for streaming why not computer/galvanic isolation/DAC clock?

Hello and thanks for your help. I have been trying to figure out how to best stream to my set up and looked at many alternatives, all the conflicting posts  etc etc. I just wonder why one cannot use a computer with a device for good  galvanic isolation, and rely on the clock within the DAC to eliminate issues of jitter. If one is worried about SQ only (not the features of the software) what is wrong with this simple set up?  I bought a mac mini with extra memory (had dropouts until I upped the memory) and use an Innuos device for galvanic isolation. The Innuos has no external power supply and is built to use the power from the input USB, so no power in at that point (suppose a different device with linear power supply might make an improvement). I run a 3 foot long USB to the Innuous to keep noise away from my stuff. All power cords and interconnects are shielded and show nothing when I use a sniffer, even the one for the computer (you can get one of those from a company focused on people worried about EMI and health). I have Roon on the mini, and use the mini as the Roon server. When I use WiFi rather than an ethernet connection there are no dropouts;  I assume that is better than bringing in noise from ethernte. Thanks for your help - a mac mini is not cheap, but costs far less than high end streamers. Do people pay for the file management etc, or is the SQ better with a dedicated streamer? (My setup: RME ADI2 or Qutest DAC, ARC LS25 II pre, McIntosh 462 power amp).


PS - USB cables can have a ground loop that isn’t audible as hum. Sometimes it’s just significantly higher jitter. In my case though I’ve definitely had the audible kind when using a very long USB cable from a remote PC.

Normally I use a Pi as my streamer with an iFi power adapter to eliminate noise being fed into my AC.


If you are using a laptop, you can test this somewhat by unplugging the power adapter from the wall while listening.  No difference means you don't have a problem.

Love those colorful comments!

I am not trying to debate whether purpose built streamers are better-  there are plenty of other threads on that. I am asking WHY they are better. Certainly the software and handling of music is important, but in terms of SQ what are they doing besides noise reduction and  reclocking? Noise is reduced by their internal layout, type of power supply etc, but can't the noise be handled by a bridge or some other kind of galvanic isolation?

Good advice to just borrow one and try it.

Appreciate the useful tips.


It has been awhile since I had a Mac mini but couldn't the OP set up the Mac mini at a location away from his audio system room, connect it to his network, use it as a server for music file storage (on a SSD), and then use a separate streamer located in his audio system room and connected to his DAC?  If using Roon, I believe the mini can operate Roon Core and the streamer as a Roon Ready endpoint.  There are good sounding streamer options that include on-board femto clocks and LPSs for as little as $1-2K.  If desired, he could isolate the streamer by fiber or by using another type of Ethernet isolator such as those offered by Network Acoustics. 


If we are asking about whether to use a separate streamer or not, I think the answer is in which DAC do you want, and how badly do you want it?

That is, the separates vs. integrated issue is really as much about being able to pick and chose each component separately. In my case I really liked the Mytek Brooklyn (original) and got a separate streamer which handled Roon. My next move, if I ever stop talking about it, is really going to be based not on technical theories but on the sound of the DAC. If I can find an affordable all-in-one streamer DAC then that will probably be the way I go. If I fall in love with a DAC that does nto have Roon built in then I’ll go that route instead.

Honestly though I may give it all up and just go with a single HT processor with built in streaming and leave this all behind, mostly based on how many cables and wires and devices I have to have working in order to listen to music or movies.

It will however be a very very long time before anyone convinces me I need a kilobuck streamer alone to upgrade my sound experience. 

Streamers are just expensive computers. Mini Mac does a great job. I use Audirvana (highly recommended) to bypass the computers internal sound card using Exclusive mode. Works great!