Ethernet streaming

Many high end dac’s now have built in streaming capability via Ethernet. Is this a better way to go than adding a separate streamer to feed the dac?  In my case, streaming Qobuz and using roon. Also have an Aurender dac/pre that wouldn’t be needed if dac only streaming was used. Wondering about the advantages and disadvantages of these two approaches. I’m sure this has been discussed before, but I can’t find it.


Do a search on Bricasti M3 DAC with network card.  I believe you use a third party app and the Ether card is the conduit 

I’d keep them separate unless you’re severely space constrained.  If you’re happy with the Aurender then I’d just add the best streamer you can that’s in your budget. A good bet is the new Innuos Pulse Mini that’s $1250 and includes their Sense app that gets very good reviews for both user interface and sound quality, which is very important and often an area where streamers can fall short.  Innuos also offers excellent customer support if needed.  Just one option to ponder FWIW. 

Op often a seperate streamer will ojuperform an ethernet direct con ection 


We sell the Bricasti m3 and we get far better sound by using our 432Evo Aeon via usb into the dac the combo sounds amazing 


You have an auredER allready so I would trade it in and upgrade to an even better streamer plus dac or a really good streaming dac



AUdio Intellect  Nj


I switched my music streaming to using Audirvana Studio software on my MAC Laptop Computer (14-inch MacBook Pro M2 12 Core/19CPU). I use Audirvana Studio remote on my iPad to find the albums, playlists, etc. My Bricasti 21 DAC connects to the Interent using an Ethernet cable to my MAC COMPUTER. This setup has resulted in my music being clearer and more open (replaced my sever). BTW, the Audirvana Studio interface is excellent. I have many sorting options including label name searching. Audirvana is easy to use (yes, there is a learning curve). Audirvana has many additional settings that I have to review.

The removal of the music streamer, and having the Bricasti DAC connect directly to my MAC computer has removed a layer from the Music and made it more musical and clearer. I was not expecting this much improvement. I was not expecting the use of Audirvana Studio App to improve the sound quality this much. It is amazing.

I was also concerned about the Audirvana Studio interface but I learned it very quickly. Yes, I am still learning but making good progress.

See link to Audirvana Studio App:

As noted above, everyone has a different opinion on using a streamer vs. using a DAC connection using an Ethernet connection. I suggest you do more research and, if possible, schedule a demo so you can decide for yourself. Obviously, the question is what sounds good to you.




In general separate function components are better. By separating the internal components further typically greater fidelity can be achieved. Additionally, you have more flexibility as you can only upgrade the streamer or upgrade the DAC. Unless you simply do not have the room, separates are the way to go if high sound quality is your objective.


That is very much the same way Srajan does with his system. He's tried many servers and found that something like the Taiko Supreme was needed to  better his setup but wasn't willing to drop $34K on it. 

I don't stream but find his reasoning and findings reasonable. 

All the best,

I prefer separate streamer and DAC but would "settle" for an Aurender A30....

I have a N200 with my DAC and almost bought the Bricasti plus network card 

The Aurender is worth the money if you stream a lot and have a DAC that can exploit how good it is.  

I have an Aurender A15. Like it, dac is good but not exceptional. Looking at a new dac.  A15 has usb out, but no other output.  Also want roon flexibility, maybe Aurender n200 for conductor use and new dac with roon endpoint for Ethernet streaming? 

A top dac is always better , for in a streaming package you are trying to cram everythung under the Hood ,I had  had The Bricasti 3 streamer dac it s good 

but separates still better such as a $4k innuos SS hard drive and Roon ready 

with T+A 200 dac  $7k  for under $10 k with discounts is a great reference setup 

at a decent price ,this is my Xmas 🎅 Xmas gift 🎁 to myself.

Not aware of a manufacturer that makes a great DAC and a great streamer.  So I would expect an all-in-one would be a compromise.

@joc3021 , @oddiofyl I have the Bricasti M3 using Ethernet running Roon Nucleus with Qubuz and I love it. I got a really good deal on the Bricasti from an authorized dealer though Audiogon to. 

No doubt the Bricasti is a great DAC  
I prefer a dedicated box to stream as I don’t do Roon.  
The M3 was on my short list.   Nice sounding DAC

Every review I’ve read about a dac with Ethernet and the dac I use with Ethernet has always sounded better with Ethernet, 2nd best option would be i2s, last would be usb. You don’t have to be a so called streaming audio specialist to know this. 

