Surprised by streamer differences

This from a newbie when it comes to separate streamers/DACs, having just recently dipped my toes into them.  I’ve been a long-term user of the Perfectwave DAC with a Bridge II streaming my ripped discs, Tidal and Qobuz via Roon.

Picked up a Denafrips Ares II and was using a Node 2i as a streamer.  Thought it sounded pretty good.  I didn’t do a direct comparison to the PSA unit.  

Read about streamers making a difference so I picked up a Stack Link II.  Listened to Stack/Denafrips rig and heard more detail than through the PSA rig.  

I then compared the Denafrips to the Perfectwave using the Stack streamer.  Here, I expected to hear some differences.  I did, but those differences seemed subtle.

I then picked up a Auralic Aries streamer to compare to the Stack.  I only played them through the Denafrips, but this is what surprised me.  I heard more of a difference in sound quality when swapping the streamers than when I swapped DACs using the Stack streamer.  

Through the Stack, everything seemed tight and precise.  And through the Auralic, everything seemed more relaxed and loose.

The best way for me to describe the differences is like comparing my Lexus ES330 (loose and relaxed) vs my BMW 650i (tight and precise).

I just found that kind of interesting.





When I had my Aries G1 I found lightning DS to sound better than Roon. Try it. 

I also tried AES and Coax out of AURALiC and neither compared favorably with USB. 

FWIW I’m now using Lumin U1 Mini and like it better than the AURALiC. 

I've downloaded the Lightning DS but haven't compared the sound to the Roon.  I wonder why the sound quality is different?  

Funny you mention the U1 Mini.  I just got that in yesterday.

I picked up three streamers (Stack, Auralic, Lumin) and three DACs (Ares, Auralic Aries, Benchmark DAC3 B) to compare and see which I like best.  The plan is to sell the others once I find the combo I like best.

It would be interesting to add a Linn, like the Akurate DSM, to that audition list…

It’s nice that you're able to have those all on hand and do in home comparisons. I’m a happy Auralic user and I love the LDS app its super intuitive, feature rich, and easy to use.


good you are able to try for yourself and find out first hand... too many here don’t have the time, energy or wherewithall to do that...

i find that different dacs and streamers also like different connections better, and some are more sensitive to power feed, as well as network/transfer noise/cabling than others, so it takes some doing to really sort through all the permutations with order and discipline and keep track of it all