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 think the comment that ROON RAAT is using UDP is rather important here. Back in the day when I was programming Tibco RV messaging we used UDP for broadcast messages in one part of the system and I recall it was unreliable. It did not have to be reliable in that instance because it was just for a debug dashboard and the next broadcast would update accordingly. So packets could be dropped and I was OK with that.
Almost everything people "stream" uses UDP, unless the file is being transferred to an internal memory buffer using TCP/IP or SCTP (100% CRC error-checked).

While I hesitate to rely on them as a reliable source for all things, I find this comment on Wikipedia regarding UDP to be of interest:


"It has no handshaking dialogues, and thus exposes the user's program to any unreliability of the underlying network; there is no guarantee of delivery, ordering, or duplicate protection. If error-correction facilities are needed at the network interface level, an application may use Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) or Stream Control Transmission Protocol (SCTP) which are designed for this purpose.

UDP is suitable for purposes where error checking and correction are either not necessary or are performed in the application; UDP avoids the overhead of such processing in the protocol stack. Time-sensitive applications often use UDP because dropping packets is preferable to waiting for packets delayed due to retransmission, which may not be an option in a real-time system.[1]"

To be clear my contention isn't that UDP itself somehow affects sound quality. My reason for bringing it into the conversation was based around reliability reasons, in terms of how important the network architecture is.

For example someone wishing to use Roon to run a multiroom distributed audio system on a network where kids are going to be playing online video games and the TV is on in the kitchen streaming cooking shows, should consider paying close attention to how the network is implemented to avoid problems.

An analogy an industry friend has sometimes used is that your network is like a freeway with lanes. UDP would be similar to a lane on the freeway, but designed only for a particular kind of car. What happens when you flood the lane with a bunch of that particular car? Crash!




Another offering, as I have some experience with my high end tube amp mono block system.

Implentation can always be an issue for streamers as for DACs. But there is some differentials as a result, in other cases, things are different.

So I just conducted a test with optical audio for my rig going with a) Amazon Firestick through an LG TV and b) 2008 Macbook Pro.

For both, I'm using the superb Audrivana 3.5 software. Via the Amazon Firestick, I have a Macbook Pro laptop that I use and it sends the music data to the Amazon Firestick no 15 feet away.

I use an optical audio device as a bridge to a Schiit Modi 3 which produces great results into the amps.

I played the same song off "Duets" by Kevin Eubanks with Stanley Jordan (highly recommended).

With  remote, I can change the optical audio from either with the push of a button. While my ears are not 22 year old quality, they are pretty good.

For both, outputting at the same volume I could not hear any difference at all. This even though the external laptop is upsampling to 192K while the direct connection from the 2008 Macbook Pro via its optical audio is not.

So, while there are certainly differences with various streamers and DACs, this test shows the quality of streaming can be preserved with a good implementation. 

IMHO, many people are losing out by not taking advantage of the very inexpensive Amazon Firestick and using the optical audio output available through most TVs.

You'll be surprised.

Happy listening folks. 


While I appreciate the enthusiastic and positive tone of your post @romanesq you are comparing an Amazon fire stick with a noisy 12 years old general purpose  computer for streaming audio. Not exactly earth shattering in streaming audio in a (hopefully) high end audio system comprised (only from what I can tell) cheapest Schiit DAC. No schiit there is no difference. But as you say, happy listening!
Sorry thyname, your point doesn't equate here about the old laptop. The reason (which I urge others to try too) is Audirvana 3.5.

The software Audirvana 3.5 bypasses Apple's Core Audio so the "noise" you're referencing is in fact not present. 

As an aside to demonstrate this, I've also tested a direct connection from the laptop using USB to the Schiit Modi 3. I thought the USB implementation should be as good or better since upsampling would be entertaining but discovered that the optical audio out from both the Amazon Firestick & from the 2008 Macbook Pro is superior.

If one looks at the ratings on Modi 3 and its quality of output, it ranks very high with others but I'm quite interested in the Schiit Unison USB implementation which gets great reviews and is their own design on the Modius balanced DAC.

I'd also add that with my custom mono block amps, I'm getting the best ever sound in a couple of decades of listening with various equipment including a former McCormack DNA 300 Rev. A. I've also had in my system, various tube amps from completely redone McIntosh 225, 240, 275 among many others. 

The current implementation I hear now is easily the most transparent and the best using my custom tube amp mono blocks.

I urge others to consider the easy and cheap investment as they see best and allow their ears (if the setup permits) to decide.

As stated, the unifier here is the Audirvana 3.5 software application in both instances via the Amazon Firestick and the Macbook Plus direct connection.

Audirvana offers a 30 day free offer. On this great day, I would urge others to give that a try in their system too. It's outstanding.

Happy listening to all! 


Lots of good feedback and lots of ignorance as always. Net is - With almost everything in audio, differences are directly related to the quality and resolution of your system (including your room and your ears). For example, if your system's total cost is ~$2000 and it's located in your den and, due to WAF challenges you employ no acoustic treatment and you compare a Sonore ultrarendu to a SOTM SMS200 Neo you'd be hard pressed to hear a difference. Take the same streamers and compare them in a 5 figure system well - balanced in an acoustically well treated room and the differences are easily discernable.