Im not sure this addresses your question. I run Roon core on a Mac Mini that sends files via ethernet to an Ayre QX-5 Twenty. In addition to rips and downloads, I stream Qobuz and Tidal. The audio chain includes Ayre KX-5/VX-5 Twenty preamp/amp driving KEF Ref 1s supplemented by a pair of Velodyne HGS-10s with SMS-1 bass management. The sound quality is superb. Files sent to the asynchronous USB port of an Ayre DX-5 DSD sound nearly as good.
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I’m not sure what "claim" you think I’m making. I listen to my QX5 in a balanced set up as well, with an Ayre AX5 Twenty.
To be clear, I am using the Lumin U1 Mini as a streamer into the QX5 and comparing it to the QX5’s own internal streamer. The U1 mini is a noticeably better streamer, but unless you do the direct comparison, the internal streaming capability sounds perfectly fine.
This is consistent with some comments by the late Charley Hansen on the Computer Audiophile thread on the QX5. Hansen had said (I am paraphrasing) that the ethernet input of the QX5 was a bit of a compromise and that a good external streamer had the capability of sounding better. It’s worth reading the thread for this and other helpful and interesting comments from Hansen.
I must of missed the thread on CA where Charlie Hansen said the QX 5 ethernet is a bit of a compromise, Is your QX 5 connected with ethernet or USB from the U1 mini.
I think it was Michael at Arye who told me over the phone along with several other QX 5 owners ( including myself ) feel the ethernet sounds better then USB.
I had the same question that has been posted, few months ago. I read and asked questions and this is what I have done and I love it.
i have a lumin mini u1 streaming via cardas clear aes/ebu interconnect to my qx 5 twenty. I got the basic qx-5 without a internet or streamer. The qx-5 functions as a pure dac, with the volume bypassed. They feed to a kx-r twenty which feeds a pair of mx-r twenties . All connections are balanced and are cardas clear. My ayre c-5 also feeds the qx5 via the other aes/ebu input .
the qx5 functions as a digital hub with the volume bypassed . I am very happy with the sound.
The network input on the QX-5 Twenty is based on a module from ConversDigital. It sounds very good and if it were my only option I'd be happy with it. It makes a fantastic one-box system at a desk with headphones and powered monitors.
But, in my experience, a Sonore ultraRendu streaming to the USB input on the Ayre sounds just a little better. That's what I use.
Take a look at the optical network. The optical cable is supposed to eliminate noise, unlike regular Ethernet. I am going to set up an optical network next and either buy a DAC with an optical input (such as Lumin X1) or take a look at the Sonare optical network kit which allows optical to USB (via a few devices).