If I'd auditioned the device in a shop and it hadn't failed, unlike mine, I would have bought the unit, without hesitation, for the sound quality alone. I'm not questioning the sound, I'm questioning the build quality and lack of endurance testing, before releasing an expensive HIFI product. It probably cost Audiolab £300 in parts and labour, licencing and shipping. I doubt there's much cash spent in R&D into how a CD player works. They must, like many brands, make a load of profit on these products. I'm never buying UK HIFI again. It's shocking. My Quad Vena 2 developed a motorised pot issue and it did this a month out of warranty. I couldn't sell it and I'm not into hoarding useless British HIFI, in a small flat.
Sadly most 'British' HiFi is not made in Britain but manufactured in the Far East. I think you have been very unfortunate but we have all experienced faulty products at one time or another. Just ensure you buy from a store with a good returns policy. Don't let it put you off the many fine products out there. 🙂
 
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podknocker

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I really do admire your optimism, but I will need a lot of convincing, that there is a brand/range/product out there, really up to giving years of pleasure. It's a massive market and you'd think these companies would try their best, to ensure their products give years of use. It's not as if the components they use, are some new technology, it's been around for years.
 

12th Monkey

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I really do admire your optimism, but I will need a lot of convincing, that there is a brand/range/product out there, really up to giving years of pleasure. It's a massive market and you'd think these companies would try their best, to ensure their products give years of use. It's not as if the components they use, are some new technology, it's been around for years.
I've never had a problem with any of my gear, the majority of which was UK-built. The odd fuse, but that's it. Only things that have packed up where a Mordaunt Short sub and a Denon AV amp.
 

podknocker

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Most of the HIFI kit I've bought, has been from non UK companies, but most failures, have been UK based. There have been exceptions. I had a £500 Denon DVD2900 'Universal' disc player, that would read all discs, apart from normal CDs. I also had a NAD T585 'Universal' disc player and this stopped reading anything, so went off for repair. It lasted a couple of days, then failed to open the drawer. I remember the sound quality before it failed and it was the sometimes overused 'etched in air, holographic' quality, with the sound hanging in front of the KEF Q35.2 speakers. This NAD T585 with the matching NAD C356BEE amp and the KEFs, came to £621 in the sale, with some QED 79 strand and banana plugs. Until my recent Omnia, this was the best sounding setup, in my living room. There have been incredible chips, circuits and sound quality, but it's always the mechanical, spinning bits, which seem to fail. As I mentioned earlier, this CD player stuff, has been around for decades and it's something companies need to focus on. It does seem to be the biggest point of failure in HIFI, for me at least. I do think CDs and newer formats, sound better than most streaming alternatives. I am trying to embrace streaming, but the execution of these devices, doesn't seem to have been thought through, or tested properly. I would love to stream CD quality music, without any issues. I'm not sure I'm going to find that any time soon.
 

Tinman1952

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Most of the HIFI kit I've bought, has been from non UK companies, but most failures, have been UK based. There have been exceptions. I had a £500 Denon DVD2900 'Universal' disc player, that would read all discs, apart from normal CDs. I also had a NAD T585 'Universal' disc player and this stopped reading anything, so went off for repair. It lasted a couple of days, then failed to open the drawer. I remember the sound quality before it failed and it was the sometimes overused 'etched in air, holographic' quality, with the sound hanging in front of the KEF Q35.2 speakers. This NAD T585 with the matching NAD C356BEE amp and the KEFs, came to £621 in the sale, with some QED 79 strand and banana plugs. Until my recent Omnia, this was the best sounding setup, in my living room. There have been incredible chips, circuits and sound quality, but it's always the mechanical, spinning bits, which seem to fail. As I mentioned earlier, this CD player stuff, has been around for decades and it's something companies need to focus on. It does seem to be the biggest point of failure in HIFI, for me at least. I do think CDs and newer formats, sound better than most streaming alternatives. I am trying to embrace streaming, but the execution of these devices, doesn't seem to have been thought through, or tested properly. I would love to stream CD quality music, without any issues. I'm not sure I'm going to find that any time soon.
Unfortunately streaming whilst technically superior is not as simple as CD players where you just insert a disc and press play... It needs some knowledge of networking and the correct use of control apps and playback software...which need frequently updating. The mechanical 'spinning' parts will always fail before any solid state electronics.
I cannot see many manufacturers focusing on CD playback as it is generally regarded by all but a few 'diehards' as a declining technology. Blame the smartphone revolution.
I have used many streamers from established HiFi companies and also Raspberry Pi solutions and even an iPad without problems...but it does require an investment in time to understand the various protocols.
Singling out British products as a focus for your frustration does seem a bit silly when as already stated many global companies have a Far East manufacturing arrangement.
 
