PlayBack Designs Stream-IF

I had this streamer sitting under my desk for the past 3 months. I bought it so I wouldn't quit a job 😀 and allow me to earn money for a Playback Designs DAC. It worked out well since I did not quit the job (yet).

The Stream-IF supports 2 clients, COAX DAC's and Playback Designs DACs using the better Plink fibre optic connection. Since I do not have a PBD DAC yet I tried the COAX out to my Benchmark DAC3B. 

The streamer is ROON READY, and I used the ROON endpoint as FIXED output to a Benchmark LA4 preamp. I was not able to set the ROON endpoint to VARIABLE but that is not needed in my case. The volume went haywire at VARIABLE. I tried that VARIABLE setup with the PeachTree GAN1 SPDIF input and that is not an easy beast to get working. So maybe VARIABLE works with other situations.

I compared the non-fibre stream of the PBD unit to my Sonore OpticalRendu streamer and my Lumin X1 DAC/Streamer.

Both the Lumin X1 and the PDB Stream-IF are louder than the Sonore. However, in the past I concluded that the Sonore was a more refined sound than the Lumin X1. I liked both streamers a lot. That comparison was done using fibre optic as input, the only way I thought I would roll with streaming.

So, when I went to test the Stream-IF with non-fibre COAX input to my DAC3B I was expecting it to be the worst performer. That was not the case, it is loud like the Lumin but it is also refined like the Sonore. It is amazing. I can only imagine how good this streamer will be using the fibre optic part of the Plink circuit into a Playback Designs DAC.

This Stream-IF cost me $2000. What a lucky find.