Streamer creates a Wow experience

I started streaming by running USB from my iPad to my DAC using Qobuz, and I thought it sounded pretty good and was happy.  Then I compared this to playing CDs and much to my dismay I slightly preferred the CDs.  This was a depressing moment.  So I reached out to you guys and several of you assured me if I got a dedicated streamer it’d be much better, and while I always believed a streamer is important and can make a difference I still found myself a little skeptical how much improvement there would be. 

So I decided to heed the advice here and after some research got an iFi Zen Stream with their upgraded power supply.  After getting the Zen linked to my WiFi and using mconnectHD to be able to stream Qobuz through the iFi — Holy Crap!!!  I expected some improvement but I was not prepared for the huge leap in sound quality I was hearing.  Every aspect of sound improved markedly and my jaw was on the floor.

Anyway, you guys were so right in assuring me a streamer would make all the difference.  And this is through my HeadFi rig and can’t wait to hear what this sounds like on the big rig.  Thanks for your helpful advice and getting me through this.  I’m one shocked and very happy camper.



@riccitone The Mercury Streamer looks really interesting kinda like getting a Zen Stream with DDC capability for only another $200.  Bargain!

I have to say one of my favorite aspects of the Pegasus is that although it provides the typical benefits of R2R it doesn’t roll off the upper treble as some R2R DACs seem to do. 

@soix Thats it..I think you’ve hit it on the head. That’s been my concern with moving to a Denafrips in the comparable range of offerings (at least with the way my system is going). However or whatever it is that renders a more subdued high frequency detail or shimmer, seems many who finally get the Pegasus say what you’re indicating here. I don’t know if I can justify getting into the Aquarius price range, but the Pegasus seems a remarkable value proposition. I’ve also been curious about the new Ladder Schumann, also compares favorably against the Pegasus. But don’t know if the I2s pinout configs would match up with the Mercury. 

Nonetheless, very cool of you for sharing your insights. Helps many of us here feel better about embracing the latest streaming possibilities. 

Your journey to separate Streamer mirrors my own.

I was an early user of the ZEN Stream, and was impressed by this little unit. I have a DAC that offers I2S and I really wanted that, so I bought the Matrix X-SPDIF 2 USB Interface with I2S. I used that between the ZEN Stream and my DAC and got another level of clarity with that.

I have now moved on to the Musica Pristina A Capella III which is a dedicated Streamer with native I2S outputs. Astonishing upgrade! Everything improved, including lower noise floor, crystal clarity and certified Roon Ready support.

Talk to Kevin a Musica Pristina. He is easy to work with, and incredibly knowledgeable.

Wow is right.  I just splurged based on this thread and everyone's advice and some more googling and got the iPower Elite.  I had just ordered the Japanese SHM version of The Police Greatest Hits but hadn't listened.  The first cut, Roxanne, is well known and the sequence of play was the Zen Stream with its standard power supply, then the CD.  Obviously the CD was much better in every way.  These play through a Canare coax cable into the "DAC" of a Marantz SA10, then into a Luxman 590AXii (Class A) integrated and then into Yamaha NS-5000 speakers, so I consider that setup a "compact reference system".  So then I switched the power supply to the iPower Elite.  Heard it right away.  All streaming just wirelessly from free Spotify from my Macbook Air laptop.  Now as recommended will try a trial of Quobuz.  It does seem like overkill to spend almost as much on the power supply as the streamer, but in this case, where the system is pretty much higher end I guess anything that's a weak link like the standard Zen Stream power supply shows up as such.

You can’t really assess streaming seriously with Spotify.  Report back after you get Qobuz.