Strummer

0s & 1s are all the same aren’t they? Is it really worth paying for a “better” Streamer?

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OK, so at the moment I use a Raspberry Pi into a Denafrips DAC.

I’m looking for the best sound I can get, but also to reduce boxes if I can (SQ is the decider), so looking at either an Integrated or Preamp with DAC or buying a Streamer with DAC, which would free me up to buy any Integrated or Pre..

But my question is, fed into the same DAC, do expensive Streamers really sound any better than a Raspberry Pi?    After all, aren’t 0s & 1s just that????

I can buy an Auralic Aries at a good price.  Would I really hear a difference?

I’ve only ever heard 2 expensive Streamers, both Linn.   Wasn’t at all impressed.   All I could hear is that awful smeared Linn house sound, so that’s not exactly swayed me over.

Is there an outstanding Streamer with Onboard DAC I should go for?



Thanks

Edited by Strummer
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It’s a fair question and one that I’m still mulling over.

Aurelic does seem to make some excellent equipment. I heard one ( can’t remember which but it was £3k ish)  driving some active ATC speakers & it was making some lovely sounds. 
I think ( so far) that the DAC makes far more difference than the streamer does to the SQ. 

Presently I’m using a MacMini into a Bel Canto DAC & I don’t know how much difference replacing the McMini with a dedicated “Hifi streamer” would make. One day, I will demo some stuff to answer that question for myself.

Im guessing there must be a few here that have gone through the same route & may give their opinion.

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Super Dealer

There won’t be any difference in terms of sound quality , but the ‘pride of ownership’, milled from solid may be important to you.

Keith

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As a general point, better streamers sound better and cost more.

However if you’re looking to change your system, I’d advise speakers first, then amp, DAC, source.

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Super Wammer

As I have a Linn DSM which you probably disapprove of, you had better not take my advice!

But here is a recent thread about a very expensive streamer that some feel will offer more than just pride of ownership.

https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/147586-grimm-mu1-has-anyone-got-one-what-else-did-you-consider-please/

Edited by Nopiano
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21 minutes ago, Strummer said:

I’m looking for the best sound I can get, but also to reduce boxes if I can (SQ is the decider), so looking at either an Integrated or Preamp with DAC or buying a Streamer with DAC, which would free me up to buy any Integrated or Pre..

Note that another option is to use a single unit as a combined streamer, DAC and pre-amp. I use one.

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I use a pi, and resent buying a piece of kit that has a shelf life dictated by a phone app. Volumio sounds perfectly fine into a USB DAC. 

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14 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

There won’t be any difference in terms of sound quality , but the ‘pride of ownership’, milled from solid may be important to you.

Keith

Thanks Keith

I’m absolutely not an Audiofool.   I love the music I like.  I have as much emotional attachment to boxes as the probably 10 year old socks I’m wearing.   Milled Aluminium my arse!   If it doesn’t sound better, I don’t care what it looks like.

11 minutes ago, Nopiano said:

As I have a Linn DSM which you probably disapprove of, you had better not take my advice!

But here is a recent thread about a very expensive streamer that some feel will offer more than just pride of ownership.

https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/147586-grimm-mu1-has-anyone-got-one-what-else-did-you-consider-please/

Apologies, I wasn’t having a go.   I’m just not keen on Hifi having a sound.

Thanks for the link.

9 minutes ago, MartinC said:

Note that another option is to use a single unit as a combined streamer, DAC and pre-amp. I use one.

What piece of equipment is that?  

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I'd go the whole hog, "hifi' NAS, "hifi" network switch, "hifi" network patch cables and linear power supplies on everything. You can spend ££££££ on network streaming and still get the same result as a £40 Pi and £100 +/- for a decent DAC and have a superb sounding setup.

Personally if you want to get your toes set to cheap to see if it works and you're happy with the results and move on when you have the finances. There are some genuinely knowledgeable people here regarding streaming, free software and the configuration aspects to pull it all together.

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Super Dealer

The really important feature of a streamer is the user interface, that is what you interact with, and of course ensure it can play everything you want it to.

Keith

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dac's... another interconnect.. another mains lead...more signal outputting... more loss than retaining... 

is a £349 streamer better or near as good than a £3499 - really?... please gentleman/ladies 

Dac's are vastly overrated I have yet to live with one... I have had a few. 

Buy a decent well designed streamer with an inbuilt dac.. 

I agree with not over investing in the uncertainty of streaming... no hard copies of music replay. 

I use a naim ndx with bubble upnp streaming tidal... 

Edited by 2010*zuma
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8 minutes ago, Strummer said:

What piece of equipment is that?  

If you'd clicked on my 'Wigwam Info' you'd have been able to see :).

I have a miniDSP SHD. A NAD C658 is a somewhat similar unit that would probably appeal to more people. I suspect there are several more available too. Their suitability will in part depend on what if any sources other than a streamer that you may want to use.

On your 'is a more expensive streamer better' question you aren't going to get a simple answer here. Some will say it can't make any difference. Others that they've tried some different options but heard no obvious difference, and finally some who say they have heard worthwhile differences. 

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Every thread ends up like cable thread eventually. So much subjectivity involved.

For my part I have been streaming for over 12 years, from Logitech SB3 and on. In the last 18 months I have fed my PSAudio DirectWave DAC with a variety of equipment and heard differences in changing the firmware on the DAC. I have used a Windows server and Raspberry Pi(s) in a variety of functions but have moved onto an optimised NUC with USB, not the bridge card in the DAC. Not every `upgrade' has been an upgrade, and my dalliance with Melco devices fell flat.  In essence, I do feel there are big gains to be had moving up from the Pi, but it is excellent value for money.  

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Super Wammer
1 hour ago, Strummer said:

Apologies, I wasn’t having a go.   I’m just not keen on Hifi having a sound.

Thanks for the link.

I know you weren’t, and I’d always thought of mine as pretty neutral, but we can’t all like the same stuff!  I’d second Keith’s and others points about usability and catering for the sources you choose.  If you haven’t seen the huge threads here about the fairly modest Bluesound Node then take a look, as they are decent stand alone products but seem to give significantly more with better DACs and power supplies.  They play most streaming services and have a popular app too.  You’d have to try tweakier things like switches and cables at your leisure to see what you find - personally I find good commercial Ethernet cat 6a by Duronic and a switch by Netgear just fine.  

Auralic that you mention, and Lumin that you didn’t, are both brands I’d look closer at if I wasn’t satisfied with my Linn.  Can you borrow something to try at home?

Edited by Nopiano
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I've been playing around for a couple of years trying to reduce my box count for use with active speakers and have begged, borrowed and tried numerous streamer and DAC combinations.  The conclusions I have reached so far, are -

*Streamers pretty much all sound the same if they have a decent power supply.

* Avoid using  USB outputs if at all possible. 

* If using a DAC with a volume control function, then it's the preamp /audio section that really makes or breaks it.

These are my personal observations but I have tried many different combinations, however I expect many will have had different experiences.

Edited by wHIZZY
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