Advice regarding streaming please.

Hello, I have an Audiolab 6000n streamer and think it’s now the weakest link, but I am not using the built in DAC as I’m using a Denafrips Pontus DAC , I’m wondering would a different / better streamer be any better at at put all those 1’s & 0’s into my Pontus DAC or at the pre-DAC point is it all the same? I’m an incomplete tetraplegic so any suggestions of CD/SACD or vinyl is not good for me. 

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I know very little about Roon, but as for components past the DAC is a Sugden A21SE & KEF R3 speakers the amp is a keeper but perhaps in time the speakers would be in my sights. 

Love the Sugden. It depends a lot on what you are or want to stream. And how satisfied you are with the player interface.

The Pontus buffers and reclocks the data from the SPDIF port, so is less sensitive to the quality of the streamer than most DACs. The downside is that there are users that report sound glitches if the streamer clock is too far off in frequency from the DAC clock. If you aren't experience these problems, I'd probably recommend sticking with what you have, or spending the money to upgrade to a Venus II, or a used Venus or Terminator). 

If you do decide to upgrade your streamer, I'd recommend getting one that has a USB output option which I think works better than SPDIF on the Denafrips DACs.

Yes, the streamer matters, in no small way. I have used $100 streamers, PCs, MacBooks, and $3K, $5K, $10K, and $22K streamers (not including DAC)… each incremental increase in cost significantly improves the output quality assuming you have the ancillary equipment to support it. So, given your DAC, I suspect a better streamer could improve your sound quality significantly. I have found Aurender to be excellent sources. I own two and have experienced the N10. I went from skeptical when I ordered my $22K Aurender W20SE to believing it is a bargain. Anyway, yes, the streamer matters, like a turntable and cartridge maters in a analog leg,

A streamer is a streamer....If it connects and stays connected, to me, that Is what is important. Yes, some may do ultra hi-res whatever....I bet the majority of those here could not tell the difference between cd quality & hi res in a blind test.

Streamer is not just streamer.

Spend the money 

I just bought a dedicated streamer and it really does make a difference.

Check out streamers from Sonnet AUDIO,metrum acoustics, Totaldac and Baetis audio


yet another audio subject with a huge range of "opinions"....that, in itself, is interesting, dont you think?

I've asked this question myself. Here's where I have wound up based upon what folks with expensive streamers say: A better streamer can make a difference -- but IF your streamer is decent (Node 2i or above) make sure everything else is as good as you can make it or the improvement will be marginal. Since most people don't do much with room treatments or power, that would be the most likely place to adjust before dropping a lot of money on a streamer. Others may disagree, but this is where the argument rests for me until I can try better streamers in my maxed out setup.

I have been studying streaming relentlessly for over 2 yrs.  I knew nothing.  So this what I would recommend before you spend lots of money.

1.  Ethernet cable from router to streamer. 

2.  You can add a network switch to help clean up any noise

3.  You can add an ENO to your ethernet line.  About 700 dollars.

4.  Good power cord to DAC and streamer

My opinion is you have very very nice equipment.  I would optimize what you have before I tear it apart and start over.  All these tweaks clean up noise of different types.  All the above can be done for 2000 or less. You might be surprised.  

To be quite definative, it depends.  For many streaming is the primary source. If that is so then I would think the streaming device quality should be conmensurate with downstream equipment.  

+1 daledeee1, based on my having followed threads herein I would optomize the signal going to the streamer prior to upgrading it.  

All this based from one who has streamed only from computer and do little of it. I am considering the purchase of my 1st true streamer. A process I started 8 months ago. I will likely go with a modest but quality one, most likely the recent Node. My next upgrade will likely be a new transport. If I find I streaming to become a major source then I would optomize signal to the streamer.




I own the Audiolab 6000N and I'm very happy with it's build quality, streaming features and sound quality With it's user interface I can control all streaming services (there are many) through the DTS Play-Fi app using my smart phone I do use an external DAC the Exogal Comet Plus, but it does come with respectable internal DAC


Don’t get me wrong, the Audiolab is not a bad streamer, but I know the rest of the gear is capable of better. 

Streamers make a difference.
I used Mac Mini, AURALiC Aries G1 and Lumin U1 Mini. I prefer the sound of the Lumin. Hideous app though so plan on using Roon or Tidal Connect f you stream Tidal or I guess it may be semi usable with an iPad. 
Use a good USB cable (they also make a difference) or a good AES/EBU cable depending on streamer and DAC resolution capabilities. 


The streamer is rarely the weakest link. If you are comfortable with the user interface I wouldn't bother changing it. If you're simply looking for something new that's a different story. The Kef R3 are good speakers but could use a subwoofer to fill in the low range or new speakers that extend lower, you'd notice more difference looking there. Get a measurement microphone and REW see about optimizing room treatments or using DSP. Any of those will affect your sound exponentially more than changing a streamer. 

+1 @djones51  At a certain point, this hobby stops being orgiastic buying and becomes something like work, but the fun work one puts into a puzzle or project. If one is not prepared to do that work, then an endless cycle of buying, selling, and posting awaits thee. To each his own.


My system is not top tier, but all in all not bad for money spent If you watch my vid the song is played through my Audiolab 6000n  SPDIF @ 44/16   l would like to get a more costly streamer on loan just to compare

Watch "magnepan 7's doing their thing" on YouTube

I inserted a CD in my OPPO 105 the first time in the past 2 years and I was surprised how good my system sounded.  Maybe playing a CD sounds better than my BlueSound Node 2i?