What exactly is a streamer? What does it do?

ifor

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As far as I can work out all streamers have an on board computer and most have an inbuilt DAC. Some go further and include amplification. I know what a DAC does and I know what an amplifier does so stripping these bits away we are left with just the computer bit / renderer. There are very few bits of kit that are as minimalist as this. The only two I'm aware of are the rather pricey Cyrus Stream X2 and Moon Mind 180 Streamer. Both cost in the region of £1000, but what is one paying for? As far as I can make out all they do is fetch music files over Ethernet and output it to USB, coaxial or optical digital for connection to an external DAC. How are these expensive bits of kit any different from a £200 DIY project based on a Raspberry Pi, HiFiBerry Digi with Volumino software?
 

matt49

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The simple answer is that the expensive hi-fi streamers you mention don't really do much at all that a basic PC config can't do, especially if you're sending the PCM stream asynchronously via USB.

The argument from the hi-fi companies will be that they use superior components (PSU, clock, output stages). And hi-fi streamers may package the hardware in more robust cases. They will also have their own GUI which may or may not be more user-friendly, and they may include their own networking hard- and software for mutli-room use. (Sonos ticks these last two boxes.)

But the fact remains that the insides of most streamers basically consist of standard PC components using a version of Linux.

Matt
 

stevebrock

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Well seems Linn continue to get away with robbing us then!

Rega Streamer? mmmm that really would put the cat amongst the pigeons.........its coming!
 

ifor

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Thanks Matt. The Simaudio distributor pointed me toward a dealer in Monmouth for arranging a home loan. I may give it a go sometime, but in the meantime I'm very tempted to try the HiFiBerry route or something similar. At least it would give me something to compare to. I might also get hold of a Cyrus for weekend from the local Audio T. Below is the text of an email from Simaudio. It's point two that's in question.

Thank you for your email and your interest in MOON products.

You are right. The 180 MiND is one of the only Streamer without DAC
available on the high end market.

The interest for you regarding your configuration would be on many
apsects :

1 - The MiND will allow you to play most of the file type available on
the market (FALC, ALAC, WAVE, AIFF, MP3, etc.......). This is something
that the apple TV and iTunes are not doing.

2 - The MiND will improve a lot the sound quality of your system. The
180 MiND is based on a true audiophile phylosophie without any
compromise. No Jitter, top level audio circuits, etc...

3 - The MiND will allow you to play high resolution files until 24 bit -
192kHz. It will give you the possibility to play master studio files and
enjoying the real definition of an high end recording

4 - The MiND comes with an easy to use app with wich you'll be able to
create playlits, to save them, to brwose music on different acces point
at the same time and to control the volume of your MOON system.
 

JamesMellor

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Hi Matt ,

So what is the differance between a £80 apx and a £500 streamer , not starting a fight just wondering where I should put my money , as far as I understand it this mac is a NAS and the apx is a streamer , its a data package and then it is decodeced right ? so if I am underwelmed with the apx , then don't worry about it thats as good as streaming gets ?

James
 

ifor

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The way I see it, a streamer fetches the audio files and send them to the DAC. (This is all confused because different people/companies use different words to mean the same or different things). Your Airport Express doesn't do that, it has the audio sent to it by iTunes.
 

ifor

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stevebrock said:
Well seems Linn continue to get away with robbing us then!

Rega Streamer? mmmm that really would put the cat amongst the pigeons.........its coming!

Will it be a DAC with streamer functionality or will it be a computer in a box without a DAC?
 

matt49

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ifor said:
1 - The MiND will allow you to play most of the file type available on

the market (FALC, ALAC, WAVE, AIFF, MP3, etc.......). This is something
that the apple TV and iTunes are not doing.

2 - The MiND will improve a lot the sound quality of your system. The
180 MiND is based on a true audiophile phylosophie without any
compromise. No Jitter, top level audio circuits, etc...

3 - The MiND will allow you to play high resolution files until 24 bit -
192kHz. It will give you the possibility to play master studio files and
enjoying the real definition of an high end recording

4 - The MiND comes with an easy to use app with wich you'll be able to
create playlits, to save them, to brwose music on different acces point
at the same time and to control the volume of your MOON system.

