Yamaha CD-N301 Network CD Player Review 71


While the traditional CD player may have lost its place in many hi-fi systems, the market for network players, often referred too as ‘streamers’, is better than ever. With high resolution downloads, internet radio, and smartphone streaming being as popular as they are, a streamer is fast becoming a must-have component in any hi-fi system.

However many people, such as myself, prefer physical media and own a large CD collection. Sure, there are plenty of CD players available – but for those who wish to maintain a clutter-free rack, an integrated solution is preferred. Enter the yamaha CD-N301.

Despite being an entry-level component, Yamaha’s CD-N301 packs a wealth of features and high quality components into its slimline, aluminium-fronted chassis. Not only is it a high quality CD player, it’s also a fully-featured streamer – offering up DLNA playback, spotify connect, vTuner internet radio, Apple AirPlay, and smartphone app control. It supports WAV and FLAC high res audio up to 24-bit, 192KHZ, as well as all other common file formats such as MP3 and WMA.

Other features include a highly regarded Burr-Brown DAC, separate power supplies for the CD and network sections, and an optimised circuit layout insuring the shortest possible signal path for the best audio quality.

In the box, you’ll find the player itself, a remote, power and interconnect cables, and some documentation. Yamaha’s packaging is always top-class, and this player is no exception – the player’s cloth wrapping protecting the finish, and tiny pieces of tape and foam keeping the moving parts of the CD mechanism firmly held in place during shipping.

First impressions

Out of the box, this player immediately impresses with its build quality. Despite being a fairly lightweight component, it’s well put together – its sturdy chassis supported by a wrap-around top panel, and thick aluminium facia. 4 Large padded feet underneath allow air to flow underneath the player, and keep it firmly situated on any surface.

On the front, you’ll find the disc tray with its accompanying eject button, and the units display, situated in the centre between 2 sets of controls. To the left are controls for power, source selection and pure direct – which disables the display and digital output circuitry to achieve the best possible sound quality. Like many Yamaha products, the power switch is a physical, hard power switch – so if the unit is powered off at the front panel, it can’t be powered from the remote or the app. You can leave the front panel switch on, however, to use the network or remote standby functions – and there’s an auto standby mode allowing the unit to go into standby after a user-configurable period of inactivity.

To the right, you’ll find transport controls (play, stop, next and previous), as well as the rotary encoder used to control the unit and a return button. These controls cannot be used to access the units configuration menu – you’ll need the remote for that. I would like to see the ability to, for example, hold the return or stop buttons to access the menu, negating the need for the units remote altogether.

All controls are high quality – and offer up a nice tactile feel. They’re also very responsive – there’s no delay as the player acts upon your button presses. The CD tray is particularly nice, gliding quickly and smoothly from the player putting many more expensive players to shame. The transport itself is virtually silent during playback – and there’s very little noise as the player reads the discs table of contents.

Around back, you’ll find analogue outputs, as well as coaxial and optical digital outputs to feed an external DAC if desired. There’s a 10/100 ethernet jack for networking, and a USB DC jack to power Yamaha’s YWA-10 wireless adapter if you don’t have an ethernet port nearby. Finally, the unit is powered by a standard figure of 8 mains lead – meaning that unlike many products at this price, the cable is replaceable.

The Remote

Yamaha rarely fail to impress with the quality of their remotes – and this one is no exception. It’s a thin, chunky controller, with a decent amount of weight and a logical control layout. Power is via 2 included AA batteries, slotted in underneath a rear cover which snaps securely into place. The controls, despite being of the standard rubber-dome variety and a little small, feel great when pressed. Range is great, and responses are instantaneous.

Usage

By far the preferred method for controlling the CD-N301 is via the free NP Controller app, available for download under iOS and android from their respective app stores. For this review, the unit was controlled almost exclusively via the iOS control app.

