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How can/does a streamer affect sound quality?

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#1
Can anyone explain this logically? I am talking about streamer only....
Thank you for your time and comments.
 

majingotan

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#3
Can anyone explain this logically? I am talking about streamer only....
Thank you for your time and comments.
No difference whatsoever if the output is digital
 

suttondesign

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#4
Streamed audio should be identical to audio sent via hard-wired ethernet. Only the manner of transmission is different. Note: this is not the same as Bluetooth "streaming," which I believe has some accepted degradation issues owing to the compression scheme used.
 
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#5
digital or coax, I keep seeing reviews that streamers sound better than others SQ wise, than lower priced/tier units ...this makes no sense to me.

bluetooth excluded, Ethernet/wifi only
 

Soniclife

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#6
digital or coax, I keep seeing reviews that streamers sound better than others SQ wise, than lower priced/tier units ...this makes no sense to me.
When those reviews include controlled listening tests, or measurements that show significant differences at a DAC output you can take them seriously, if they don't include those things ignore them, they are the ravings of deluded minds.
 
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#7
digital or coax, I keep seeing reviews that streamers sound better than others SQ wise, than lower priced/tier units ...this makes no sense to me.

bluetooth excluded, Ethernet/wifi only
There are lots of reviews that say that cables sound different as well. Doesn't make them true.

Any competently designed streamer will be totally transparent, you just have to pick your preferred UI/features.
 

Bombadil

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#8
Yeah, had this same question of the Auralic Aries G1 streamer (about 3k). I actually ordered one and it would not connect to my local network. Auralic states that their streamers will only connect to a short list of routers (I sent mine back and got a Sonos Port after doing a little research). I asked Amir about this and he said basically if the output is digital the fidelity of the device is of no consequence, same as others have been saying on this post. I chose the Sonos for the UI but any of several others would work as well, esp if you like the interface.
 
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#9
The sound quality depends more on the source, free spotify webinterface is 128kb, the app 160kb and the paid for have a higher bitrate if selected.
Most of my pre 1995 CD's sound better than later resampled versions due to the loudness war. And what sources does the streaming party use?
I play FLAC on the raspberry pi with an optical output. Can't hear a difference with the original CD using the same DAC.
When using soundconverter (linux tool) to create high quality 320kb mp3's and loading them both in Audacity to switch between FLAC and the MP3 version of the same song it's really difficult for me to spot a difference. (low quality mp3's are easier)
Got the 25 euro APT-X bluetooth dongle for the IOTAVX SA3 amplifier. But I'm impressed with the quality. Laptop and phone can stream to it.
 

somebodyelse

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#10
Any competently designed streamer will be totally transparent, you just have to pick your preferred UI/features.
Sadly they may not all be competently designed. Your average cheap android-based streamer will resample everything, and won't be using the best available settings to do it, because that's what stock android audio does.

The other major assumption is that they'll all be streaming the same source data, which isn't a given. Various contractual and technical reasons may mean one streamer may have access to higher quality source formats than others. Don't have the right level of DRM approval? You get a lower quality format in your stream.
 

Bombadil

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#11
Sadly they may not all be competently designed. Your average cheap android-based streamer will resample everything, and won't be using the best available settings to do it, because that's what stock android audio does.

The other major assumption is that they'll all be streaming the same source data, which isn't a given. Various contractual and technical reasons may mean one streamer may have access to higher quality source formats than others. Don't have the right level of DRM approval? You get a lower quality format in your stream.
Do you have references that expand on and document these two concerns? Are you saying that the streamers from McIntosh, Denon, Sonos etc are sending formats of different quality to the DAC even when they are all streaming from the same source, Tidal for example?
 

krabapple

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#12
Explain to me like I'm five, please. With streaming, the streamer is connected to some audio source, and the audio signal is send over the user's home network, and finally input to the AVR via either its built-in Wifi receiver or Ethernet port, yes?

Is multichannel audio supported, and if so, are both lossy (DD, DTS) and lossless (PCM) audio data supported?
 
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Kal Rubinson

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#13
No difference whatsoever if the output is digital
As long as the input is the same as the compared streamer and both are bit-perfect.
Is multichannel audio supported, and if so, are both lossy (DD, DTS) and lossless (PCM) audio data supported?
Typically not because few, if any, Internet music streaming sources provide multichannel source material. I can stream the few (~2 dozen) multichannel albums offered by Qobuz. Mostly, I stream my own multichannel files.
 

