Don’t need a dedicated Ethernet card really. Your Ethernet cable should match your router’s port speeds. If you use cat 5 on 1 Gig ports you can have degraded and inconsistent performance. Having said that, 100 MBPS is way more than any streaming service needs, but most routers have at least 1 Gig ports. If your router has 10 Gig ports you must use cat 6a or better.
Shielded is preferred IMHO to minimize chance of radiating to your interconnects.
So from wall to modem to router to streamer to dac, correct?
Often you have a switch near your streamer to accommodate your TV, Roku, etc. as well, so:
Modem --> router --> switch --> streamer --> DAC
If your modem has a coaxial input consider an exterior gas discharge surge protector, and an Ethernet isolator near the streamer. I’m particularly obsessive about surge protection being in a lightning prone area so I use both. Ethernet isolators are particularly good at the end of 30’ or longer Ethernet runs to reduce induced surges breaking through to downstream gear.
A dedicated streamer, keep the PC out. The better quality the streamer (as all audio components), the better If your system is too far from your router modem you can use a wall wart wifi extender and a short Ethernet cable from there to your streamer. My systems run this way (see under my UserID.
You don't need a streamer unless it's inconvenient for you to use the PC. A streamer is basically a small computer with some software installed to enable streaming. You could download this software yourself or enable it (depending on what OS is on the PC).
You also don't need a fancy Ethernet card or shielded cabling either. If you own a cell phone or use wi-fi and Bluetooth, or can receive TV / radio stations, your audio components are already bathing in a sea of RF signals.
You don't need a streamer unless it's inconvenient for you to use the PC. A streamer is basically a small computer with some software installed to enable streaming.
@yageYes, and you don’t need a Porsche either, but it’s purpose built and kicks the crap out of a Toyota Camry in performance. Likewise, a streamer is purpose built with high-quality parts to optimize audio quality and reduce noise whereas a PC is a noisy multipurpose mess and is a horrible source for streaming audio. You want Camry audio performance use a PC, but if you want significantly better audio performance for not all that much extra $$$ get a separate streamer. Can’t even believe we’re still having this conversation.
You definitely don’t need a streamer to get absolutely top notch performance. You may like the streamer better subjectively, but objectively there’s nothing particularly better about it. If it’s functionality works out better for you then go for it. If you think it sounds better, go for it. If you haven’t tried a streamer yet, I think it’d be best to find out as much as possible before committing.
A music streamer is a lot like a game console. Hardly anybody will say that a game console can play games better than a computer. Quite the opposite. However, a game console has a lot of conveniences and plays games well enough for most everybody. For me, a console is overall a better experience for gaming. For music playback, I’ve found I prefer the computer over dedicated streamers. It has to do with how I listen. If you want the absolute best performance and flexibility use a computer. If you want a walled garden experience that will sound good enough, maybe even better to some subjectively, get a streamer.
Some things I’ll confess I don’t like about the computer:
1. It’s complicated, with a lot of settings. I can lose track of what all is going on.
2. It’s a multipurpose machine and may interrupt your music session with other business.
3. A software update can create some havoc now and then.
Having said all that, I’ve had streaming devices produce similar issues now and then. I’ve not tried them all, but I’ve read reports of similar issues with even very well regarded high end streamers, so as someone said earlier, it’s still a computer and will still have some of these issues.
Actually, I should clarify that I still do use a streaming device, but the computer is also hooked up and I find myself gravitating mostly toward it as the primary streaming source.
Directly responding to the original question of ethernet for sound quality, you'll have to decide for yourself. There is no consensus on a broad scale, and certainly no repeatable testing that has shown conclusively that there's a lot going on with sound quality concerning your ethernet connection. You can gather opinions here so I'll give you mine - it hardly matters. Your speakers and room, no matter how good, are going to be veiling the sound by orders of magnitude more than your ethernet connection or choice of streamer. I won't say that you or someone else can't hear it. But I wouldn't let anyone else tell you what to expect. You'll have to listen for yourself and decide what matters to you.