The first thing I noticed when powering up the CD-N301 for the first time was the speed at which it booted. While many network players can take up to a minute to get going, the CD-N301 is powered and connected within a few seconds. On first power up, the unit starts up in CD mode – in future, it’ll remember your last used source, though if you were listening to internet radio it won’t automatically load your last station – which is a feature I’d like to see.

Upon inserting a disc, the table of contents is quickly analysed. If you closed the tray in the conventional manner using the appropriate button, the player will stop and await your command. Give the front of the tray a gentle push, and the player will close the tray, analyse the disc and begin playback automatically.

CD playback can be controlled using the mobile app, right down to jumping to specific tracks. You can also use the transport controls on the remote or the front of the unit – turning the scroll wheel is a great way to quickly skip through tracks, and a feature I use frequently. The player supports the usual programming functions, as well as shuffle and repeat. CD text is supported, and the unit can also play back MP3 CDs – playing back the files in alpha-numeric order.

Internet Radio

Like many Yamaha products, and products from many other manufacturers, the CD-N301 is equipped with the vTuner internet radio streaming service. vTuner is one of the largest internet radio providers, and currently offers over 30,000 stations worldwide, covering almost every language, genre and quality imaginable. There are also a range of podcasts available, such as those from the BBC.

As you would expect, internet radio works flawlessly. You can browse stations by location, genre, most popular or recently added. There’s no search function which would be a useful addition, though you do have the ability to bookmark your favourite stations, and even create multiple groups of bookmarks if desired.

Unfortunately, while the CD-N301 can certainly recall bookmarks via its own user interface or the app, it offers no way to manage your bookmarks via the unit itself. To bookmark a station, or edit your bookmarks, you must navigate to the vTuner website, and provide your unit ID. From there, you can manage your bookmarks via a web-based interface. It’s not a problem when you get used to it – and pretty soon I had several BBC stations, as well as many other stations bookmarked in groups. However, it would be nice if this could be done from the app.

Once a station is playing, you can view the station name, current play time, and, if supported, the name of the currently playing song. There’s no reply feature, which is an interactive feature used by some stations and would be a nice addition here. Quality, as you would expect, depends on the station itself – however I found even low-resolution MP3 streams sounded more than acceptable, both via the CD-N301’s built-in DAC and its digital outputs.

Playing From A Server

The CD-N301 supports playback from any DLNA-compliant media server. Many NAS drives support this feature, as do several modern routers with USB ports designed to connect and network a standard external hard drive. The player also supports media servers such as those built into windows – and offers step-by-step details in the user manual to help you get up and running.

The player allows you to browse music by album, artist, genre or playlist. If there’s something the player hasn’t detected, you can browse manually through your server’s folder structure.

During playback, the player will display the metadata (artist, title and album) if available, as well as the currently elapsed time. There’s no way to view the remaining or total time, or file information such as bitrate or format. All transport controls work as expected (though the player lacks the ability to search through a track), and file loading is as responsive as one could hope for.

Smartphone Playback

As well as support for Apple’s AirPlay, the CD-N301 enables you to stream content from your smartphone’s music library directly using the NP Controller app. On iOS at least, the interface resembles that of the standard Apple music player, with the ability to browse by album, artist, genre, composer, and playlist, or view a complete list of the tracks stored on your device.

Album, artist, and title information is displayed during playback, and you get basic transport controls (play, stop, previous and next). When streaming from a device, the next/previous controls on the unit and remote don’t work as expected – and as with server playback, there’s no way to search through a track.

AirPlay

Apple’s AirPlay technology allows you to stream content from devices such as an iPhone, iPod or iPad, and any PC or Mac running iTunes. As expected, it works flawlessly – iTunes detecting the presence of the CD-N301 and making it instantly available as an AirPlay device. Once selected, the CD-N301 will switch to the appropriate source as soon as you start playing a track. When streaming via AirPlay, the transport controls, even those on the front of the unit, allow you to skip tracks and control playback.

