One observation that surprised me and validates something that Audiotroy is saying about Ethernet was a YouTube video I saw of GTT Audio’s display at Axpona 2019.
Audiotroy’s comment below:
We have tested over the years computers with external power supplies, both directly connected via USB and over Ethernet connections, and the sound quality was lacking
The idea of a dedicated server is to preserve the data’s integrity, a dedicated server uses in most cases a custom motherboard, custom usb and or Ethernet outputs, custom BIOS, a linear power supply, re-clocking circuity, shielding, power filtration, and other techniques designed to keep the data signals being sent to the dac pristine.
As per direct USB vs Ethernet connection it really depends on the dac some dacs will sound better via USB while others will sound better via Ethernet.
I have been following the Mola Mola Tambaqui DAC/Streamer and Makua preamp/DAC for a while now. The Tambaqui just recently came out and is now in the hands of a few owners. It is getting rave reviews by users. One of many things that interested me on this DAC was the built-in Ethernet streaming on the Tambaqui (the Makua will get this streaming feature soon). However, at Axpona 2019, GTT Audio was stating that their best streaming performance was obtained by using the Auralic G2. I was surprised at that thinking that direct to Ethernet (and less components) would be better. Auralic CEO has stated on a Computer AUdiophile thread that they do not like to have a harddrive on the internal G2 chasis even though they have this feature. It also supports external harddrives via USB.
If I could talk to the Innous designers I would make the suggestion of removing the CD transport and making a streamer only product. I was searching on their site for such a product and they don’t seem to have that. For someone who is very computer literate as myself I got the sense that the Innous products were targeted at non-computer experts, which is a much bigger target audience.