TimW

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#14
Explain to me like I'm five, please. With streaming, the streamer is connected to some audio source, and the audio signal is send over the user's home network, and finally input to the AVR via either its built-in Wifi receiver or Ethernet port, yes?
A streamer in this scenario is what connects to the user's home network and outputs a digital signal containing audio. In your example the streamer is built into the AVR.
 

somebodyelse

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#15
Do you have references that expand on and document these two concerns? Are you saying that the streamers from McIntosh, Denon, Sonos etc are sending formats of different quality to the DAC even when they are all streaming from the same source, Tidal for example?
Check the android audio subsystem docs to see how it works. A limited number of apps like USB Audio Player Pro use more direct access to usb audio devices to avoid the usual resampling issues. That page also talks about the Tidal app doing sample rate conversion on Android. You'll find similar discussions about the various audio subsystems on Windows, PulseAudio on linux etc.

For the different streamed formats see the threads here about Amazon Music HD, or the post at AS covering experience with different sample rates and bit depths on different platforms, including audio devices. I've seen similar discussions about Tidal but didn't take so much notice as it's not a platform I was considering. Widevine security levels are commonly used in deciding quality of video stream, and I've seen speculation that it might be behind some of the variation in audio streams too.

On this basis it's not safe to assume different devices will be receiving the same data, or passing it on to the DAC unaltered, without testing.
 

Bombadil

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#16
Check the android audio subsystem docs to see how it works. A limited number of apps like USB Audio Player Pro use more direct access to usb audio devices to avoid the usual resampling issues. That page also talks about the Tidal app doing sample rate conversion on Android. You'll find similar discussions about the various audio subsystems on Windows, PulseAudio on linux etc.

For the different streamed formats see the threads here about Amazon Music HD, or the post at AS covering experience with different sample rates and bit depths on different platforms, including audio devices. I've seen similar discussions about Tidal but didn't take so much notice as it's not a platform I was considering. Widevine security levels are commonly used in deciding quality of video stream, and I've seen speculation that it might be behind some of the variation in audio streams too.

On this basis it's not safe to assume different devices will be receiving the same data, or passing it on to the DAC unaltered, without testing.
thanks very much, sure to be interesting reading. It's never simple!
 

mansr

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#17
Widevine security levels are commonly used in deciding quality of video stream, and I've seen speculation that it might be behind some of the variation in audio streams too.
Amazon Music uses Widevine, so it's quite possible other services do too.

If comparing streamers, it's easy enough to capture their outputs digitally and check if they match.
 

krabapple

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#18
A streamer in this scenario is what connects to the user's home network and outputs a digital signal containing audio. In your example the streamer is built into the AVR.


Right, if the source audio is , says a storage drive visible to a home network, or directly visible (via physical connection) to a streamer. Which is what I'm interested in, not Internet-streamed audio (Spotify, Qobuz, Amazon Music, etc). Can a streamer itself process, amplify, and output 5.1 audio to loudspeakers, including digital room correction? I suspect not. If not, then an AVR that can do all that, needs to be downstream of the streamer. My question is therefore whether any streamer can accept and output 5.1 lossy (bitperfectly) and lossless audio signals.
 

krabapple

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#19
As long as the input is the same as the compared streamer and both are bit-perfect.
Typically not because few, if any, Internet music streaming sources provide multichannel source material. I can stream the few (~2 dozen) multichannel albums offered by Qobuz. Mostly, I stream my own multichannel files.

That is what I'm interested in (streaming files from my own drives, not Internet)

And I need the digital signal to go to an AVR, so I can use its decoding/DSP/amplification functions, and then output it to a 5.1 speaker system,-- unless there are streamers that actually do all that too.
 

tential

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#20
Check the android audio subsystem docs to see how it works. A limited number of apps like USB Audio Player Pro use more direct access to usb audio devices to avoid the usual resampling issues. That page also talks about the Tidal app doing sample rate conversion on Android. You'll find similar discussions about the various audio subsystems on Windows, PulseAudio on linux etc.

For the different streamed formats see the threads here about Amazon Music HD, or the post at AS covering experience with different sample rates and bit depths on different platforms, including audio devices. I've seen similar discussions about Tidal but didn't take so much notice as it's not a platform I was considering. Widevine security levels are commonly used in deciding quality of video stream, and I've seen speculation that it might be behind some of the variation in audio streams too.

On this basis it's not safe to assume different devices will be receiving the same data, or passing it on to the DAC unaltered, without testing.
I don't understand why android has this problem. I guess Google can't afford to design audio on their os correctly?
It's very very annoying.
 
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