Good DACs have known benefits, But what About Streamers


Hello Folks,

The benefits of quality DACs are well know to our ears and our rationale thinking. Many of us have solid evidence of this. I am currently in between DACs and  reverted back to using a SONOS Connect for my DAC on my system and the decline in fidelity from my Auralic is dramatic. As one person but it, it isn’t a fair fight.

But with the upgrades that I am doing to my system, the McIntosh PreAmp will have a wonderful DAC in it. But I still need a streamer. What I am wondering is if there is a substantial difference between streamer technology and will I be able to notice the difference between different DAC/Streamers when the DAC is by-passed. Will I, or would you, be able to notice the difference between a Auralic, Pro-Ject, BlueSound, Sonore or any other piece of equipment?

Thanks in advance for your constructive thoughts.

Currently Streaming... early GP & The Rumour! What a great band they were.
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If you use a really good reclocker right before the DAC to reduce jitter (any DAC in my experience will benefit from this), the streamer will not (relevantly) affect sound quality unless it does some processing (e.g. sample rate conversion). With this configuation, I ended up keeping only the bit-perfect optical out of a Chromecast Audio to stream content from Spotify (320k) and Qobuz (CD and hi-res) with stellar results in my very resolving audio rig. Without the reclocker or from its analog output, however, I wouldn't loose my time using the Chromecast for any critical listening. Generally speaking, I would keep away from using DACs included in streamers.
The DACs I have used have all been inbuilt to the streamers I have used LINN sneaky / magik / and Klimax but the massive sound difference has been probably on the DAC side. 
I also have an ARCAM CDS50 which is a cheap SACD / streamer but can act as standalone DAC so will experiment to see if I can hear difference .... I have had the Klimax and Arcam playing the same playlist into separate inputs on my pre and done a/b comparisons between them and not surprisingly the £5k one was better than the £700 one ...... but not by a huge amount.  

Separate streamers into the same quality DAC would probably see less of a difference 
Way back when, I streamed with a desktop PC running XP and WMP into a Rega DAC and was happy with the sound.
Next, I streamed with a newer PC running 10 and Foobar into the same DAC and was happier with the sound.
Next I streamed with an iMac using Audivarna into the Rega and was again, happier with the sound.
Then I started streaming with and Antipodes DS into the Rega and the leap in sound quality was the biggest yet.

Upgrading the Rega to a Denafrips Pontus has given me another increase in aural satisfaction.
The most profound difference however, has been using a dedicated server/streamer - the Antipodes DS.
Like itsjustme, I hate the way a carefully crafted post ends up looking like a pre-schooler wrote it