View RSS Feed



Rating: 4 votes, 1.00 average.
Hi everyone!

Yes, the title says it all - I'm getting an Audiolab M-Dac for my Hifi and I'm going to be playing Flac, Wav and 96khz/24bit files through it.

Q1. Would there be any difference whatsoever if I was streaming these files through a Marantz NA-7004 or a Logitech Squeezebox Touch?

I wouldn't be using the Dac in the Marantz or many of its other features, so effectively it will just be used for streaming music.

Q2. Would I be wasting my money paying for the higher priced Marantz?

Q3. Are there any components / circuitry that would affect the quality of the streaming.

Q4. Does the Marantz have superior jitter levels than the SBT?

Q5. Does a streamer make ANY difference to the quality of music if the files are being output to a Dac? Are the files just being sent out as 1's and 0's?

Thanks for all your answers in advance. If you only have an answer for one of my questions, I'd still like to hear it!


Personal Blogs


  1. Paul R's Avatar
    I think the Marantz only streams DLNA, which means you are probably going to get gapped music. (A pet peeve of mine I am afraid.) It may stream Airplay, but that s currently limited to 16/44.1 which is getting a little long in the tooth.

    Other higher quality streamers include the Logitech Transporter, Sonos (redbook only), Auraliti, Sonore, Bryston, and on up.

    Big thing with me, whatever you choose, make sure you like the remote control and it will stream music the way you like.

  2. miggyboys's Avatar
    Hi Paul

    Thanks but not true, it can play files from the USB input, whether from a HDD or iPhone etc. =NetworkAudioPlayer&ProductId=NA7004
  3. miggyboys's Avatar
  4. Paul R's Avatar
    play files fom the USB input

    Yep, but that isn't streaming. And a SBT can play from a HDD as well. :)

  5. Kelly's Avatar
    I've been using a Touch (as a transport through the coax spdif) and I love it. If you like to tweak there are firmware mods available for it that make it even better than it is in stock form. I hear adding a linear power supply makes a big sound improvement too. Squeezeboxes require a specific server program (called Squeezebox Server) to run on the computer or NAS that stores you music. The server software gives you a lot of flexibilty in customizing how your Touch interfaces with the Server.

    I like the Touch well enough that I'm REALLY curious about the Transporter. (And for the Marantz price you are getting into second hand transporter prices.) Not to hijack the thread, but does anyone know how well does it stack up vs other means of feeding your DAC on an ultimate basis?
  6. miggyboys's Avatar
    Kelly, thanks for this info, it's good to hear your experience of these products. I've now heard that an isolated USB makes a big difference, and that optical SPDIF may make a big difference when available in regards to the clock sync.

    I don't know much about the Transporter, I'll check it out. Btw, have you used firmware changes to enable you to output USB from the Logitech Squeezebox Touch?
  7. miggyboys's Avatar
    Good point Paul! Is streaming just classed as music coming via ethernet then?
  8. miggyboys's Avatar
    Paul, thanks for the info regarding other streamers. Remote wise, I use the Logitech Harmony One for everything, which is brilliant (though currently it has no settings available for the Audiolab M-Dac).

    I'm still interested to hear from anyone else if there is a difference in quality of sound between the two streamers I'm looking at...
  9. Julf's Avatar
    It is indeed a surprisingly good device for the price. I am running mine with a DACmagic over toslink, but the internal DAC is surprisingly good.
  10. Julf's Avatar
    No, ethernet doesn't automatically imply streaming. Your player could use the ethernet to fetch music files from a file server, but that is not streaming. Streaming uses a special protocol (or even http) to transfer the data more or less in synch with playing it - so you can start playing straight away, before you have transfered the whole file.

    The difference becomes important for something like a net radio broadcast, where you can't wait for the whole file to transfer - as there is no "end" of the stream.
  11. Julf's Avatar
    The transporter never got very good reviews. The Touch is a more modern device, with improved electronics.
  12. bikemig's Avatar
    If you are simply going to use the NA7004 or the SB Touch to transport music to a dac, then get the SB Touch since it costs less and is bit perfect. Plus it is a really, really good device (even without an external dac).
  13. Kelly's Avatar
    I have not made the changes for the USB output yet. I may not be completely correct but the difficulty seems to be with asynchronous USB devices. Apparently the USB port of the Touch is a 1.1 type and the asynchronous devices will work better with 2.0 types. My DAC is USB Audio 2.0 standard which is asynchronous, and something about the Touch at the device driver level isn't working right. When it does work though, it's supposed to be a really great interface, superior to either of the SPDIFs.

    The "not-so-great" assessments about the Trasnporter are a surprise to me. Everything I had heard was that it was still a vastly superior device to the Touch. Maybe not though. My Touch has become my primary source. I feel a little weird as the rest of my rig is pretty decent and then I have this little plastic thing as my main source component. But it works and I like it.