Like I pointed out, a streamer is simply a small computer and it generates all the electromagnetic noise that a regular PC would generate. In fact, most use Linux as the base operating system and commodity compute modules / hardware for processing.
One benefit of a streamer might be the lack of mechanical noise from cooling fans, but if you build and configure a PC carefully they're basically inaudible from a few feet away.
You definitely don’t need a streamer to get absolutely top notch performance. You may like the streamer better subjectively, but objectively there’s nothing particularly better about it.
Uh, objectively there absolutely is something better about a dedicated streamer. Better components and much lower noise yields huge benefits in streaming. If you think a multipurpose computer streams music as well as a good dedicated streamer I got a bridge I can sell ya.
Like I pointed out, a streamer is simply a small computer and it generates all the electromagnetic noise that a regular PC would generate. In fact, most use Linux as the base operating system and commodity compute modules / hardware for processing. One benefit of a streamer might be the lack of mechanical noise from cooling fans, but if you build and configure a PC carefully they're basically inaudible from a few feet away.
Yes, the one benefit of a good streamer is lack of fan noise. Good call.
A music streamer is a lot like a game console. Hardly anybody will say that a game console can play games better than a computer.
A music streamer is nothing like a gaming console in any way whatsoever! Seriously, what are you even doing here?
Is ASR funneling their members here just to spew their ridiculous crap? Argh!
Launch date of Q3 2016. This processor is a 7 year old design. Recommended customer price of $56.00. It looks like Intel will stop broad support for this processor on Sep. 30, 2023.
I don’t think this is state of the art.
The operating system running the streamer is Linux-based.
If a streamer uses Linux, it’s most likely using open source software called ’mpd’ for playback. It probably uses other open source projects to handle streaming protocols like shairplay (AirPlay) and umpdcli for UPnP.
@yageFirst, and just as with a DAC, a streamer is much more than just its processing chip, and if you don’t realize this simple fact you don’t (or won’t) understand there’s a lot more involved in good streaming quality than that. Second, I’ll put an Innuos Statement (or any Innuos streamer for that matter) up against the Raspberry Pi you use in your system 7 days a week and twice on Sunday. There’s a reason excellent streamers from the likes of Innuos, Lumin, Aurender, Grimm, etc. exist and people are very happy to pay up for them, and none of them would swap them for your lowly Raspberry Pi. If you’re happy just burying your head in the sand and believe it’s just 1s and 0s and streamers make no difference then you do you. But most people here prefer to use their ears and spend their $$$ accordingly, and investing in a better streamer has meaningful and substantial benefits whether you choose to “believe” it or not.
We round off our little investigation into network cables with a listening test and a clear conclusion. As promised we subjected the network plugs to a listening test and listened to three different configurations: shielding fixed on one side, shielding fixed on two sides and double shielded (and both sides connected). Do we hear differences? Well…. yes…!
Let’s clear up one myth: there is NO audible difference in network plugs. There is a difference in build quality, price and ease of installation. In short: it does make sense to invest in a good plug.
But let’s continue with the sound reproduction: as you know, we have installed everything from standard plugs to expensive Telegärtners. We tried all cables on the same switch (with an IFI power supply) and listened to the same system:
We did not notice any difference between the connectors. Sometimes we thought we heard something (think of a louder or sharper S-sound), but when we went back to the other connector, there was no difference. It is sometimes very complex to listen to this properly and to judge it honestly. But after hours of switching back and forth, we dare say that there is no difference in reproduction. In any case, we do not dare to take a bet in a blind test…
But where we do hear immediate differences – and continue to hear differences even when going back and forth – is the method of shielding.
We made three cables for this purpose: one cable with DeLock plugs and shielding fixed at one end. One cable with Delock plugs with the shielding fixed at both ends and finally the double shielded version with the nice sleeve. Also with the shielding on both sides (and Delock plugs).
