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regarding streaming--I'm using Qobuz --my chord electronics dac
is usb connected to my Macbook pro--specs are 8 gigs of ram core is i5
dual core-unit is 3 years old. I am connecting via wifi--the streaming playback does sound vert good.
Curious if upgrading to a newer mac maybe with higher memory and quad
core would improve things even more. Perhaps using ethernet as opposed to wifi? Although like i say it does sound good now
Othe roption perhaps is using my MS Surface book 2--16 memory
ANy feedback would be helpful
Using a 2012 Mac Mini with 16gb of memory with Audirvana to process music from Quboz. Wonderful sound quality!
Likely something is amiss in your audio chain...
Have you thought about dumping the Macbook in your setup entirely?
In my experience changing to network streaming with USB output is better in every way to streaming from the Mac's USB output.
There are lots of devices that achieve this, from low cost Raspberry Pi based streamers to Sonore and SoTM streamers and a wide array of others. You can start in the $350 range and spend up to $22,000 but great sound can be had for under $1,000.
Your Mac still runs Qobuz (or other music player like Roon or Audirvanna Pro) but it outputs the stream to your network router (via WiFi or Ethernet) and then the network streamer is connected via Ethernet to your network. This then outputs via USB to your dac.
The netbook streamer is optimized for audio and does nothing else. Your macbook, even if it's not being used to run other tasks, is constantly doing dozens (hundreds?) of other tasks all the time.
I've streamed QOBUZ Hi Rez on a Macbook Air with NO problems. USB to a Chord MoJo.
Sounds no different than my loaded MacBook Pro.
any thoughts if using a dedicated music streamer instead of the laptop would make a difference?
If you can manage a streamer with Ethernet input, maybe. Most of the better choices are Ethernet.
If you are limited to WiFi then maybe your laptop is fine. Also, depending on the year of your MacBook Pro you MIGHT have a TOSLINK output inside the headphone jack (my early 2015 Retina MacBook Pro does) and I find this a better option than USB for up to 24/96.
Two other options I have with Ethernet are a uRendu and Raspberry Pi. The uRendu is USB and the Pi is S/PDIF. I'd say the laptop is about the same as the Pi, sound-wise, while the uRendu is maybe a bit better than even my dedicated Mac Mini.
Any streamer v. any direct connection to a laptop? Unanswerable.
Yes a streamer can sound better than a direct connection. Considerably better. Or vice versa.
There is no single universal answer to this question. It depends upon what equipment is being used and how it is configured, connected etc.
"We need less, but better" - Dieter Rams
"Curious if upgrading to a newer mac maybe with higher memory and quad core would improve things even more."
Define "things". If you mean sound quality, probably not.
Going to Ethernet from Wifi is more about connection consistency and reliability.... not sound quality. I always prefer Ethernet over Wifi whenever possible BUT... if your Wifi is "solid" you probably won't notice a difference.
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