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ELAC DS-S101-G Discovery Music Server

Network audio player and organizer

3 Reviews | 2 questions - 2 answers

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Item # 970DSS101

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Our take on the ELAC DS-S101-G Discovery Music Server

Confession time: back when I would tell my parents that I was in my room studying? I was actually diving deep into my album collection. (Sorry, Mom.) It was more than just listening to tunes — instead of hitting the books, I was soaking in cover art, poring over liner notes, and getting a crash course in rock, soul, or hip-hop history. Who played slide guitar on this song? What sample did they just use?

ELAC Music Discovery Roon Essentials

The Roon Essentials app (screen shot) added an immersive, informative layer to my music listening.

For more than just "casual" listening

Confession time: back when I would tell my parents that I was in my room studying? I was actually diving deep into my album collection. (Sorry, Mom.) It was more than just listening to tunes — instead of hitting the books, I was soaking in cover art, poring over liner notes, and getting a crash course in rock, soul, or hip-hop history. Who played slide guitar on this song? What sample did they just use?

Skip ahead a couple decades. Digital downloads and streaming services have now put more music than ever at our fingertips. But what happened to that tangible, immersive, learning experience? Let me introduce you to the ELAC Discovery Music Server.

Consolidates your music collection to play on your existing stereo   

Before we get into the "magic," let's cover the technical stuff. The ELAC Discovery Music Server replaces your computer as the hub for your music collection, except there's no internal storage for music files. It uses all of its powerful processing to access, organize, and seamlessly play your digital music library. This innovative device connects to your home network via Ethernet, giving you access to music stored on your computer or networked hard drive — including your high-resolution files up to 24-bit/192kHz.

You can also stream music from TIDAL or use the USB input to play files from a thumb drive or hard drive. Apple® AirPlay® lets you stream music from your iPhone® or iPad®. All this music is collected and displayed in one place thanks to the included Roon Essentials software. (You get a lifetime subscription.) The free Roon Essentials app for your iPad or Android tablet serves as your remote for the Discovery Music Server. You choose your tunes from an easy-to-search, information-rich menu — and therein lies the magic. 

I was floored by my time with the Roon Essentials software

For the high-schooler in me, curled up with my old CD collection, the lifetime subscription to Roon is worth the price of admission. The Roon Essentials app turned my tablet into a music obsessive's virtual playground. It served up tunes alongside beautiful photos, interesting articles, and music recommendations. Not only did I get liner notes for, say, a Stevie Wonder album, but I could also click on bassist Nathan Watts' name to bring up his biography. I could then pull up a song he worked on with the Dramatics, play it on TIDAL, or find out where to purchase it.

Each new discovery lead me further down Roon's endless "rabbit hole" of information. I'd learn that the producer of one song worked on another classic album, or this major artist was a session guy on that older recording. It was the digital equivalent of digging in the record crates. The entire journey was fascinating and pulled me further into familiar music, while it introduced me to some wonderful hidden gems.   

Digital and analog outputs offer versatile playback options 

You connect the ELAC Discovery Music Server to your receiver, amplifier, or other audio system using its digital or analog outputs. The two RCA stereo audio outputs can be grouped together or used as independent zones for multi-room setups. Both of these analog outputs have their own volume control and dedicated Cirrus Logic CS4398 digital-to-analog converter (DAC). The coaxial and optical digital audio outputs share a volume control, but they can be used independent of the analog outputs, for a third possible zone.

