Why is my expensive streamer to my DAC better than sending Roon or my Mac directly to DAC

I recently upgraded to a Lumin U1-X and it really sounds great, the DAC is ARC CD9.  I was telling my son how great this upgraded unit sounds. He asked me " What does a streamer do, and why can't the Mac simple go directly to the DAC".

I was at a loss of words, other than I don't know but it sounds amazing.

Can anyone offer a better explanation? Thank you

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xweiserb

Please clarify, if I am listening to a track on Tidal through Roon its, coming straight from the router to the Lumin?

weiserb the streamer is often getting its signal from a streaming site TIDAL OR QUOBUZ rather then a pc

When you connect a PC directly to the DAC you are opening up a pathway for PC noise to get into the DAC. Not good.

Your Lumin isolates that network noise and sends a clean signal to the DAC. A PC added to network can also add noise to the network. Think also of all the other things connected to a network, printers, computers, security cams, etc.. All of this can add noise to a network.

I think the new Lumin U1-X has a fibre optical connection. My old Lumin X1 had a fibre connection. A fibre cable is made out of glass and glass cannot carry the noise that I described above. Fibre is better than RJ45 Ethernet connection for the same reason.

I use a cheap very internally noisy computer as my ROON CORE server. The way I have it setup with fibre optic cables makes my system sound great in 3 rooms of the house. My $500 ROON CORE server is actually residing under a bed in my guest room, nowhere near my audio systems.




The streamer is getting the initial signal from the noisy computer

You'll probably get a better result by connecting your streamer via ethernet to its own port on your router.

You can probably achieve similar result with Mac via DDC reclocker/isolator, i.e. Mac => DDC => DAC. Also, may need to adjust OS to make sure fewer processes running putting less load on CPU and fewer interrupts. After all, streamer IS a computer.

Streamer is a dedicated computer with fewer things running and less performance hardware, so less noise. Tuned for the purpose rather than for general tasks.

Interesting side note the gentleman that sold me my U1-X replaced it with an

$ 80,000 Streamer DAC Reclocker from Greece. Ideon Absolute Stream, Ideon Absolute Time, and Ideon Absolute DAC! I noticed a big difference in the sound quality from this unit vs the U1 mini I had, which I thought sounded good.

The U1 with the X power supply has more bass slam, better detail, it simply sounds more lifelike. Also has really great powerful extended top end without sounding harsh. I just love it!



To add on to @audiotroy post (he sold me my first legit streamer, an Innuos Zenith) it boils down to less noise and depending on the streamer's output method (usb v spdif) better and more reliably precise clocking. A multipurpose pc is better than nothing and a single purpose device (like a streamer) can be optimized for the job at hand. Alot of small things really add up. best wishes.

The issue is noise a pc generates alot of noise this affects the data going to the dac a purpose built device delivers a cleaner data stream


We have sold most more streamers and have tested vs pcs and the dedicated devices all produced noticanly better sound

And there are a few tricks you can use to make your x1 even better


Dave and Troy

Audio Intellect Nj

digital specialists


why can't the Mac simple go directly to the DAC

Nothing prevents you from connecting the Mac directly to the DAC.