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  1. #1

    Network streaming vs. usb

    I currently have an older Windows 7 based server running Roon via my network. Streamed information goes to a ProJect StreamBox Ultra S2 with dedicated linear PS via ethernet. When doing research for the best method of upgrading, I came across differing information and wanted some input from you all.

    For the best sound...what is the best choice? Direct connection of server to DAC via usb, or running the information over a wired network to a streamer?

    If one thinks the network solution is best, then does the actual server make a discernable difference? Wouldn't the streamed information from any computer work as well as another over a network?
    Kevin

    Home
    : VPI Aries 3/Lyra Skala/RSA XR10B, PS Audio DS DAC (networked using Roon) > PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamp and HP mono amps > Sonus Faber Elipsa SE's. PS Audio P5 and P10. Transparent Audio, Cardas and Audioquest cables.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
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    Florida
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    133

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    After trying Qobux from my Toshiba/Portege R835-P70 laptop circa 2011 and not able to get high rez albums to play without dropouts, I'm guessing the laptops lack of a solid state drive is reason. I've tried everything else I can think of including using a wired connection to my cable modem having a high download speed.

    OTOH using the USB connection from the laptop to my DV2 sounds VG - there's very little if any difference between CDs, SACDs I own and the FLAC files from the same producer other than perhaps a slight volume difference, whether is ripped CDs or downloaded 24-bit FLAC files.

    I've read they are a number of things that can negatively affect streaming over the cable. Cable modem, router, ethernet cable, server, etc.

    Perhaps its the DV2 I'm using having galvanic isolation for the USB connection between the laptop->DV2 is the reason USB works so well for me.

    But having said all that I recognize the recording and mastering is by far the most important component in all this. And I have to say my comparison experience is limited on the highrez side. As an example I have a 24/96 download 'Amy Winehouse' Fade to Black that sounds pretty lame. But other downloads such as Supertramp that sound wonderful.
    ________________________________
    Len
    Acoustic Frontiers Acoustic Design; Raidho D3; JL Audio F212v2; EMM Labs DV2; EMM Labs XDS1v2 (transport); JL Audio CR-1; Ansuz Mainz8 D-TC; JRDG 625s2; Solidtech ROS; Nordost & Ansuz cabling & resonance control.
    http://systems.audiogon.com/systems/5013

  3. #3

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    Quote Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
    I currently have an older Windows 7 based server running Roon via my network. Streamed information goes to a ProJect StreamBox Ultra S2 with dedicated linear PS via ethernet. When doing research for the best method of upgrading, I came across differing information and wanted some input from you all.

    For the best sound...what is the best choice? Direct connection of server to DAC via usb, or running the information over a wired network to a streamer?

    If one thinks the network solution is best, then does the actual server make a discernable difference? Wouldn't the streamed information from any computer work as well as another over a network?
    I set Roon up on a dedicated intel NUC, drawing its data from a NAS elsewhere in the house. Initially I just used the NUCs USB out straight into the back of the DAC and was very happy with the sound.

    Then, for various reasons not related to HiFi, I moved the NUC out of the listening room, and used a Project streambox S2 to feed the DAC (via Ethernet powerline boxes). Much to my surprise it sounded a bit better, a bit more relaxed, cleaner maybe. This seems crazy to me as the DAC is still being fed by USB, but with a lot of other network gear added it. But it does sound a bit better.

    Either I am kidding myself (very possible) or the Intel NUC is putting crud out of its USB port.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  4. #4

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    Quote Originally Posted by 4N6 View Post
    I currently have an older Windows 7 based server running Roon via my network. Streamed information goes to a ProJect StreamBox Ultra S2 with dedicated linear PS via ethernet. When doing research for the best method of upgrading, I came across differing information and wanted some input from you all.

    For the best sound...what is the best choice? Direct connection of server to DAC via usb, or running the information over a wired network to a streamer?

    If one thinks the network solution is best, then does the actual server make a discernable difference? Wouldn't the streamed information from any computer work as well as another over a network?
    Are you streaming from the internet (Tidal, Qobuz), if so, I assume that the server is connected to the internet via an ethernet cable.

  5. #5

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    Quote Originally Posted by LenWhite View Post
    After trying Qobux from my Toshiba/Portege R835-P70 laptop circa 2011 and not able to get high rez albums to play without dropouts, I'm guessing the laptops lack of a solid state drive is reason. I've tried everything else I can think of including using a wired connection to my cable modem having a high download speed.

    OTOH using the USB connection from the laptop to my DV2 sounds VG - there's very little if any difference between CDs, SACDs I own and the FLAC files from the same producer other than perhaps a slight volume difference, whether is ripped CDs or downloaded 24-bit FLAC files.

