Noob question about streaming . . .

Okay, I’m not exactly a Luddite, but my audio journey started in the 70’s with Marantz separates, JBL speakers and a Dual turntable. Thaw about thirty years ago I got into home theater, with Parasound separates and four Bose 901s (no haters please — they work well for watching movies). 

Anyway, my Parasound AV preamp died, and I replaced it with a Marantz AV7706 preamp. I’m starting to explore its capabilities, which are light years beyond the old Parasound unit. I’m also exploring using it for music listening in addition to home theater, but streaming is new to me.  (I’m also exploring new speakers, but that’s a discussion for another day). 

So, with that background, here are my questions. I’m using the HEOS in the Marantz to stream music through Spotify, which I’ve used in my car for several years. Would a separate streamer be a significant improvement over what I have now?  My understanding is the Marantz’ built in DAC is good enough that I don’t need a separate DAC, unless I’m going to spend big money on one, which I’m not inclined to do right now (speakers first). Second, would a streaming service like Roon or Qubuz or Tidal provide significantly better music quality?  Spotify provides access to all the music I want, but I do realize that it’s limited in terms of sound quality. Help educate this old dinosaur. Thanks!


With your current speakers I’d evaluate if you hear a meaningful improvement with Tidal over HEOS, and if you do just stick with that but if you don’t just drop Tidal and stick with Spotify with HEOS.  I wouldn’t bother with a separate streamer until you decide to upgrade your speakers.

I believe with HEOS you are able to access the Amazon Music Service.  I found it provided a better quality than Spotify with pretty much the same access to about any music you should choose to listen too.  I never had a HEOS so I could be mistaken but the other side is I believe that you'll get a more noticeable  change in sound with a better DAC than a different streamer.

I had a Marantz integrated amp using HEOS as well, likely the same setup you have. I did not like the HEOS app so I got an ifi streamer no dac. I used the Marantz dac. That way I was able to use Tidal Connect, and much preferred the interface. 

My second system is my Marantz 7704 going into a NAD M25 7 channel amp into Soliloquy 5.3 speakers. I use HEOS to play tidal. I think it’s amazing. I would say spend the money on a nice used power cord on the preamp. Puritan makes a classic power cord for $200 brand new. A long time ago I put a Nordost Blue Heaven power cord. It made a huge difference. Even an Audio Quest NRG can be nice. I would put my home theater system against a lot of two channel systems. HEOS is good, the DAC in the Marantz is good, and the services are good. If it doesn’t sound good start at the wall. 

Marantz AVR user here. I use mine as a pre-amp and stream Spotify and Radio Paradise via HEOS as well. I bought the Cambridge CXN V2 a year ago to see if it would be an improvement over the Marantz DAC. It has better detailing and sound stage when playing my digital library of FLAC files and as the DAC for my CD transport. I use the CXN when I'm doing critical/focused listening but default to using the Marantz & its HEOS app when I'm using Spotify to stream music through out the house.

I think if you have higher-res digital sources a separate DAC may be worth having in the system and for critical listening but for casual listening of Spotify premium, I think the Marantz will serve you well. 

The nice thing about the Marantz AVR is having the Audessey software to do room correction. Which I never thought  I'd take advantage of but do.