What we observe almost immediately is that the version with the shielding fixed on both sides focuses better. The version with shielding on one side seems to play a bit larger, but that is not true: the effects in the song Perfect Life by Steven wilson are placed at the same spot in the room, but are more tightly framed with the cable where the shielding is fixed on both sides.
With voices, the same is true: it’s tighter in focus and also more stable between the speakers (if we move our heads back and forth, the voice stays in place better very odd).
Going to the double shielding we make another step. Again a bit more tightly focused, again a bit better framed. And with that a bit more calmness in the reproduction allowing details to surface a bit easier.
Clearly, fo us it is clear where the differences come from: shielding, shielding, shielding.
And that is quite logical if you consider that a network cable is included in a digital chain. A chain that relies on clean energy to keep everything clocked tight. A chain that works with noise-levels of -140dB. A chain where small deviations are immediately audible in staging, focus and smoothness.
This also explains why fiber networks work so well as a first upgrade: you immediately shut out a lot of misery by creating a barrier through which electrical energy cannot pass. And thus no electrical noise (common mode in particular).
Can you hear differences between network cables? Yes… definitely. Our samples have shown that. And about the real cables you can buy at the store… pay particular attention to what the manufacturer has done in terms of shielding. We would still leave the unshielded versions. Especially after this experience. But anyway: try it yourself at home!
Second, I’ll put an Innuos Statement (or any Innuos streamer for that matter) up against the Raspberry Pi you use in your system 7 days a week and twice on Sunday.
I would too because I bet in a blind listening test you’d be surprised at the results.
The reason why companies sell overpriced streamers is because people don’t know any better. I don’t think the average audiophile realizes that these multi-thousand dollar products are based on low-cost, low-powered hardware and freely available open source projects.
The flip side of the coin is that these products are advertised as having ’less noise’ yet there are no measurements to confirm that this is in fact the case. At least if you buy a Ferrari you know that you’re getting better performance (in certain respects) than a Camry because it’s been measured and tested.
The fact of the matter is that a great sounding streamer can be made from something as simple as a Raspberry Pi 4 which more than likely has more processing power and basically the same audio software stack as the $12k+ Innuos Statement.
toro3 I have an OPPO UDP-205. Let me start from the beginning,,,,
2018 bought the 205 streamed through desktop (fans and all.) Tidal I believe it was called premium at that time Via Cardas clear network cat 7 cable. from wall to computer then from computer soundcard Soundblaster X-fi Xtreme to 205 via Cardas Parsec coax Great selection of tracks from my favorite bands that weren't available from lp's cd's youtube. live selections so forth. I thought it sounded fine, I still do. But if I can get a higher quality sound I'll go for it.,I was just hoping for a direct connection from modem to the 205.via Ethernet cable. I plan on using a 1TB SSD via Cardas clear high speed internet usb cable once I have a collection.
I went from a streaming setup using a Mac Mini 2 with a wireless network connection to a Lumin U2 Mini using a wired network connection. I noticed a dramatic improvement in sound quality. It was absolutely worth the money.
Lots of paths to streaming music. Fewer paths to high end audio streaming. I studied the options for a couple of years and tried various ways to stream- including using my laptop. I have a CD Transport and DAC that sounds quite good and as satisfying as vinyl. I can stream 44.1/16 now and it sounds the same as the CD to me. Hi res streaming sounds even better and on par with hi res files stored on my streamer. I qualify this by saying this is based on my hearing and the level of the rest of my audio gear.
Modem- bought my own- stopped using the ISP’s modem. Added an iFi low noise power supply but didn’t noticed a difference directly.
Router- WiFi 6E router also with an iFi low noise power supply. Can’t say that did much for the sound either but I feel better knowing the low noise power supplies are there.
[I am no longer using FMC’s in my chain from router to streamer]. Best bang for the buck, I found is to put a fiber optic link between the router and the streamer. I had two FMC’s with 5V LPS’s and Finisar SFP’s (they insert into the FMC’s).
