New streamer needed


My streamer, 10yrs old, stopped functioning. Now I am listening to CDs again with the transport of the older Accuphase DP-67 and Merason Frerot DAC. The combination sounds great, very detailed and transparent. Now I am wondering how much money I would need to spend on a new streamer to match that sound level and which brands and models to look for. Any suggestions, possibly also from people who know the Merason and/or Accuphase? I am using Qobuz for streaming, and wireless options would be great too. Thank you.

stievus

@stievus 

Sorry, I wasn’t clear.  The W4S modified Sonos bypassed the internal DAC just like yours.  So my comparison was of a stock sonos with digital out to benchmark, vs modified sonos out to benchmark.  The dac’s sound dominated, which is what Benchmark would predict.  

One other point of clarification.  It appears that your modified Sonos was upsampling to 192k, so your nos dac takes that and outputs 192k I assume.  But the Accuohase CD transport is 16 bit 44.1k limited, so if I understand your dac, it’s outputting 44.1k in that case.  So those two should sound very different, I think.

@stievus 

Sorry, I wasn’t clear.  The W4S modified Sonos bypassed the internal DAC just like yours.  So my comparison was of a stock sonos with digital out to benchmark, vs modified sonos out to benchmark.  The dac’s sound dominated, which is what Benchmark would predict.  

One other point of clarification.  It appears that your modified Sonos was upsampling to 192k, so your nos dac takes that and outputs 192k I assume.  But the Accuohase CD transport is 16 bit 44.1k limited, so if I understand your dac, it’s outputting 44.1k in that case.  So those two should sound very different, I think.

in other words, I don’t think you’re hearing the streamer, I think you’re hearing the upsampling, which you don’t like.  am guessing the cd transport sounds more natural to you, but just a guess.

Might be true, I don't know. I like(d) my streamer but it doesn't function anymore, so that's why I need a new one. Bottom line is that I am trying to find one now that comes close to what I hear/like from my CD transport. That's all.

The one thing that’s factual and clearly knowable is what exactly is happening to the digital data stream in your two use cases.  Without knowing that for sure, I believe it’s difficult to make a decision on what you want for a streamer, because your benchmark is not just the cd transport, it’s the delta (difference) between your old streamer and the transport.  That’s why I was so persistent in asking you what your old streamer was. I’m pretty sure my analysis is correct, so it’s up to you to figure out what to do with that knowledge.  

But if I am correct, and your aural memory is accurate as to your preferences (always a challenge for me), then my advice would be to get a streamer that does 0 processing to the native data stream.  That doesn’t mean you’re limited to 44.1k, it just means you would be hearing the music in the format that it was mastered to be played in, thru the DAC that you like. (This goes back to what @benanders may have been trying to get at a while ago, btw.)

As I said originally, I don’t think you need to spend $5k or anything close to that to get what you want.  And I think that some of the high cost streamers may do alot of processing to the signal which may be the exact opposite of what you want.  

Final point, I promise.  To me, the Sonos example underscores the point I’ve been trying to make on this and several other threads.  We all knew the Sonos DAC was mediocre at best back in the day, so every self-respecting audiophile  who just started streaming with Sonos got themselves an external DAC.  And then some folks pointed out that even as a transport, the Sonos was deeply flawed cuz it had tons of jitter.  So a cottage industry arose of companies performing mods on the Sonos to address the known flaws. In certain cases, with some DACs, such mods were unnecessary and made no difference.  In my view, this fundamental dynamic as it relates to current streamers is unchanged, almost 20 years later.  

Good luck, and enjoy the journey.