I prefer LPs and most likely will continue to be an enjoyer of that format however, been streaming a lot with a modest setup. Elac, Discovery w/Roon (Basic) to a Line Magnetic, LM502ca tube/SS switchable DAC and connected with an Aural Symphonics, Digital Statement BNC to Coax cable. Ethernet connection is via two Airport Extremes communicating 15' apart. No noisy router in the room & I use good CAT 8 Ethernet cables on both ends. This is pretty must a $3K setup at retail. So what do I need to spend to improve this rig. To me, it's pretty GD good right now but maybe someone uses a similar setup and what was spent on improving the experience. Obviously sky's the limit on these pieces but say $5K budget? Will adding an S-Booster make a difference. Cable is pretty great and DAC too. Not a lot of Elac users but I find it exceptional. I have an Auralic, Mini too and prefer the Elac with lifelike subscription to a basic Roon package. Seem to both sound the same to me... thoughts?


Here is how I recommend looking at it in today’s world. You can get the same sound quality from streaming as you can from analog for, roughly, the same cost. Now let me qualify. Components must be well chosen (put the work in). If your system (total) is say $20K - $50K… then maybe your digital end will cost 10 - 20% more. If it is $100K - $200K then maybe each leg cost about the same for parity in sound quality. If much more expensive then digital is more expensive by 10 - 20 % again.

I have wanted my digital end to sound as good as my analog for 40 years. It finally happened a couple years ago. Wow, that took a while. But, when it happens it is pivotal… paradym shifting. Suddenly you stop getting up to put on an record… why would I? Because I like to go get it, clean it, get up to flip sides? Well, sometimes I do. But not often. Also, The whole world of music opens up… now you have millions of albums to choose from… for only $14.99 a month.


So, rule of thumb, to create streaming that sounds as good as analog. Streamer = Turntable, DAC = Phonostage. Invest the same in each, subject to my thoughts on overall investment in your system. Depending in the overall cost of your system. Say your TT = $5 and Phonostage equals $5K. Then $6K streamer and $6K DAC.


This is just a way to think about it. You can see my system. I think I am in the sweet spot where all four key or the components are in the $18K range and the digital and analog are equal.


Oh… my preference in streamers is Aurender (I have owned a Aurlic, and used PCs, MACs, and many other devices). Linn also makes world class streamers (yeah, who would have thought). For DACs Audio Research,.. yeah… really musical and detailed… also Berkeley.

The above posters are enraptured by spending tens of thousands on audio gear. Extreme cases of confirmation bias! Beyond a basic level all electronics sound the same. If you want to hear a real difference change your transducers (phono cartridge, speakers. head phones).


Nope. I have not spent tens of thousands, but I can easily hear the difference between DACs, AMPs, Headphones, Cartridges, CD players and streamers (oh wait, those last two are sources just like cartridges!). I do have a harder time telling between interconnects unless there is a big difference (build-wise, not just money wise). But do a blind test between similarly priced McIntosh and a Luxman/Pass/Accuphase amp. I would bet you could tell them apart 100% of the time. I'd dare you to tell me you couldn't tell them apart. I know you could. Now I'm not talking which is better sounding, just that they will sound totally different.

The first time I realized not all electrics sound the same happened to me when back in the 1990's when I wanted to buy my first high end CD player. I had a Nak tape deck and figured their CD players would be good too - besides it's all 1's and 0's. Salesman had me listen to a Rotel and the difference was amazing. I kept flipping between them as I couldn't believe it. The Rotel sounded like music and the Nak sounded like any cheap CD player. They were similarly priced also. So yeah, I have to politely disagree with your assumption that even beyond a basic level all electrics sound the same. 

To me, it's pretty GD good right now…

Maybe you should think about stopping stop now?

Yeah, my intention wasn't to get into a parallel spending situation. I don't believe that's a valid formula. But having said that, I do have about the same money invested in my TT/phono pre as I do my DAC/streamer. Interesting how that manifested on its own. My cart however pushes the LP investment higher. Anyway, I have gotten to a place where simple tweaks yield noticeable results. I Like my DAC a ton... there are better I'm sure but this one performs wonderfully. All other components and speakers have great symmetry. Just looking to squeeze the last drop out of my current streaming setup before really contemplating a step up. Like I said, to me, it's very good right now. I think maybe a direct Ethernet connection cutting out the two apple products communicating. A silent HQ modem in the room is prob a solid move. Thoughts?