I had no issues streaming content with the CD-N301. No matter which source i used, whether it was my iPhone, server, net radio or AIrPlay, the player performed as expected with no stuttering or dropouts. Load times are exponentially fast, even when streaming large files over a busy network. I didn’t test the units SPotify capabilities – I don’t own a spotify subscription, and have no intention of getting one. However it’s a useful feature for those that do, and I see no reason why it shouldn’t perform admirably.

Sound

With such a high feature count from such an affordable component, you’d be forgiven for expecting the CD-N301 to sound distinctly average. But that’s not the case. In fact, whether it’s streaming via AirPlay from my iTunes library, or spinning a disc, this is one of the most musically involving players I’ve ever heard. It’s got a touch of warmth which lends itself to poor recordings and low-quality internet radio streams, and enough neutrality to make the best of great recordings – vinyl rips and early classic rock recordings sound simply stunning.

Halestorm’s ‘Live In Philly’, one of my current favourites, is rendered with a beautiful 3-dimensional sound stage – amp hiss and crackle intact. The CD-N301 places you right int eh middle of the audience – and as the intro builds, there’s no doubt you’re in for 1 hell of a musical journey. And the CD-N301 doesn’t disappoint – pounding out Arejay’s hard-hitting drum solos, and delivering Lzzy’s powerful vocals with finesse.

From hard rock, to metal, to blues to pop. The CD-N301 extracts the best from every musical genre you throw at it. It’s just as happy pounding out Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ as it is John Legend’s ‘Ordinary People’. And it displays astounding rhythmic ability during Doug Macleod’s BBC sessions recording of ‘North County Woman’.

Orchestral rock, such as Meat Loaf’s ‘I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)’ is delivered in all its glory, with loud, belting choruses. The quieter, subtle parts are left untouched, sound staging is great, and the emotion of the track is palpable.

Summary

While I could spend many hours, and many pages analysing the CD-N301s performance with a range of tracks and genres, there really is no need. Simply put, the CD-N301 is everything a hi-fi component should be. It drags the best from any music you throw at it, delivering a performance filled with emotion, sonic muscle, and a sprinkling of soul-stirring warmth making it easy to listen too for hours on end.

And, indeed, its greatest strength is its only shortcoming. It’s simply impossible to turn it off. This player sounds so good, I find myself slotting in disc after disc, streaming file after file, and all the time astounded by the results. The sound this little component produces is simply jaw dropping, and must be heard to be believed.

It’s one of the most versatile components on the market. Sure, it lacks digital inputs, and there’s no USB input for external drives or iDevices. But given the units streaming capabilities, these are extras you’re not likely to miss. And, for the price, you certainly can’t complain.

So, treat yourself. Treat your system. Buy a Yamaha CD-S301. I did – the CD-N301 currently occupies a space in my hi-fi rack, and it’ll be going nowhere for a long, long time. You deserve it. Your system deserves it. And, if nothing else, your music collection deserves it. Needless to say – highly recommended.


About Ashley

I founded Audio Appraisal a few years ago and continue to regularly update it with fresh content. An avid vinyl collector and coffee addict, I can often be found at a workbench tinkering with a faulty electronic device, tweaking a turntable to extract the last bit of detail from those tiny grooves in the plastic stuff, or relaxing in front of the hi-fi with a good album. A musician, occasional producer and sound engineer, other hobbies include software programming, web development, long walks and occasional DIY. Follow @ashleycox2

Share Your Thoughts

71 thoughts on “Yamaha CD-N301 Network CD Player Review

  • Pepe

    Hi Ashley, don´t you know, last firmware of CD-N301 is 1.09? I don´t know why Airplay and Spotify not works and Server option is O.K. (works). Spotify is updated and firmware is 1.09.

