Local vs internet streaming

There is some controversy regarding SQ delivered by a NAS vs a dedicated music server such as Melco or Innuos. I assume this only applies to locally streamed files and would have no bearing on internet streams from Qobuz or Tidal. Correct?

There is?

Pray tell.

You forgot to mention the Core and U-Serve?

Well, streaming from your own local store instead of from a remote online source removes a whole complex chain that could potentially affect the quality of the data, so has the potential to sound better. Then streaming from your own store could be across a network (as with the OP’s NAS example), or direct with renderer and store in the same box (as in some Melco or Innuos etc implementations), the latter removing the potential a network may have to influence sound and thus has the potential to sound the better of the two.

Of course, unless some absolute reference is available, what is “better” may differ from individual to individual - e.g. one audible effect of ground plane RF modulation in a DAC as a consequence of inadequate isolation has been described as an apparent “brightening” of the sound: though it is a departure from accurate reproduction that may be perceived as a positive effect to some people or in some systems, negative to/in others.

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Would this theory lead to better sound from a usb stick/sd card installed in the streamer itself?

Not sure what you mean by “this theory”, however IIRC some people have reported better sound from a USB stick.

It may of course depend on the USB implementation. Or it may depend on whether the usb stick acts as an aerial introducing different RF from that inherent in the computer (streamer architecture) inside, which if not adequately blocked from the DAC stage might cause audible modulation effects on the output analogue audio.

As I understand it from my experience, USB vs NAS over Ethernet, but not including wireless.
With my NDX I used USB as the benchmark to compare & fine tune Ethernet, network switch & cables. It didn’t take long to get Ethernet to sound as good as USB.
Problem is USB on the old ‘legacy’ streamers using the Naim app is its clunky & not visual anything, basically just unrefined; so much so I really don’t want to use it, even if the SQ was better.
Reading various forum reports using USB on the latest streamers, with the app on the new streamers, USB works well. But I don’t read anything that convinces me the SQ is better than a well setup Ethernet, or even wireless.

My use of wording, sorry. I just have no experience of comparing streaming via Ethernet to a usb. I don’t have a NAS but I do have music files on a pc which I transfer to SD cards / USB sticks

That’s interesting - more audible or less audible? I would have expected the better models to gave better filtering and isolation, reducing any interferences from outside, such as the well recognised (and difficult to completely irradicate) effect of ground plane RF modulation.

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I think the master source for the music matters more. I have CD rips to WAV stored on a NAS which don’t sound as good as the same album streamed direct from Qobuz.

A proper server will sound better than a NAS, IME.

What’s a “proper” server?
I honestly can’t hear any difference between serving from my HDX to my NDX2 compared to serving from my NAS drive running Asset.
I would challenge anyone in a blind test to be able to differentiate between them too.

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Indeed. I’m not prepared to shell out a load more to replace my Pi, NAS & Asset UPnP chasing a potentially non existent or minute gain in SQ. There comes a time when you say that’s just fine thanks.

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Maybe those who have a Melco or Innuos Statement server can pitch in here and explain what a ‘proper’ server can bring. I can even hear a positive difference between my UnitiServe and my QNAP NAS (used as a server with Asset).

I accept that not all such comparisons will show a positive impact of a server and each system will react in subtly different ways to the introduction of a server. I am certainly not encouraging peeps to go out and spend loads of money on a server, maybe a demo though.

I have always been ‘source first’ and the server, be it a Statement or a cheap NAS, is the ultimate source for locally streamed content. So although streamers are becoming more ‘immune’ to these influences, I can still hear a difference with my rickety old UnitiServe (compared to my QNAP NAS) into my ND555.


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IIRC Simon Nash the MinimServer supremo compared the Melco with a standard NAS (either QNAP or Synology, can’t remember which) running MinimServer and reckoned that the Melco had the advantage in SQ. Not sure of the rest of his system or done the comparison myself – too busy enjoying music.


I’d dump the QNAP and go the Innuos route if I were guaranteed a definitive increase in SQ AND it was less of a hassle than the QNAP. The QNAP is working for me currently and I have a great sound but I do get tired of the constant firmware updates and such. I’m on a legacy streamer so I’d still need to be able to run minimserver and bubblesoft for RP Lossless and Qobuz lossless and I don’t see where I’d be able to run those apps on a dedicated server so I think I’m stuck with the QNAP until I get on the current streaming platform. Perhaps when the 272.2 comes online. :smiley:

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