I use Bricasti M3 with network player/renderer as Roon end point. I had Lumin U1 Mini and preferred the M3, sold the Lumin. Bricasti has few more models up from the M3 with better DAC (M1S2, M21). The preamp section in the Bricasti DACs is not to be overlooked as well. It’s transparent with excellent volume control, in case you want to run the DAC direct into your amp. I prefer a dedicated preamp as to me the preamp just layers things better.

Other examples of one box DAC with network player are Weiss and Mola Mola Tambaqui. The all sound different and what you like will depend on your sonic preferences. Overall it’s a clean and great sounding setup with any of these options. You’d have to spend a considerable amount to beat the built in network renderers in these units. Just my opinion. 

I use a Matrix Element X (integrated streamer + DAC + preamp).  It supports Roon-ready ethernet or direct connection to a computer via USB.  The DAC chip is an ESS ES9038Pro, which seems to be quite good.  For significantly better SQ, in the streaming + DAC capabilities, I suppose I'd have spent more than 2X as much.  If there's a significant compromise, maybe it's in the preamp section, in particular the volume control.  But I've never compared it to having a separate, dedicated preamp.   

By integrating, you're not only reducing box and cable clutter, you're also shortening the signal paths. That might  actually improve SQ compared to separates of similar quality. But it'd be hard to set up a proper A/B comparison.

To me, one of the best things about separates is that they do give you more focused, step-by-step upgrade paths.  One function I'd like to upgrade is the connection to my TV audio.  I'd prefer an HDMI ARC connection rather than Toslink, but hesitate to spend what it would take for a new device just to get that. 

Has anyone heard, or owns, the Mytek Empire Streamer/DAC?

It has the DAC(ES9830PRO)inside the unit but the reviews I've read said it sounded fantastic. 

The very best Dave are made by DCS, and they all stream. They made a “Network Bridge” for a couple years, which was an outstanding streamer, but they got tired of supporting third party DACs. I am excited that there are finally starting to be very good streamers, without DACs.

I have owned a few dacs with a built in streamer. The dCS Bartok was pretty good and I found that the Ethernet input was the best sounding input. I also ran this Dac directly into a Krell duo300xd to good results. 

I have an MSB premier with their network renderer card. This input is really great it is an additional cost but I find it well worth it. I took a leap of faith and bought the gigafoil and an ifi lps to put in line between my roon core and the renderer. This is the best bang for the buck upgrade I have made. I actually brought the gigafoil and to my dealer friends shop and we tested against the Innuos statement with an MSB reference Dac. He listened back and forth with out hearing my thoughts and was shocked. The gigafoil was so close if not better than the statement that he bought one for the store. He now uses the renderer with a gigafoil and the Innuos sits on a shelf not being used. 

I think that a lot of it comes down to implementation and power filtering. If the designers do it right a built in streamer is great. The same is true of using a Dac as a pre-amp. I had D’Agostino momentum monos and the hd pre with an MSB discrete. I upgraded to the premier and was able to audition the MSB s202 amp in my system. I found that the amp and Dac paired together were so good that I did not hear enough of a benefit in owning the D’Agostino gear and sold it off and bought the MSB amp. 

Separates are generally better BUT the top Aurender and Lumin streamer/DAC’s are terrific and far less $$$ whilst punching above thier weight. There are some others too.

Upgrades to one’s room or Ethernet path might be a better solution



I’d go with separate components.  
So when I was looking for a new integrated amplifier, I saw one that had a DAC and it could stream. I thought, wow, this is really cool, but when I got it all hooked up, there was barely a streamer and just an okay DAC.  So I ended up buying a Node N-130, because of all the great reviews and while the streamer part is pretty good, the new and improved DAC in it was worse than the one in the integrated amp. So after a short time I was already looking for a new DAC.  I have found that almost every stand alone DAC is better than almost every build in one.

All the best.

Keeping the components separate usually results in better performance and easier upgrade. However, I purchased the streamer/DAC combo Linn Klimax DSM/2 with the Organik DAC card upgrade because it’s such a sonic bargain that seems to compete with the best DACs. I can always add another streamer later - the 432Evo looks interesting.

