Help settle a streaming argument!

This is a SQ argument and is as follows-  I argue if you connect your streamer to an outboard DAC the streamer does not matter it’s just serving the music to the outboard DAC to do the work.  Therefore, buy a basic streamer.  The other is that you need to buy a top quality streamer and DAC to get great SQ. 

I liken it to cd players or the more pretentious cd transport argument- if the intent is to connect to outboard DAC the cd player doesn’t matter the outboard DAC DOES!

features and functionality aside!  Thoughts…..


A cheap streamer delivers the identical string of bits to a DAC as an expensive streamer. Bits are bits. The only way they could sound different is if one of the streamers is changing bits, or one of the streamers is generating noise into an amplifier. Power and grounding is so well understood that even cheap streamers emit very low noise. A Checksum guarantees the bits I receive from QoBuz are identical to what was transmitted to my streamer and to my DAC. I use a Raspberry Pi loaded with Moode. mConnect is my user interface via iPad or iPhone. Total cost $70. DAC = RME ADI-2 DAC FS, Amp = Luxman 509X, Speakers = Magnepan.

If you read my previous post, I address why a bit perfect file can sound different. You are correct that bits are bits, but not correct that noise is not a factor. Sound quality can vary among streamers. It is measurable.  It is audible.

Many people here post what they believe (me included). But believing and experiencing are different things. It is true that it’s possible some of us have been deluded by placebo. But, I think there’s more than enough measured and anecdotal evidence to suggest there’s benefit to investing in a better streamer. That’s what i believe. But also what i experienced directly - when I came in as a skeptic.

Do the work. Make an honest effort to do an honest comparison. Then tell us what you heard. I’ll regard that feedback as far more valuable than telling us what can’t be. Do the work. Then post.

+1  "If you make listening and observation your occupation you will gain much more than you can by talk [posting]. " - Robert Baden-Powell

I have a fantastic DAC (Denafrips Terminator II) I upgraded from a nice Bluesound Node to am Innuos Zen Mk3 Streamer. I'm not as knowledgeable or technically gifted in terms of describing what I am hearing as a lot of the vets on this forum by a log shot, but I am hear to tell you..... NIGHT and DAY. The SQ improvement was stunning. Every Component in the chain matters, some may matter more than others, but the higher quality streamer was a game changer for my system. 

If you are truly doing blind listening and observation tests, then I believe you heard differences between good streamers. Whether I would hear differences, I don’t know. But if you just spent $$ for new equipment, put on some music and claim it sounds so much better, then I have a little trouble accepting what you tell me. I don’t have the luxury to do blind tests on different equipment, so maybe you are right and there is a difference between streamers. But all the hype I hear about better streamers addressing issues with jitter and timing which can affect sound quality, all this hype I believe is BS. Here is a good explanation of jitter and timing by someone I happen to respect but many in here do not. Listen to him and if you don’t like it, that’s cool, move on.