Frequently Asked Questions
We record the analogue data to WAV files first, we then off-line convert this data to lossless flac so the conversion process is completely decoupled from the capture. This compression starts after the incoming album is complete or when you have switched away from the source. On playback the data is decompressed and up-sampled to 24/192 PCM well in advance of being fed to the DAC so the data de-compression is also decoupled from the playback. Playback up-sampling is performed on all source material.
How does the volume control inside the Plato work and is it working in the digital or analogue domain?
The volume control in Plato operates differently depending on whether you are listening to an analogue or digital source; however, we have matched the sound level for each case, so a digital volume setting of 59, will sound the same as an analogue volume of 59 (for a given pair of speakers).
In the analogue path, the analogue volume control operates a switched resistor ladder to provide variable volume control. The resistor ladder provides stepped increments which are switched using high quality switching relays. This guarantees the highest quality in the analogue listening path, and explains the audible chitter-chatter of the relays switching when the volume is adjusted.
The digital path similarly applies a digital scale to the input of the DAC.
Both controls provide approx. 1dB volume steps from 0 to 99 based on the slider position.
Once Plato is connected to the internet via your router (either directly or using a home plug set up) and your Sonos speakers are established on your wifi network, Plato has a ‘device access list’ that shows all of the renderers/speakers you can stream your music to. Your individual Sonos speakers will appear in this list. Simply select (long press) on the track or album you wish to play and then select from the drop down list, the Sonos speaker you want to play out to.
Our standard Plato product has an integrated 50W per channel power amplifier, and is a discrete design with transistors.
Every Plato unit comes pre installed with a series of short, animated screen flow ‘How To’ videos. You will find lots of useful hints and tips here to help with things like recording from vinyl, streaming digital media, import/exporting files and much more. These videos and our comprehensive ‘Complete Guide’ will also be uploaded to our YouTube channel very soon.
We have tried TVs from at least LG, Samsung, Sony and Panasonic. We support a range of formats including the following: .mov , .avi , MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.263, H.264
These are the main formats and will probably be handled by most smart TVs, although .mov & .avi are containers not formats and so could contain formats that are not supported. What is actually supported by the TV varies between manufacturers, between different models by the same manufacturer and even between different firmware releases on the same model of TV. So it really is a case of try it and see.
All the EQ for the phono stage is applied in the analogue domain. The phono stage has active equalization rather than passive. The rumble filter is also analogue.
We take the running average db level for the preceding 60 seconds and set the threshold for silence at approx. 21.5db down from this.
If the vinyl record has gaps we record them, unless the gap is longer than 15 seconds, in which case we throw it away. This usually indicates that you were either turning the record over during a recording, or you’ve left it spining in the centre groove.
If the album has no gaps, we play the start of the next piece immediately following the end of the preceding piece. We don’t insert any gaps.
If media is ‘imported’, we play the digital version back to back with no gaps.
The Plato will output 25W into 8 ohms in class A operation and 50W into 8 Ohms in class B operation.
We also specify a “temperature limited output power” for Class A mode, according to BSEN60238 of 10 Watts into 8 ohms at 25C, 253Vin – this represents the maximum long term output power in class-A for a 1kHz sine wave applied to the line inputs, at 25C ambient with the worst case voltage input of 253V. In practice this 10 Watt temperature limited figure is high enough to reproduce music at the 25W maximum output.
We already support Apple audio formats (ALAC, AAC, AIFF) and it is possible to run all UPnP streaming services to/from our box using 3rd party iOS applications (there are lots to choose from). Although, you can download the Plato app controller from the iOS Apple App Store by searching for Plato by Convert Technologies.
Both Wolfson DAC WM8741 and the TI ADC part PCM4220 were originally selected based on providing the best sound when we began the development. To date we are very happy with the sound of both, but given our modular approach to our design and our desire to continue to provide audio output of the highest quality standards, we have now integrated the ESS Sabre 32 module DAC into all of our products.
The ADC and DAC are supported by a low jitter clock distribution scheme which also provides flexibility with regards to the sample rates we can handle now and in the future.
We will of course be offering firmware updates to the core platform, and supporting app during the life of the product. Given the power and flexibility of Android as a core platform there are many, many additional features we are considering integrating into our own app.
The chassis design is modular which means we have a very flexible platform on which to continue our product development. Each of the core components – pre-amp, power amp, power supply, and processor node, is housed in its own module, and docks into a central midplane. In addition to that each module is designed with a series of pluggable boards to allow for future upgrades to processor, DAC, ADC, storage etc…
Of course I cannot talk about specific futures, but suffice to say we consider Plato to be the start, not the end…
Please follow the instructions detailed below:
Step 1 – Update the Plato App (On both the Plato Unit & Android Tablet)
- Whilst in the Plato app, select the 3 dots icon at the top right of the screen.
- Select the “Server settings & status” option.
- Identify your Plato unit from the uPnP server list, then select the ‘Info’ icon (first icon on the left).
- Select ‘Version’.
- The current version of the app will be displayed (e.g V1.3.0 or earlier) and also a new version, if one is available. You can then select to update to the latest version and a short download process will take place.
- A pop up menu appears asking if you would like to install the app. Select this option.
Step 2 – Update Plato’s System Firmware (On the Plato unit only)
- Close the Plato app by selecting the Android ‘back button’ on the right of the screen (It’s the bottom icon of the three displayed) You may have to press this several times before it asks if you would like to close the app. This will take you to the Android home screen.
- Select the Android menu icon in the middle on right hand side of the screen (circle with 6 dots in).
- Select the settings icon.
- Scroll down and select “About tablet”.
- Select “additional system update” to upgrade your firmware upgrade to the new version. If you are already on the latest update, the pop up message will confirm that. If not, a download will now begin. *Please note* Your Plato unit will reboot twice during the upgrade process. Please don’t turn off the unit or press anything until this process has completed. You will be presented with the app when finished.
How To Videos