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Is the streamer important?

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  • Is the streamer important?

    Hi all,

    “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link”

    This thought applied on my sound systems made me wonder about if my streamer is sub-standard and if so, this really matter? Is there an audible difference between different streamers? There is definitely a difference in price!

    I have put hundreds of hours into speaker design, recapping of amplifiers, worrying about cables and, at the same time, listening to a 100 USD Argon streamer.

    I guess my question is about the audibility of different streamers, when listening to a commercial source like Spotify. Is it worth spending 1000-2000 USD on a new “better” streamer?

    Any experience, thoughts or educated guesses?

    Best regards//lasse
    Stockholm, Sweden
    Perry Mason talking to his dentist:

    "Do you swear to take the tooth, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth, so help you God?"

  • #2
    Originally posted by lasse View Post
    I have put hundreds of hours into speaker design, recapping of amplifiers, worrying about cables and, at the same time, listening to a 100 USD Argon streamer.
    Perhaps a little bit of a case of "one of these things doesn't belong here"...

    But at the same time its possible now (and has been for a long time) to stream music of a higher quality than CD (24/192 vs 16/44) essentially providing the final nail in the coffin of CD's. Its not so much the "streaming" side of things that affects sound quality - downloading data and data itself has no "sound". There are no degrees of how well something can read a digital file - its either read or its not - the differences in sound quality are going to come from your DAC. And in terms of DAC's there can be significant differences in the sound quality of various DACs at various levels.

    If you are listening directly to the analogue output of your current streamer I would say you can definitely do better - but if you are already passing the digital output of the steamer off to a high quality DAC there really wont be any sonic differences in changing the streamer itself.

    (this is of course aside from any considerations where the streamer isn't performing the job of streaming very well - e.g. music pausing, pops/cracks etc. in the sound would be related to the reliability of the unit and your internet in doing their jobs, but not a flaw in its non existent sonic character per se)


    • #3
      As long as your net source is decent, say 25 meg/sec and you have an OLD Win7 computer with a halfway decent soundcard, you'll get all you can HEAR from streamed audio files. It's amazing how POOR most streamed files really are! Even the Berliner Philharmionia live files are 24/192 MAYBE but what mics and downline processors do they use that degrade the frequency range and dynamic range??? The BBC live is sh*t. An old computer and audio card might introduce a slight delay in processing compared to the newest stuff, but that's all. I have a 20+ year-old Gateway(!!!) running Win7 that outperforms my best friend's new $12 Grand MAC on music which is what he bought it for. Carl has a stack of "old" Macs in his closet (he's a trucker) and I keep recycling my old 'puter-thingeys instead of sending them to third-World countries for orphans to kill themselves working to reclaim what's valuable in them.