Bought an audio grade ethernet switch. This replaced the fiber optic link. This is the next level up in sound but dilutes the cost/performance ratio. Also, thinking that the fiber optic link combined with the audio grade network switch would be even better- turns out it is not.
Silver plated ethernet cables. These make a difference in the sound. Don’t have to spend a lot- just need to be shielded and silver plated copper wire. Silver wire might work too but I doubt it makes much of a difference.
Streamer- if you want high end audio get a streamer. Sure, it is likely based on a NUC. My streamer has an expensive linear power supply. Absolutely necessary for high end audio. That is something you don’t get using a PC. I use a streamer for Roon running ROCK. The processor has one job to do in a design for music streamer. I also like the sound better just sending PCM to the DAC. The less processing the streamer does the better in my system. Let the DAC do most of the work.
The flip side of the coin is that these products are advertised as having ’less noise’ yet there are no measurements to confirm that this is in fact the case.
@yageYeah, if there are no measurements you sure as hell can’t hear it.
The reason why companies sell overpriced streamers is because people don’t know any better. I don’t think the average audiophile realizes that these multi-thousand dollar products are based on low-cost, low-powered hardware and freely available open source projects.
Yeah, you’re right. Clearly Innuos, Aurender, Lumin, Grimm, dCs, etc. are selling snake oil and all the people here who hear clear improvements are deluding themselves. Or there’s you. I’m with the multitude of others here. Enjoy yourself on your digital island where ears don’t matter.
Yeah, if there are no measurements you sure as hell can’t hear it.
No, if there are no measurements, there’s no proof that you’re getting what you pay for. A claim such as ’lower noise’ can (and I think should) be verified and backed up with data.
Clearly Innuos, Aurender, Lumin, Grimm, dCs, etc. are selling snake oil and all the people here who hear clear improvements are deluding themselves
No, I didn’t say they’re selling snake oil. Clearly the streamers can push bits to a DAC. The issue I have is that folks believe they need to spend thousands or in some cases tens of thousands of dollars for ’good sound’ from a supposed ’state of the art’ product when what’s inside is basically aged, low-powered commodity hardware and free open source software.
For example, look at the interior image of the Grimm MU1 in this review (link) . This shows the compute / streaming module in the upper left. It looks just like a standard Intel NUC motherboard (link). Here’s a review of the actual NUC PC itself (link). This review is from 2018. If you bought this computer, you’d have the same hardware that Grimm uses to stream audio data to a DAC. The solid state drive they use to store the audio data itself looks like a Samsung 860 or 870 Evo which is nice but nothing special.
You can buy the NUC currently on Amazon for $175 and the Samsung 870 Evo 2 TB for $119.
What are audiophiles really paying for?
I can almost guarantee you that these companies are using garden variety, off the shelf hardware in these products. It keeps parts costs low and increases repairability. It also ensures that the operating system they use (most likely Linux since they don't have to pay for a software license) will run without any issues.
@yage IMO and with all due respect, I am a former Innuos owner and there stuff (here we go…) is overpriced and underpowered in my experience. I had a Zenith MK3 and the InnuosUSB as my Roon core server and streamer and it was outclassed by an Intel NUC I built myself for less than $1000. I am not trying to make your point, which I may have done. But what I am saying is that if you want to use a good purpose built streamer as an example, use a better one than Innuos. I can name a bunch. But I won’t right now.
There are many ways to skin a cat. If you’re new to streaming audio, I’d suggest you first assess what you can do with what you already have; then buy the minimum you need to deliver the streaming service(s) you want. You can (and probably will) upgrade later.
Most of us already have a computer that is perfectly adequate for hosting music software and streaming services, as long as it has an ethernet port and a USB port, and as long your HiFi system is equipped to receive the USB output. Connect it all up, then start exploring the available music software (eg Roon vs. Audirvana), streaming services (Tidal, Qobuz, Apple Music), and perhaps Digital Signal Processors (HQ Player, Bacch4Mac). You may start encountering issues such as computer fan noise, klunky user interfaces, limited multi-room capabilities, or limited streaming content for the kind of music you like. If so, explore what might be available to address those issues.
