Importance of streamer in audio chain

I have a wiim pro with a Deshelli dac 4399 chip and sparks op amps. Would I notice a difference by upgrading my streamer? My other equipment is a Rogue cm2 and Falcon Q7 speakers. 


In audio everything matters, and that certainly holds for streamers and DACs.  

Yes. Each is important. My streamer is one of the most expensive components in my system. My rule of thumb is that while you must reseach with great care and purchase the very best at the price point:  30% speakers, 20% streamer, 20% DAC, 20% preamp, 20% amp. This gets you in the right ballpark to get the most out of the entire system.


I own two Aurender Streamers… the one in my main system increased the sound quality enormously, finally putting at the level of my great analog end… now I almost exclusively listen to my digital end.

Contrary to popular belief, streamer dac seperates don't always sound that good in execution at various price brackets. There are various technical reasons for this, but, it is the advertising that leads dudes to think separates are the pinnacle of sound. For example, Sony, Marantz, etc used to offer combo units that beat out all kinds of separates in your price bracket.

As you went up the ladder, Technics, Daniel Hertz, Audiogroup Denmark etc may have combo unit solutions that beat out the miracle of separates..

In brief:

the WIIM Pros and BLUESOUND Nodes sound fine performing at their budget strata price point , (emphasis added on a fine but important distinction.)

BUT .,,, if you have a high-end audio system with its inherent far improved resolution capabilities, then you are missing out on a lot sticking with these budget class streamers

NOTE: if you do elect to upgrade your streamer, it is intuitively assumed that in most cases- you will also intuitively also move up too in lockstep to an upgraded DAC from the GESHELLI. Then the cables , et al. It’s the sum of the parts and not JUSTVan isolated piece alone,  that forms the digital audio performance upgrade path down the Yellow Brick Road to Audio OZ.



I used to have a Sonos Connect that was modified by Modwright I think, they redo the clock and put a nice coax jack, power supply I think... serving up my music library that is all WAV files ripped to a network hard drive.. It sounded great.

I got the upgrade bug and bought a Aurender N150, the entry level but still $3500, now I have my WAV library on a SSD that is mounted in the Aurender. It goes USB to my Schitt Yggdrisal DAC and its no comparison, the Aurender sounds lightyears better for the same music. Then I read guys talking about how they got the more expensive Aurender and it blows away the entry level one...

Long and short is digital aint all the same, a high quality, super well engineered quiet streamer like Aurender will take you system to the next level.

Probably even a Bluesound or one of the other budget streamers is worht while.

@brianportugal I’m among those who hasn’t been able to notice a meaningful difference when even partially controlling for different streamers in my home.

I’ve stuck with my comparatively inexpensive DIY since I like the freeware interface well enough and failed to notice predictable differences between it and much “better” models. Like a previous post stated: support and software should be your primary concerns. Streamers are limited-purpose computers.

The rest of our respective systems are fairly different, though, so YMMV, who knows. No one for sure yet. 😉

If you’re using WiiM internal DAC, without a doubt you would notice the difference by upgrading. Now the question is what upgrade would bring the most ROI. I’d say start with a DAC. In that system something along the lines of Chord Qutest would be a step in the right direction. I tried WiiM Pro and the internal DAC is just not that great. You can get a decent streamer/DAC combo as well (i.e. Lumin or Auralic on the lower end of the price spectrum). I prefer separates for more flexibility and better upgrade path.

The OP misspelled, it's Geshelli Labs DAC here which seems like a sonic bargain at it's modest price point.  

I stream and play CD's with the same DAC.  Since streaming is so easy to do compared to getting up and changing CD's, I've been streaming most of the time and liking it.  A few days ago on a whim, I stuck in one of my favorite CD's,  a Steve Miller blues album and now I know my streamer needs upgrading. Don't let anyone tell you it is just x's and o's.  

I forgot to mention my Cd player retailed for $10,000 and my streamer was $1700.

I ran into two gentlemen yesterday who said newer Apple iPad and laptops connected directly to a DAC is the best option. Apple is lossless now. I am under the impression that computers are noisy and not a good option. Streaming is about lowering the noise floor. I was told I was wrong, the Pple is better. I do not think they were right.

Streaming is about lowering the noise floor. I was told I was wrong, the Pple is better. I do not think they were right.

@daledeee1 No, you’re right. A multipurpose device like an iPad or laptop are very compromised sources for streaming music. Anyone who tells you otherwise hasn’t heard a good streamer or their system/ears aren’t capable of discerning the difference. I started streaming with an iPad (with an upgraded Lightning/USB adapter) and it was fine, but my cheap CD transport sounded much better, and when I added a decent streamer the sound was even better still and left the iPad in the dust. Just use your ears and you’ll know.

