Question DTS PlayFi problems on Audiolab Omnia

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podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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I forgot about the eARC! If I can't get a refund, or another model, I am stuck with the Omnia, or another one. I just received an email from one of the main tech guys at Audiolab and he says the servo version may need an update, via CD and he can send one out. Seems odd that a new transport and firmware could be struggling to read a disc format released nearly 40 years ago. If I do this and there's still no joy, then I'm stuck. Of course, the CD won't help with the DTS PlayFi woes. I wish I could find out what causes the app to stop, at random.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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I forgot about the eARC! If I can't get a refund, or another model, I am stuck with the Omnia, or another one. I just received an email from one of the main tech guys at Audiolab and he says the servo version may need an update, via CD and he can send one out. Seems odd that a new transport and firmware could be struggling to read a disc format released nearly 40 years ago. If I do this and there's still no joy, then I'm stuck. Of course, the CD won't help with the DTS PlayFi woes. I wish I could find out what causes the app to stop, at random.
Hope the updated firmware solves the CD problem (it's a brand new product so could very well have a few teething problems...especially if it's a newly designed disc drive).
PlayFi alas is a different matter. I would avoid and try a DLNA/UPNP app like mConnect on IOS or Bubble UPNP on Android. They can connect to a local music server or streaming services and send to the Omnia.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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I've just seen the Cambridge Audio Evo 75 with Dali Oberon 5 combo, reviewed a few hours ago, on this site. That's what I should have bought 2 years ago and not the complicated nonsense, I currently own.
 
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knaithrover

Moderator
Nov 24, 2013
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I tried the playfi app with an Arcam streamer a few years ago and couldn't believe how bad it was, clunky not intuitive at all and kept freezing. The Arcam sounded great but I sold it on after about a month because of the god awful app. Best avoided, Bluesound and Sonos have the most stable apps
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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570
You've felt the pain, I'm feeling now! It's stable at the moment. I can get 2 hours of glorious sound quality, from my Omnia, but sometimes get only 2 minutes. I have tested at different times of the day and been careful not to use the network, more than I need to. I don't have any crazy software running on my laptop, so the hardware's not being stressed. It really is peculiar. The more I read about the DTS app, the more I wish I'd not bothered. I will keep it, if I can use it, as much as I do now, so long as the CD player behaves itself. I am trying a few workarounds etc. I've not had much luck with HIFI kit, over the last 20 years. It's a real shame, because the Omnia sounds incredible. I'm stunned how clean, controlled and detailed it sounds, even with average speakers. The precision of the sound is intoxicating, especially with CDs. Listening to recordings of The Carpenters, which are as old as me, is really astonishing. When they were releasing their albums, there was very little, if any, decent playback kit. There was vinyl, on very average turntables and using poor quality speakers. Or you had a car radio and speakers and this would be at AM or long wave quality, so it would probably sound rough. Since CD and newer formats have appeared, these old recordings can now be enjoyed at something approaching studio quality, given the right electronics. I do hope a device appears, that really is user friendly, reliable and delivers studio quality reproduction. The technology exists, it's just the execution and implementation. I thought this might be the answer to all my music needs, but not quite.
 

G-man

Active member
Feb 9, 2022
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I've just bought one of these. No problem with the CD (yet!) and it sounds great.
The DTS Play-Fi is a different matter. Using the Android app but still get the same problems as you. Having done some online research on Play-Fi (after buying unfortunately rather than before) it's hard to find anyone that will recommend it, but plenty of people who have had problems (often with drop outs) and sent the unit back. This seems to apply products from various manufacturers who have used it. Even the reviews of the app on the play store are nearly all very negative. Its obviously caused problems.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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570
Yes, your new WIFI HIFI will sound great, when it works! I will keep mine, if my CD player works, because of the sound quality. I will try and find other ways of getting my tunes into the Omnia, that don't require the dreadful PlayFi app. I can get a TV into it and my Sony 4k Blu Ray player etc. I have network cables between my Omnia and router and between the router and my laptop. I really thought this would fix the issues. It's software problems, but I'm unsure why the DTS people, can't offer an explanation, as to why it's stopping and dropping. If there's a service, or some code running, on my laptop, that keeps upsetting the app, then surely this can be addressed. I don't think anyone is truly investigating this software and sadly, I don't think there will be a better solution, any time soon. Some have stated it's not Audiolabs fault, the app is unstable, but it is their fault, as they decided to use this platform, for their streaming option. Any company, seriously interested in the authentic reproduction of music, could have developed an in-house app and tested it, on current operating systems and phones, until they were confident, it would work reliably and be integrated seamlessly, into their product. Instead, they used a poor quality piece of software, in the hope of avoiding and deflecting criticism. I'm unwilling to spend even more money on kit now, as I have other interests. I have spent thousands, over the years and a lot of kit has let me down and I'm now ending that, with the Omnia.
 
