Do I need a streamer?

Streaming devices, with or without an internal DAC, seem to be very popular these days, so I am wondering if I am missing out on something.  I have Audirvana on my iMac that streams Tidal and music from my 8 TB external HD.  My iMac resides next to my audio rack and I connect my iMac via an optical cable (Fibbr) to my Aqua LaVoce DAC.  It seems to me that my iMac and external HD take the place of a streaming device.  Am I missing out on something other than convenience?  My external HD was a few hundred bucks and streamers a whole lot more.  The sound of my system is fantastic. 


For almost a year, I used my iPod to stream directly to the line input, I then added a used outboard DAC (Schiit Gungnir) and streamed to that. It was an easily audible improvement in the treble smoothness and soundstage! I just added a used Blusound Node 2i to bypass the computer completely and got another easily audible improvement, this time very a very noticeable improvement in midrange clarity (especially vocals) and much stronger and detailed deep bass. Even used, the pair totaled a sizable (for me) about $US1000 but I'm happy.

@pprocter That’s a great example of how much everything matters in streaming.  I started the same way you did and followed a similar progression and had very similar impressions.  Obviously upgrading your DAC or streamer down the road can get you even more, but if you’d like another very cost-effective improvement in the meantime you can add an upgraded power supply to the Node that many have found to yield significant sonic improvements.  Just an idea to ponder.  Anyway, nice job with the upgrades and glad you’re enjoying the benefits of your efforts.  

@soix Thanks for the suggestion! That was actually my next upgrade planned. I've been slogging around trying to choose the best option. I was looking at the pd Creative kit but they don't offer a USA 120v power supply and the shipping from Poland for just the circuit board is quite pricy! Do you have any options you've tried or considered?

Sorry, I’m far from an expert on power supplies, but I know Teddy Pardo products get nice reviews although there may be others at lower prices that will still get you significant improvements.  I just can’t remember their names.  Buy used if you can is my best advice as power supplies should last a long time and are very robust.  Best of luck.