Product Highlights:

  • network audio player connects to your existing home audio system
    • requires a wired Ethernet connection to your network router
  • plays music from your networked storage devices, networked computers, a connected USB drive, or streaming from TIDAL
  • no internal storage for digital music files
  • lifetime subscription to Roon Essentials software included with purchase
    • catalog, control, and discover music using Roon Essentials app for your iPad or Android™ tablet
  • powerful Quad Core ARM9 processor completely dedicated to fast, seamless music playback
  • Apple® AirPlay® lets you play music wirelessly from your iPad®, iPhone®, or Mac®, computer
    • you can also send music wirelessly to an Apple TV or other AirPlay speakers and devices
  • compatible file formats: WAV, AAC, AIFF, MP3, FLAC, OGG, ALAC
  • supports sampling rates up to 24-bit/192kHz
  • USB port for thumb drive or external hard drive
  • Ethernet port for a wired connection to a home network (Ethernet cable included)
  • two analog RCA stereo audio outputs
    • can be grouped together or used as independent multi-room zones
    • separate volume controls and Cirrus Logic CS4398 DACs
  • one Toslink optical digital audio output and one coaxial digital audio output (both share same volume control)
  • all audio outputs can be fixed to max volume and fed the same signal
  • requires AC power (adapter included)
Roon Essentials software:
  • lifetime subscription included with purchase
  • free Roon Essentials app for iPad or Android tablets acts as your remote
  • consolidates all of your music choices into one easy-to-search menu
    • up to 30,000 tracks
  • offers a robust, information-rich interface to explore and experience music
    • displays cover art, liner notes, photos, and artist reviews, discographies, and biographies
    • quickly find related songs, albums, and artists
Other Info:
  • solid build quality with brushed aluminum finish
  • uses Linux operating system
  • 8-1/4"W x 1-7/8"H x 5-1/8"D
  • weight: 2 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 years
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee

What's in the Box:

  • Music server
  • AC power adapter (attached 59" DC cord)
  • 39" Ethernet cable
  • Quick Start Guide

ELAC DS-S101-G Discovery Music Server Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(3 Reviews)

Need New Music to Listen To?

D from Oregon on 11/7/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I used to have my digital downloads on an Apple mini, but Apple updated iTunes and nothing ever worked again. But ELAC has made the product for me: absolutely easy to setup and use (even for someone who tires instantly of the tedium of computer software, sign-ins, on and on...) AND it adds the means to stream hi-def music (by subscribing to Tidal). The Roon Essentials database included with this Elac is amazing: all the world of music at your fingertips (via an iPad in my case), sortable and searchable in more ways than I have ever been able to even imagine. I'm not sure yet of the sound quality (I'm connected through the DAC in my Marantz SACD), mainly due to lack of experience. The last ELAC listening session ended with me playing a red-label CD whose bass just blew away the Tidal music--might have been the recording, I'm hoping. But even if the sound is not as good as CD (it's supposed to be), ELAC has made digital so much easier I am forever in their debt.

Pros: easy easy easy great fit for those impatient with computer tedium


Discovery Server

Jose from Mobile, AL on 7/28/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've been using this Elac Discovery for about a moth now and its been great. My main reason for the purchase was to stop using my laptop as a source. I connected a 128gb usb flash thumb drive with perfect results. I will say that using JRiver/laptop combo produce very good music but having the discovery server makes it so convenient. The Roon essentials interface is awesome and I highly recommend it. Music wise the discovery is on par with the JRiver sound. I don't have the fancy words to describe the discovery, but all I can say the discovery is transparent with warm detail music. To give a better understanding I connected the discovery using a SPDIF coaxial to my Marantz SA 8005 cd player (used as a DAC) and from the SA8005 to my Marantz SR 7012 receiver through RCA connectors in pure direct mode and out to Monitor Audio Gold GX 200 towers. I couldn't be happier.

Pros: Easy setup, convenient compare to laptop, good sound, front light can be turned off, Roon interface.

Cons: Maybe the price for some.