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Tinman1952

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May 19, 2021
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Any company, seriously interested in the authentic reproduction of music, could have developed an in-house app and tested it, on current operating systems and phones, until they were confident, it would work reliably
I agree. Naim, Cambridge Audio and Bluesound have done just that and have profited from the reliability of their software. Companies trying to 'farm out' the problem to poorly designed third party software do not deserve much support.....
 
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podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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I received a CD, from Audiolab and updated the servo version. I also downloaded the latest firmware onto a USB drive and flashed the device. I have also obtained a premium licence code, from Phorus support, part of the DTS group. I am now using the Spotify app, to play locally stored music, not using the web browser, through the DTS PlayFi app. I have the PlayFi HD box ticked and I'm sending tunes to my Omnia, without a CAT6 cable, although I still have a LAN cable plugged into the 4G router, from my laptop. I will also try totally cable free. It seems stable, but I will need to test for much longer and then try the Spotify web based method, along with BBC radio 4 on iplayer etc. I will see how it goes. With the premium licence, there is an option now to use the video mode, instead of the default music mode. Video mode should allow me to sync the sound to pictures, something not possible in music mode. This should let me stream movies without the 5 second sound delay. Sadly, the Omnia's CD transport refuses to play my perfect condition, new an old CDs, without stopping for a split second, at random. It sometimes 'rushes' into tracks and seems to trip over itself, playing CDs I have really looked after. My Sony UBP-X800 will play any disc, without issues. The Audiolab Omnia is £1600 of state of the art kit and it can't keep up with a format released 40 years ago! Shocking. If it continues to give me trouble, I will ask for a swap, with a different brand. I can manage without a screen, so will look at the Bluesound Powernode, with the remote and this comes to £900 and many people have had great success with this brand. The BluOS platform does sound like it's stable and quite flexible, with regards to connectivity and internal adjustment, for subs etc.
 
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podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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570
I have now expressed my wish to return it, not for another one, but for something else. I still can't believe how incredible it sounds, but also how unreliable it is. It's such a shame. I do hope I can get something using BluOS and get some better luck!
 

RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
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I think I've mentioned I'm using a 6000A (with a CCA) in one of my systems. Fantastic little amplifier and the CCS rarely gives any trouble. This is the reason I didnt get the 'Play' version of the 6000A and why I would not even consider the Omnia.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
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'Jack of all trades, master of none' springs to mind, with the Omnia. I'm really annoyed, as it's the best sound quality, I've ever heard, in 35 years of buying kit. I want the sound, but I also want streaming and I still have hundreds of CDs. I will find something. My dream would be, being able to afford a NAD M33 and it would be even more incredible with a top notch CD player, built in. I know that's not the future of this type of product, but in my opinion, there's loads of data on CDs and this rarely gets extracted and reproduced correctly, with most of the kit out there. I've been mesmerised with the Omnia's CD playback, when it's worked. I might have to sacrifice quality, for convenience and just try to obtain higher res files. The Powernode does support Bluetooth HD and I know Qualcomm are releasing lossless Bluetooth chips this year, so I might wait. If Spotify pull their finger out and finally go with HIFI quality, the lossless chips, streamers and headphones, should sound terrific.
 
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12th Monkey

Moderator
'Jack of all trades, master of none' springs to mind, with the Omnia. I'm really annoyed, as it's the best sound quality, I've ever heard, in 35 years of buying kit.
That feels like a bit of contradiction.