I have built enterprise networks since the early 90’s, you will not have any problems using cat5/e cables for a 1G network. If you have issues with cat5, check each cable to make sure it’s terminated properly by using a Fluke meter.
Also, you don’t need a dedicated streamer, just get a dac with Ethernet and put roon or audirvana on a Mac mini in a room outside of your audio room. The only reason to get a dedicated streamer is because your dac doesn’t have Ethernet or you want to use the best connection to a dac and that’s i2s.
The best sounding DACs and the best Streamers are not necessarily in the same box. The best sounding streamers/servers will have high quality linear power supplies- something a PC does not have.
I have a CD Transport with I2S going into my DAC. It sounds amazing. Before this DAC/Transport combo I would listen to 1/2 to 1 CD and then switch to vinyl- and that was with a very good CD player at the time. Now I listen to mostly digital. It sounds so good and more convenient than playing vinyl. (Vinyl still rocks). So when I got my streamer and a good USB cable I was surprised to find that my ripped CDs to FLAC files on my music server via USB sound the same as the I2S out of my transport.
It comes down to the gear and how well it implements the inputs/outputs.
Any CAT-5 is fine. All this "audio grade" is pure snake oil. I say that because being a computer systems architect and system admin, ( retired) I know how Ethernet works. You see, there are these things called "packets" that are buffered and assembled. Now it is possible to get noise and ground loops over Ethernet, but that is solved by proper practice, not magic. Use shielded if for some reason you have very long runs in horrible environments. Doubtful. In the data center world, we use fiber to totally eliminate noise and ground loop issues. Now, as far as errors, TCP/IP will correct any error. Absolutely 100%. If running UDP, then you could get a bit error in the transport layer, but an application layer if well designed will detect that. You would be surprised how much traffic goes around the world, sat hops and who knows how many switches in UDP with no errors.
I disagree with "streamer vs PC" as a blanket statement. Sure going through the Windows audio stack stinks, but ASIO or WASAPI-exclusive, asynchronous with the server configured at - 3dB so the oversampling and filters do not cause digital clipping and a sufficient buffer, then bits are bits until they reach the DAC. One can even set the process priorities so when Microsoft decided upgrades are the most important thing in the world, or McAfee takes over the Kernel, then you can get prevent a skip. To say all streamers are better than all PCs is nonsense. There are some crap streamers out there. There are some very very good ones if you can stand the tiny UI.
Yes, USB was designed for keyboards and mice, but they have beat it to death over 20 years and it is now very good. Don't hold biases that are obsolete. Computers putting out PCM put a lot more of the issue to manage jitter on the DAC and there is no buffer. You are basically real-time from a source that is not a real-time operating system or IO. USB and IP solve that.
I don’t think the average audiophile realizes that these multi-thousand dollar products are based on low-cost, low-powered hardware and freely available open source projects.
You seem to think you possess some special knowledge. I think the typical audiophile buying a multi-kilobuck streamer knows very well what's he's buying. Most likely, he also listened to it before purchase, and it's also common to buy with a return guarantee.
The fact of the matter is that a great sounding streamer can be made from something as simple as a Raspberry Pi 4 ...
That is very true. When I first started streaming and wanted to graduate from using a phone (hey - we all start somewhere!), my first stop was a Raspberry Pi with a HAT to a digital out. It worked like a charm into my Bryston BDA-3 and I can certainly understand why some audiophiles might stop right there, just as some users might have stopped at using their phones to stream. Many people are satisfied with that level of performance.
Do we have any CEE’s out there? The shielded cat 5e, 6 or 7 cables makes perfect sense. Installing high quality connections is also a no brainer. However, reading this thread brings up a few interesting questions. What internal components and design concepts are being utilized in high end streamers, like those previously mentioned? Since I own a Lumin U2 mini, I will pick on it. Has anyone with a CEE degree analyzed its design, construction, and components? Other than sound quality, which is extremely important, this is where the rubber meets the road. What do you see under the hood? Is it a Ferrari or a Chevy? The same question would apply to any other high quality streamer on the market.