  • Jarek

    Hi,
    Have you got a chance of playing it with different amps and speakers? I’m considering bying Q Acustics 3020 speakers and this Yamaha player – what compact size amp do you recommend to pair with them (budget for amp ca. 1k USD)
    Thanks!
    Jarek

      • Kris W

        Ashley , Why do you prefer CD-NT670D over this CD-N301 ? Is the sound better ?
        The CD-NT670D has no digital output so you couldn’t use a external DAC if you wanted to.

        • Ashley Post author

          My preference has mainly to do with the software. The CD-N301 is running on an older, inferior platform. The apps are not as good, and if one device were to become unsupported and stop receiving firmware updates it would be the N301. The CD-NT670D runs the much newer and vastly superior MusicCast system, has many more features and much better software and control apps and is also superior hardware wise too. You make a valid point regarding the DAC as the CD-NT670D does indeed have no digital output, but I never found it lacking and don’t feel that a DAC upgrade would be necessary.

  • Jeff Burton

    I’ve had my CD-N301 for roughly 2 years and until today has been working perfectly well.

    Whilst playing a CD it stopped working suddenly with the CD still inside. I cannot get any power output at all. have tried changing the fuse in the plug but it’s not that causing the power outage.

    Nothing else in the house has been impacted so I’m baffled by what has happened. Could the machine have just failed ?

    is it worth getting it repaired ?

    Thanks for any help or advice you can offer

    • Ashley Post author

      Certainly doesn’t sound normal. You say you’ve tried another fuse, have you also tried a second power cable just in case it is that? Unlikely, but worth a try. You could also try leaving the unit unplugged, but with the power switch on, for a period of time. If neither of those solutions fix the problem, it is likely that something inside the unit has failed. It’s probably not worth getting it repaired unless you’re skilled in DIY electronics repair.

  • Roy

    I bought the CDN-301 yesterday and set it up in my home network. Everything is working as it should apart from being able to control Airplay using the Yamaha NP app.

    I’m using iTunes and Windows Media Player on a Windows 10 PC. iTunes “sees” the CDN-301 as an external device and it plays from the PC through the CDN-301 (via Ethernet) ok – no problems at all. I’ve also given the CDN-301 a fixed IP (BT Hub 5).

    When I use the NP controller app on an HTC one Android phone (also tried an iPhone) everything can be controlled as it should eg WMP, network radio but no lists or music show when I click the on the Airplay icon – although it does set the CDN-301 to play “Airplay”. So the Airplay app function communicates with the CDN-301 but something is stopping it seeing the iTunes library.

    I’ve also tried using the app on an iPhone and iPad with the same results. iTunes is configured to share music. I really want to use my iTunes library with Airplay and control it from my phone, not the PC.

    Do you have any idea what the problem could be?

    • Ashley Post author

      When you access the AirPlay portion of the app, it won’t show you a list of music. AirPlay is a means to stream audio from a device to a streamer and works much like Bluetooth, albeit over a network. When streaming AirPlay you must select the music on the source device, I.E the PC. The way to achieve what you want would be to enable windows 10’s media streaming functionality and access your PC as a DLNA media server, then locate your iTunes music folder and include it in the windows ‘music’ library if it’s not already. See This Article and This article.

      • Roy

        Thanks for the reply Ashley. I had assumed that the Airplay function on the phone would work much like the DLNA function where I can see all my iTunes music files and playlists. So the only function that the Airplay button has on the app is simply to select “Airplay” function?

        Unfortunately using the DLNA access via the app is very slow (I have well over 150 GB of music files).

        The spec for the CDN-301 states it will play FLAC but doesn’t mention Apple lossless (ALAC)?
        I’ve ripped all my CDs to ALAC but they appear to be playing via Airplay ok or are they being re-sampled to a lower bit rate on the fly?

        • Ashley Post author

          When you play an ALAC file via iTunes iTunes is handling the file itself and simply streaming the audio to the device. I’m not entirely sure if the file is resampled, though that’s certainly possible. I don’t know whether the CD-N301 supports ALAC natively, and don’t have one here to test, however if you move an ALAC file to your DLNA server and attempt to play it using the Yamaha’s network function that should determine whether it is supported.

