Do you need a DAC for internet radio only?

I'm thinking about trying out the Squeezebox Duet but I think only to have the ability to listen to Pandora, Rhapsody or several internet radio stations at this time. I have a very nice Modwright CD player and an older Sony Jutebox CD player as well. I know the jutebox would benefit from a good DAC but I only listen to it now on random for background music which would be the purpose of the Squeezebox. Does the Squeezebox benefit from a DAC when only listening to the internet? At this time I do not think I will rip my CD's to a hard drive.

I'm not adverse to a DAC and if there is an improvement, I would consider a DAC in the $500 range. Suggestions if appropriate would be appreciated as well. Thanks, Mike
Not really. The Duet has its own internal DAC (actually a pretty good one at that - Wolfson) so you can just use it to "stream" internet radio via your preamp. A good external DAC will definitely improve the quality of playback if you're feeding the Duet CD-quality (or better) sample rates (i.e." 44.1/16. 48/24, 96/24, 192/24). Unless you have cash to spare, the purchase of a good DAC for internet radio playback (only) is probably overkill.
The Internet Radio streams are not very high resolution, and an external dac won't hurt, but for radio only, will not add much.

I just love internet radio, but hi-rez, it is not.

Thanks for the responses. It was pretty much what I thought. My Jutebox is 15 years old so it is a matter of time, (knock on wood) maybe I'll start with the Squeezebox only then start to set up a computer based playback for my CD's. This will occupy a lot of time, I have to educate myself since I don't know a FLAC from a WIDGET!

Thanks again, Mike
If you get the Duet, you should try ripping some CDs or downloading some lossless files. You will be very surprised at how good these music files will sound compared to your CDs played via your CD player. Then, think how good the same files will sound fed through a good DAC. You can have the same quality sound that you get via the Modwright in a music server that allows you access to literally every song you own (and so many more) via one touch of a remote from your sitting area - you never have to get up! You will be hooked. This is the way of the future for digital playback - and you don't have to compromise on the sound. You may want to read up on things first. Before you spend anything, go to PS Audio's website and learn about their new DAC (Perfect Wave DAC) and the forthcoming "Bridge," which will transform this DAC into a true high-end music server. If you’re interested, I'll know more about this DAC in about three weeks, as I am awaiting one for audition.
Thanks, I know it is a matter of time before I get hooked, maybe that is why I've resisted. I have been looking for an all in one source to get educated so I'll hit the PS site. Thanks for the tip. BTW, does any one have a preference on the squeezebox version, I have read some negative things on the Duet being a little unreliable?
Not to hijack the thread, but when I listen to Internet radio via iTunes from my server, I have a lot of problems with iTunes crashing as it tries to rebuffer the stream. Does this happen with SB solution?
If available in your area, check out the HD over the air broadcasts. They put internet radio to shame.
I have had no problems at all (knock on wood, knock on wood) with my SB Duet. You can see from the SB forum however, that there are a lot of documented occurrences and issues - especially with the older software versions. My Duet has been reliable since the get-go (installed 6 months ago). I don't listen to Internet radio that frequently, but when I do, I don't really have any issues. I do recall a time or two when I experienced some “rebuffering.” I do believe a lot of this has to do with the Internet server (product/provider, router and bandwidth limitations). If you have good steady bandwidth via DSL or Cable Broadband, fed through a good router (at least G series for Wi-Fi), then you should be okay. I will be replacing my old B series router with an N series when I install a NAS, but for now, even my G Wi-Fi router has performed excellently (that router is in the same room as my Duet/stereo).

I think this is a good time to watch for new products and do some thorough research before pulling the trigger on anything. The industry has embraced music/video servers and there are some exiting products in the works (i.e.: the Perfect Wave DAC/Bridge server). You can bet that there will be other reputable companies introducing new high-end server solutions. Be patient…(ha…ha..ha!).
What I like about Internet radio is I can listen to the best jazz stations in the country, the best classical stations, and Celtic Sojourn. HD or not, the local market doesn't have enough to offer.
What I like about Internet radio is I can listen to the best jazz stations in the country, the best classical stations, and Celtic Sojourn. HD or not, the local market doesn't have enough to offer.

And not just in "the country" - anywhere in the world. There are some great classical stations in Budapest, and some great jazz stations in the UK. I love some of the Irish stations. Combine this amazing feature with the limitless possibilities of downloading lossless HD files, or ripping your entire catalog of CDs to build a music library the likes of which you only used to dream about. Now, access all of this while sitting in your reference chair. You only have to get up to refill your drink. It's too cool.
I use a Music Hall 25.2 dac with my Squeezebox classic strictly for streaming from Pandora and Rhapsody and it has added more weight and definition to the mp3 streams.
I love my Squeezebox and use it to serve up all of my ripped CD's from my music server and for listening to internet radio. As far as internet radio goes, if you find stations that broadcast at 128kbps (and there are lots of them), the quality is actually very good.

I have found that running the Squeezebox output through an external DAC is a big improvement over the internal one. Not sure whether that's due to better output circuitry or just cleaner bit transfer, but an outboard DAC definitely improves the performance. I've used a Musical Fidelity X-DACv3 and a Cambridge DAC-Magic both with great results. I have an MHDT Paradisea+ on the way that I'm going to give a whirl; probably be putting the DACMagic up for sale unless the Paradisea turns out to be a bad match with my system, but I don't expect that.

I've also found that using the "hybrid" connection method for the Squeezebox seems to give the best results. This is where the Squeezebox itself is connected via hardwire cat5 cable to your router and only the remote is wireless. Just seems to be more reliable, especially if there's lots of activity going on with your home network. That may not be practical for some folks, just what I've found to work best in my situation....
Is the DAC a big improvement for the internet source as well as the CD's?
To my ears, yes it is, as long as the internet source has a high enough bit stream. If you're listening to stations that are broadcasting at about 64kbps or below, then quite honestly, nothing will help much. However, when you get into higher speed transmission (especially ones that are at 128kbps...), then you're practically getting CD quality sounds, and I've found that a DAC is the way to go. The nice thing about the Squeezebox software is that it shows you the bit rate of channels as you browse through them, which makes life pretty easy. I also keep a listing of most of the major internet radio providers in my favorites on my PC as well just so I can go through and browse things and then go to the Squeezebox and dial up what I'm wanting to hear.

Make sure you get a decent cable between Squeezebox and DAC as well. I'm a big fan of PNF Audio cables and have both their coax and toslink. Both work great from the Squeezebox to DAC. Now, there may be some depedancies on the rest of your system, but if you have even a good budget rig I think you'll notice an improvement in sound quality. What I hear is better tonality and much improved imaging with a noticeable increase in the "air" around instruments, making them sound much more real. Bottom line is that a DAC in the chain is definitely a plus IMHO!

Have fun and enjoy your music!
Drubin, if you like jazz, there are killer stations in Switzerland, Spain, Japan, Brazil and France that are broadcast over the web that sound fantastic. Lots more jazz stations around the globe that are available to you. Just do a web search of "internet jazz radio stations."
I have a squeezebox (Benchmark dac) and have no drop out/buffering issues w/internet radio. While I wish they were wav files, they actually sound decent through the dac. Better than mp3's, which they are. W/o the dac...they sound like mp3's.
Thanks everyone. I think I'll start with the SB only, play around with the Internet radio, rip a few CD's, save up some money and of course, unable to help myself, buy a DAC!!!