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@audphile1 I am sorry to hear of your troubles but relieved that another person has experienced this (was pulling hair out with this issue).
I have experienced various streaming woes for nigh-on three years when I first tread into the deep end of streaming. My initial foray was with an Auralic Aries and Meitner MA-1 DAC. All was swell for a time, then I started noticing what I now call, "treble fungus"- This malady presents with the same set of symptoms you have described: "soundstage all cluttered in the center, glaring mids, muddy bass, details subdued, highs rolled";
Over the many months since I first started streaming (Roon based) I have rolled through numerous digital bits: Innuos Zenith MKIII, Innuous Zen MKIII, various DACS from Chord, MSB, PS Audio, Luxman, and Bricasti; I have built and tested a few different Roon cores, the latest being the EXACT build spec of the most recent Roon Nucleus. Ether Regen, expensive ethernet cables, a top rated Ubiquiti Mesh network- streamers always connected with copper CAT6 minimum spec, latest cable modem from my internet provider, power conditioning and numerous power cables to the various streamers.
I have moved heaven and earth (as far as i'm concerned, lol) to drive away networking gremlins and provide a stable residential network (aside: best ever streaming to the various consumers at home- zero complaints- love ubiquite gear) yet I still experience "treble fungus" from time to time;
I know it is NOT the gear or power because when TF strikes I pop a redbook CD in my Marantz 8004 SACD player i've had for years (thank God I kept it), select the CD transport source on whatever DAC i've had and voila, the air and music is back; Sometimes equipment reboot restores the sound quality, sometimes not;
To this day, and most recently I've noticed TF rear its heinous head once again. Qobuz in particular was sounding like depression inducing mid-fi garbage. Lumin U1 with Tidal direct, NO ROON, yields expected high end results: Coherence, air, full soundstage blah blah blah--you get the point I hope;
The Lumin U1 is a close second to the CD Transport into Bricasti M1 dac;
I suspect this variable SQ with streaming is a regional thing and that TF is a periodic local virus and I/we just have to deal with this first world problem; CD's and a shot of Blanton's get me through it;
Cheers all and enjoy the tunes; Peace
Thanks all for the replies. I thought I was either losing my mind or my hearing. Good to know I’m not the only one experiencing these nastiness of streaming.
I rebooted all network and audio hardware including reconnecting USB cable between AURALiC and Bryston and rebooting both units (power cords out, waited and reconnected). It seems to be back to normal. We’ll see how long it lasts before Treble Fungus strikes again.
Very interesting “Treble Fungus”… pretty imaginative. I had the exact same problem… but was using Tidal and my Auralic Aries G2. I attributed it to the Aries… it was not intermittent, although the right kind of music could cover it up. I traded in for a Aurender and have never experienced it again. My center soundstage is completely clear and unconfused. I now own two Aurrenders… tremendous streamers.
When I had the Auralic Aries G2 I was using a Simaudio Moon 650D with 850P power supply. The special power supply really lifted the performance of the DAC. If I remember correctly you can program the Aries to reboot nightly.
Today I am using a Audio Research Ref CD9se as a DAC, which is an unbelievably good one. My dealer dropped off a Berkeley Alpha 3 for a couple week ($22K) and the ARC CD9se was almost indistinguishable, but ever so slightly more natural sounding and $5k less. The sound was so close it took me a couple weeks of comparison to be sure there was a difference.
@dpac996 Thank you. Yes, my system is unbelievably rewarding to listen to now. The speakers sound as good as they look.
@ghdprentice awesome setup! Had Audio Research CD3 MkII years ago and to this day regret selling it. Can only imagine how good your cd player sounds with years of experience and digital evolution behind ARC’s belt now.
Yes you can program the Auralic to auto-reboot but it results in unit freezing up. I brought this up with the AURALiC team about a year ago and it’s yet to be resolved. Not s big issue but still. I sat down to listen last night when it was quiet in the house everyone asleep and confirmed that reboot of the streamer did the trick. It sounded amazing. Details, tone, soundstage, dynamics all in spades. Was listening to Tidal and even though my dac doesn’t do MQA the system sounded as good as it should.
Sorry, sounds like you have been having a similar experience with your Aries that I did. All issues went away when I bought an Aurender, first a 100N then the W20SE. The differences were profound. My system is simply spectacular with a library that is nearly infinite in size. Aurender knows how to build streamers. They put enormous effort into quiet power supply and the software works flawlessly with large buffers to make up for any transient internet issues. To me Auralic performed like mid-fi, Aurender performs like high-end.
In case your interest in the Aries is driven by not having access to an Ethernet connection, the solution is simple. Buy a wall wart wifi extender (~$60 ) and plug in next to your system. Then you just need a short Ethernet cable to the wall wart… and you are in business with any streamer.
Wanted to post an update….
Since my last post, the Qobuz sound quality had fluctuated several times. It’s gotten back to normal then back to garbage again. Same symptoms - cardboard bass, glaring mids, muted highs, constipated soundstage. Acceptable for background music while you’re on a zoom call but not much use beyond that.
Qobuz recently reduced their subscription fee. In a world where prices only go up…they must know they’re effin it up.
Tidal on the other hand is stable and sounds wide open.
audphile1, I experienced the same issues during the first week or so of my Qubuz trial. I was ready to jettison Qobuz. Then for some inexplicable reason the sound improved. I have two days left before the end of the free trial. At this point I’m inclined to keep Qobuz and cancel Tidal.
I find Qobuz to sound more detailed and natural. Tidal definitely incorporates a bass boost with a tipped top end which is a plus in one of my systems, not so much in my latest system. However, Qubuz has an oddity I find disturbing. Files labeled HD play through my vintage Linn Numerik??? The Chord Hugo also indicates a 16/44 stream. They play and sound fine but why the HD label when they’re not?
Very late to the game on this one, but just started streaming on a serious serious service (besides Spotify). Just experienced this vey same issue just tonight for the first time. Heard exactly what was described here: strange mid glair, veiled highs and muffled bass, until about two more tracks went by and then suddenly..pop..air, definition, bass clarity, everything that initially made me fall in love with Qobuz returned. This is after a week of some VERY enjoyable streaming. Could only think it was Qobuz itself sending some compromised packets or something? Hope that’s confirmed…as I’d don’t think it could be my system!
Both disappointed and glad I found this thread, and hope this issue doesn’t come back!