Welcome

Thank you for choosing Simpfony whole-home audio! With the ability to add a new zone as easily as plugging in a USB sound device, and supporting a maximum of 24 independent zones, we’re sure Simpfony will provide years of listening enjoyment.

This guide will walk you through the complete setup of your new Simpfony whole-home audio system. While Simpfony can be up and running in a few minutes in most cases, this guide provides complete detail on setting up all aspects of Simpfony, including some advanced options.

We value your feedback and would be happy to hear any suggestions or comments you might have about your experience.

Conceptual diagram

Conceptual diagram (click for detail)

Unpacking

Remove the Simpfony system from its shipping carton and inspect for any damage. The carton should contain the following components:

  • (1) Simpfony base unit
  • (1) AC power adapter and detachable power cord
  • (1) Mini Toslink S/PDIF adapter
  • (1) Wi-Fi antenna
  • (1) VESA mount plate

Additionally, your order may include some optional items such as:

  • Additional zone outputs
  • Additional line inputs
  • CD Player modules
  • USB hubs and extenders

If any items appear damaged or missing, contact Simpfony support immediately.

Making connections

The Simpfony unit is compact with no moving parts. You'll find ports on both the front and back that are used for various devices.

Model S2 ports (click for detail)

  • Zone output — This high-definition zone output has both analog and digital output combined into the single connector; the included mini Toslink adapter is used to access the digital optical output. Additional zone outputs (both analog and digital) are added by connecting additional USB sound output devices (see the Zone Outputs section for more information).
  • Line input — Connect legacy external audio devices using this high-definition analog input. Additional line inputs (both analog and digital) can be added by connecting additional USB sound input devices (see the Analog & Digital Inputs section for more information).
  • USB — Expansion devices such as additional zone outputs or CD players will connect to the USB ports. There are five (5) USB ports on the rear and two (2) on the front. More than seven (7) USB devices can be supported by using USB hubs, and the USB can be extended to remote locations over Cat5/6 using standard USB extenders.
  • Network — Connection to the wired network with access to the Internet.
  • Wi-Fi antenna — Optional wireless network connection; a wired network connection is highly recommended (see the Network section for more information).
  • Power — Connect to the included AC adapter.

Network

Simpfony requires access to the Internet for both streaming music services, as well as remote configuration. Access to the home network is also required to allow Controllers such as the iOS and Android Controllers to communicate with the Simpfony system.

RJ45 network connection (click for detail)

Simply connect the RJ45 connection on the rear of the Simpfony unit to the local network that has access to the Internet (red wire in the image above). Gigabit network speeds are supported, if available we recommend Simpfony is attached to a gigabit-capable switch port.

Simpfony is configured from the factory to automatically determine its network settings using DHCP. If you wish to use manual settings, this can be changed later in the Setup Assistant.

Simpfony strongly recommends the use of the wired Ethernet connection. Should that not be possible, the Simpfony unit also supports dual-band Wi-Fi.

USB devices

Additional zone outputs, line inputs, and accessories such as CD players are connected to Simpfony using the USB ports. The Simpfony unit has a total of seven (7) USB ports, and can be expanded beyond seven (7) ports using standard USB hubs. USB devices can be plugged directly into the Simpfony unit for smaller installations, or multiple hubs can be used to connect a large number of devices. Devices can also be remotely located away from the Simpfony unit using Cat5/6 with the use of standard USB extenders.

Simpfony supports all versions of USB, including 1.0, 1.1, 2.0, and 3.0. All ports support 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 devices. On the rare occasion USB devices that support or require USB 3.0 are used, they should be connected to the blue USB 3.0 ports on the rear of the Simpfony unit.

While any hardware that conforms to industry standards should work, some hardware may have quirks or otherwise not comply with standard protocols. See our Hardware Compatibility List for hardware actually tested by our engineers for standards compliance and compatibility with Simpfony.

Zone outputs

Simpfony S2 supports from 1 to 24 zones. A high-definition zone output is built-in on the front of the Simpfony unit. This output supports analog or optical digital using the included mini-Toslink adapter.

Additional zone outputs are added using any standard USB sound output device, or "DAC" (Digital to Analog Converter). The DAC can be plugged directly into the Simpfony unit in smaller installations, or plugged into a USB hub when there are a large number of devices. When a USB DAC is connected to Simpfony, it automatically appears as a zone output on the Zones panel in the Setup Assistant.