  • Roy

    Can anyone confirm if the CDN-301 will play a CD while mounted on it’s end (vertically). Due to limited space the only option I have is to mount it this way. My current Rotel CD player RCD-965BX will not play CDs mounted this way!

    • Ashley Post author

      Afraid I can’t confirm it. I did move the player around a couple of times while it was playing and it never jumped but I never tried it vertically. It certainly isn’t designed to be vertically mounted. If I were you I’d be tempted to look at one of the Pro-Ject CD players with a slot-loading CD drive which should be able to play in a vertical position.

      • Roy

        I primarily want this CDN-301 for streaming capabilities and if it does play CDs while mounted vertically this will be a bonus. I guess I won’t get an answer from Yamaha so hopefully someone may test this for me.

  • Julien

    Hi all,
    (sorry if my english is not very well, I’m French … ;-))
    I have a problem when I wake the player when it is in stand-by mode.
    Description of the issue :
    – The player is in standby mode (the power button is pushed but the front panel display is off)
    – I press eject button ; the player switches “standby mode” to “on mode”
    – I insert a CD (and I press eject button to insert CD inside the player)
    – The front panel screen displays “CD” but the CD playback doesn’t start
    – I press Play button : after a few seconds, the playback starts but the front panel displays “No disc” (where as the CD is playing)
    Could you make these actions and tell me the result ?
    Thanks you very much for your help.

      • Julien

        Yes. I use firmware version 1.04.
        This issue is very strange. It seems to be a software issue.
        If I eject-insert again or turn off-turn on with power button, no problem.

        • Ashley Post author

          Very odd. When the issue occurs, if you repeatedly press the source select button to cycle through the inputs, when you get back to CD does the issue persist?

          • Julien

            Yes, the problem persists. The playing starts but no Disc is displayed.
            There is one case with no problem : I turn off the player with app, if I turn on by tapping on eject cd with app, no problem, track information is displayed.

            • Ashley Post author

              Very strange. I’m afraid I didn’t encounter this issue during the review and my subsequent year-long ownership of the CD-N301. I’m really not sure what to suggest other than returning it, assuming it’s a recently purchased unit perhaps for a replacement or for the newer CD-NT670D model which is better in every regard.

              • Julien

                Unfortunately, it is out of guarantee since … today ! The problem being “minor”, I didn’t want to return it.
                Maybe other people on this post have the same problem ?
                Do you have this issue on NT670D ?

                Other point : gapless works in CD playing but not in DLNA playing (confirmed by Yamaha support), is it the case with NT670D ?

                • Ashley Post author

                  I didn’t notice any such issues with the NT-670D. I’m afraid it’s been a while since I had the review sample, but I believe it did gapless playback over DLNA though it would be worth checking with Yamaha to confirm that.

  • Harry

    Hi , not sure if this thread is still active?
    But I have a problem with my yamaha CDN-301.
    Whist using the Internet radio it often cuts out for a second or two, as the machine requires a wired connection for internet radio I’m unsure to why this is happening ?

    • Ashley Post author

      Could be to do with the speed of your internet, or perhaps the load on the server delivering the station. Could also be something to do with the speed of your router.

          • Harry

            I guess I will start a process of elimination, I will connect a new eithernet cablet from the player to the radio and see if that fixes the problem. I have done all the necessary updates .
            The machine is still under warranty so if it’s not working properly I will take it back to Richer sounds.

            • Ashley Post author

              It’s certainly worth a try. I can’t imagine it would be the cable, but it’s the first thing they’ll ask you so worth a shot. If it can’t be fixed, the new CD-NT670D is better and I don’t believe the CD-N301 is a current model, though I could be wrong.

