Streaming Services

Hello, Folks -

In an attempt to (somewhat) get with the times, I am incorporating streaming as a source in my audio system.

In my research I’ve seen that sound quality varies among the providers.

I’m looking for a provider suggestion. A service that you feel has high sound quality.

For the most part this would be for classical music. Some classic rock and jazz would be a plus.

I’m a fuddy duddy with my equipment and am not looking to change anything out. What I have:

Conrad Johnson HD3 USB DAC

Conrad Johnson Premier 16LS Preamp

Conrad Johnson Premier 12 Mono Block Power Amps

Vandersteen Quattro Loudspeakers

PGS interconnects

MacBook Pro

Any suggestions/recommendations would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you very much for reading my post.





Besides audio performance per se, there are other things a streamer might or might not have or do that can be useful to the user:

  1. Have a useful display. The current Auralics by default display the IP address on the startup screen. That can eliminate a lot of fussing around. Then, the album cover when playing.
  2. Internal storage. I’m not a user of that, but some like it. (I use a NAS.)
  3. Access to different streaming services. Amazon can be difficult to use in a WiFi streaming context unless directly supported by the streamer.
  4. Compatibility with different playing software and quality of the manufacturer-supplied software. Cambridge units have been incompatible with standard software, which rules them out for me. And even if one doesn’t use the manufacturer’s software regularly, it may be important occasionally, e.g., for configuration.
  5. Roon Ready. Critical for many of us, not for everyone.
  6. Ability to play and/or rip CDs. (see my previous post)
  7. Ability to play audio files from an attached USB thumb and/or hard drive.
  8. Ease, quality, regularity of software updates.
  9. Quality of tech support. A good forum solves a lot of user problems.

I probably have forgotten some others.

OP, “…I’ve gathered that a streamer’s part is more than that.”


Absolutely! it is somewhat like the turntable / cartridge in the analog end in front of the Phono stage… so the streamer in front of DAC. Stand alone, purpose built streamers simply sound better.

Reasons, electrical and physical isolation, cacheing, I have had a dozen streamers over the last fifteen years and it doesn’t get high fidelity until you get to a high quality stand alone streamer. I now own the best streamer I have ever heard… it uses a battery to power the audio circuits and recharges while not in use, is built like a tank, and is far more reliable with sound even when my iPad will not refresh the screen. FYI, my streamer is the Aurender W20SE.

A few people have successfully upgraded every aspect of their Ethernet, router, MacBook… (as in shut down all processes and lots of fiddling) and gotten close… but it is a very difficult way to get nearly there.

@christianb5s4 You recently said, “MQA is hit or miss in terms of sound quality”.

I play Radio.Paradise MQA through a Node 3 and SMSL M400.  I noticed, for example, that in some Nora Jones songs her voice is lost in a mess of bass.  A Samantha Fish song goes in and out of volume so it is sometimes nearly inaudible.  I wondered what the cause is.  On the other hand, most things sound great - so why the variability?

Does this fit what you are describing?  I don’t want to chase solutions that are caused by someone else.

Phase I: what  @lalitk says.

Phase II: what @testrun says about Roon.  


Here is Roon overview.  Advance to around the 4:30 mark to see how it manages classical music. 

After you get Qobuz, should also get ROON is AMAZING!

ROON has a 30 day free trial...get the free obligations and no strings attached.  Roon will revolutionize how you listen to music.

Get the 30 day free have no idea of what you're missing.