ELAC Discovery Music Server

Carroll from Front Royal, VA on 1/25/2018

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The ELAC Discovery Music Server was extremely easy to setup and to get fully operational. It took about 30 minutes for setup and within an additional 90 minutes I had almost 1500 albums (19,000 tracks) imported from my QNAP NAS. I could listen to music from the Discovery server while it was building the index of albums/tracks. The system does an Audio Analysis of all music after the indexing of music is complete but that's all done in the background and has no impact on performance or ability to play music. The time to complete that will depend on how much music a user has but in my case it ran for about 4 days to do 19,000 tracks. The RoonEssentials control app that comes with the Discovery is the best I've seen with any music server, a real pleasure to use. I have a Sony HAP-Z1ES music server and the ELAC is much nicer to use and the sound is superior to the Sony but I wouldn't say it's far superior. The real plus is the Roon interface and of course at almost half the price, but, you do need your own storage device. In my case, I already had all my music stored on the NAS for backup purposes so I didn't have to invest anything additional for storage. Highly recommend trying the ELAC Discovery!

Pros: Easy setup. The best control app (Roon) on the market. Excellent sound. Very affordable.

Cons: None. But I've only had it for about 2 weeks.


Hands-on research

Product Research


Discovery Music Server: Add the ELAC Discovery Music Server (DS-S101-G) to your existing home audio system to gain playback of local and streaming music, rich multi-dimensional metadata and multi-room audio. The ELAC Discovery hardwires to your network router via Ethernet and then plugs into your AV receiver's or integrated amplifier's stereo RCA, optical digital, or coaxial digital inputs. The Music Server is controlled from the Discovery Roon Essentials app for Apple iPad (iOS 8.3+), Android OS 4.4+, Windows PC (7/8/10), or Mac (OS X 10.8+).

Extensive Metadata: Your music collection on your Apple iPad, Android OS device, Windows PC, and Mac computer is supported by a rich library of images and information; an archive of material that adds depth, knowledge and excitement to your music listening that can viewed on the Discovery Roon Essentials App.

High-Quality Parts: The ELAC Discovery uses a Quad Core ARM9 Processor running at up to 1.2Ghz. It has 512MB of storage for the operating system and 8GB of flash for meta data storage. For the analog outputs a separate linear power supply powers two (one for each set of analog outputs) Cirrus Logic CS4398 DACs (192kHz 24-Bit) with Burr Brown op-amps.

Network Connection: The ELAC Discovery (DS-S101-G) is fitted with an Ethernet (RJ-45) jack which allows you to connect the music server to your home network. The connection from your wireless router to the Discovery Music Server must be a wired connection. This decision was made to ensure a smooth user experience for High Resolution music which can take quite a bit of bandwidth. However, once the Discovery is connected to your home network you can use WiFi to control and navigate the Discovery as well as play content to supported wireless speakers and end points (sold separately).

Note: If you absolutely cannot run a wired Ethernet connection from your router to the Discovery, you can use PowerLine adapters and Wireless Bridges (sold separately). Network performance and audio quality is not a good as a hardwired connection to the router when using one of these alternative methods.

NAS Drive: By connecting the Discovery to your home network's router via an Ethernet (LAN) cable, you will be able to access music on a connected NAS (Networked Attached Storage) device.

USB-A 2.0 Port: The ELAC Discovery Music Server is equipped with a USB (type-A) 2.0 port for connection of a USB Hard Drive or thumbdrive that contains downloaded music files. When connecting a HDD with a large music library, the user interface may react slowly while all of the metadata is being downloaded and organized.

Compatible Audio Formats: The ELAC Discovery Music Server (DS-S101-G) supports compressed and Hi-Res music files. Compatible Hi-Res music formats (up to 24-bit/192kHz) include FLAC, WAV, ALAC, and AIFF. Compatible compressed low-res music files include MP3, AAC, and OGG. The music server can recognize up to 30,000 music tracks.

Tidal (Firmware Update Required): Tidal (a lossless, high-fidelity online music streaming service) has been tightly integrated into the Discovery's software. TIDAL delivers no-compromise music streaming, with millions of tracks in lossless, audiophile quality. Separate Tidal subscription is required. Content from your local collection and content from Tidal are presented in the same easy-to-use interface from the Discovery Roon Essentials App for Apple iPad, Android, Windows PC, and Mac OS X.

