Streaming transports question as to sound quality

I am trying to understand why streamer A no dac, sounds different to streamer B. Both played via the same separate dac but they sound different. What is it in the electronics that makes that difference?

I can’t find anything on the interweb that gives me a technical explanation.

That’s a really good question Bruss

Often wondered that - I guess just different designs and components , but would be good to have more info around it

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Quality of the clock perhaps.

If you’re using Coax cabling some streamers inject more noise into the connection than others.

We’ve tried a number of transport options into our nDAC and there are SQ differences as you say.

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I guess the obvious is how the timing and jitter are controlled, along with any inky blackness ( silence between notes) controlled by wiring and transformer isolation. It is just a guess though as I haven’t found any white papers on electronic design.

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There are white papers here for the nd555 and the ndx; there must be info within that is relevant.



It’s the same as for the cd-transports which are all different: power supply, quality of digital output, clock, capacitors…


And… the (promised - and leaked ) White Paper on the Balanced XLR input circuits used in the NC range… is…

Still Not Published.

Pretty ridiculous now… :crazy_face:

Let’s not forget that putting the data entirely aside, any transport has a noise profile that to some degree will piggy back on any electrical connection to a DAC. Many of the differences heard are not related to data but the effects of noise that make it to the DAC and affect the analogue circuits.

Not to mention, the quality of the power supply may leak noise on the ground plane of the mains (which includes neutral) which would have a potential impact not just on the DAC but in fact everything connected to the same circuit equally.

Then of course there is to some degree the issue of microphonics. This is ignored too often but significant. Electrical components are susceptable to affects from and causing microphonics. Even a 10 cent capacitor has on it’s maker’s spec sheet some statement about microphonics. In more detailed sheets they give numbers but even lesser ones warn that the performance changes when accepting microphonics and that they in turn cause microphonics when under load. Again this changes the noise profile on the connection and also the microphonics physically conveyed over that lead.

Of course the issue of clocking is valid bit at this level, it’s really a given that the clocks are all very good and DACs input buffer very intelligent.

In other words, the bits are bits argument is a total distraction from the real causes of the sonic differences to a large degree. It’s less about which delivers more accurate data and more about which has the least detrimental impact on system.


It depends on many things really, but once you get to a certain level then it suddenly gets harder to hear any difference.
But if it’s done to a good level, like with power supply and main streaming board, then you can’t really go wrong.
Also you get differences from using different outputs like ethernet or usb, etc. As some are much harder to get good results with.
Again it depends on the dac used as well, as some will be much better when it comes to clocks and filters used, etc.
These can tend to help out with poorer streaming quality, but again the less the dac has to do, as far as possessing the information as in clock correction, jitter, noise, etc, the better the result should be.

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