Actually, "digital" is a mathematical concept. There is no such thing as digital in the physical world.
But in the transport area, bits are bits. What you do with those bits is where the differences in sound come from. I might suggest a review of the IP stack and some basic systems understanding would enlighten some readers here. I only have over 40 years CS experience so what do I know? :)
Above CAT-5 is ridiculous for audio. You are not building a 10G system. CAT-3 is fine but having the pairs with consistent twists and bonded as in CAT-5 is good practice. Most consumer grade Ethernet hardware does not even have provision for the shield ground. Look at the socket. If it is not plated, then shielding is useless.
tvtgeek, you are definitely on to something most people don’t realize. Case in point, none of my jacks are plated for a grounded cable. I use plenum rated cat 5e cable and high quality jacks throughout my network. I have talked to a number of CEE’s regarding network switches etc. Some of these guys work on the software, hardware, and network side of the business. When I questioned the network person, he didn’t see any benefit in a “audio network switch.” He knew exactly what I was talking about. This person recommended using an unmanaged Cisco or Netgear switch. In other words, a high quality and reliable switch. In his technical analysis, a $500+ audio switch would really serve no purpose on the network side. Your system is a different story and what matters the most - DAC, preamp and amplifier. Of course, streamers prompted this thread.
Here we go. Another merry go round of discussion between the people who have hifi systems, have experimented and tried various configurations and are willing to share their experiences vs the people with little to no hifi experience but in their close mindedness, I have the answers attitude proclaim that audio enthusiasts are delusional. It’s the “Emperors New Clothes” scenario, they claim and they are the clever little boy calling out the truth.
Yes, we often come across boxes or gadgets or tweaks that turn out to be not so good. Not everything is a home run in audio. The hobby requires an open mind and a willingness to try things that we think shouldn’t work but does and conversely some things that should work but don’t.
My favorite tweak of all times is using a bulk magnetic tape eraser on my CDs. It was a heated topic in the early 1990’s. CDs are digital and use a laser. Bits are bits and light is not affected by magnetic fields and so on. So I had to try it for myself. Bought a bulk tape eraser at Radio Shack for $19, kept the receipt so I could return it. I demagnetized a CD with it and amazingly the CD sounded better. Not a subtle change either. People still debate how it works or why it shouldn’t work. At any rate I still use my bulk tape eraser. And yes, I laugh when I see these $300 CD clarifiers on the market that merely do that same thing as my $19 device. As always, Caveat Emptor.
To be clear, I am a hard core "listening is what counts" audiophile and have been for longer than most here have been alive. But I am also an engineer and understand how some of this technology works. Physics are the same for everyone regardless of belief.
What this combination tells me is that as good as our classical measurements are, they are either incomplete or we are not interpreting them in a way to enlighten us. There is no measurement of "musicality". A scientist looks for the differences and tests to identify them. A believer just puts their head in the sand and ignores any facts or viewpoints that do not align with theirs.
A curious feature about humans: If we "believe" our brain may well skew what we hear to align with our belief. If that makes your music sound better, then great as it is the music that matters.
Tony, Believe in your CD eraser. No argument other than there is no law of physics that supports it as last I checked, aluminum and styrene were non-ferris. Is it possible that the extra handling is draining a static charge that could bias the photodiode? Doubtful, but within the laws of physics in this universe. An old "Zero-Stat" may do better. They were critical back in the low humidity of Colorado for LPs. I will keep using my old RS bulk eraser left over from my tape days to de-gauss chisels and screwdrivers.
Yea, can't go wrong with a Cisco. On the cheap end Netgear is usually reliable. For home use, a dumb hub should suffice. Maybe if you have a couple of gamers in the house you may want a managed switch.
OK, streamers. Not everyone wants a big PC in their living room so a "stereo" looking box and combining with preamp functions is useful for the use case. Most can be used with an external DAC.
