Help Me Learn WHY My Recent Upgrade Was Successful

i recently posted about my need for a new DAC and ended up buying a Bluesound NODE 3rd gen.  The improvement in my music was excellent.  I’m very pleased with the result.  Now I’d like to go back and learn what actually caused this improvement.  


A. Streamed music on my iPad Pro, which is wi-fi connected to an Asus router

B. Signal sent wireless from iPad via AirPlay to Apple AirPort Express

C. AirPort Express plugged into splitter going to 2 B&O BeoLab8000 powered speakers, a Hsu ULS15 MK2 sub, and a wireless sender to a Paradigm 12in powered sub


Added NODE, playing Radio Paradise MOA music

Added Asus WiFi Repeater connected to NODE by Ethernet cord 

The AirPort Express was completely removed from the system

All the speakers, subs, amplifiers and cables stayed the same



1. Better DAC on the NODE (compared to AirPort Express)

2. Radio Paradise MOA has better signal than

3. Better signal sent via the Ethernet cable to NODE, compared to wi-fi to iPad 

4. Asus Repeater is better at receiving the signal than the iPad

5. Better processing of the digital signal inside the NODE, compared to inside the iPad/AirPort Express.  (I have no idea what happens to the digital signal before it goes to the DAC.)

6. ????

I’m not sure if these are the right factors, or if I’ve stated them correctly.  Does anyone have an opinion as to what approximate percentage each of these factors played in making the improvement to my sound?  


I agree; probably all of the above.  I'm not familiar with, but the sound quality of the Radio Paradise streams is outstanding.  A lot of folks think it sounds better than streaming Tidal or Qobuz.

My guess is 2 and 5.


If is rebroadcasting the HD Radio stream, then it’s lossy compression along the lines of AAC. With Radio Paradise, looks like you get lossless digital audio. EDIT - also wanted to add that music may also be further edited for broadcast on radio to boost loudness, etc.


I’ve read that that the audio sampling rate on an iPad is locked to 48 kHz. AirPlay can only support 44.1 kHz. If this is indeed the case, then there’s a resampling step that needs to happen (possibly two if the original source material isn’t 48 kHz). Streaming with AirPlay may not be the best choice in terms of sound quality.

I read in a article about streamers that, “In our opinion, the DAC will account for about 70% of the sound quality, with the streamer accounting for the other 30%”.  But my guess is that assessment does not include other the other factors that changed in my system.  These include the signal quality (internet radio vs Radio Paradise), how the signal is received from the router (iPad vs repeater), and the extra step I had in sending the signal via AirPlay from my iPad to the AirPort Express.