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Thinking of a Streamer - Whats good?


Trizza
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Agree with Dom we all have our own personal way we listen . I suspect that I am little more with Dom than Nick . In another thread Dom has said he prefers an Innuos streamer that is less focused and capable because it makes some of his favourite music which is often not well recorded sound worse . I am in total agreement about this I like the music I like and i want to be able to listen and enjoy even if the recording is pretty ropey the music will shine through . Nick has a different goal which lets him enjoy his music they way he likes to hear it , both Nick and Dom are right for what they are looking to create because in the end it is really only you who listens to your system . Much like the views being expressed at how poor any system using a Pi as streamer is , is correct and right for those individuals . I make no excuses for my use of a Pi nor do I pretend that it is not something you have to work at to get right and then keep working right , but that also sounds familiar tome with regard to Vinyl playback as well very few users have fit and forget TT/Arms/Cartridges and phono stages . I am right for me but maybe I am just deaf and unable to hear any differences except those my own mind has invented .

Keep smiling , keep listening to music and enjoy yourself , remember this is just a Forum and these are just interested peoples views , they are not rules or proven theories just personal musings .

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There seems to be a huge amount of variety, with some "streamers" being essentially transports or even just network bridges. Others are music servers, some have DACs in them some even have amps and are an all in one. Even the hifi review sites comment on the catch all term causing confusion. 

The only thing that is certain is that the more you pay the less you seem to get in a box (hey thats hifi). 

As for me I want a solution with a DAC with either a USB A input or built in storage. Everything else is optional extras. 

I am of the opinion that the DAC will be the thing that influences the sound the most (others may think differently of course) and therefore it has to be better than the Arcam R-dac I currently use for this which was bought unheard off eBay. 

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Would agree that the DAC is the most important part and in my view this should be a separate unit and chosen because it works for you . In my main system my DAC is a DENAFRIPS Pro8 Mk 1 . In my other active systems it is the MiniDSP units that perform the DAC part so this is all limited and tied in to the other work being done . In all cases the players are just getting the stream and feeding that stream to the DAC or Active network which means they are not working hard and closing things down like Wifi , Bluetooth , HDMI out means the CPU is not working on things i do not use so this gives it the best possible chance of doing what i want it to with the best results . Add in the nice power supply and you have a very musical result.

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1 hour ago, belloire said:

oops. sorry about that, my bad.

i was looking at a higher auralic, and it was a G2, that's what i was basing it on. at the time i decided the cost was too much for a streamer. that might change in time. who knows.

and to be fair, if that's not way better than my £300 pi streamer, then there's something seriously wrong in the world.

You wouldnt need to spend anywhere near that to better your Pi, and the G2 is most definitely way better the Pi.

However I do find the law of diminishing returns happens at a certain point and the £1 for £1 improvements become less.

I do imagine one day I will look at the cost of all this and be utterly sickened by it all, sell everything and be content with a Naim Muso. But if you buy right, buy used, you can effectively move up the ladder without major costs. Ive never bought anything new or at full price, and I feel I have bought well, so I could in theory make money on everything if I sold it tomorrow. That works for me.  

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1 hour ago, Trizza said:

I am of the opinion that the DAC will be the thing that influences the sound the most (others may think differently of course) and therefore it has to be better than the Arcam R-dac I currently use for this which was bought unheard off eBay. 

I used to think that like, until I realised, it isn't. Its possibly a greater influence, but the transport is way up there.

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1 hour ago, Trizza said:

There seems to be a huge amount of variety, with some "streamers" being essentially transports or even just network bridges. Others are music servers, some have DACs in them some even have amps and are an all in one. Even the hifi review sites comment on the catch all term causing confusion. 

The only thing that is certain is that the more you pay the less you seem to get in a box (hey thats hifi). 

As for me I want a solution with a DAC with either a USB A input or built in storage. Everything else is optional extras. 

I am of the opinion that the DAC will be the thing that influences the sound the most (others may think differently of course) and therefore it has to be better than the Arcam R-dac I currently use for this which was bought unheard off eBay. 

You have a really good set up already. So your tactic is either to dip your toe, experiment, and maybe end up with a few components and spend a fair amount of money as with your existing components OR deliberately buy something that is an all-in-one box and that can’t changed in any way and don’t worry about it eg Naim Atom or Auralic Altair G1.

As a vinyl-first guy and being highly sceptical of streaming and it’s ‘inferior’ quality to CD after a lot of demos, including at home, I bought the Auralic Altair G1 as a safe bet. Can’t change streamer or DAC and it is what it is. It’s very good.

In my other system I am going a bit mad as everything can be upgraded ha ha ha. But the Altair is back home so I can’t compare to what I have built up just now for system two. 

By experimenting I found that power supplies can take the ‘edge’ off a streamer and make it sound more relaxed without loss of detail; that power supplies can also improve detail, that Auralic and Innuos streamers sound very different even when fed into a DAC like the Benchmark DAC2 (which is meant to not care what it’s fed.) But until you start experimenting then you don’t realise that what you had loved previously can be bettered; there is always something better.

As to what has the biggest impact? DAC vs Streamer? Well it depends. And it depends on the type of sound that you like as well. 

For example: 

1. I now would never use an Auralic Aries Mini without my SBooster. 

2. I prefer the Innuos Zen Mini over the Auralic Aries Mini with my Benchmark DAC2. But suspect that when I get home that I will prefer the Auralic over the Innuos with my Benchmark DAC1 (that isn’t as transparent as the DAC2).

3. The Auralic Aries Mini used with ATC SCM11 does certain things much better on voice and guitar in particular than the Innuos Zen Mini; but then the Zen is better in different ways as well. Weird as it’s just a streamer right?

4. Wave digital cables, whilst a little expensive, make digital a lot more enjoyable compared to the Audioquest that I was using. The change is similar in outcome as power supplies; relax into the music more.

My conclusion is that an all in one box sounds as it sounds and you will like it or not like it. But a streamer and DAC should always be chosen together as one will influence the other more than some people realise. If anything sounds fatiguing then consider a power supply and/or Wave cable if a two box solution.

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12 hours ago, Southeastern said:

You have lots of brand names in your kit list, do those  logos make the components more desirable to you?

Lol we’re not talking about streamers when you look in my kit list do we?

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28 minutes ago, Ceko said:

... when you look in my kit list do we?

whose we?

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