Do different streamers really sound different when using an external DAC

Maybe this has been posted before but it seems that often when a post is made where someone has gotten better sound it’s because it was the streamer with included DAC that was changed, not just the streamer. No doubt a better internal DAC,  better file resolution, a better music service, will make a difference.

But I just want to see comparison of streamer to streamer with the same DAC implementation. I am currently using a Bluesound Node2i outputting via Coax into a high quality tube DAC
So here’s the million dollar question.

What have been your experiences in upgrading streamers, keeping everything else the same ie, DAC, cables, output type (Coax)? No doubt better control apps and having a display will elevate your experience but how about just sound quality. Anyone?



Just about ready to order one of these powerline adapters on Amazon to try hooking up via ethernet. In the description it states that both the "send" and "receive" units need to be on the same circuit. Since my modem is upstairs which is a different circuit (on my circuit breaker), than my audio system, which is one floor below, will this no longer work?

Bluesound is great with a wired either net connection,  good external DAC and decent cables. I could not say one is better than the other compared to the U1.

Sounds maybe a bit different but not better. 

I used Bluesound products (Vault 2 and the latest Node) for several years combined.  In my experience streaming via Bluesound sounds best when wired (vs. wireless), which in my case was with a wireless extender.  Adding a DAC is also a BIG plus... and upgrading the power cord helped some as well.

However, I just made the jump to an Aurender N10 server/steamer... and the improvement in sound quality in upgrading my streamer/server was significant.  Granted I went from a Bluesound that retails for $600 to an Aurender that goes for $8,000... so not an apples to apples comparison.  But for those that claim all "bits are bits" and all servers sound about the same, I don't find that to be true.


Alvin, I have a Bryston BDP Pi that I bought to replace my aging MacMini. The improvement was obvious, the MacMini sounded sluggish by comparison. I also connected the Pi to a linear power supply. I’m running the Pi to an Ayre QB9 Twenty DAC via usb cable. Send me a personal email if you wish and I can add further to the upgrade.

There is a difference between DACs but that difference can only be perceived through high-end sources and speakers