Point of higher priced streamer?


Hello,
Assuming I have separate DAC, and I just want to play songs from iPad by Airplay feature.
In this case, I need a streamer to receive music from my iPad -> DAC.

What’s the point of high price streamer? I’m bit surprised that some streamers are very high priced.
From my understanding, there should be no sound quality difference.
(Streaming reliability and build quality, I can see it but I do not see advantages in terms of sound quality.)

Am I missing something? If so, please share some wisdom.
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Airplay is basically indisinguishable on a $50 Ras Pi 4. If your DAC has USB in.
helomach nailed it. Evacuate your purse.
Thank you for all the input.

Still no single scientific explanation about how the sound can be better.
(Except cleaner sound packet... at least this, I want to study.)

Okay, for some people here. Let me provide some reference.
My budget is about $50k. Not much for some, maybe big for some.
I’m on business trip in Asia, and my business partner here is in a local audiophile group spending 6 digit USD easily for their system (some of them show 7 digit system and I could have a dinner while listening his system all night long). And he is more than glad to help me experiencing stuff. (Everybody loves talking about hobby isn’t it.) Thanks to his and his friends’ help, I can now do many auditions with dealers here. Due to Covid, there are not many customers too. I usually spend 5-6 hours in here just listen and compare set up. Asian hifi market is like having 10 mega dealers in one place. They seem small but somehow their stock level is impressive. They have almost everything.

Before though I was not really into gear and stuff, I happen to live in a house with B&W803D with Classe mono set up sound system. It was good but I wanted something different. Then I moved, so lived without good speakers for a while. Now I’m in shopping.

I’m a long time classical music fan, and used to go to local orchestra (LA) on monthly basis before kids in my late age, and used to travel to attend concert too (mostly vienna). I prefer live concert over speaker. I just love the energy, passion and emotion that I can feel in the live stage.

This year’s special situation makes me consider the audio system.

I don’t think I have golden ears, nor particularly good at listening.
But I know the difference among Yamaha / Steinway / Bosendorfer or Argerich / Richter playing Rachmaninoff.

Also my goals are - less maintenance possible/simple as possible.
Personally I want to listen music more, rather than shopping more. Also, my needs for new music every year is less than 20 albums per year, so for me playing musics that I already have is more important.

I don’t have a big listening space (14ft x 14ft), so optimizing speaker system is a key. I plan to hire some professional to do acoustic treatment first. Or I plan to just put some acoustic panels if it’s not that complicate.

About the system after some auditioning,

1) I decide to go with Pass Int-60.
Because I do not personally deal with tubes. They are charming, but not my style. I try bigger/separate system, the problem is with my room size and situation, sadly more money would not make noticeable difference.
-so about 9k is fixed here.

2) Speakers - It is still hard due to room size.
Also my obsession about piano sound makes the situation hard. I do not want to just buy a neutral speaker. Also bigger speakers simply do not fit in my room. So far some names I remember are Revel Salon 2, Magico, Wilson Sabrina, Vienna Acoustics Beethoven, Brodmann VC 7, Boniecke . Still I’m in search. I’m interested in horn, so I just heard Avantgarde Duo, but not sure. Sadly there are not many horn speakers in Asia somehow.
- thinking 10k - 30k here.

3) DAC - I have couple pairing in my mind for speakers so far. Mola Mola sounds interesting, but I also find some other cheaper options sound good too. In fact later I discover that the US importer uses my selection of cheaper option during the audio show. So I study, and figure out why some DACs are expensive. I get idea
- my initial budget is around 10k here but now I find a good option with significantly lower price.

4) Cables - Long story short. I want to keep Cable as fixed variable as long as possible. This, I take a advice from a guy who basically re-build his house to have totally separate power lines for his different set ups. Personally I agree. So not much money here.

5) Streamer - In fact I have much room left in terms of budget. It can be from around 8k - 22k depending on last of set up. Even minimum 8k would get me decent middle range price product.

The problem is, I simply can’t hear the difference when I switch, and dealers here do not really provide any scientific explanation. Streaming itself also should not make any sonic difference unless there is additional coloring factor.

I was curious how manufacturers implant that coloring factors to a streamer.

My question is, if you think streamer itself alone matter sound, then your room router should matter too. This is my understanding.

I have B&W duo because I needed a simple wireless speaker for home. (I don’t consider this as speaker set up though.) I have dedicated mesh network for this speaker once I realize that traffic burden on 2.4 band can deteriorate the sound quality. I use orbi. (Btw B&W duo shows the importance of system optimization. This speaker has Speaker/Amp/DAC/Streamer all in one box in a way that designers precisely intend. This creates very impressive sound quality considering its price if one like B&W house sound. Same goes for Dutch & Dutch 8c. If you do not want to play with gears and likes their house sound, especially D&D8c is really hard to beat not just in its price class but in its room size class regardless of price range.)

Do you use a separate router for streamer too?
Changing power cable of router improve sound quality?

Again, I do understand that neutrality is not the final goal for everyone including me. Certain distortion is pursued. For my business partner here, he also doesn’t think streaming alone doesn’t make difference though he has 20k streamer, simply because he wants it. (After certain wealth, people doesn’t think that much, not me. But I also do not think that much when I pick up 10-30 dollar product.)

So my study about streamer keeps going on.

And about Airplay, for me I do not have any music source better than 16/44. So airplay is sufficient. Idagio streaming (so as primephonic) also provides 16/44.
There is still big difference between Bluetooth vs Airplay. Just read technical specs.
I wish bluetooth to stream 16/44 fully in the future.

Are you saying 16/44 cd quality doesn’t make difference in system?

Honestly, most of classical music that I listen to, I do not think there is no music source better than CD quality available to consumers. If you know any source Polini’s carnegie hall performance with better than CD quality, please educate me. I’m more than willing to pay fair price for this one.

I like LPs, and consider collecting some. But in terms about sound quality alone, I think digital source is better.

So, here we go again.
I’m not that rich, but I think I can afford some range. For me, throwing money without understanding the point of it is more than meaningless. I’m totally okay with “because I just want it”. But for some parts, I simply do not want it because personally I do not see any reason. I want to at least know how things make different and want to determine whether I want to pay for it. 

After certain price point, sound becomes really subjective, and it’s all about one wants to pay for that specific customized distortion.

About the streamer.
I still don’t have much answer. Again 3 question.

1) Do you have any scientific explanation behind it?
(Again and again, I do understand why DAC and Speakers have distinctive distortion patterns and these make different price point.)
Any data I can find?

2) Does better streamer send better digital signal?

3) Does your router matter too?

Thank you.
I can’t explain the technology but I recently upgraded my streamer (we selected the Innuos Statement) and the difference in sound quality, starting with the sound stage, and is very much noticed and appreciated.  I wholeheartedly agree with the Statement’s positive reviews.
I might need to check again.

When I test it, the room is a dedicated for listening, but not even have a dedicated router. 

I start to think then, the router should matter too, if this whole thing works in that way.
I can’t explain the technology but I recently upgraded my streamer (we selected the Innuos Statement) and the difference in sound quality, starting with the expanded sound stage, is very much noticed and appreciated.  I wholeheartedly agree with the Statement’s positive reviews.