Analog & digital inputs

Simpfony S2 supports any number of analog line or digital inputs. A high-definition analog line input is built-in on the front of the Simpfony unit.

Additional inputs can be added using any standard USB sound input device. These devices can have single or multiple inputs of various types (analog, digital, phono, etc). The device can be plugged directly into the Simpfony unit in smaller installations, or plugged into a USB hub when there are a large number of devices. When a USB sound input device is connected to Simpfony, it automatically appears as a possible line input on the Sources panel in the Setup Assistant.

CD Players

Simpfony can play directly from compact discs by attaching a USB CD player. More than one CD player can be connected if desired. When a USB CD player is connected to Simpfony, it automatically appears as a CD player on the Sources panel in the Setup Assistant.

USB hubs

The Simpfony unit has a total of seven (7) USB ports, and can be expanded beyond seven (7) ports using standard USB hubs. USB devices can be plugged directly into the Simpfony unit for smaller installations, or multiple hubs can be used to connect a large number of devices. High-quality hubs that have multiple transaction-coordinators ("multi-TT") are recommended to properly handle Simpfony's uncompressed, high-definition audio streams. See our Hardware Compatibility List for hardware actually tested by our engineers for standards compliance and compatibility with Simpfony.

Three (3) zone outputs connected to Simpfony using a USB hub (click for detail)

In the image above, a USB 3.0 hub is connected to one of the USB 3.0 ports on the Simpfony unit. There are three (3) zone outputs (USB DACs) connected to the hub. Additional devices could be attached to the unused ports on the hub, and additional hubs can be attached to the Simpfony unit to add even more USB ports. Other USB devices such as line inputs or CD players can also be attached to a hub.

USB extenders

Sometimes it is more practical or convenient to remotely locate USB devices away from the Simpfony unit. This can be useful for line inputs or CD players located in a room where they'll commonly be used, or to locate zone output devices closer to the listening zone. USB devices can be remotely located away from the Simpfony unit using Cat5/6 with the use of standard USB extenders. Some extenders even have multiple USB ports at the receiver, so multiple zone outputs or a mix of other devices can be extended over a single Cat5/6 wire.

USB extender transmitter connected to Simpfony (click for detail)

A USB extender transmitter is shown above connected to one of the USB ports on the Simpfony unit. A Cat5 wire (yellow wire) is run to the remote location where the Cat5 wire connects to the USB extender receiver.

USB extender receiver connected to DACs (click for detail)

The USB extender receiver is shown above connected to the same Cat5 wire (yellow wire). This extender has four (4) USB ports at the remote end which are being use to connect to four zone outputs (red wires). All four zones are streaming uncompressed, high-definition audio over the single Cat5 wire. Other device types, such as line inputs or CD players, can also be remotely located using USB extenders, including mixing multiple device types on the same extender.

AC power

Connect the included AC adapter to the port on the rear of the Simpfony unit, and plug the AC adapter into a power outlet.

Simpfony starts as soon as power is applied, so this is best done after all your devices are initially connected. This also means Simpfony will recover from a power failure without requiring any intervention.

Wi-Fi antenna

The wired Ethernet connection must be used to initially configure the Wi-Fi settings. Once Wi-Fi is configured, the wired connection can be removed.

To use the built-in dual-band Wi-Fi, attach the included antenna to the port on the back of the Simpfony unit. A third party antenna can also be used with this port, for example to locate the antenna remotely. The Wi-Fi settings are configured in the Setup Assistant.

Simpfony strongly recommends the use of the wired Ethernet connection instead of Wi-Fi.

Using the Assistant

The Simpfony Setup Assistant is where all configuration of the Simpfony system is performed, including network settings, zone configuration, and sources. To access the Setup Assistant for the system being installed, begin by logging in to the Dealer Portal.

Dealer Portal

Dealer Portal (click for detail)

On the Dealer Portal you will see a list of all the systems registered to your dealer account, with new systems displayed at the top of the list with a star icon, making them easy to find. Each system is identified by a "System Identifier", which is printed on the bottom of the Simpfony system. Find the system you wish to configure in the list and click the "Open" link in the "Assistant" column to access the Setup Assistant for that system.

System name

Setup Assistant System panel

Setup Assistant System panel (click for detail)

On the Setup Assistant "System" panel, the name of the Simpfony installation can be configured. This name is shown in the Controllers when connecting to and controlling the Simpfony system. The "System" panel also shows current system status information, including versions, IP addresses, memory and storage consumption, and license details. Additionally the Simpfony system can be restarted, or a factory reset can be performed from here.