  • Peter

    Both the CXC and the CD-N301 are CD-players but where the CXC is the bare essence of a CD-player (or transport), the CD-N301 ads network functionality to it and is thus more versatile.

    When the CXC and CD-N301 are connected to the same amp (with DAC) or to the same DAC via coax or optical out, and thus used as a “CD-transport” what are the differences in the sound they produce?

    • Ashley Post author

      The CD-N301 lacks a little detail compared to the CXC, and its sound staging is somewhat narrow too. The CXC also offers better error correction. Of course that is to be expected for the price, given that the CD-N301 is a network streamer and CD player for less than the cost of the CXC. The player you opt for depends on your budget; if you want network functionality and a CD player, either go for a CD-N301 or (for better performance) a CXC and CXN.

      • Peter

        Thanks for the advice!

        I was able to compare the CXC to my CD-S300 in the shop, and I could hear that the CD-S300 was a bit more sharp in the high tones compared to the CXC. But there was too little time to make a good comparison in the shop and to focus on detail, sound staging etc.

        Anyway I’ve ordered the CXC as I fits nicely with the CXA.

        • Ashley Post author

          You made the right choice. In reality it takes a fair amount of critical listening to truly tell the difference as the audible difference is small. But at at least by matching your components you can guarantee the best performance, and also operate both components from the same remote control.

  • Charles

    I have the CD-N 301 and although the airplay is my favourite part of it, the Spotify feature does absolutely nothing. I have Spotify premium and although I use it via airplay, it just irks me that it has something that is completely blank.

    • Ashley Post author

      You have to initiate the connection from within the Spotify app on either a mobile device or computer on the same network. With the CD-N301 powered on and on the network, open the spotify app, choose the menu icon and Spotify connect is in there. Once accessed, the CD-N301 will switch to Spotify connect and begin streaming, at which point basic playback functions (next, previous, play and pause) can be controlled via the CD-N301. I’m afraid I can’t tell you exactly where to find the Spotify connect option in the various apps because it’s been a long time since I used Spotify and IMO the feature is rather pointless anyway.

      • Charles

        Thank you for your reply. Funny thing is, I figured it out a little later after I posted. I guess it made me focus more or I understand how things work a bit more now.

  • Koen

    Hi all
    I own a CD-N301 since early last year and coupled it with a Yamaha A-S500 and a pair of Jamo C607’s. I listen to all kinds of music exclusively via Airplay. I noticed with certain delicate kinds of music that the CD-N301 produces ticks in the audio. It sounds like a digital artifact where a very short burst of zero-samples is inserted in the PCM stream. I tried a few things in an attempt to find the cause of this distortion:
    * swap the network/router
    * change the airplay source (iOS, AppleTV or MacBook
    * use the digital output via an external DAC instead of the internal DAC
    * make all network connections wired
    * move wifi to other channels on 2.4GHz and 5GHz
    * swap network and audio cables
    Sadly, the ticks were there all the time. Using an Apple Airport Express (I tried both models, analog and digital with the external DAC, on the exact same amplifier and cabling), I could NEVER reproduce the ticks. Also, I very thoroughly checked the source material – straight from iTunes – with headphones and Audacity and could not hear/see the dropouts. My conclusion is that the CD-N301 is either flawed or that I have a defective device. Note that all other functionality on the CD-N301 is working fine but I didn’t check it for the ticks.
    A good music track to detect the problem is “We own this Sky” from the Chappie Soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. Right at the beginning, you hear this whistle tone and then there are the ticks. It’s also quite easy to detect with slow and/or soft piano music such as one of the many Beethoven sonatas played by Alfred brendel. I bought this device to have a better analog audio quality than the Apple Airport Express but at this time, it feels more like a downgrade. I’m going to provide feedback to Yamaha since I’m critical of audio and video quality and I have the feeling that it’ll be hard to explain to the salesperson that something is wrong with this device…
    Does anyone else have the same experience?
    Best regards
    Koen

    • Ashley Post author

      Thank you for sharing your feedback. It sounds to me like you have a defective device. I never encountered this issue with the review sample. I can’t help but wonder if it’s some kind of interference from the unit’s switch-mode power supply. I’d advise taking it back to your dealer along with your air play device and have them connect everything up and reproduce the issue.

