Streamers vs "Macs and Dacs"
by, 11-16-2013 at 04:57 PM (2463 Views)
In my opinion I do exhaustive and comprehensive research before making a decision. I call it being thorough, but the Delicious Dane (SWMBO) calls it procrastination. Whatever, so it takes me a while to get off the fence; no Housemartins quips please, even though I wrote the book they read....
My most recent piece of intensive research is a tough one to find my way out of. I have two "core" music listening locations. One, the main house, where I have a MacMini (SSD, music on second HDD, lots of memory etc etc) and a sh1t DAC and the other location (Americans, think West Virginia, we call it Suffolk) where I do most of my "proper" listening with an AppleTV/XBMC setup via an a/v receiver. My vague priority is to upgrade the West Virginia location now that I have my own music room.
So far so lo-fi and most of the cognoscenti are now saying "who is this guy?"
My most recent change catalyst happened during a visit to my local, very non Suffolk, very hi-fi, dealer to get my Sondek cartridge changed. In the main area, as is customary, music was playing. I paid it little notice but after a while I realised that what I was listening to (electronica, very much not usually my bag) sounded freaking excellent. I took a look at the kit it was playing though and noticed it was a Linn Klimax DS playing though a preamp I didn't recognise and a couple of Classé power amps into B&W Nautilus speakers. I am very sure the setup costed well north of £100k, but the sound was truly the most wonderful I have ever heard from a music system.
I have read a bit of "streamers vs Macs and Dacs" commentary both on here (Eloise on the Akurate DSM review) and elsewhere and the fact that it seems to be a transatlantic "thing" (ie Euros do streamers and Americans do Macs and Dacs). It seems by accident, in my lo-fi way, I have both, if you can call an AppleTV/XBMC a "streamer".
Is there a "better" way? Is the American way a better way and should I get another MacMini and a really nice DAC (my attention keeps coming back to the T+A ...) or support British industry and get a nice Linn/Naim streamer? Is there a half way house (Bryston?).
I will continue to write (I am assuming to myself...) as my thoughts coalesce. It's a kind of therapy.