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Streamers without Dacs..Sound Quality Differences?


Southeastern
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I think there was a thread on here about this at some point, but I can't find it, nor really do I want to wade through what will I imagine would be umpteen pages of objectivist rhetoric.

For those that have played around with this, and have decent hearing abilities, how have you found the change in SQ from streamer to streamer, used solely as a streamer?

I have a Naim ND5 XS2 at the moment, and just invested in an amazing (and expensive to me) R2R Dac. Currently I am use the ND5 as a streamer only, and I feel I could potentially cash in on the ND5 to pay off the DAC bill, and use a cheaper streamer like a Bluesound Node or a Primare NP5.

I use Roon.

I've never tried anything else than the Naim, other than running directly from my NAS drive (Roon Core) using USB to the DAC (which was quite inferior to the NAIM) so that rules out the 'sends bit perfect will sound the same' nonsense for me :) . I have heard Raspberry Pi's in systems, and never been impressed with the sound what was coming out - however I appreciate other factors may have contributed.

If you have played around with this, and had the chance to try different streamers, have you seen any major differences?  SQ, tempo, noise, hash etc

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I had an ND5XS and swapped it a Node 2i and a Chord Qutest. I found this an upgrade to the Naim unit in terms of sound - additionally Bluos is much slicker than the Naim App which I found a little unreliable in my system (wired). Before the Node 2i had the Primare NP5. In fairness I had one of the first units in the UK and found it very temperamental, losing contact with my NAS and the App generally being pretty shoddy.  It may have improved, I don't know, but I couldn't heartily recommend it on my relatively short experience. The Node 2i is a way better user experience and there are quite a few people on the Wam that use it as a streamer bypassing it's own DAC.

As for Roon I don't use it and have no knowledge but a quick look at the Bluesound Support Forum there seem to be lots of discussions around it's use with the Node which may be worth checking out.

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I had a Linn Klimax renew DS and sold it once I heard the blue sound node 2i with an upgraded power supply again as above into a chord qutest .... didn’t really save on the swap but use qutest with my new project rs2 disc transport and a sacd player.

don’t feel like I am missing anything and operation easy both apple or android

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1 hour ago, Southeastern said:

I think 

For those that have played around with this, and have decent hearing abilities, how have you found the change in SQ from streamer to streamer, used solely as a streamer?

I have a Naim ND5 XS2 at the moment, and just invested in an amazing (and expensive to me) R2R Dac. Currently I am use the ND5 as a streamer only, and I feel I could potentially cash in 

1 hour ago, Southeastern said:

to get the best sound quality from the naim streamers you need to use bubble upnp app on Android or m-connect  app if using IOS (apple)... the naim app is terrible they don't even use it themselves... 

Edited by 2010*zuma
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45 minutes ago, Southeastern said:

I think there was a thread on here about this at some point, but I can't find it, nor really do I want to wade through what will I imagine would be umpteen pages of objectivist rhetoric.

For those that have played around with this, and have decent hearing abilities, how have you found the change in SQ from streamer to streamer, used solely as a streamer?

I have a Naim ND5 XS2 at the moment, and just invested in an amazing (and expensive to me) R2R Dac. Currently I am use the ND5 as a streamer only, and I feel I could potentially cash in on the ND5 to pay off the DAC bill, and use a cheaper streamer like a Bluesound Node or a Primare NP5.

I use Roon.

I've never tried anything else than the Naim, other than running directly from my NAS drive (Roon Core) using USB to the DAC (which was quite inferior to the NAIM) so that rules out the 'sends bit perfect will sound the same' nonsense for me :) . I have heard Raspberry Pi's in systems, and never been impressed with the sound what was coming out - however I appreciate other factors may have contributed.

If you have played around with this, and had the chance to try different streamers, have you seen any major differences?  SQ, tempo, noise, hash etc

It is best really if you can get to hear some pure streamers. I hear big differences between them but not all people do and there is no point in paying more than you need to. 
 

You mention the bluesound node and they are good but in my opinion others sound much better but as it is your money it is you who needs to hear the alternatives. 

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The Naim is a streamer/DAC; that is its primary purpose. Merely using it as a streamer is not optimum, IMO&E. The Node 2i digi out would probably be indistinguishable in to your DAC.

I found that my Auralic Aries G1 streamer is a noticeably 'better' streamer than the Node (which is also a streamer DAC), or the digital out of the N272 I had at the time. Plus against others that I've tried.

There are definite gains to be had by using a good streamer as a transport in to a DAC. 

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20 minutes ago, 2010*zuma said:

to get the best sound quality from the naim streamers you need to use bubble upnp app on Android or m-connect  app if using IOS (apple)... the naim app is terrible they don't even use it themselves... 

I use Roon as mentioned.

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18 minutes ago, Fourlegs said:

It is best really if you can get to hear some pure streamers. I hear big differences between them but not all people do and there is no point in paying more than you need to. 
 

You mention the bluesound node and they are good but in my opinion others sound much better but as it is your money it is you who needs to hear the alternatives. 

Ok, thanks, looks like I will need to investigate personally and opt to purchase a few to try where there are decent returns policies.