    • Jacek

      Hello, I have just noticed exatcly the same problem in some records via airplay. Especially when piano concertos are playing ( flac, mp3 etc. ). I did some troubleshooting ( sourse switch, cables router etc ) without result. Koen have you already checked it with the dealer? or solved the problem?
      Thank you in advance for any comment.
      BR. JAcek.

      • Koen

        Hi Jacek
        I got in touch with Yamaha last august but the conversation is still ongoing. When I have progress, I’ll update you. Sadly, I notice no improvement with the recent 1.04 firmware update.
        Best regards
        Koen

        • Julien

          I have the same problem with AirPlay. I use the player with a Nas Synology and DS Audio.
          Is it the case for you ?
          On a french forum, I read it seems to be a problem with nas AirPlay.

  • Erik

    I bought this Yamaha one year ago. After a while all the shortcomings of the Yamaha that I mention in the posts above disturbed me more and more. I also was not quite happy with the sound anymore. Lack of detail in the treble. For example cymbals, especially ride cymbals, were not there the way they should. I bought a new player today. And now that I have listened to my new device for a while I realise that I should have bought a better player in the first place.

    The player I bought today is a Marantz NA6005. Yes, it’s another price level but the price difference is definitely worth it. The Marantz is faster, has a much better display, allows you to fast forward through songs (the Yamaha didn’t), gapless playback works (did NOT work in the Yamaha), and on top of that it sounds so much better. Especially treble. Much more crisp and detail.

    If you do like me and buy this Yamaha player, chances are that you will regret it and go for a better player soon, even if it will cost you more. I realise that comparing the Yamaha CD-N301 and the Marantz NA6005 is not quite fair due to the price difference, but I think some people will appreciate that I share this little story anyway.

  • Mike

    Im looking at buying one of these – can anyone confirm that you DONT need the wifi adaptor to use airplay? (unit will be plugged into router with ethernet cable)

    The cd-nt670d unfortunately, which I jhave in front of me only has an analogue output, forcing you to use the inbuilt DAC, and of no use when you only have one analogue input on your amp, which is used by the turntable as in my case. My Peachtree amp has a far superior DAC in it, and it such a shame Yamaha didnt include a digital out on the 670 otherwise it would of been a great unit.

  • Jonathan Waugh

    I have the CDN500 and it’s great failing is lack of AirPlay. You have to download tracks specifically to the device being used as the controller app, this is a pain when you have Apple Music and multiple Apple devices. I would prefer the new 301 but it lacks USB so I am waiting to see what the cd-nt670d offers and how much it will be.

  • John Eagar

    I do not know how my comment went off before I had finished!
    My main gripe is that it should simply use the number pad on the remote rather than trying to figure out whether to hit enter once(or twice) and then up/down or what is the correct sequence. I find it pot luck in finding any desired station.
    I paid a technician to find stations, as I had no chance of doing that myself.
    Oncere it is on station, it certainly sounds better that might be expected.
    Where’s the white cane,
    John

  • John Eagar

    I bought the CD-N301 a couple of weeks ago.
    I am nearly completely blind, and find that, while the sound is excellent, the ergonomics of the net radio are an ergonomic nightmare.
    It uses the idea of folders and files. Why then did not the programmers set the files in descending order, so that the remote’s up and down arrows work as one would expect; and the jog wheel go clockwise to select higher numbered or later entered stations

    • Ashley Post author

      I agree. I am completely blind, and therefore tend to use the app almost exclusively with any streamer. For an inexpensive streamer the CD-n301 is excellent, but its user interface (both on the streamer itself and the app) is lacking in some areas.