Zones

When a USB DAC is connected to Simpfony, a new zone output box automatically appears on the Setup Assistant "Zones" panel, where it can be identified and configured.

Setup Assistant Zones panel

Setup Assistant Zones panel (click for detail)

To determine which zone a DAC is connected to, click the play buttons to hear sample audio played to that zone. Additionally, a description of the USB device is displayed on the right side of the title bar on each box, which can also be useful in determining which zone it is.

To configure the zone, click the large text in the box's title bar and enter a name for the zone. This name will be displayed in the Simpfony Controllers. An icon can be selected either from a set of standard options, or a custom image can be uploaded for each zone. Optional volume settings can also be configured for each zone. There are three volume modes available:

  • Variable: This is the default mode and allows the users to change the volume in the Simpfony Controllers. Simpfony will seemlessly use either a hardware volume control in the USB DAC if one is available, or software-based volume control.
  • Fixed: The output volume is fixed at the level specified by the "Fixed volume" value. Users are not allowed to change the volume of this zone in the Simpfony Controllers. This mode is useful if an external device will be controlling the volume the users have access to such as in-wall volume controls or an AV receiver with a volume knob.
  • Hybrid: This is a special mode intended when an external volume control is used that can be controlled by Simpfony via IP or serial interfaces. In this mode, the output volume is fixed as in the Fixed volume mode, but the Simpfony Controllers will still present the users with a volume control interface. Simpfony will not adjust the volume however, but rather send commands to the external volume control to change the volume value.

Order of the zones can be rearranged by using the up and down arrows . The order the zones are displayed in the Setup Assistant is the order they will be displayed in on the Simpfony Controllers. This can be useful, for example, to keep zones logically grouped, such as keeping all zones on a floor together.

To disable a connected DAC as a zone output, simply leave the zone name blank. The delete button can also be used to clear the zone name. When a zone name is left blank, the zone will not be displayed in the Simpfony Controllers.

Sources

From the Setup Assistant "Sources" panel, sources can be added, modified, and deleted. At the top of the panel is a ribbon of available source types. Should a particular source type have a limited number of uses, an indication of how many are currently used versus the total number possible is displayed. For example, the number of line input sources are limited to the number of line inputs installed on the system.

Setup Assistant Sources panel

Setup Assistant Sources panel (click for detail)

To add a new source, click one of source types in the ribbon at the top of the panel. A new source box will appear at the top of the sources list. Enter a name for the source in the source box title bar labeled "unnamed source, enter a name here". This name will be displayed in the Simpfony Controllers.

Order of the sources can be rearranged by using the up and down arrows . The order the sources are displayed in the Setup Assistant is the order they will be displayed in on the Simpfony Controllers.

The delete button can be used to remove a source.

In the box below the title bar, the default icon can changed by selecting from a set of standard options, or a custom image can be uploaded for each source. Each source type also has various configuration settings:

Built-in library
Internal 100GB music library. This library is automatically shared to the network as "Library".

  • Synchronization with iTunes maintained library: Imports playlists and metadata from iTunes. The entire iTunes library must reside on the drive and the root directory must contain the "iTunes Music Library.xml" file.
  • Smart playlists: Check to enable each Smart Playlist and optionally set the number of items to maintain in each.

NAS library
Network-attached external storage device. The device must be shared to the network using CIFS / SMB.

  • Location: The full UNC network path in the form \\server\share\path\to\files to the network-attached file location.
  • Credentials: Optional username and password used to connect to the network location. This can be left blank if anonymous read-only access is allowed.
  • Synchronization with iTunes maintained library: Imports playlists and metadata from iTunes. The entire iTunes library must reside on the drive and the root directory must contain the "iTunes Music Library.xml" file.
  • Smart playlists: Check to enable each Smart Playlist and optionally set the number of items to maintain in each.

Pandora
Pandora account.

  • Email: Email address the account is associated with.
  • Password: Password for account.

Rhapsody / Napster
Rhapsody or Napster account.

  • Email: Email address the account is associated with.
  • Password: Password for the account.

Spotify
Spotify Premium account.

  • User name: User name for the account.
  • Password: Password for the account.

vTuner Internet Radio
Access to tens-of-thousands of Internet radio stations and hundreds-of-thousands of podcasts.

  • There are no configuration settings for this source type.

AirPlay
Apple AirPlay streaming from multiple devices simultaneously to Simpfony.

