Sorry about the typos. It's the auto correction on my phone. One correction: "I have decided to feed the DAC..."
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The streamer will not contribute meaningfully to the sound, and certainly not compared to a laptop with usb. If it sounds hard you either have to blame the DAC, or reality (music can sound hard), or look into the gain (mis)match between DAC and pre amplifier. The default output level for a DAC would be 2.0 Volt, like a cd player, but many give more output to impress in the demo room (the Codex is one of them). This can be too much for some/many pre amplifiers, causing clipping of the input. Are you using the variable output of the Codex (which would not normally have such high voltage unless you fully turn up the wick) or the fixed output into a pre amplifier (which would mean trouble)? The cure would be simple, fortunately: just insert some inline attenuators.