Polk Omni P1

DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
edited December 2014 in Going Digital
I finally received this today and had a bit of time to play around with it. Sadly, when I received it, my server loaded with Jriver took a dump on me, so I could only play around with the internet streaming services the unit offered. This included a plethora of worldwide internet radio stations, pandora, and a few other streaming services that were new to me. I found pandora sounded acceptable on the main rig, something that was a bit of a surprise.

I got a new power supply today and spent 3 hours playing around trying to set this damned thing up. I finally got it to recognize the server after 1.5 hours of play, but apparently, I still don't have it set up correctly. You are forced to use Windows Media Player as your streamer, and I cannot for the life of me get the FLAC files to populate in WMP, which means I cannot get them to play on the P1. Jriver identifies the unit and allows me to send music to it, but again, I cannot get the files to play on the P1. Its supposed to support DLNA, which Jriver also supports, but still no go. The weird thing here is that even though Jriver identified it as a zone, it was not listed as a zone on my iphone via jremote.

I'm sure this thing has great potential, but it shouldn't be this much of a headache to get it to work. Unless something happens between now and Monday, I'm calling to return this unit as I don't want to be an early adopter and fight through the hassle of that privilege.

The thing is packaged well, built well enough (light as a feather though), and I can see where it will make many a customer happy. I do not think this product will do anything to cater to audiophile rigs though. You could easily call this a nice solid double, but its definitely no home run in its current iteration.

EDIT: PlayFi is supported/created by DTS (yeah, that DTS). The Polk Omni app is just a rebadged version of the DTS app. DTS appears to be investing to make this thing work, but it strikes me that the tech is still in its beta phase. Any information out there is scarce to non-existent right now, and that is the most frustrating part. All you get is marketing or mind-numbingly simple FAQ's that do nothing to really direct you.

Comments

  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
    PS - Ken, if you or anyone else has any guidance, I really want to give this thing a shot. Right now though, its a waste of my money because its not serving the purpose I bought it for. The online streaming is awesome, but I don't need that for my main rig. That was just going to be the icing on top if this thing was able to stream direct from my computer.
  • KennethSwaugerKennethSwauger Moderator Posts: 6,846
    Hello,
    Polk's wireless support team has weekend hours, Saturday and Sunday 10-6 at:
    1-800-638-7276, give them a call.
    Cheers, Ken
    "They thought we were too loud, but shoot, I had four army blankets folded over my amp, and the volume level was on 2. I'm used to playin' on 10!" S.R.V.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
    Thanks Ken. I called and spoke with Chet without having to go through any automated systems. He made sure everything was set up and came to the same conclusion I had made: FLAC is the big issue. He is getting with the Engineers tomorrow and supposed to call me back during a time that works for me.

    I did more research and found a desktop app for the computer that essentially sets up the P1 as the main speakers for the computer. This program was not easy to find. It worked fine, though the sound quality was definitely amiss. It didn't sound bad, but definitely could be better on a less revealing system.

    Then I started running into a new problem: I kept getting drop outs. I couldn't get pandora, the computer, or any other source via the Omni app to buffer properly. I kept getting drop-outs. I then figured out that my wife was streaming netflix to my PS3 and using 2 other devices. I think my router was bottlenecking the network.

    I've come to the conclusion that I need to send this back. Its not worth another $200 to upgrade my router to something able to handle the strain of so many devices. I hope they are able to work a way out to run FLAC through it, but given today's issues, I realize its simply not going to work in my situation. If it weren't going in the main rig where I have very high expectations of the gear, it might still be staying.

    All of this to say that I still think its a pretty cool device. I've thought about gifting it to my parents. They don't use a lot of devices and I could see my father really enjoying the ease of use this things offers. I see no fault on Polk in this as their product is solid. Its the PlayFi that seems to need a little more work from DTS to get these things really working as they should. I hope being an early adopter of this technology doesn't bite them in the ****.
  • KennethSwaugerKennethSwauger Moderator Posts: 6,846
    Hello,
    I'm glad Chet was able to help, I'm sure he and the engineers will figure out a solution.
    Regards, Ken
    "They thought we were too loud, but shoot, I had four army blankets folded over my amp, and the volume level was on 2. I'm used to playin' on 10!" S.R.V.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
    I got a call back from the engineer today, but was unable to answer at the moment. I called back and it looks like we may start playing a game of phone tag. Going to try again tomorrow.
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,286
    Keep at it pal, they'll get ya straightened out....or the Jack Daniels will, one of the 2.
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
    So an update here. I had no time to call back today, so I'm still at a stalemate with the p1. However, I did pick up a WD TV Live and an Amazon Fire TV from best buy to test. Here are my observations, purely from a flac streaming viewpoint.