Just remember, while in the digital domain, the bits you start with are what was on the source file. There is no way to add any information, only mess it up by poor timing, bad DSP algorithms, etc. A good example is understanding digital filtering overshoot and how that can cause "digital clipping" with all these loudness wars CDs and how the oversampling interprets peaks. Digital filters overshoot just like analog! So a 0 dB peak run through the filter could cause clipping and the harsh distortion that causes. So, now to the argument for and against NOS and analog filters or adding a tube buffer stage to add various combinations of masking distortion. :)
PS: Under the hood, A Ferrari ( I have friends that had them) is nothing but an unreliable Fiat with an attitude. Terrible reliability, not much fun to drive around town, and a Tesla will out-run it. Inexcusable that for the price, they are not more reliable than a Corolla. I'll stick with my Stag. I can weld tubes better than a 308!
With all this ‘engineering’ posturing, your answer doesn’t address John Swenson’s treatise nor my personal experience with using Isolators and clocked switches on ethernet connections. And your point on digital vs. analogue is primitive and off topic. Just keep proselytising, I won’t listen or comment anymore.
First, claiming to know why a bulk eraser works on CDs is a red flag. I have a Zerostat. I use it on my records. Tried it on CDs back in the day and it did nothing.
It is obvious you have not tried an audio grade Ethernet switch in a stereo system but you already “know” it doesn’t do anything.
I’m an engineer but when it comes to hifi I don’t pretend to know what will work or always how it works. I know isolating an amplifier from vibration works but no idea why transistors are sensitive to vibration- tubes maybe.
Most in this hobby are applications specialists. We don’t have to know in detail how digital or the internet works. We apply boxes, cables and tweaks to achieve the best sound possible. Sometimes not knowing that something should not work is how breakthroughs happen.
Somebody thought to put bicycle wheels on the first airplanes. It solved the problem of takeoffs and landings. More sophisticated landing gears followed. Likewise, the discovery’s we make today in streaming will become standards in a few years possibly.
Yea, static on a CD is grasping at straws, but it does at lease exist in the realm of possible in this universe. I did not say it was the answer, I only said some possibility may exist. I don't personally believe any effect, but have not tested it. All my CD's are in boxes in the closet. I RIP with bit-to-bit verification so it is a non-issue. Old CD players worked in real time so a lot of little issues could pop up. Not today.
If you "believe" than as I said, be happy. There is a big difference between "unknown" and "impossible" I do happen to know how IP works. I made a pretty good living at it.
I suggest you examine the IP stack from layer 1 to when you get the application layer providing a steady clocked PCM to the DAC. Maybe some crappy streamer did not do a decent job on their NIC and some noise is getting to the system. Just like early USB that were not addressing the reality of the input. Band aids can mask bad design. I prefer to fix the problem than cover it up.
Yes, I do expect almost all parameters of audio, analog and digital, to improve. I expect measurements will improve.
I found an image of the Lumin U2 Mini here (link) and it appears the compute module is hidden by the heatsink so it's not possible to know what the streamer is using unless you contact Lumin or remove the heatsink itself. If I had to make an educated guess, though, the form factor suggests it could be a Rockchip based system on module (link) or something else made for embedded computing. If that's the case, the streamer uses an ARM-based CPU (commonly found in smartphones, tablets and small board computers like the Raspberry Pi) and runs some form of Linux as the OS.
If you want to know more, it may be worth your while to post to a DIY audio forum and post some close-up pictures there or send your questions to Lumin directly.
Totally disagree with Yage and the measurement/ASR crew. Both from reading, listening to the opinions of others, and my own experience.
My first venture with streaming was with a MacBook Pro to Dac. Upgraded with a M2Tech HiFace Two, and then to a Halide Bridge. I was very happy with it for a couple of years.
When I asked a question how to improve this further, there was the option a Mac Mini, or getting a streamer. Both options researched, but the streamer option provided a significant improvement in sound.
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