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).


I use a computer and leave it under a bed in my guest bedroom. It is a tiny computer without a mouse | keyboard | monitor. It is directly connected to my network via Ethernet. I run ROON Core on this $500 computer. I use PowerLine Adapters to get music to my Livingroom and Ethernet for the office. I use RDP to connect into the computer. Though I rarely do that. I automatically put the computer to sleep at 2:30AM and it wakes up with ROON at 7AM.

All of this sounds like a catastrophically bad setup from many posts on A’gon. I argue that because I use fibre optic cable (which is glass) just before my DAC’s, it does not matter what is before the fibre. Who cares about electrical noise when glass cannot carry that noise.

The cleanest way to do this would be with a DAC that can directly eat the bits from the server via fibre. A Lumin X1 (about $6k used) can do this with a direct fibre connection from a cheap network switch with fibre. I had this at one time and the stream was amazing.

A slightly less optimal stream, but what I use now is the Sonore OpticalRendu that takes Fibre and converts to USB, which then goes into the DAC. That final conversion to USB is why it is not as good as the X1 but the oR also sounds great.

I control all of this with my computers, cellphones, and tablets. Each of my DACs are connected with ROON READY endpoints to make this work seamlessly. The X1 is a ROON READY endpoint as are the OpticalRendu’s.

I use the following PowerLine for my Livingroom. I recently tried 4 NetGear adapters and they were not good. I should have stuck with TP-Link.




Just for playing around, I had a Mac Mini M1 running Audirvana. I used an Aurender UT100 usb to fiber convertor plugged directly into the back of the Mini and it fed a Qutest via a quality glass fiber cable. It actually sounded quite amazing. 

The Mini is extremely energy efficient, never drawing more that 8 watts even when doing silly high oversampling, most often stayed at 6 watts. Zero heat or noise. Wifi to business class Cisco access points is 100% reliable.

What I didn't like was the lack of easy control of it. At least at the time, Audirvana didn't have a good phone/tablet app to control this.

That said, I'm not giving up my Aurender N100H as my main streamer. But there certainly can be success using computers in an audio chain.  

Lots of great options and alternatives here.

eric_squires - Makes sense that if you are combining everything into one box, especially if that includes the DAC, that  engineering and cost would make a big difference. Splitting everything apart into separates is interesting and flexible- especially being able to switch DACs. I bet separating things can also provide more SQ per dollar.

Bruce 19 - Agree on all you said re DIY! With the  high efficiency speakers you can play with designs that amateurs can understand and modify. Have found the SET sound to be really amazing, especially for my vinyl set up. SS is another world, but Nelson Pass has lots of valuable instructional things and designs on his web site. I think even some two way bookshelf speakers like used Epos could work at lower volume? They have no crossover.  Thanks a lot for those tips - this discussion is probably for a different thread. Enjoy!

I use a fanless mini PC w LPS controlled by ipad remote software into an Iris DDC for isolation and clocking to Pontus II DAC streaming Qobuz.  Sounds better to me than any streamer I’ve tried with comparable price point. PC was $300 new.  All in, approximately $2,800.