What makes One Music Server Sound Better than Another?

So this week my Mojo Audio DejaVu music server that I have used for the past 2-3 years crapped out. Benjamin at Mojo was more than helpful and the DejaVu is on its way to Mojo Audio where it will make a full recovery.

Thankfully, I still have my Antipodes DX2 Gen 3 (their former flagship) music server so I hooked it up. After wrestling with Roon protocols, transfers, and set-up menus, I was able to get it going so I have music. The DX and my Sonore Sig Rendu SE opt. are both connected to my network so the DX (like the DejaVu), is only being used as a Roon core and the Sig Rendu SE serves as the Roon endpoint for streaming Tidal and Qobuz, with a direct USB connection to my DAC.

The point of this thread is to ask, how come I perceive the the DejaVu server as sounding better than the Antipdes DX? In fairness, the differences I perceive are not great but it seems the DejaVu is fuller sounding, more tonally rich, and bolder. Is this why some here spend $10K+ on a Grimm, Taiko or something else?

If a server is basically a computer, sending digital information to a streamer/endpoint and, assuming that digital information is transmitted asynchronously and reclocked by the DAC’s master clock, and assuming noise is not the issue (i.e., both units are quiet and there is an optical break between the network and both the server and endpoint) then what are the technical reasons one should sound better than the other? It is not that I want to spend $10K+ on a music server with a lifespan of maybe 5 years before becoming obsolete, but I would like to understand what more you are getting for your money. So far, the best I can come up with is lower internal noise as the major factor.

As a side note to the above, when I thought things looked hopeless for getting set up, I scheduled a support session with Antipodes and, although I lucked into the solution before the meeting time, Mark Cole responded ready to help. Setting up the session was super easy and reminded me of the superior level of support I had come to enjoy from Antipodes during the time that the DX was my primary server, including multiple updates and 2 or 3 hardware upgrades, which prolonged the service life of the DX. Good products and good company.


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I am very familiar with Synergistic Research digital cables.

Your input is appreciated.  Just to point out, those are not network cables and what we are specifically discussing is if some electro-noise at the server end can effect what is received by a streamer over a network, presumably through one or several switches. 

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With respect, that is not LOL-worthy.  At least if I understand your proposed logic, that because a USB cable and a coaxial digital interconnect sound different to you, that the inner construction of a computer can effect what is received from it at the other end of an IP network.  Apples and oranges. 

One more thing I would like people to consider:  fiber optic network cable cannot possibly carry any electrical charge or interference. Many suffering from audiophilia nervosa will use this technique to rule out any electrical interference traveling from server to streamer.

Fiber optic network gear can be had for well, well below $1000.  That will categorically eliminate any possibility of the relevance of the electrical situation within the server. 

So, even though I don't believe in the difference in the first place, it can easily be eliminated for well under the cost of these servers.  There is no need to do it at the server end. It's just a different way of looking at IP network functionality - whether it be twisted pair or fiber, the noise, if there is any, doesn't make it to the streamer. 

Fiber optic is a good way to reduce noise and improve the sound of streaming.  I found however that an audio grade network switch worked better and then I removed the fiber link in the chain because it limited dynamics.  These changes are quite audible.

Silver plated ethernet cables improve the sound too.  That employs scientific principles= skin effect.