Streamer DAC yes or no

aversaurus

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Jan 11, 2016
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Is it worth spending a lot on a audio streamer if your going to use a separate external DAC ? .
And if it's not worth spending a lot because you are using your own DAC which audio steamer would you purchase ?.
 

shipworm-archaism-recede

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Nov 29, 2021
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If you haven’t watched/read them, you might find Darko’s posts about Raspberry Pi-based streamers interesting. He contrasts using separate DACs with those built in.

Based on those, I think I would build my own because it is very cheap—if I weren’t so into Apple that is.
 
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aversaurus

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I will give it a look .I had the izen streamer and I moved on to the audiolab I used the same external DAC for both and there was a difference in sound
 

Gray

Well-known member
Yes I use a Pi for cheapness (one in each of 2 systems actually).
It will feed a USB DAC as it is.
But attached 'HAT' boards give you digital outputs, if you wish to feed your DAC with optical or coax.
 

nads

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It all depends on the streamer and DAC you are looking at. I found the DACMagic (original) did nothing when added to my squeesbox Touch. Not tried any other DACs since.
 

skinnypuppy71

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Aug 10, 2021
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I use a primare np5 prisma( Dac-less ) it works very well. I use it through my network though , I'm not interested in the airplay or Bluetooth performance of the prisma though as tidal or Qubuz basically stream from your mobile device and it doesn't deliver gapless playback, this might be a issue for some users. Spotify connect is present and correct though.
 
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aversaurus

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I had a dacmagic I think second gen it was quite good .but things have moved on since then .
The audiolab sounded quite good but the play fi app is a nightmare at best
 

shipworm-archaism-recede

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Nov 29, 2021
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I think it’s all down to budget and preference. If you’re thinking ~£600 (node money), that’s nice DAC territory.

In my, admittedly limited, experience you are considering minor differences between options. You’re not going to be making a mistake whatever you choose.

I love convenience, so I went down the Apple route. £169 for an Apple TV 4K that streams video and audio is a cheap cost-effective option. It upscales everything to 48kHz, but I put USB into the separate DAC from an iPad or Mac from the same streaming source for the occasions where that might make a difference.

Unless you want the neatness or are happy to replace often, I think separate components are the way forward.

Will be really interesting to read what you decide on. I hope you post it here.
 

doifeellucky

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Feb 3, 2016
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Another member on the forum recently indicated that they couldn’t hear a difference between the Node’s internal DAC and their Denafrips Ares II.

Some reviewers have suggested the Zen Stream offers a noticeable sonic improvement over the Node, but others have had significant issues with the Stream to the point of it not being usable.

I’m still using a Chromecast Audio and have thought about getting the latest Node, but some better speakers would probably give a more noticeable upgrade.
 

aversaurus

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Jan 11, 2016
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I've been looking at the ifzen streamer looks like what I'm after as I have a good separate DAC and as far as I can tell it would stream straight to it
 

dkontos

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Apr 24, 2021
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I've been looking at the ifzen streamer looks like what I'm after as I have a good separate DAC and as far as I can tell it would stream straight to it
I have installed the Ifi Zen Stream , through ethernet, and it runs perfectly...!!! It has Tidal-Connect ( very important for me as I use Tidal), MQA, and the sound quality is really very good...!!!
 

TenTonTarantula

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Aug 17, 2021
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I feel like this is one of those questions that comes down to how resolving your system is. My working presumption is that if like most of us you're working with mid-fi components, the DAC should take precedent and the streamer should be more about offering the functionality you need.

I had a chromecast and Schiit Modi 3, then bought the latest Bluesound Node which i then route everything else through to use its (improved) internal DAC... eventually when the rest of the system is worth the investment I'll maybe upgrade to an external DAC and use the BS just as a streamer. I don't know if i'll ever spend enough to validate upgrading to a better standalone streamer however.
 
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Tinman1952

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It's not put me off and I'm still looking at getting one or the node 2 but the ifzen makes more sense to me if I can bag one at the right price
Technically it is a 'network bridge' not a streamer as it has no DAC. Comparable products like the SOTM SMS200 and the Lindemann Limetree bridge are much more expensive!
 

TenTonTarantula

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Aug 17, 2021
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Also worth noting: I somehow missed the launch of the Argon Audio Solo, but would certainly have looked at it given the functionality and price point had I been aware.
 
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doifeellucky

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Feb 3, 2016
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If you are talking about the Head Fi thread, that is a few people who had the wrong power supply and one individual who contradicts himself at every post!
They have sold THOUSANDS of these devices.....
It was actually cheapaudioman who I think had the global exclusive first review, and more recently 13th Note Hi-Fi, but he’s a bit of an idiot just trying to ride the crest of that particular wave.

I’d like to try it, as I’m fairly happy, but not blown away by, my Zen DAC V2. I’ve seen a few others who have praised its sound quality, but I’m not sure I’d notice a significant improvement. It feels like it should be more in the £250-300 region for what it offers.

What were you using before?
 

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