I am looking at the Yamaha WXC-50, Bluesound Node 2i, Cambridge CXN and Marantz NA6005. I would really like to go with the Yamaha simply for the price, but if I am using a separate DAC am I really missing much?
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Oh, it matters. It’s a bigger topic than you might imagine. I suggest reading the archives here and at computeraudiophile.
Rather than focus on one or to the other of those mentioned, consider a few things :
Files stored on a NAS in another room connected by ethernet cable will reduce noise vs. local hard drive. Consider a network player.
Your files of CD quality or high rez will sound better than streamed files from the subscription services.
Computers will add tons more noise unless you go to great lengths to ameliorate. (You have that one covered).
That's enough to get you going. Cheers,
It matters big-time. If you are using USB, the playback software, CODECs and the hardware/power supply all affect the SQ. The jitter of the master clock inside matters. Even after optimizing all of these, you still need one of these to clean-up the USB signal before it goes to your DAC:
Even using Ethernet networked audio (renderer), the router/switch matters, and the Ethernet cables matter. The playback app still matters. The jitter of the internal master clock matters.
like Steve said.....but dont get overwhelmed and approach this as a project of refirnement done incrementally..
start with a good, well supported stream with a great control application - for affordability, sound quality AND a stellar control app, I recommend the Bluesound. Since a streamer is really a computer it generates RF which does not mix well with your analog rig downstream, your DAC is also loaded with RF generating chips. I prefer a DAc with a faraday cage, but those are few and far between, so do your best to get the DAC and the Streamer power supply on a seperate circuit than your analog gear. Optical isolators are of value as well
Your network switch, WiFi and your computer are also going to have switching power supplies, best to get those on another circuit, remote is better...
Cables matter. In an affordable cable Blue Jeans in Seattle does a great job for Ethernet. I think you can do much better for SPDIF and USB, just my buck fifty....
have fun, enjoy the music....