What Is better? Streaming from Audirvana, Mconnect, usb or a dedicated Streamer

Hi everyone,

I havent sleep this last days trying to answer this question, im sending my music via UPNP from audirvana to my amp Hegel h190, also i have a mconnect that is far more easy and the navigation is faster and nicer. theorically , there is a difference between this two ways of streaming ? also how do i reach the maximum quality ?

-streaming from audirvana
-streaming from mconnect
-connected to the USB port of the amp (24bits /96 khz max)
-dedicated streamer

thank you all for your opinions¡¡

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That’s not the question to lose sleep over. Technically the quality when streaming using Audirvana or mconnect is the same. When streaming using dedicated streamer, it depends on the quality of the streamer.

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Hi, it mainly depends on the network and USB interface of the Hegel.

On my APL DAC, for example, I get the best sound using a PC directly connected with USB , with Audirvana on the PC.

Using a separate Lumin transport driving the APL is quite good too but not as silent and 3D compared to direct USB, even when using audirvana to drive the lumin via UPNP.

So the only answer is try and listen with your dac …

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What dedicated streamer do you use?
Where do you run Audirvana? Mac or Win?
How is your server (Audirvana device) connected to your renderer (streamer) LAN or WiFi?

I use a MacBookPro with Audirvana streaming Qobuz to an Allo USBridge Signature as renderer running moOde as OS and connect with USB cable to RME ADI FS2 DAC.

Alternatively I use as well mconnectLite per UPNP to the USBridge.

The difference is audible in my setup. Audirvana with more resolution and clarity and mconnect more body and pleasant with poor recordings.

MBP with Audirvana directly connected via USB is slightly better than via renderer.

But all this depends on the complete system setup, power supplies, cabling, etc.

To hear these differences, I have put some efforts in my setup.
LPS for router, decoupled Ethernet via fibre optic transducers fed by LPS, proper CAT8 cable with Telegärtner plugs, DIY LPS for Allo and RME, JCAT Signature USB cable etc. etc.

Hi there @EMW , im using my intregrated AMP Hegel h190 who has streamer capabilities , audirvana is running in windows 10 ,

is it better to connect the notebook via cable instead of wifi? i mean for streamer

For me, Audirvana runs on a Mac mini. Via USB to a Hegel Röst. This sounds best to me. And works easier and more reliably than via the Network.

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The best setup should be, connect your W10 notebook via Ethernet to your home network/router and via USB to your DAC.

When your Hegel does not have „USB in“, I‘m not sure, what other type of digi in connections the H190 has.

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In my system I have the choice of W10 laptop running Audirvana and USB out to an Oppo 205. Alternatively via upnp to the Oppo. I also have a Cambridge CXN streamer. I can use this as a standalone streamer or I can use the upnp feed from my Laptop (or usb output from the laptop) running Audirvana to the Cambridge i.e using it as a dac only… I find that there is a significant difference between the various options. Having experimented with them all I think the difference is mainly due to the different dacs in the Oppo (ESS) and the Cambridge (Wolfson). The Cambridge dac is extremely detailed sounding with voices and solo instruments very forward. The Oppo is quite bright but voices are less forward. Soundwise I cannot say that one is ‘better’ than the other - it depends on the source. However I am certain that using Audirvana does sound better than using the streaming capability of the Cambridge alone as streamer. The Cambridge CXN is a highly regarded streamer. I prefer the control interface of Audirvana on a laptop over the Cambridge via its app by a wide margin. The Cambridge is excellent for internet radio, Bluetooth and Chromecast so all parts of the system have their uses. By default I use the Laptop/upnp/Cambridge route for Qobuz streaming in Hires but as mentioned above I have the option to try other ways to enjoy my music. I listen mostly to classical and Jazz.

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I would recommend using this to hard wire your system between your computer and your Hegel

I use Audirvana on a Win10 PC, connecting to a Minidsp SHD via UPN then XLR to my Crown Amp then out to my speakers. the sound stage is excellent and it puts a smile on my wifes face.