I think it's clear that you aren't happy with it, so it's time to do something about it. Which doesn't mean typing the same thing again - you should be entitled to a replacement at worst, and surely it's worth trying that as you were otherwise happy with how it sounds.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
99
46
570
Bluesound Powernode with Dali Oberon 5 comes to about the same money. Probably the best option, although I will listen to this setup, at my local Richer Sounds, before buying.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
99
46
570
I've reset the Omnia, updated the servo version, again, using the CD supplied by Audiolab. I've downloaded the latest firmware again and flashed the device, a second time. All my CDs are now playing, all the way through, apart from a new Dire Straits CD, which, ironically, I bought to test the unit. This does play, without issues, like all my discs, on my Sony 4k Blu Ray player. Bizarre! I have obtained a premium DTS licence and ticked the 'PlayFi HD' box and I'm finally sending all my tunes, radio stations and other stuff, to my Omnia, without a CAT6 LAN cable plugged in. It sounds incredible and it doesn't stop and drop, at random. I know it's been advised, that I choose the enhanced quality option, but this is option is only available, when using the Apple or Android app. I had no idea I had to upgrade the software, to be able to use the device, at it's true potential. Phorus support said the audio stream is converted to FLAC and trying to send this, would make it crash, regardless of how much network bandwidth I have. It's now converting the audio to FLAC and able to send it to my new WIFI HIFI, wirelessly. The Omnia's network input, then resamples the audio at CD quality. I'm mesmerised how good it sounds. I think IAG and DTS/Phorus need to give consumers a full licence, at £1600 and then they can appreciate and enjoy the unit at default 'out of the box' settings. I work in IT and do a lot of server and network support, so I'm not ignorant to protocols and config, but it's not clear in the release notes, or literature, that you have to shove a product key, into the app, to get any sort of quality and stablility. I assumed this key was to allow multi room and other fancy setups. At the start, I did notice BBC radio 4 was OK, most of the time and then when I played stuff at decent quality, it tended to stop and drop a lot more. It looks like the free, basic download, really doesn't like anything, but the lowest bit rate. It's crackers. I have access to hundreds of radio stations and they are now playing at really good quality. I hope it stays this way and it's given me an incentive to get some better speakers, like the DALI Oberon 5 and I get the most out of the Omnia's incredible output. It's been a nightmare, but finally getting there, after 4 weeks.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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I've reset the Omnia, updated the servo version, again, using the CD supplied by Audiolab. I've downloaded the latest firmware again and flashed the device, a second time. All my CDs are now playing, all the way through, apart from a new Dire Straits CD, which, ironically, I bought to test the unit. This does play, without issues, like all my discs, on my Sony 4k Blu Ray player. Bizarre! I have obtained a premium DTS licence and ticked the 'PlayFi HD' box and I'm finally sending all my tunes, radio stations and other stuff, to my Omnia, without a CAT6 LAN cable plugged in. It sounds incredible and it doesn't stop and drop, at random. I know it's been advised, that I choose the enhanced quality option, but this is option is only available, when using the Apple or Android app. I had no idea I had to upgrade the software, to be able to use the device, at it's true potential. Phorus support said the audio stream is converted to FLAC and trying to send this, would make it crash, regardless of how much network bandwidth I have. It's now converting the audio to FLAC and able to send it to my new WIFI HIFI, wirelessly. The Omnia's network input, then resamples the audio at CD quality. I'm mesmerised how good it sounds. I think IAG and DTS/Phorus need to give consumers a full licence, at £1600 and then they can appreciate and enjoy the unit at default 'out of the box' settings. I work in IT and do a lot of server and network support, so I'm not ignorant to protocols and config, but it's not clear in the release notes, or literature, that you have to shove a product key, into the app, to get any sort of quality and stablility. I assumed this key was to allow multi room and other fancy setups. At the start, I did notice BBC radio 4 was OK, most of the time and then when I played stuff at decent quality, it tended to stop and drop a lot more. It looks like the free, basic download, really doesn't like anything, but the lowest bit rate. It's crackers. I have access to hundreds of radio stations and they are now playing at really good quality. I hope it stays this way and it's given me an incentive to get some better speakers, like the DALI Oberon 5 and I get the most out of the Omnia's incredible output. It's been a nightmare, but finally getting there, after 4 weeks.
Full marks for persistence! 😀👍
 
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RoA

Well-known member
Feb 11, 2021
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Bluesound Powernode with Dali Oberon 5 comes to about the same money. Probably the best option, although I will listen to this setup, at my local Richer Sounds, before buying.
I don't personally think the BS Powernode has the amplification quality of the Audiolab but as an integrated do it all solution with a 'mature' streaming platform its tempting.
 

podknocker

Well-known member
Feb 5, 2021
99
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570
The Audiolab sound quality, is probably better than the Bluesound, but the Powernode is rated at 80w per channel and being essentially class D, would be more efficient and cooler. I've not heard the Bluesound Powernode, but many think it's a leaner and more analytical sound, than the Audiolab topology. I think I would prefer this class D sound and it is a very tidy solution. If my Omnia does give up the ghost, under warranty, then I will be looking at the Powernode and DALIs. Also, as you mentioned, the 'mature' platform, does seem to have been released after lengthy testing and many people are delighted with the ease of use and functionality. I watched John Darko's video, with the Powernode and KEF sub and it did seem really flexible.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
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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.
The point previously made is that since 2004 it is no longer a 'British' company. It is owned by IAG. They may have an office in the UK but all manufacturing is done in their huge Chinese manufacturing facility. So I am not sure what point you are trying to make......
 

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