I ran into two gentlemen yesterday who said newer Apple iPad and laptops connected directly to a DAC is the best option. Apple is lossless now. I am under the impression that computers are noisy and not a good option. Streaming is about lowering the noise floor. I was told I was wrong, the Pple is better. I do not think they were right.

Depends on the kind of "computer"....All streamers are "computers" themselves. They will need to contain most core hardware that you see in a regular computer.

The idea of a dedicated streamer is a better power supply, noise reduction, optimized software (software gimmicks), improved upsampling, etc, which is great and it can sound better than a gaming pc or a regular laptop.

For the guys who are dropping beacoup bucks on a streamer & dac, trying to go a notch above on fidelity....When you have a separate streamer and a DAC, you have nullified the above mentioned benefits you gained by introducing 2 unnecessary i2s conversions and a lousy cable in between (The best cable is no cable). The right solution would be to integrate the streamer and dac in the same box to mitigate these unnecessary conversions and so on.

Further, circuit design has always been a bit of a black art... High freq + High V -->most difficult combo, High freq+low V --> a bit easier....but you still need to keep the signal path as short as physically possible when dealing with these delicate signals (can be done in a unified streamer+dac box). I would also work on integrating the linestage and dac output stage together in the same box. But, i understand, the marketing states that if you lug around 15 different boxes (good for sales) to play a song, it sounds the best.

Good luck.


They’re even promising a delicate clock in a separate box and they’ll run it with some cable to a dac apparently!! Quite dumb but....well, make it 20 different boxes to play a song...and it will magically/somehow sound the best!



Still one of the most important points: does the streamer's OS support the streaming services that you want to listen to? If not,  it's not a good streamer for you. This is the reason I'm still using the digital out on a TeddyPardo moded Bluesound Node 2i. 

@boxcarman  don't forget that your CD and streaming source likely have different mastering, which could be what you are hearing.

I used a Wiim Pro when in limbo looking for the best streamer, it’s great for the money but  up grading you will notice a big difference if the rest of your system is up to the task…

I wasn't able to hear any difference between an expensive (for me) streamer going through an expensive DAC and my computer going through my relatively inexpensive DAC. I was able to quickly switch between them (they were each set up on a different input) and played the same songs over and over again and there was no appreciable difference. I sold the streamer and expensive DAC and I am very happy with my computer and DAC. I have a decent integrated tube amp (Don Sach's Valhalla) and decent speakers (Spatial Audio Lab X5s) so I would have been able to hear any significant difference. 

Whatever you do IMHE,  buy a streamer that is commensurate with ur dac.  I have the Aqua LaScala .  Started with the blue sound  ii, Eversolo, then Lumin mini, and settled on the Lumin 2 in each upgrade there was an audible improvement.  The Lumin 2 was a major step up.  Don't think I need to go any further.   Good luck and enjoy the journey 


as a side note I tried the Lumin mini on my friends system that had the blue sound mode ii with a $700 dac  and even though the this streamer costs 3-4 times the blue sound there was no significant difference.  Where in my system the Mini blew away the Eversolo 

I have two digital sources. One is the HifiRose RS150b all-in-one streamer/dac (and preamp if you choose). The other is an Auralic Aries G1.1 streamer feeding a Geshelli Labs Dayzee Dac. The Rose is an excellent machine. It sounds really nice. However, when I run its digital output via SPdif into the Dayzee the sound improves slightly, but you may not notice it at first. It’s simply a bit clearer through the Dayzee, with equally good tonality. This improves a little more with the Auralic/Dayzee combination via USB from the Auralic. We are not talking about night and day differences, rather small but significant improvements, at least to my 71 year old ears. Honestly, I could live with the Rose alone, the Rose/Dayzee, or the Auralic/Dayzee combination. They are all quite good. The Geshelli Labs Dayzee dac is really special and I plan to keep it a good long while. I added the Sparkos opamps to mine which probably took it up a notch from the stock model in the clarity department. If it’s not obvious, I’m really enjoying digital these days. I have to go back to my early years in high end audio when I had a Music Reference RM-4 head amp feeding the phono section of my preamp, so I could run a Talisman moving coil cartridge mounted on an Sumiko MMT tonearm, the latter mounted on a Thorens TD 160 Super turntable, to achieve something close to how digital sounds now. I still have a modest Mofi Studiodeck turntable and MM cartridge and a Schiit Mani II phono preamp, all of which sounds pretty good, but my streamer/dac sources sound better. Your mileage may vary. Just remember to enjoy the music!

In my system the WiiM Pro was the only streamer that was notably less good than other budget options (iFi Zen Stream, Raspberry Pi/Denafrips Iris, Denafrips ARCE).  Streaming Roon, the Eversolo A8 was the best.  Generally the differences were small but I would ditch the WiiM Pro.