  • Tim

    This looks nice, and the comments certainly recommend it.

    Has anyone heard when the CD-N301 (or an equivalent model) will be available in the U.S.? What’s available currently is the CD-N500, which has a much higher price point and many not-so-great comments about usability of the network features.

    Yamaha recently upgraded their integrated amp models to the #01 series, so I’m hoping they’ll introduce the CD-N301. Based on what I’ve heard so far, I’d buy it sight-unseen! 🙂

    Thanks

    • Ashley Post author

      The CD-N500 is actually a higher specification model. It was sold here in the UK for a while, but discontinued and replaced with the lower-priced CD-N301. The CD-N500 is equivalent in terms of networking features.

      • Robin

        Higher specification in what way? I thought the DAC was the same between the two models. Features on the 301 are more advanced. I’ve got a 500 and was thinking of getting the 301 for Airplay and spotify which aren’t on the 500.

        • Ashley Post author

          I believe the CD-N500 has better passive components. It also has the front-mounted USB port which the CD-N301 does not.

          I was under the impression that the CD-N500 did feature AirPlay and spotify connect, but I could definitely be mistaken. Are you running the latest firmware?

    • Ashley Post author

      Unfortunately the CD-N301 doesn’t offer CD ripping capabilities. That has to be done through your PC. Not many streamers do offer this capability – indeed, the only one I know if, the NAD M50, only supports ripping to its own USB-connected hard drives.

  • Olivier

    Thanks for the complete review – I got the Yamaha CD-N301 about 6 weeks ago and so far I’m really pleased – it is an excellent quality / features / price compromise. I use it a lot with Spotify Connect to discover new music and it sounds really great. The only thing I find a bit annoying is the user interface of the player itself when browsing a not too small DLNA server library. If you have a library of a few hundreds or thousands artists, then a smart phone or tablet running the Yamaha app or a DS Audio app (my library being hosted on a Synology DiskStation NAS) is almost a must.

    • Ashley Post author

      I agree. The interface of both the player and the app certainly has some way to go. Search functions would be useful, the internet radio interface is lacking, and overall it’s not as polished as some of the other streamers on the market. However, for the price, you really can’t go wrong. It’s one of the cheapest streamers on the market, and you get a great CD transport too.

  • Erik

    Thanks. I like that you mention some details that are often left out by others, for example, in this case, that the player remembers your last used source when switching it on.

      • Erik

        I bought one in early january and I’m mostly satisfied. However, alot has to be improved when it comes to software/handling. Here are the 3 most critical shortcomings, according to me:

        1. Gapless playback
        The short moment of silence between tracks in DLNA playback mode is really annoying when listening to live albums for example. Gapless playback is a must!

        2. Fast forwarding and rewinding
        And the CD-N301 does not allow fast forwardingand and rewinding, at least not in DLNA playback mode. An audio track is not always a 3 minute radio hit… The fact that there is no way to fast forward with the current software is actually quite embarrasing! I hope the people at Yamaha agree.

        3. Network shared folders
        Only DLNA a is too limited. And the Folder browsing option available is not a true folder browsing option, since it’s still based on DLNA data only. Reading network shares (without the need of DLNA) would be greatly appreciated. At least the following folder sharing types should be implemented: NFS shares, WebDAV shares, Microsoft shared folders. (of course with Gapless playback)

        Other than that, it’s a nice hifi piece. It has a fast interface and a sound above average. And yes, it’s relatively cheap, but that doesn’t excuse the shortcomings above.

        • Ashley Post author

          I completely agree with all your points, especially those regarding DLNA playback. I’ve also had issues getting the player to recognise new content on DLNA servers. I will forward these to Yamaha.

          • Erik

            I sent my complaints/suggestions to Yamaha too, almost 6 months ago, but I haven’t received any response other than the standard “Thankyou”. And still no firmware update. This is highly disappointing from a quality brand like Yamaha.