Point 1 is technically correct but omits to mention that (a) most PC/Linux-based streamers will play all these file types, and (b) even if they don't, then assuming you've ripped your files losslessly, it's a simple and fairly quick matter to transcode them to one of the other lossless formats, with no loss of data.

Point 2 is very vague.

Point 3 applies to most current PC/Linux-based systems

Point 4 -- well, any decent GUI should allow you to create playlists etc. The point aboyut controlling the volume of a MOON system is only relevant if you have an all-MOON system.

Matt
 

lpv

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my mac can play ANY file, can play gapless and even can crossfades songs.. ouch :clap:

now.. do you know ANY streamer wih crossfade function?

do you know streamer with all the streaming services available? at the end of the day a streamer should have streaming services..
 

stevebrock

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ifor said:
stevebrock said:
Well seems Linn continue to get away with robbing us then!

Rega Streamer? mmmm that really would put the cat amongst the pigeons.........its coming!

Will it be a DAC with streamer functionality or will it be a computer in a box without a DAC?

the same thing isn't it??
 

ifor

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matt49 said:
ifor said:
1 - The MiND will allow you to play most of the file type available on

the market (FALC, ALAC, WAVE, AIFF, MP3, etc.......). This is something
that the apple TV and iTunes are not doing.

2 - The MiND will improve a lot the sound quality of your system. The
180 MiND is based on a true audiophile phylosophie without any
compromise. No Jitter, top level audio circuits, etc...

3 - The MiND will allow you to play high resolution files until 24 bit -
192kHz. It will give you the possibility to play master studio files and
enjoying the real definition of an high end recording

4 - The MiND comes with an easy to use app with wich you'll be able to
create playlits, to save them, to brwose music on different acces point
at the same time and to control the volume of your MOON system.

Point 1 is technically correct but omits to mention that (a) most PC/Linux-based streamers will play all these file types, and (b) even if they don't, then assuming you've ripped your files losslessly, it's a simple and fairly quick matter to transcode them to one of the other lossless formats, with no loss of data.

Point 2 is very vague.

Point 3 applies to most current PC/Linux-based systems

Point 4 -- well, any decent GUI should allow you to create playlists etc. The point aboyut controlling the volume of a MOON system is only relevant if you have an all-MOON system.

Matt

Agreed100%. Is the vagueness just to avoid BSting?
 

lpv

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stevebrock said:
ifor said:
stevebrock said:
Well seems Linn continue to get away with robbing us then!

Rega Streamer? mmmm that really would put the cat amongst the pigeons.........its coming!

Will it be a DAC with streamer functionality or will it be a computer in a box without a DAC?

the same thing isn't it??

no..

1) dac & streamer

2) streamer only without dac.. ergo: it will need dac to play anything. do they produce something like that anyway?
 

lpv

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stevebrock said:
ifor said:
stevebrock said:
Well seems Linn continue to get away with robbing us then!

Rega Streamer? mmmm that really would put the cat amongst the pigeons.........its coming!

Will it be a DAC with streamer functionality or will it be a computer in a box without a DAC?

the same thing isn't it??

no..

1) dac & streamer

2) streamer only without dac.. ergo: it will need dac to play anything. do they produce something like that anyway?
 

Deliriumbassist

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What does confuse me about the Cyrus streamers, is why there's only a £50 difference between the X2 and the Xa. They have exactly the same sreaming components, but the Xa has an analogue output stage, a DAC and PSX-R capability. Sounds like they could drop the X2 price a smidgen.
 

Hi-FiOutlaw

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I would like very much to have a Rega streamer OR a New rega DAC with Async USB and a remote, i'm wishing this since last year...

my Rega dealer says no chance on a Rega streamer, but if until may/june rega won't announce a new DAC i'll get a Naim UQ2 for sure!

I've fot one in home demo right now and i'm loving it, it's a REAL and big upgrade from my Rega dac!
 

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