16 minutes ago, simon g said:

The Naim is a streamer/DAC; that is its primary purpose. Merely using it as a streamer is not optimum, IMO&E. The Node 2i digi out would probably be indistinguishable in to your DAC.

I found that my Auralic Aries G1 streamer is a noticeably 'better' streamer than the Node (which is also a streamer DAC), or the digital out of the N272 I had at the time. Plus against others that I've tried.

There are definite gains to be had by using a good streamer as a transport in to a DAC. 

If the Node sounded the same as the Naim in streamer only format, I'd be very happy.

But I'll definitely take both of your thoughts on board and try a streamer only unit. Thanks!

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49 minutes ago, Sumdumgi said:

I had an ND5XS and swapped it a Node 2i and a Chord Qutest. I found this an upgrade to the Naim unit in terms of sound - additionally Bluos is much slicker than the Naim App which I found a little unreliable in my system (wired). Before the Node 2i had the Primare NP5. In fairness I had one of the first units in the UK and found it very temperamental, losing contact with my NAS and the App generally being pretty shoddy.  It may have improved, I don't know, but I couldn't heartily recommend it on my relatively short experience. The Node 2i is a way better user experience and there are quite a few people on the Wam that use it as a streamer bypassing it's own DAC.

As for Roon I don't use it and have no knowledge but a quick look at the Bluesound Support Forum there seem to be lots of discussions around it's use with the Node which may be worth checking out.

The Bluesound Node is Roon Ready, as is the Primare now, which is why I began looking at those two, thanks for the thoughts on the Primare, they do have a new model coming out next month which hopefully is an improvement on the first one. I like the look of it as it's completely inconspicuous. 

The Naim as a DAC I found much superior to the Qutest, but tbh, I am just not much of a Chord fan, I've never liked the sound of any of their kit at all. 

Thanks for your thoughts, helpful.

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I use the Stack Audio Link II network bridge with my Benchmark DAC2 L with Roon and it works flawlessly. Might be worth a look.

Regards Andrew 

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I use a Sonore MicroRendu into a Qutest via BubbleUp.  The MicroRendu requires a good PS.  I use a Sbooster.

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9 hours ago, andrew s said:

I use the Stack Audio Link II network bridge with my Benchmark DAC2 L with Roon and it works flawlessly. Might be worth a look.

Regards Andrew 

9 hours ago, ziggy said:

I use a Sonore MicroRendu into a Qutest via BubbleUp.  The MicroRendu requires a good PS.  I use a Sbooster.

Options worth pursuing, thanks.

Everything needs a decent psu, meaning a secondary box unless its low voltage like the Bluesound. At least the NAIM has a decent inbuilt PSU and therefore a single box.

I would prefer, for no reason other than just historic personal observations to have a unit with a coax out rather than USB. They've always just sounded better to me. 

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If you're not in a mad rush to buy I'll just float the idea of a miniDSP SHD Studio as an option. I say this as it's hopefully in the final stages of being fully Roon certified but isn't as I type this. What this unit offers that most don't is Dirac Live (and other DSP) functionality, which may be of zero interest to you but is something to at least consider.

On the Node front, it should presumably be fairly easy for you to demo one to see what you think?

Edited by MartinC
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How about an iPad as a streamer? Does that play Roon? I use it for my steaming services and I must say I’m very happy with the big touchscreen and the sq! Doesn’t even cost as much as a Node.

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11 hours ago, Southeastern said:

I think there was a thread on here about this at some point, but I can't find it, nor really do I want to wade through what will I imagine would be umpteen pages of objectivist rhetoric.

For those that have played around with this, and have decent hearing abilities, how have you found the change in SQ from streamer to streamer, used solely as a streamer?

I have a Naim ND5 XS2 at the moment, and just invested in an amazing (and expensive to me) R2R Dac. Currently I am use the ND5 as a streamer only, and I feel I could potentially cash in on the ND5 to pay off the DAC bill, and use a cheaper streamer like a Bluesound Node or a Primare NP5.

I use Roon.

I've never tried anything else than the Naim, other than running directly from my NAS drive (Roon Core) using USB to the DAC (which was quite inferior to the NAIM) so that rules out the 'sends bit perfect will sound the same' nonsense for me :) . I have heard Raspberry Pi's in systems, and never been impressed with the sound what was coming out - however I appreciate other factors may have contributed.

If you have played around with this, and had the chance to try different streamers, have you seen any major differences?  SQ, tempo, noise, hash etc

I was going to start a similar thread so thanks for that!!

I found that when I was testing streamer/DACs at home that the Naim ND5XS2 streamer was better than the one in the Auralic Altair G1 (I did a lengthy thread on comparisons between Naim, Auralic and Chord). So in my opinion you are starting from a good place. I also found that Innuos seemed to be a better streamer than others but I didn’t extensively test and no home demo as I only had WiFi and the Innuos needed a cable. Very recently someone @Griff500? mentioned some sort of WiFi device that the Innuos could use but can’t find this right now.

I am interested how much of a difference a streamer would make but also the budget limit that makes sense given that if it’s for streaming Tidal etc that has reduced sound quality compared to CD.

Lastly @Fourlegs started a thread about Roon negativity effecting sound quality so it’s worth reading that one. (I am not a Roon user)

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