Digital/Optical out from Streaming Devices (Bluesound, Heos, etc) to Preamp- difference?


I am integrating a streaming device in to the system strictly for Tidal streaming purposes, and possibly 44.K music files on a hard disk that will be plugged in to the streaming unit.

I will not be using the DAC in the streaming units, rather take the digital out (optical or coax) in to my preamp and let it do the DA conversion.

Am I correct in thinking that it will make no difference in sound quality which player I use as I'm just using its digital out (digital is digital?)  I understand there would be differences if I were to use their analog outputs.

Using Proceed 

Thanks for your feedback.
Convert?fit=crop&h=128&rotate=exif&w=128johnziomas
My experience over the last several years using various devices as source for streaming is I have not heard significant differences among sources. All sources I have used deliver very good results. Changes to sound with various DACs are much more significant.

That’s not to say digital is digital or all devices are the same. They are not. Jitter differences can surely be measured. Things like lengths of wires can even make a difference here. But if all are good quality not cheap to start with, set up well and in good operating order, I’d say there is a chance the differences will be minor or even hard to detect at all.

This has been true for me with various streamers and CD players I have used as digital sources to DACs over the last 8 years or so starting with a Roku Soundbridge unit back then. Switch to newer highly regarded (but not perfect) Squeezebox Touch units a few years later (I still use those as well) made no discernible difference for me.

YMMV. The only way to know the differences between two specific units for certain is to try them and compare.

Also worth noting that there are MAJOR differences I can hear using various software programs on a computer tablet or smartphone. Not all software plays equally well for sure. Resolution of the source material also matters.

thanks for your reply, I have the same experiences as you.  In this situation the only variable is the specific digital output of each device, cabling source (Tidal) and gear is the same/constant.

I am demoing the Heos by Denon, and considering the Bluesound Node 2, but with no difference on the digital output of the 2 units, does't make sense to spend $500 on Bluesound vs. $350 on Heos.
It all depends on how high a resolution system you connect it to. There are audible differences between the digital streamers. IMHO, most of Mapman's comments are spot on; dac differences will be bigger. However, once you settle on a dac, improvements in streaming device will be audible on a good rig. If you never plan on moving beyond an entry level system, it may not matter too much, but in this hobby, the devil is in the details, and they all matter.
I'd suggest trying to demo the devices on a higher end system in addition to your own to get an idea of the how those devices compare. If it doesn't sound like much difference to you, save your money. 
BTW, suggest adding Sonore SonicOrbiter SE and Aurelic Aries Mini to your consideration list. Cheers,
Spencer
" the devil is in the details, and they all matter. "

Right but in this case what matters is Jitter which can be measured with the right tools and know how. You expect better performance including jitter with a more expensive device but that is not assured in any particular case by price alone.

There is a threshold for jitter that is generally deemed sufficient below which differences will not be heard.

My experience has been it is very hard to hear the differences once you achieve a certain level and digital has improved in recent years to the point where most good quality source devices achieve very good performance.

No doubt the less jitter the better. The only question is how much is needed or matters and how hard is it to get that. Not very these days I would say.

Maybe there are independently verified device specific jitter measurements published somewhere that might help. Other than that it is mostly a pot shot.

There are recclocking devices that can be added as an insurance policy against jitter if concerned.  I have considered those but not been tempted to jump.   Would love to try and see.    Also many modern DACs the most well known example being Benchmark do their own reclocking and are also highly jitter resistant as well.   The thing there is you get low jitter tied to a specific DAC and sound which may or may not float one's boat.    With  a separate reclocker, you have an insurance policy that can be used with most any DAC.

These days I have identified multiple digital sources all capable of "high end" performance. These include Roku Soundbridge, Squeezebox Touch, 8 year old Denon CD player/recorder, USB out from Gateway Windows laptop, optical toslink out from Amazon Fire TV box, and analog out from newer Apple Iphone 6s and tablet.

I was pleasantly surprised by sound quality of USB out from the laptop and analog out from newer Apple devices, but each of those do sound different yet all still very good and "high end"  when playing through a good "high end" system..