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podknocker

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I would argue most HIFI is built in this region, but most of the kit I've had issues with, has had the UK company all over it. Far Eastern HIFI brands, using locally sourced parts, seems to do it better, for some reason. I would buy Sony again, for example.
 

Tinman1952

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I would argue most HIFI is built in this region, but most of the kit I've had issues with, has had the UK company all over it. Far Eastern HIFI brands, using locally sourced parts, seems to do it better, for some reason. I would buy Sony again, for example.
Unfortunately your knowledge is not correct. Both Quad and Audiolab have been owned for many years by International Audio Group (IAG) which is based in China......
 

podknocker

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Wherever they're made, or whoever owns them, they are doing something wrong. I've had several IAG products and they've let me down big time. NEVER again. My Sony 4k Blu ray player will play CDs (including HDCD and DTS CDs), DVDs, Blu Rays, 4k Blu Rays, SACDs (and they do sound great), DVD Audio discs and will accept any audio, or video format, on any disc that will fit into the tray, apart from CD ROMs etc. It will also accept these files over USB. It's built like a tank and the sound and picture quality are incredible. I thought the addition of an Omnia, would give me a huge leap in performance and quality of build. The sound quality is there, but the streaming and mechanics, are lacking. I just wish Sony had released a streaming amp and DAC combo, that actually worked, as the Omnia should. I would have had this, in a heartbeat and connected it to my disc player and laptop. Sony's business model doesn't include stuff like this, so I stuck to the well known and 'higher quality' HIFI brands. Looks like I'll be playing tunes via Bluetooth, through my trusty German Canton DM75 and I'm still on the first remote control coin battery, after years!
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I really do admire your optimism, but I will need a lot of convincing, that there is a brand/range/product out there, really up to giving years of pleasure. It's a massive market and you'd think these companies would try their best, to ensure their products give years of use. It's not as if the components they use, are some new technology, it's been around for years.
I’m sorry for your disappointment, as I knew it can be dispiriting. However, there’s lots of great Hifi out there - both new and used. The Omnia is brand spanking new, though the insides may well be reconfigured bits from other components in their range. (I’ve lost track now, as was momentarily thinking they’re part of IAG, but weren’t they bought up by Samsung? No, that’s Arcam. Oh, I give up!). Anyway, maybe it’s teething troubles, though PlayFi isn’t known to be good.

I cannot immediately think of an alternative with a CD drive. But a few possibilities from Cambridge, Marantz, or NAD perhaps?
 
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podknocker

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I might see if I can get a NAD C700 instead, as a replacement. No CD player, but the BluOS platform, seems to be more reliable. I could ditch the screen and go for a cheaper Powernode. No coaxial digital input, on this, however, for my Sony. The NAD C700 has one and is essentially a very similar Class D amp. More power than the Omnia, too.
 
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Tinman1952

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I might see if I can get a NAD C700 instead, as a replacement. No CD player, but the BluOS platform, seems to be more reliable. I could ditch the screen and go for a cheaper Powernode. No coaxial digital input, on this, however, for my Sony. The NAD C700 has one and is essentially a very similar Class D amp. More power than the Omnia, too.
Yes I was going to suggest the Powernode 🙂 but the C700 has that nice coloured screen if you like that kind of thing. Has an HDMI input too. 👍
 

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