    I tried the Amazon first. This thing has great build quality in a tiny package. The remote has voice recognition which worked great for me each time I used it. The unit is very fast with its quad core processor. The hdmi socket really grabs the hdmi cable for a secure connection. Everything about this product impressed me except for one thing - the music operation. Amazon wants you load your music to their cloud, then stream it to you via internet. I have no desire to do this as I know it's going to get compressed to hell. There is an airplay app for it for $5, but after my experience with the WD, I opted not to pursue the Amazon anymore. I did tell the wife that I wish we had a reason to keep it for tv as it strikes me to be a stellar product from my brief time with it.

    The WD I was instantly able to stream music to via jriver. Love that so much. I did have short buffering issues, but that didn't bother me too much as I think it might have been triggered more in jriver from linking zones than the WD itself. First few songs I chose didn't give me any indication of compression and I could feel a bit of anticipation build. I decided to choose more dynamic and higher quality songs and that is when I notice the issues. The WD had a lower volume, so I had to adjust for that. This was hard because the soundstage depth collapsed on itself. I also noticed that the top end was much more compressed, which was also making it hard to adjust levels. The air of the music disappeared. The WD did have a very nice, wide soundstage though - just no depth.

    At this point, I'm pretty much kaput with trying the streaming. I'm going to keep in touch with Polk and try to get the P1 streaming, but I'm not expecting much after these trials. Now I'm going to have to figure out a way to quiet my computer since it's staying in the room.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
    Would like to add that both of these units were connected via hdmi to my dac. The p1 is connected via coaxial and analog outs.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,057
    edited December 2014
    With great dismay, I've decided to return the P1. After speaking with a very helpful representative, Kennon, I was able to get FLAC streamed to my main rig. The issue was with the media server. He recommended using Plex or XBMC for the software, and it worked.

    What I learned is that I am greatly spoiled by Jriver hardwired via USB to DAC. No response lag, no buffer issues, and a solid jremote app makes for a very nice experience. The Omni App - what appears to be a rebadged DTS Playfi app - needs a little bit of smoothing out before it really hits its stride. Searching for a server caused the app to close itself about a dozen times. Changing songs creates about a 5 second window of silence, which isn't much, but again, I'm spoiled by my current setup. At one point, I tried to restart a song and the app crashed. The one design flaw that irks me is that there is no alpha tab like on Jremote where you can automatically go to artists or albums starting with that letter. Scrolling through the files is tedious. I'm hoping this was an oversight that will be addressed through later updates.


    What about the sound? Not bad. Not bad at all. The differences might not have been picked up by someone unfamiliar with my rig. What I noticed was slight compression, causing the depth of the soundstage to collapse some, but nowhere near as much as the WD TV Live. Its obvious they focused on audio with this piece. If I was willing to sacrifice some SQ deterioration for convenience, I'd be keeping it. Any SQ deterioration eats me up, so I simply can't keep it.


    At the end of this, I think the P1 has great potential that isn't fully realized yet. Once they get the software kinks worked out, this will be a great little unit for 99% of people looking for this type of product, even those who are serious about their FLAC. Pandora users will love the sound quality, and having all those internet radio stations at your fingertips is absolutely awesome.
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Posts: 0
    edited December 2014
    How about this. I am sorry to hear the P1 did not work out for you. I have something much, too much simpler it is stupid.

    All this talk about bit perfect, streaming and what not. Give me a few more months. I am combining all of this together as a personal **** you to this illusionary world. It is not that complicated. Take the data and pass it out. It is not complicated. Read. Transfer. There is no science or anything to it.

    Trust me. All this marketing stuff. Input native, output native. Works all the time everytime time.

    Halen
    Post edited by KennethSwauger on
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,286
    edited December 2014
    Your observations Skip come down to 2 of the most aggravating parts of streaming. Dependability/ease of use and software.

    Go pick up a Sonos will ya....any caveman can set it up and it simply works, no dropouts, no lags between songs, and running Jriver is no problem. There's a few on your local craigslist for 275 brand new.

    Let me ask though, if the 'puter is in the same room and your hard wired up, why the streaming route anyway ?
    HT SYSTEM-
    Sony 850c 4k
    Pioneer elite vhx 21
    Sony 4k BRP
    SVS SB-2000
    Polk Sig. 20's
    Polk FX500 surrounds

    Cables-
    Acoustic zen Satori speaker cables
    Acoustic zen Matrix 2 IC's
    Wireworld eclipse 7 ic's
    Audio metallurgy ga-o digital cable

    Kitchen

    Sonos zp90
    Grant Fidelity tube dac
    B&k 1430
    Tad 803 speakers
Sign In or Register to comment.

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!