    Another note about Squeezebox, if 1 is good, 2 is great, and 3 is a party. They work really well together. I have 3 in my house: a Touch in my main system, a Squeezebox Boom (boombox style SB, which isn't sold anymore) in my kitchen, and a Squeezebox Radio in my bedroom with the accessory battery pack for taking outside onto the patio. I can "synch" them so that I have real multiroom audio. You walk from one room to another and the music is just there. It's really cool.
  14. Kelly's Avatar

    I can confirm the optical output is quite a bit better than the coax. I was using the optical output before (with a Peachtree DAC) as it didn't seem to like the coax input (seemed to skip and jump.) Conventional wisdom is that the coax should be better so I started using the coax as it worked with my new DAC (NAD M51.) However the optical is still significantly better (just now bothered to hook it up.) I am using the stock wall-wart power supply, I bet a good linear PSU would make the difference narrower.

    I am going to try switching the squeezebox to usb output this weekend to see how it works. Will let you know how it goes...
  15. miggyboys's Avatar

    Great, I look forward to your results with the USB. I've got my Audiolab M-Dac at last, very happy with it.
  16. miggyboys's Avatar
    bikemig, thanks for the reply!
  17. cmidyet's Avatar
    When it works, is delivers good clean sound to my DAC. However, I usually have to re-install the server software at 3-4 week intervals on a modern Windows 7 system. Sometimes just because it doesn't work anymore ...sometimes updating by Logitech ...about a 15 minute task. I only suggest the SB to friends with a tolerance for technical tinkering. Not all that bad, but it is certainly not flawless in this regard. Other forums suggest that my experience is shared by many.
  18. firedog's Avatar
    The Touch to an external Transporter will give you very good quality sound. You'd have to spend a considerable amount to get a better quality digital feed to your DAC.

    The Transporter got mostly rave reviews when it came out. If you look over at the slimdevices forum - - there is quite a bit of discussion comparing the two devices, much of it from the testers of the Touch, most of whom also owned a Transporter. The short version: the Transporter sounds better from the analog outs. As a digital transport the two are quite close, and if using an external DAC, the extra money for the Transporter is not justified.
  19. Paul R's Avatar
    This is actually the first report of this I have heard, and I have had a LMS system running here for quite a while with zero problems. Of course, I don't use it under Windows, but rather under Vortexbox/Linux.

    Actually there is one issue, hi-res AIFF files cannot be sent to Touch's in native format, but only if they are converted to FLAC first.

    The Vortexbox has was rebooted last when I upgraded it to version 2.0 in August of last year. The LMS (software you are talking about) gets restarted occasionally when upgrades come out, but had never failed.

    If you are using the box for other activities as well as serving up music, I would suggest that as a possible reason. It's easy to get Windows boxes confused.

  20. droneship's Avatar
    Hi Miggy, this is probably moot now and you have purchased either the Marantz or Squeeze. If you haven't then maybe you should consider Sonos and an outboard DAC. The iphone app to control Sonos is amazing. I have a Marantz NA7004, and it has a superb DAC. The sound is rich. The bass is punchy and the soundstage is to die for. But its iphone app sucks. It is virtually impossible to control your content from the app, which is slow, laggy and appears to have been designed by a 5th grader. I have tried many third-party iphone apps to control the Marantz but none are as good as the Sonos app. Given that you will be using an external DAC anyway, I would strongly recommend Sonos Connect, which at $349 is far cheaper than $799 you will pay for Marantz. It does everything that the NA7004 does but does not have a USB input to connect your HDD directly. However, you could easily connect the HDD to your laptop or NAS and stream everything to Sonos, then onward to our Arcam, then your amp. Believe me you will regret buying the Marantz if you depend mainly on your iphone to control it, as I do.
  21. airguitar's Avatar
    Reviving this old thread here - was thinking the same thing when I was considering upgrading a Squeezebox Duet with a linear power supply. I got great results with the upgrade which got me thinking how far can I go with this and just how influential a good power supply is! Overall with the most upgradable option you could end up spending £600 on upgrades to get the ultimate sound from this little plastic thing; clocks, power regulation, RFI etc. - so where else could I sensibly redirect those funds?

    Then I decided to look at building a computer with great power supplies and solid state drives etc, and running Squeezelite (to emulate a Squeezebox) - then using JPlay to optimise the latency against all those competing processes that run in Windows 8. Again I thought, here we go, mucking around with upgrades to enhance, enhance, and further enhance a machine which, is not really a dedicated music machine so you have to make it that way.

    Then I stepped back and looked again as something like the Marantz NA7004 (especially now it is considerably reduced in price). Here we have a player which already has a superb power supply and great power regulation and a fantastic spdif all in a heavy duty purpose built anti-resonance box. Why muck around with inferior products not built for purpose like 'computers' and plasticky products like the Squeezebox - when ready made optimised streamers like the Marantz with carefully implemented power supplies already exist!

    For sound quality alone - above and beyond any computer - and the SB Touch - opt for the well endowed and ready optimised with no further major tweaks necessary 'Marantz' or their ilk....