why expensive streamers

@soix and others

I am unclear about the effect on sound of streamers (prior to getting to the dac). Audio (even hi-res) has so little information content relative to the mega and giga bit communication and processing speeds (bandwidth, BW) and cheap buffering supported by modern electronics that it seems that any relatively cheap piece of electronics would never lose an audio bit. 

Here is why. Because of the huge amount of BW relative to the BW needs of audio, you can send the same audio chunk 100 times and use a bit checking algorithm (they call this "check sum") to make sure just one of these sets is correct. With this approach you would be assured that the correct bits would be transfered. This high accuracy rate would mean perfect audio bit transfer. 

What am I missing? Why are people spending 1000's on streamers?



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“Streaming can’t use the error checking protocols that achieve bitperfect file transfer. Thus, dropped bits and the streamer’s attempts to deal with it. Otherwise, there would be no market for high end streamers, silver digitlal cables, or anything high-end digital audio.”

Jerry, apologies, I do recall your first related post but didn’t realise you were the same author. For a self-professed non-expert on streaming, they’re quite some assertions!

Perhaps you should forget the network tech googling thing and find somewhere where a streamer manufacturer says something about why they can’t use the same error correction techniques/technologies as other ethernet-capable devices. I don’t recall having read anything from Antipodes or Innuos or dCS or similar where they talk about how they’re much cleverer at working out how to fill in the dropped bit “gaps” than their competitors. I suspect you won’t find anything as it’s not a problem they’ll recognise but, hey, what do I know, I’m just another internet rando like you!

Until I see anything from a streamer manufacturer/designer which corroborates your suggested explanation of the differences in sound quality amongst streamers, I’m going to stick with my own assertions that ethernet data transfer IS ethernet data transfer full stop (US period) and that streamers differentiate based on noise and clocking (possibly amongst other factors).

If file transfer is perfect and done until it's right, reassembling the former exactly into the later, and when someone comes up with a teleporter based on this "exacting" tech, who will be the first to volunteer to go into the descrambler chamber knowing they'll come out "bit perfect" in the reassembler chamber just ten feet away?

Any volunteers?

No,I didn't think so. Like that fly in the movie, The Fly, noise is the culprit that gets into the mix, messing with the reassembling. It's what Antipodes cleaned up long ago, as best they could, by writing reams of code to combat it. Competitors could build the hardware side good enough to look as good as what Antipodes did but they just didn't sound as good (from what I remember from reviews in the early days). Antipodes is just one example.

Some listeners just didn't want to spend that extra to get it and that's around the time things got really heated in regards to what's good enough, that meeting the protocols was all that's needed. 

But as has been succinctly pointed out, that's all that's needed for bank transfers, general data, guidance systems, properly sized fonts, etc. Music is so complicated and fragile that simple noise can corrupt the intended results. I think it's wrong to relegate music to the same terms as the aforementioned, for it has deeper connections to us that general data just can't match.

There are levels of  gradations that show this. We can be deeply moved by a photo of a beautiful event or something as simple as some old calligraphy recreated exactingly from some subject we're familiar with. That definitely lies between a bank transfer from our Social Security account and the music we listen to. It's still nowhere near the level of seizing and moving us like music does, and we can tell when we're being deceived when it's on that deep a level of appreciation.

They've got it pretty well sorted with CDPs nowadays. People talk of flavors, see through ability, tone, timber, pacing, dark and light, etc. when comparing them. With streaming, it's a different kettle of fish, if anyone bothered to notice. What they talk about is emotion, soul, and what seems to be lacking in a more corporeal manner. 

I've always found that interesting. 

All the best,

... Streaming can't use the error checking protocols that achieve bitperfect file transfer. Thus, dropped bits and the streamer's attempts to deal with it ...

That is not true. Services such as Qobuz and Tidal use TCP/IP, which is a bit perfect protocol. Data arrive in packets and faulty packets are resent.

so, to be potentially off topic, from a software point of view, streaming is a method. It has nothing to do with data loss, error handling, the quality of the data, etc. The content (5 seconds of a cat video, pdf file or song) is converted into bytes and sent from one endpoint to another. The client endpoint will receive it and convert it back to "content". In between there is "networking stuff" that I know little about and won’t google it (so that e.g. I still don’t say stuff that would embarrass my offspring who spent 4 years in College to understand the "networking stuff".)

If you want to play 5 frames of the cat video, 5 seconds of a song, you will need to receive the data that comes in a form of a stream. It has the beginning and end, x amount of bytes. The programmer writing the software that handles the data assumes it is 100% the same data  the server sent.

What we also call streaming is the concept that we don’t need to receive the 6th seconds of a song to play the first 5. We just assume that we will have it in time, before the 5th seconds of the song has played. We can add business rules to our playing procedures such as we won’t play the song unless the entire song has completed streaming (in which case, it’s not really streaming but downloading.)

I feel these concepts are easily confused - as shown in this thread. I would go on about lossless and lossy formats and compressions and how Spotify changed business rules to get around receiving all the data that was sent and "just move on and play something" and never wait for the lost pockets - if I had know more than I can google. But I don’t, music streaming is a different animal than streaming data for maps and location data that I work on.

Still, this is a very educational thread despite our different understanding/ misunderstandings of various issues around streaming...





Streaming is not a new technology.  I for one have been streaming since about 2004 (starting with the original Yamaha Musiccast system).  Moreover, the fundamental job of the streamer, moving a data stream from server to dac, is rather simple.  And sorry to be a skipping record, but even most high $ streamer proponents agree it’s just about jitter and other noise.  So measure it!

Btw, I volunteer for the reassembler chamber…