Every function of the signal processing chain separated by individual component or “box” has advantage over sharing component or “box” way due to interference and chain ability factors.


"Empire Streamer DAC is a Complete Roon System packaged in one beautifully designed unit, where all the features are optimized. Just turn it on, connect to wifi or wired network, sign in to hi-res Steaming Service of your choice and enjoy the music. The network setup has been already carefully optimized for the best sound and experience: ultra low noise I7cpus have no moving parts and are powered by clean oversized linear power supplies. DAC board is 100% isolated in a “Faraday cage” with its own dual mono linear power supply and galvanic USB isolator for up to 32bit/768k and DSD512 playback with the least interference possible. No distributed system consisting of multiple boxes can match optimized Empire architecture."


Sounds like the Empire could beat out the sound of separates.

In my opinion it’s best to go with a separate DAC and streamer simply because it can sound better if you take the time to put things together correctly. 

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+1, “In my opinion it’s best to go with a separate DAC and streamer simply because it can sound better if you take the time to put things together correctly”.

Separates also give you the option to upgrade them separately.

I don’t think there’s a technical reason why separates would be better, in fact if we can remove one cable (say the USB) from the equation you have an easier time controlling all issues related to jitter.

Having said that, there are good reasons for keeping them separate. Being able to pick the sound quality of the DAC, and the software that is used to stream separately are really nice for me. For instance, I only use Android control devices, some famous streamers are Apple only. Next, what happens when a new streaming service comes along and you want to keep your DAC but the streaming software is no longer being updated? Replacing a relatively inexpensive streaming component down the road means I can keep my DAC investment.

In my case my streamer is a Raspberry Pi based device, around $200 with the fancy power supply and case. If my software is no longer adequate or I wish to use an unsupported service I can swap it out without issue.  The same for network features, such as Wifi 6, etc.  In these cases having a separate streamer makes your DAC future proof.


your argument is somewhat specious since the leading server manufacturers such as InnuOS, Aurender or Auralic are unlikely to stop updating their software. Conversely combining everything into one unit could have significant advantages:

- justifying inclusion of a superior power supply and clock

- obviating lossy USB or AES/EBU connections by using a common bus

- allowing for better components by saving on boxes.


As long as computer audio and Roon pursue their approach of separate streamer and renderer it will be a while before everything gets integrated.




your argument is somewhat specious



Nothing like being called specious to end my day.

I make similar arguments you do to the benefits of a single unit but I guess you decided to ignore my post after you decided I was specious.

Look, I am sure those companies you named are fine organizations, but we’ve all seen organizations we thought would be around for a long time suddenly go poof or decide a particular market was no longer worth it, or, often, they decide that a previous device has reached end of life, or take too long to add a service we could find with a new streamer.

So, I take the word specious and throw it back in your face with prejudice.

My original post pointed out good and bad points of each approach.

I didn’t refer to you but to your argument as specious. That’s not the same thing. The demise of manufacturers of DACs and streamers seems about equally likely.

Nothing to add.

I was expecting and hoping to see more about the dCS Bartok.  I recently visited a dealer that was over the top of how amazing they are.  There seem to be a fair share on the used market so that could be good or bad as they have a few levels up from there.  If I remember correctly they developed a new design DAC, called ring.  I haven't read too much but have been very curious about having that combined DAC-Streamer.

Is this a better way to go than adding a separate streamer to feed the dac? 

It’s a trade off- cost vs performance

Cost savings: keeping multiple functions (streamer, DAC) within a single box saves on additional casework costs and extra cabling 

Performance: it’s usually better to separate functions to separate boxes minimize electrical noise.  Streamer quality also impacts sonics.  Also, upgrade path easier as you only have to replace one component’s function 

If funds were available, I'd go with the dCS Lina and a separate streamer. 

Lots of good streamers now, lots. 

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@thyname no one has made idiotic claims about imaginary network performance improvements in this thread yet, so nothing to debunk.


I use a streamer / player (nad m50.2) and the DAC in my preamp (Classe delta Pre) and connect the two with AES/EBU.

@fredrik222 : Good! I am glad you are actively monitoring these forums. Keep up the good work my man 👏👏👏👏👏. Stay vigilant