why expensive streamers

@soix and others

I am unclear about the effect on sound of streamers (prior to getting to the dac). Audio (even hi-res) has so little information content relative to the mega and giga bit communication and processing speeds (bandwidth, BW) and cheap buffering supported by modern electronics that it seems that any relatively cheap piece of electronics would never lose an audio bit. 

Here is why. Because of the huge amount of BW relative to the BW needs of audio, you can send the same audio chunk 100 times and use a bit checking algorithm (they call this "check sum") to make sure just one of these sets is correct. With this approach you would be assured that the correct bits would be transfered. This high accuracy rate would mean perfect audio bit transfer. 

What am I missing? Why are people spending 1000's on streamers?



128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xdelmatae

Because they sound better. The take almost no bandwidth. They buffer and isolate from noise and provide a clean, ideal signal for the DAC.  Mine cost $22K and was worth every penny. Of course, you must have appropriately good system to get the most out of them. I have owned streamers from a couple hundred, $3.5K, $5K, $10K, $12K, and $22K each offered substantial sound quality, lower noise floor, more dynamics, detail, etc.

As mentioned, lower noise, better clocks, better parts, etc. all can make a very significant difference in streaming and streamers.  Sometimes in audio it’s better to think less and just use your ears — this is one of those times.  Several online retailers offer trial periods these days so there’s very little reason not to try in your own system with your own ears.

I recommend a streamer with a fibre optic option. A Lumin X1 DAC/streamer or their brand-new streamer based on the X1. It is not cheap.

I compared my much cheaper Sonore OpticalRendu with the Lumin X1 using fibre for both, and they sounded different, but none was better than the other. I sold the X1 and kept the cheaper OtpicalRendu.

There is a new streamer from Aurelic that looks amazing, except it does not have the fibre input I covet.


I may actually sell one of my OpticalRendu’s to get the Aries S1 since it can do more than 1 DAC at a time. I have 2 DACs in my office. It can also play CD’s using a computer quality CD drive. It has a buffering technique that renders the transport benign. I may go with the $1999 version since I did not find a big improvement with the audiophile upgrades to the OpticalRendu.

I should add that I just sold my Playback Designs Stream-IF that did not have Fibre input, just Ethernet. I was shocked at how good that sounded on SPDIF. I was not able to test the better fibre optic output of that unit. I compared the 3 streamers I mentioned side-by-side and all 3 sounded different. I cannot say anyone of them was the best.


we are server and streamer specialists:


we have been specializing in streaming for many years

first we  were using a high performance Sony desktop and a mac mini and  various laptops

we were running Jriver.

the pcs were always a pain due to sleeping pc updates and other pc issues

then came auralic a nice streamer the aurender and the Naim uniti core.

then a super windows based SOTM server a custom pc outboard power supply and  high end USB card.

the Innous which sounded the best vs any other device and as ou went up the line the more expensive Innous models sounded far superior to the lower models.

we also tried a Laufer Technik memory player and Batis .

a few years ago we discovered the 432EVO servers from Belgium


long story short the evos sounded better the the Innous servers and were the best we eve had in the shop.


Dave and Troy

audio Intellect NJ.

streaming specialists.



This high accuracy rate would mean perfect audio bit transfer.

As you know, there’s more to good sound than perfect bit transfer, electronic noise transferring with the bits, for one. It’s like wires and everything else in audio that shouldn't make a difference, the designers and builders keep finding ways to make things sound better. The improvements may not be worth the money to you or just may not be your cup of tea, but they’re worth it to someone.