AirPlay: The ELAC Discovery Music Server (DS-S101-G) supports Apple AirPlay. Apple AirPlay allows you to wirelessly stream your iTunes music library from your Mac computer, Windows PC or Apple iOS device to the ELAC Discovery. You can also wirelessly stream music apps from your Apple iOS device to the ELAC Discovery Music Server. Your Apple iOS device must be running 4.3.3 or better, and your iTunes music software must be running 10.2.2 or better.

Discovery Roon Essentials App: The Discovery Music Server (DS-S101-G) can be controlled using the free Roon Essentials app for Apple iPad, Android, Windows PC, and Mac OS X. The app lets you browse your library, play your favorites, and configure your Roon Essentials system from your compatible device; including Apple iPad, Android tablets, Windows PC, and Mac computers. Using the Roon Essential app, the following devices will act as the display and remote control for the Discovery Music Server.

  • Apple iOS: iPad Air 1/2, iPad Mini 2/3/4, and iPad Pro running iOS 8.3 or higher - the app can be downloaded here
  • Android OS: Android tablets with 8" or bigger screens running Android OS 4.4 or higher - the app can be downloaded here
  • Windows PC: Windows PC running 7, 8, or 10 - app can be downloaded here
  • Macintosh: Mac computer/laptop running OSX 10.8 or higher - the app can be downloaded here

Optical & Coaxial Digital Outputs: The ELAC Discovery (DS-S101-G) is outfitted with an optical (toslink) and coaxial (RCA) digital output to connect to your AV receiver or integrated amplifier. The digital coaxial output offers support of digital audio music files up to 24-bit/192kHz. The optical digital output offers support of digital audio music files up to 24-bit/96kHz. The two digital outputs are considered a single output, but do output audio simultaneously so they can both output the same audio signal at the same time.

Dual Stereo Analog Outputs: The ELAC Discovery features two sets of stereo analog RCA outputs to connect to your AV receiver or integrated amplifier. Both stereo RCA outputs are active and can be used simultaneously for Zone 1 and Zone with independent source playback and volume control.

Multiroom Capabilities: The Discovery's Digital, Analog 1, and Analog 2 outputs are completely independent and can playback different or the same content simultaneously. To add a wired second or third zone to the Discovery Music server simply connect a different set of outputs from the server to another amplifier, receiver, or powered speaker in the other room. By selecting that output from the bottom right of the Roon Essentials application you can now choose what you want to listen to and control the volume in the additional zone. If you want to add a wireless zone, the Discovery Music Server supports AirPlay devices, Roon End Points, and upcoming ELAC Discovery End points (all sold separately).

Note: Analog 1 & 2 outputs can be grouped together and synchronized for multiroom audio playback. Similar Wireless End-Points of the same type can also be grouped together and synchronized. Please note that since the digital outputs always output the native sampling rate and bit depth they cannot be synchronized with the analog outputs.

Playback Modes: The ELAC Discovery supports a variety of playback modes such as Gapless, Crossfade, Shuffle, and Repeat.

AC Power: The ELAC Discovery is powered by standard household currently using the included AC power supply (12V DC, 2A). Power consumption under normal operating conditions is 4.8 watts.

Our Product Research Team

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Q & A

Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

Ease if use. Meant to say Oliver helped me. [ Dan  Oct 23, 2018 ]
For two things mainly; Roon and full USB integration as a nas drive. [ GIRO  Jul 06, 2018 ]
Read several good reviews and the price was reasonable. I already have my music on a NAS so I'm ready to go. Also like the fact that it comes with ROON. [ Carroll  Jan 12, 2018 ]

2 questions already asked

I'm afraid all the information we have available indicates the max number of music files supported is 30,000. If you'd like to discuss a potential "work around" solution, please feel free to contact an Advisor directly by phone (888.955.6000) or online chat. Thanks! [ Larry  Jul 07, 2017 ]  Staff
The information we have indicates it will work with music on a computer and even can use AirPlay to get audio from other Apple devices. HTH! My Bio: [ Paul  Dec 19, 2016 ]  Staff

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