  • There are no configuration settings for this source type.

Line inputs
Line inputs for connection to external / legacy components such as cable boxes or turn-tables.

  • Device: Input device to use. This can be be built-in line input, or additional USB based inputs.
  • Format: Sample format to use for capturing the audio. Generally "2-channel, 16-bit PCM, 44100Hz (CD quality)" is sufficient.

CD player
USB connected CD player devices.

  • Device: USB attached CD player device to use for this instance.

Network

Setup Assistant Network panel

Setup Assistant Network panel (click for detail)

Configuration of the system network settings is performed on the Setup Assistant "Network" panel. Simpfony ships configured to automatically obtain network settings using DHCP on the wired Ethernet port. This should be adequate for most installations and not require any changes, unless a static IP address or use of the Wi-Fi connection is required.

The wired Ethernet connection must be used to initially configure the Wi-Fi settings. Once Wi-Fi is configured, the wired connection can be removed.

To manually configure a static IP address on the Ethernet port, change the "Obtain IP address using" option from "using DHCP" to "manually". Next enter the system IP address, network mask, gateway, and at least one DNS server.

Simpfony strongly recommends the use of the wired Ethernet connection.

To enable the use of the Wi-Fi connection, check the "Enable wireless network" option. Next enter the SSID name, select the security type, and enter the network password if needed. Finally, the IP address can be configured automatically using DHCP on the Wi-Fi connection, or configured with a static IP address as described above.

Should the network settings be misconfigured and connectivity to the Simpfony system be lost, a factory reset can be performed using a USB key to revert the wired Ethernet port to the default DHCP configuration.

Backup & restore

Backups are automatically taken by Simpfony whenever a new configuration is applied in the Setup Assistant, or when a factory reset is performed. Backups can also be initiated manually by clicking the "Backup now" button on the "Backup & restore" panel. The backups include all configuration details, including custom icons and any advanced settings modified outside of the Assistant. The backup does not include the files in the built-in music library; those files should be backed up separately.

Setup Assistant Backup & Restore panel

Setup Assistant Backup & Restore panel (click for detail)

Simpfony maintains the last 10 backups for easy access. Any of these backups can be restored by simply clicking the associated "Restore" link in the "Recent backups" list. These backups can also be downloaded to the client for storage elsewhere by clicking the "Download" link. Downloaded backups can be restored by selecting the file at the bottom of the panel.

Applying updates

Simpfony can check for and install available updates from the Setup Assistant "Updates" panel.

Setup Assistant Updates panel

Setup Assistant Updates panel (click for detail)

When an update is available from Simpfony the "Update now" button will be present on the Setup Assistant "Updates" panel. To automatically download and install the update, simply click the "Update now" button. The update will be installed and Simpfony will be restarted.

In rare cases, Simpfony support may supply an update to be installed manually. This update can be installed by selecting the file at the bottom of the panel.

Controllers

Simpfony Controllers are freely available for Android, iOS, and Windows on the Downloads page. Any number or combination of Controllers can be used with a Simpfony installation.

Factory reset

A factory reset will clear all configuration options, including network settings, and reset it to the configuration state that was applied when the system was shipped from the factory. Before performing a factory reset, Simpfony will automatically take a backup of the current configuration in case you wish to "undo" the factory reset operation later. There are two methods to perform a factory reset, depending on if the system is available on the network.

Using the Setup Assistant

This is the preferred method of performing a factory reset. If the installer has access to the Simpfony Setup Assistant, a factory reset can be performed by clicking the "Factory reset" button on the "System" panel.

Using a hardware key

If the Setup Assistant cannot be accessed, perhaps because the network settings have been misconfigured, a factory reset can be performed using a hardware key. This method requires a USB memory stick and physical access to the Simpfony system. The steps to perform a factory reset using the hardware key method are:

  1. Place a file or directory on a USB memory stick with the name simpfony-factory-reset.magic. The file or directory can be empty.
  2. Turn off the Simpfony system by double-tapping the power button on the front. The activity LED will flicker and the system will turn off.
  3. Insert the USB memory stick into a USB port on the the Simpfony system.
  4. Turn on the Simpfony system by tapping the power button on the front; the system activity LED will flicker.
  5. The system will perform a factory reset and eventually turn itself off — that is the indication that a factory reset has been performed.
  6. Remove the USB memory stick.
  7. Turn on the Simpfony system by tapping the power button on the front. The system is now in a factory default configuration state.