Streamer v DAC - which is more important?

I know there have been other posts on this topic but I decided to add my recent experience. I have used a Cambridge Audio CXN but as I have indicated in previous posts, while happy with the SQ, I am totally frustrated with the apps. I recently bought an Auris BluMeHD for use with my second system but decided to ditch the CXN and hooked up the Auris to my Pure Audio Lotus 5 DAC which allowed me to use the Tidal app ( also very poor but better than the Cambridge apps).  Now either I'm going mad or my hearing is defective ( which my audiologist friend would likely dispute) but I could hear no difference between the $95 Auris and the $1000 CXN when played through the external DAC. This leads me to believe that the DAC is way more important than the streamer, unless perhaps you spend mega bucks on the streamer. Has anyone else experimented comparing a cheap streamer with a more expensive one when played via the same external DAC?

Showing 1 response by mlsstl

My two cents? The DAC is more important as that is where the data is converted into an analog signal. It's the spot where jitter, distortion, frequency non-linearity and noise can end up in the sound we hear.  Until then, the streamer and all of the other devices upstream are simply handling data packets. Now, that's not to say that the streamer isn't important. RFI control can be done poorly, or well, for example. And, the streamer and its associated programming is where we interface to select music, build playlists, etc., so a poor design here can certainly leave us with negative thoughts that may affect our perception.