    I've read they are a number of things that can negatively affect streaming over the cable. Cable modem, router, ethernet cable, server, etc.

    Perhaps its the DV2 I'm using having galvanic isolation for the USB connection between the laptop->DV2 is the reason USB works so well for me.

    But having said all that I recognize the recording and mastering is by far the most important component in all this. And I have to say my comparison experience is limited on the highrez side. As an example I have a 24/96 download 'Amy Winehouse' Fade to Black that sounds pretty lame. But other downloads such as Supertramp that sound wonderful.
    If you are streaming directly from the internet (Qobuz, Tidal etc.), I don’t think that an SSD drive would make any difference. That is because the streamed data is temporarily cached in RAM (not in a hard drive or SSD) before it is processed and sent to your DAC.

    If you are streaming from ripped files stored in the computer, then the speed of your hard drive or SSD could play a role. But it sounds as if you are not having problem playing ripped files.

    In the digital realm, there are two lines of thought with regards to what really matters. One group believes that “everything” matters. That group goes all out tinkering with “Cable modem, router, ethernet cable” etc. Another group believes that “bits are bits” and that what matters is that your system is delivering bit-perfect data to your DAC. And to achieve that, all you need is a fast computer, fast internet and good quality components (which is not the same as expensive cables, routers, modems, power supplies, etc.).

    Ultimately, you will have to be the judge. If Supertramp sounds “wonderful” on your (slow) 10-year old laptop (the same laptop that delivers a lame ‘Fade to Black’), I think that you probably already have experienced what really matters.

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    133

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    "Ultimately, you will have to be the judge. If Supertramp sounds “wonderful” on your (slow) 10-year old laptop (the same laptop that delivers a lame ‘Fade to Black’), I think that you probably already have experienced what really matters."

    If you mean my Internet connection is causing the problem, I'm able to stream 4k hdr with no issue.

    The comparison between Supertramp and Amy Winehouse albums is an example of quality in recording and mastering.

    So while I understand your logic that streaming should demand less hard drive speed than playing flac files, your last.paragraph doesn't make sense.
    ________________________________
    Len
    Acoustic Frontiers Acoustic Design; Raidho D3; JL Audio F212v2; EMM Labs DV2; EMM Labs XDS1v2 (transport); JL Audio CR-1; Ansuz Mainz8 D-TC; JRDG 625s2; Solidtech ROS; Nordost & Ansuz cabling & resonance control.
    http://systems.audiogon.com/systems/5013

  7. #7

    Network streaming vs. usb

    Quote Originally Posted by LenWhite View Post

    The comparison between Supertramp and Amy Winehouse albums is an example of quality in recording and mastering.

    So while I understand your logic that streaming should demand less hard drive speed than playing flac files, your last.paragraph doesn't make sense.
    Sorry I was not clear:
    What really matters is the
    “quality in recording and mastering”.
    But of course you already knew that since those are your own words!
    Network streaming vs. usbNetwork streaming vs. usbNetwork streaming vs. usb

  8. #8
    Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2019
    Location
    The Netherlands
    Posts
    86

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    I absolutely prefer a separate streamer, because I can hook a linear power supply on that. The disadvantage of those nucs: a lps does not make sense and the power supply is not good enough

    There are people here that have the dac directly attached on a pc, but those pcs are build to limit the negative side effects of the power supply and those audio computers are very expensive
    https://www.ajg-stream.nl/

    speakers: Bach He2S
    stands: isoacoustics aperta
    amplifier: Bach 400W Tripoth class T with liquid cooling arriving soon,
    streamer: Sonore Ultra Rendu with Bach lineair powersupply 6 Volts 1 Ampere
    Dac: Denafrips Ares ii via USB
    network filter: audioquest niagara 1200
    Running HQPlayer with Roon GUI on a fanless intel 8i5 Linux Nuc with akasa turing case
    network audioswitches: 2 times a Bonn Linn d8, powered by the Bonn Linn Forester , on the second switch the network cable to the streamer

  9. #9

    Re: Network streaming vs. usb

    Thanks for all the feedback.

    I need to upgrade our main computer for the house. I also have an older Windows 7 based dedicated music server that connects to my ProJect streamer via ethernet over my home network. One of the reasons I posted the above is whether a new, much more powerful home computer could fill both roles with no degradation in the sound quality. Simply move the Roon core from my current server and put it on the new main home computer.

    Hence my question of does the computer server make that much difference in sound quality if its simply sending the digital data to a streamer via a network? If you think it does, please explain.
    Kevin

    Home
    : VPI Aries 3/Lyra Skala/RSA XR10B, PS Audio DS DAC (networked using Roon) > PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamp and HP mono amps > Sonus Faber Elipsa SE's. PS Audio P5 and P10. Transparent Audio, Cardas and Audioquest cables.

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