Clock vs Streamer advice


My current system is/was

Aurender N100H>Bricasti MC1>ARC Ref6 Pre>PS BHK 300 monos>B&W 803 D3

I sold the Aurender to try a different streamer and am temporarily using a MacBook to run Roon straight the the DAC through USB. I currently don’t have a huge budget. I emailed a local shop that has a used Melco N1Z to demo at home. I am going to try it out. I also want to try the Bricasti M5 streamer to see if there is synergy with my DAC.

I also came across the Mutec MC3+USB and Mutec Ref10 Nano combination in a similar price point, but I won’t be able to demo this.

If I have to pick between using a mac>Multec MC3+USB and Ref10 Nano>dac and the Melco>DAC option, which do you think will improve sound more. I’m still pretty new to this hobby and can’t currently afford the Melco and Multec combo.


Keep the computer outta your system at all costs.  It’s a hot mess of noise and poor performance. 

I wish I could recommend the Mutec Nano to you but unless you are going to seriously upgrade with an outboard LPS you will be disappointed . Sent mine back. 
Keep it simple with a good dedicated streamer from Lumin, Rose, etc. 
you can always upgrade your Bricasti with a network card and be good to go at a very reasonable price. 

@zpatenaude37 Definitely move away from the computer as others said. There are three areas that a quality streamer focuses on that largely results in the quality of its performance.

First is noise reduction, which is actually two areas. The first is in the power supply, and better units like Aurender will implement high quality linear power supplies to reduce DC ripple. The second area will be in the hardware architecture and isolation characteristics, which keep EMI and RFI out of the chassis and away from different components inside the chassis. People really underestimate what that can do to the sound. With both of these covered, a delicate digital signal will have more resolution, a lower noise floor, and a deeper, wider, more engaging soundstage. 

The third area is clocking, where the better the clock, the more in focus the image is. It’s very similar to photography. Where you can use a subpar lens and get an image that seemingly is focused, you can then compare it to a high quality lens and see what the subpar lens is unable to capture. Or it’s like a lens that is just slightly out of focus vs one that is not. The dynamics improve, edges are a little less hazy, and overall the presentation is much more palpable. 

Given your components and speakers, which are quite revealing, you ought to be investing in a higher quality streamer than the ones you mention. The streamer is your source, similar to a turntable without the phono stage. In your system setup, I could easily see a $5-7K turntable outfit and $3-5K phono stage. You’ve got a $9K DAC, and will benefit from a $5-7K streamer. 

Being an authorized Aurender dealer, the Aurender N200 by audphile1 is a great suggestion. I haven’t yet come across another streamer in its price range that sounds better (I get a number of streamers in trade). Even if not the N200, I suggest you save a bit more or wait for a higher priced unit to come on the used market. That said, warranties count for something, as streamers are inherently computers, and who hasn’t had computer problems? Many times it’s worth buying new just so that you’re not stuck with a lemon in the long run. 

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