Point of higher priced streamer?


Hello,
Assuming I have separate DAC, and I just want to play songs from iPad by Airplay feature.
In this case, I need a streamer to receive music from my iPad -> DAC.

What’s the point of high price streamer? I’m bit surprised that some streamers are very high priced.
From my understanding, there should be no sound quality difference.
(Streaming reliability and build quality, I can see it but I do not see advantages in terms of sound quality.)

Am I missing something? If so, please share some wisdom.
128x128sangbro
I find Mac book vs streamer very noisy. Music seems to come across much more relaxed more detail and much better soundstage with a dedicated streamer to me.
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Look – this thread is probably largely interesting but not completely helpful to what you are trying to do.  You will not be convinced one way or the other by people stating their opinions between "bits are bits and the rest of charlatans separating fools from their money" and the "every strand from PSU to ethernet plug to digital out makes a huge difference".

This hobby requires work.  Do some listening.  Decide for yourself if (a) you can hear a difference and (b) that difference is worth a delta in spend.

FWIW, I had a Node2, which I used for some time as a streamer to a Chord 2qute (via coax).  Then I bought a used Auralic Aries (the original w/ dual femto and linear power supply – via USB).  I even tried it with a wall wart power supply... and in my experience, I thought I could hear significant differences in all three configs, and in ascending order of preference:

Node 2 -> 2Qute
Aries w/ wall wart -> 2Qute
Aries w/ LPS -> 2Qute

Tangential but slightly related... I even got a fancier USB cable (from Curious USB) last summer, and I think it makes a difference. Which goes against everything I was taught to believe about data transfer, error correction, etc... and I'd like to think as someone who was figuring out SCSI terminations in the 80s, that I've spent some time around data transfer over cables.

I can't promise you'd find the same result, but I definitely felt there were very noticeable sound differences across the three streaming scenarios above.  I can't explain it with sound theoretical reasons (but know others have, frequently related to noise introduced by lower quality power supplies) – and up until doing that work myself, was in the "bits are bits" camp.  In fact, I worked for years a networking company, and am still friends with product managers who design enterprise grade switches... and yet I still heard what I heard.

So do the work of listening to different setups!  Find gear that has money back guarantees and do some listening.  You'll also learn a whole bunch of other things about what you like and don't like as a side benefit, and the more you listen across different combinations of gear, the more you form an opinion of what works for your own tastes (hint: it may not be what measures best or is the darling of one or another forum).

You may even realize that the journey of 'doing the work' is just as, if not more, enjoyable as arriving at some final destination of a finished system :)


Like many on this thread, I started off thinking that high priced streamers were a solution in search of a problem.  I deal with a lot of networking equipment, some running at 100Gb/sec.  Surely a simple laptop can easily drive digital music over a USB port.  We’re not talking a lot of bandwidth here.  But as I tried to optimize my laptop, things took an unexpected turn.

Different music management software sounded different.  Different cables sounded different.  Reclockers changed the sound, not always for the better.  Why?  I have absolutely no idea.  I thought that bits were pretty much bits.  Just send them down the wire.  But something more than that was obviously happening.

Given that I deal with getting various combinations of hardware and software to work together is what I do at work, I decided that I didn’t want to come home to more of the same.  Plus, I wanted a good remote control setup, and I was struggling with my laptop in that respect. I just wanted something  that worked well and sounded at least as good as my laptop.

My dealer had previously suggested an Aurender N100 when I purchased my most recent upgrade, but I had told them I wasn’t interested.  Now I wanted to at least see what it could do.  They arranged a demo with a system that was an exact match for mine.  I brought in my laptop, cables, reclocker, and we listened to it for about 10 minutes.  Then we switched to the Aurender to play the same songs.  Honestly, I didn’t really expect much difference.  If it sounded more or less as good, and I liked the control interface, I would buy it.

Well, another unexpected turn of events.  After listening for about 15 seconds, I turned to my sales guy and said “You’ve got to be kidding - why does this sound so good?”  Long story short, I bought it.  Eventually, I upgraded to its big brother, the N10.  It put a big hole in my checkbook, but from a sound quality perspective it was another easy call.  I don’t know why these devices make a difference, but to me, at least, they do.

All of the high-zoot streamers sound just like the inexpensive ones, but if you add a $600 power cord to ANY of them it takes them to the next level.  And, oh my, what an audipphile ethernet cable will do for them.
ha. This thread is getting out of the hand.

Still I don’t get any information except the possibility of strong cleaner signal possiblity.

First of all, I already get a scientific answer from ASR. 
He’s a measurement guy and I trust his call.
Thing that he doesn’t like is about coloring aspect adds value.
He is straight forward neutrality guy, and I respect that.

It seems some people are offended without ability to explain in any scientific explanation. 

I will stop here.

I do not use streaming service for my serious listening. 
If Apple didn’t discontinue the product, I will consider air express.
Still Node2i can do the same thing with little more future proof, like idagio streaming. I can’t find other streamer supports Airplay 2 and Idagio. 

About tombaqui, I can simply get it. The thing is I happen to know that VA Beethoven is also pretty good with Auralic Vega. Cheap used one. And this combination was once used in Speaker demo at the show. When I can get things cheaper, I don’t want to pay more.

It’s non of your business, but I’m working for medical industry and travel to do something with this pandemic based on invitation, so once I get PCR tested, I get the clearance. 

Again, and finally, there is not really measurable / scientific base that I learn from here to at least discuss with ASR.
So far I try to find any measurement from manufacturers’ sites but no luck.

I guess ASR wins again in this part.