To Happy Listening

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As a person who has had high-end audio since the 80s on and off I have 2 points. 1. I do trust people who have experience listening to multiple types of systems or who are considered experts. I recommend Paul McGowen, The P in PS Audio. https://youtu.be/dqxn0rD9yy4
2. Since digital is an ever changing media format I recommend breaking it into as many modular components you can to future proof your gear. In that way you can replace one part to update your system when the time comes. I use an old Mac tweaked with Audirvana going out to a preamp with good digital section. (Parasound P6) . I can replace the computer or the preamplifier without changing the symbiosis of my system. The computer and d/a converter would also be a good option. An independent streamer would be less practical when it’s time to upgrade because good ones have low resale value. So computer - dac or computer preamplifier is what I recommend. Between the two there are not that many preamps with good digital sections but there are tons of good DA converters.

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I have asked myself this question for long too. I have used a macmini, with Audirvana (wired to a NAS and QObuz), going into my Naim Dac V1 with a USB cable (the best input of this DAC) for about the last 8 years. I have been satisfied for years but always had this doubt about: would a streamer get me a better sound and why would it?

Like you, I have asked around in forums/fb, found people who had the same DAC as me, and loved it too, and went to an Auralic streamer (not really knowing why) … So I questionned them, I insisted … nobody was able to clearly tell me: YES the streamers works better, or NO it does not. NONE of them had a clear opinion that a dedicated streamer was better than a computer with Audirvana on it. All they could tell me was: a streamer may have a crappy application, a streamer can be better with an improved PS (no kidding), some streamers suck with gigantic libraries … Well I was back to my starting point (but i had a good laugh).

Took a practical approach and gave a chance to a new streamer made by Wattson Audio called Emerson. I was lucky enough the dealer lent me the Digital version (without a DAC) and the Analog version (DAC included) to compare: both resell for eur1500 each (for those who wonder). From the get go, I was not pleased with the idea of having my streamer and DAC in the same device (for reasons mentioned by someone in this forum - future proofing). So, I gave both devices a good chance, Emerson Digital feeding my Naim DAC (loooove), Emerson Analog feeding directly into my amp. Keep in mind the Analog streamer interfaces to its internal DAC via I2S protocol, and both are millimeters away from each other - no long USB cable. Also, remember both streamer and DAC are designed together, implemented in conjunction by the same engineers …

The short conclusion is:
Number 1: best sound quality: Emerson Analog (has a DAC inside)
Number 2: Second: macmini, audrivana, NAIM DAC
Number 3: lower sound quality (hey absolutely great, just the last of the 3): Emerson Digital into Naim DAC
I have since replaced my long loved macmini/Av/Naim DAC setup with the Emerson Analog (winner). 1 ethernet wire in, 2 RCA cables out, period! I have kept Audirvana as the UPNP player, Emerson’s app being ugly. :wink:

That has taught me a few things:, I am happy to share with this community

  • dont trust people on forums: listen by yourself, in your room, with your music, with your system (speakers ,amp …)
  • dont stick to your preconceived ideas: i changed my mind on acquiring an all-in device, only because it just sounded much better
  • it’s not just about the device quality, itself, it’s about how it integrates to the rest of your system. It’s also about how it is implemented. In my case, i reckon the engineers have done a fantastic job at matching a quite classic DAC (it’s a cyrrus chip) with their streamer circuits together. They have put attention to power supply and to clocks too … Apple has not.
  • USB is not the best of all DAC interfaces (as I thought). I2S is more stable, and separates power from musical message (unlike USB)
  • I like this particular streamer better … but maybe i would not like another streamer (I was about to buy an Auralic)
  • possibly my DAC was the limitation, or not the best match with the Emerson Digital.

Hope this helps.
I do highly recommend everyone gives a try to the Emerson: huge value for the money (streamer and DAC of both high quality and most importantly awesome implementation/integration) for just eur1500 !!! Hard to beat.

Maybe in X years I’ll come across a killer DAC and will go back to the macmini based setup… I do not close doors to any option, only listen to my ears.

off to challenging my cables now … :slight_smile: it never ends

Disclaimer: this is not a post to oversell Emerson/Wattson Audio. It’s about my experience, the process. If you want to test the experience with Auralic or Cambridge or Lumin … enjoy it and keep an open mind!

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Hi @danberilloux thank you for share your experience here, i will give a look to that streamer , im from chile so i will se if a i can get it from amazon or ebay,
im quiet happy right now listening from my notebook directly to the dac of the Hegel, i think its a pretty good dac the sound its more analog for me and i have learned that a goood dac is that one who could recreate a piece of music in the most naturally possible way so thats my goal right now find a natural dac with great resolution (details).

No problem enjoy your music
It is based in switzerland not sure they distribute in chile yet… look at their website

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