DAC or streamer? Which one is impacted by technology improvements?

I am contemplating upgrading my setup with a streamer, DAC and hifi. I am concerned what is impacted by tech changes. Say I want MQA in a few years or another new technology. Is it the streamer or the DAC that must master a new technology? 

Technology can impact either:

MQA and DSD impacts DACs  Future formats could impact DACs.

Interfaces including USB, Bluetooth and Ethernet/WIFI impacts DACs.

MQA, DSD, Bluetooth and Ethernet impacts streamers.  Even new player software like Roon or services like Tidal impacts streamers.

If you are trying to create a system that is resilient to all of these kinds of changes, forget it.  It's like buying a laptop and expecting all of the apps created for the next 20 years to run on it.  Never happen.

You are better off to decide what format the majority of the music that you love is in and optimize around that.  For most audiophiles 16/44.1 covers most of our music, but sometimes we can download remasters at higher sample rates and even DSD.

If you don't have a system that delivers live sound for 16/44.1, then I would recommend to work on that first.  Even this can sound amazingly live. The rest is gravy.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Perfect advice from @audioengr :

If you don't have a system that delivers live sound for 16/44.1, then I would recommend to work on that first.
Many thanks, Steve, 

Very helpful.

I am not trying to solve "world hunger" :-) , but was more into the balancing between streamer and DAC. 

I have streamer that supports  24 bit/192 kHz (Raumfeld) and a DAC (V-DAC from Musical Fidelity), but both a low cost and I miss some dynamics. So I am looking for an upgrade and was wondering, where to put the money. 

Okay, I would recommend upgrading the MF DAC.  Also, your streamer would benefit from my Synchro-Mesh reclocker and my BNC coax cable if you are using S/PDIF coax (RCA adapters).  Jitter is ~20psec.  This is the cheapest way to get a world-class digital feed.  You can use it with your CD Transport as well and switch between the two.  Here are some jitter plots:


You might look at the popular DACs right now in the lower price ranges, including Shiit, Ressonessence, Chord, Aqua etc..  Look at the reviews at audiostream.com

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

For me the next big thing will be a dac that streams with a direct Ethernet fiber input. Until then I would spend more on a dac you like and less on a streamer as there are good very cheap options from the chrome to the bluesound. Just my take.