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Streaming V Sound Quality : which takes precedence?

Plugging in a new amp creates that hitherto feeling. Oh Yes, that one where the system creates a new sonic affection. The meltability into audio in a dreamy way, the reason why we do this. Upgraditis to boot. It could very well be too, a DAC, a new pair of speakers, or a pre-amp. But is this woozy state of contentment changed, in use, by streamers and their point to point functionality? Should we forego sonics to a large degree, by streaming features?

The reviewer has at hand a system, where the ability of full convenience is easily at his or her self-indulgent behest. He has a number of systems to pick from. Meanwhile in the real world it’s the *bit between* the transient finger pronating motion to a tablet, laptop or phone, that is equal to the rest of Audiophiles in what we want. The times where everything goes *quiet*, so far as our own physical inactivity. Where the HiFi is just left to get on with it and where sound is king, on a throne?

Hegel H90
Streaming versus Sound Quality

It could be a question of how far we extend it. Voice control to our HiFi via an Amazon Echo Dot, or Google Nest Mini. Are these to be included in the list of controllability to be judgements of experience too? That the flexibility of our ability to ping Chromecast or Spotify Connect streams from an app, as controller, to direct the Chromecast or Spotify device to where the stream URL sits, is alone one of higher importance? Well not really. It’s a big part of it, as how else do we get our tunes to the HiFi! But can it be achieved alternatively with one part of our mind still on best Sound Quality at price? You betcha..

Naim Uniti Atom

Straight to an example – you can buy a Naim Uniti Atom around £2000 (€2749). With it’s 40watts per channel, as well as Chromecast built-in, Apple AirPlay, AptX HD Bluetooth and Spotify Connect. Then on the other hand – an all *Viking* conquering affair to Naim’s Anglo-Saxon territory : Hegel H90 (£1500) and a £500 Primare NP5 Prisma Network Player. Similar penny drop, but with the same Chromecast built in, WiFi capability, AirPlay, Bluetooth and Spotify Connect with Roon Readiness to come moreover (currently Roon capability over Airplay – as with the Hegel). But instead, the Hegel notches up dynamic power to 60W into its identical 8ohms. But crucially a damping factor around 2000, relevant to controlling stop and start of bass drivers, and one reason Hegel amps sound so good.

NP5 – only 143 x 36 mm x 125 (WHD)

Which similarly priced system would you wager being the sonic improver? I know which one. So often then, multi-box is not to be scoffed at.

What I’m saying is that you can have your cake and eat it on sonics and point to point streaming function….Even adding *dongles* to audio systems too like the Chromecast Audio Puck, still kicking about. This is reliant, quite often, on being flexible to consider options other than one-boxers. So next time you are ready to commit on solutions that offer ALL the point to point streaming you’ll ever need, in one box, have a think – can a purchase be achieved alternatively with similar good design and sound? And what are the relative price points reaching same ends?

Hegel H90 Rear
Streaming versus Sound Quality

Can you hide the Streamer?

Another consideration to this end is, can the add on streaming box of trickery be hidden in a rack or cabinet such that your decision to buy effectively hinges on the primary source component and *its* design. In the above example, the Hegel. These are after all very easy components to use.

Chromecast Audio

This was a consideration when I looked at the Cyrus ONE Cast – a Chromecast Audio puck gives the Cyrus ONE HD nearly the same functionality (without auto on switching) for a £300-ish saving, and being the size of half an ice hockey puck, you can put it almost anywhere!

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Written by Simon Price

I'm music lover who shares experiences of faithfully reproduced audio in an ENGAGING way with HIGH VIDEO PRODUCTION VALUES. I enjoy and make reviews as I love audio gadgets, being a voice on audio and producing creative videos that ultimately benefit the industry and new participation. I keep technicalities easy, as I believe great audio serves music and music is inclusive and to be enjoyed by all!

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