Do I Need a Dedicated Streamer?

Hello everyone,

As the title states, I am still unsure of if I need a dedicated streamer and if it would increase the fidelity of my music compared to how I am listening at the moment. Which is using AirPlay 2 from my iPhone to my Hegel H590 Integrated amp.


I know that the DAC in the Hegel H590 is considered quite good and it was one of the reasons that I bought the amplifier to begin with. However, would I get a better input using a dedicated streamer for around $1000 (such as the Cambridge CXNV2 for example) or would I be better off leaving things as is?

I am just not sure if airplaying music to the Hegel is degrading the signal in comparison to a streamer that would pull its own data and send it directly to the amplifier? Also, would improving my router placement and wifi signal make any difference to the sound since my Hegel is hardwired using a mesh wifi system?


I am open to switching streaming platforms if I can gain something out of it such as resolution but I’m not sure if apple music is the issue in any of this.


If the answer to the title is a no. I am curious what I would need to take the quality of my listening experience to the next level or where money would be better spent to achieve that. I do have acoustic panels in my room and have done my fair share of research on speaker placement already.


The only thing that I have been considering in the near-future would have to be the isoacoustics gaia 1 feet.


My equipment:

Hegel H590 Integrated

KEF Reference 5 Meta

Metra Velox Speaker Cables


Thanks for reading.


Gotta love those people who argue over Ethernet cables, the dismiss WiFi that removes them completely from the equation. Or that are concerned about jitter on their Ethernet connections. They're still very confused about TCP/IP. FWIW, buffers eliminate jitter. If jitter is so bad that the buffers overflow, then there's a serious ssue with the network that would show up in the router management as dropped frames. 

Unless you are serious about cobbling a streamer from a Raspberry Pi, and doing the associated bit-twiddling, just get a BlueSound Node. They're available for under $500 now, and a big step up from your current setup, and not that far behind the $3k to $5k offerings. Next get off of Apple, whether you move to Qobuz, Tidal, or Amazon UHD. You'll be very pleased. 

Logic dictates that your source be at a commensurate level with your amp and speakers otherwise it is the weakest link in the chain and will not maximize the amp and speaker’s sonic capabilities.

Just set aside all the comments here and think through that for a bit for yourself... you spent big money on your rig so far for a reason, you wanted the best sound you could afford, so don’t sell your rig short.

Here are 3 excellent streamer choices at ascending price points that have internal DACs and USB outputs so you can utilize your amp’s internal DAC as well:

Eversolo DMP-A8

Lumin T3

Aurender A15

I suppose that I could wire my mac mini using a usb cable to my Hegel and get streamer level quality without buying a dedicated device?

Try it. What do you have to lose if you already have the Mini? I've used this setup (with different amps/DACs) and it works fine.  You can host Roon Core on a Mini (or other full-function computer) as well as Audirvana or (of course) Apple Music.  Turn off Time Machine (or schedule it to run at night) and other process that might interrupt the music stream.

In my opinion, your choice of streaming platform may be best dictated by the services you want it to support and how you want to control it. With a full-function computer (like the Mini) you have many options.  After you've experimented with a few, down the road you might want to add a dedicated streamer.  If by then you've decided (for example) you like Roon, you can focus on Roon-Ready streaming devices.  In that case, one of the Rendu products would be an option;  Aurender (at this time) would not be.  



I'll leave the dedicated streamer thing alone since it has been discussed ad nauseum. But I think your consideration of Iso gaya I feet is one to pursue. I just installed them under my PBN MONTANA XPS speakers and the result was nothing less than stunning. Mainly in the very low frequencies, they have tightened the bass considerably getting rid of any kind of rumble anywhere in the room, even in the back corners, while losing none of the punch. Also the presentation has overall become more precise and a tat brighter. A very significant upgrade for under 1k.