3 essential elements

March 10, 2023
 by Paul McGowan

My friend and former TAS writer, AGB, suggested it might be time to refresh our knowledge of how streaming audio works.

There are tons of misconceptions and even a few audio myths growing around the subject, so I think he’s right.

Today we will start with a simple overview, then dig in a bit deeper in the days to follow.

Creating a seamless streaming music experience requires a well-designed system comprising three essential source components: server, controller, and renderer.

  • Server: The server is the backbone of any streaming music system. It’s responsible for storing and organizing music files, making them available for streaming on demand. It is where the music library resides. It can be a local server, such as a computer or a network-attached storage (NAS) device, or a remote server, such as a cloud-based music service like Spotify, Apple Music, Qobuz, Tidal, or Amazon.
  • Controller: The controller is the user interface for your streaming music system. It’s the device or software that you use to select and play music from your server. The controller can be a dedicated device, such as a smartphone app or a touchscreen remote. The controller communicates with the server to browse your music library and make selections. It also controls playback, allowing you to play, pause, skip, and adjust the volume. Some controllers also offer advanced features, such as creating playlists, searching for music, and accessing streaming services. The controller also manages your music collection, leveraging metadata such as album, artist, genre, and track information. Think of Roon or Audirvana. They are controllers.
  • Renderer: The renderer is the device that plays the music from your server. It can be a standalone device, such as a wireless speaker or a headphone amplifier, or integrated into another device, like a DAC. The renderer receives the audio data from the server and converts it into an appropriate audio format to convert the signal to analog. In a high-end renderer like PS Audio’s Bridge, that format is I2S.

To sum it up, the server stores and organizes your music library, the controller selects and controls playback, and the renderer prepares the digital audio files in a format acceptable to your DAC. Each component is crucial to creating a seamless, high-quality streaming music experience that brings your favorite music to life.

Tomorrow we’ll dig a little deeper.

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71 comments on “3 essential elements”

  1. The problem with all of these words is that it is terminology that was taken from the computer-geek world when domestic music streaming was first developed about 20 years ago – by computer geeks. Most music listeners don’t use them or have never used them.

    No one refers to Spotify or Qobuz as a server. They are “streaming services” or “music services”.
    If you have personal files, it’s just called a “library”.
    Controllers are now “apps”.
    Renderers are now “players”.

    Of course what is missing is “streamer”, which is a physical device that hosts the app that collects files from the streaming service or library and sends them to the player.

    The beauty of Roon Ready is that it is a piece of software that turns a player into a streamer without having to buy any additional streaming hardware, and the Roon app controls both the streaming service and the player.

    1. It should be added that the most popular service/app is Spotify and the most popular type of player is wireless Bluetooth headphones or IEMs.

      The way to make things seamless is not to have multiple different devices and cables, but to “onboard” the streaming services. The players that I have installed in most rooms in my house have Apple Music, Amazon HD, Tidal, Roon and Spotify “onboard”, so all those streaming services connect seamlessly. Amazon HD can be voice controlled.

    2. Paul said
      “Today we will start with a simple overview, then dig in a bit deeper in the days to follow.”

      To me Your response was an attempt to be a show off and to be too overly smart. Maybe it might be better to wait for the next installments.

      1. The point is the “simple stuff” is very different from it was 20 years ago. The “simple stuff” is now a streaming service, an app and a player. Go into an audio store these days and say “I’d like to buy a renderer please”, and even the staff probably won’t know what you’re talking about. I’ve been using Qobuz for 9 years and never heard anyone call it a server.

        And if you’re going to discuss streaming, it would be a good idea to explain what a streamer is, which could be hardware, or software, or both.

        So perhaps we can start by discussing what the basics are, avoiding redundant 1970’s computerspeak. Does anyone refer to Apple Music as a Graphical User Interface? I’m no computer expert and I still struggle to understand what a renderer is, but fortunately it is now irrelevant.

        There is a huge amount of detail that could be discussed – transmission lines, power, upscaling, DSP, processors, file integrity, data security, wireless, switching, clocking – stacks of stuff that will no doubt follow.

        p.s. I also disagree with Paul’s definition of a server. My understanding is that a server is a storage device available over a network (internal or external). No more, no less. They only organise music if you put on software to do so, and it’s not necessary, because that’s often done by the streamer. One of the most commonly used servers is Dropbox, you can’t put software on Dropbox to organise files (last I heard).

          1. Craig you are correct. My initial post was indented and was in response to Steven not at all Paul. An indented post to me means that it is response to the post above. Some posters could or should exercise more caution in how they read the thread and understand the layout sequence.

            I appreciated Paul’s initial simple concise outline of the features of streaming. It helped me put the steps into a context. I will be interested to read the next installments.

        1. I agree with your comment Maggie Man. Not sure if this presentation was in Paul’s words but just about anyone who reads them is being spoon fed as an overview of these three essential elements. I don’t understand why another commentor thinks that it’s too difficult for anyone in this community to understand. Seems like a joke to me.

          1. “Not sure if this presentation was in Paul’s words but….” Yeah, Stimpy, I was beginning to wonder if today’s post was a ChatGTP creation. 😎
            But as an analog Neanderthal, I appreciate Paul taking on the challenge.

      2. Assisi,
        I find the word “showoff” if directed at Paul to be offensive. He is smart, thoughtful, amusing, generous and is known to sometimes go overboard in describing the sound quality of PS equipment.

        If Paul is less than perfect, so am I and everyone else I know (except my wife).

        Perhaps upon reflection you could retract that word?

    3. Steven, while I completely agree with you in the short run, let’s think for a moment about what I am trying to achieve.


      Using words up front like library apps and players doesn’t open any doors. If you read what I wrote, I did the opposite: server = library.

      Maybe you’re suggesting I reverse the order of the words? Library=server?

      In any case, I think it’s important to furthering understanding to use the correct terms and tie them to their more modern counterparts.

      1. Words (terminology) are just that. Concepts and execution are what’s most important.
        I see it as A server can be a place to store a library. Not as equal. You can store your library on a flash drive (drives), an internal or external hard drive, a cd or dvd, a tape drive, you can store it in the cloud- and so on. It seems to me The server is what access the library?
        Right away the terminology and definitions head off into left field. ✌️

      2. Servers and libraries are completely different things. A server is just a network-accessible storage device. The first one I bought, in 2009, was an Iomega network drive, just a SATA drive with a card on top that gave it an IP address and ethernet socket. All you could do was add or delete files and attach it. Most people stream without knowing about servers, let alone owning one.

        Most people understand libraries as purchased or ripped files that they think they own (they don’t). They could be on a server, but they could equally be on a phone, usb drive or in the cloud (someone else’s server). They certainly don’t have to be on a server.

        Then there are virtual libraries, which most of us know as playlists, usually combining multiple sources of data online and offline.

        Finally, you have offline libraries, which are probably the most commonly used, on phones or tablets, absolutely critical because people want to use their online streaming services offline.

        Still only scratching the surface, but Mike is correct that you have to be extremely precise and under the surface it can get very complicated.

        1. A server used as a music storage device is a library.

          The Qobuz “library” is a collection of data files on a network server.

          I am not sure it is helpful to get too much down in the weeds with this as what I am trying to accomplish is some added clarity to a complicated subject.

          When we engineers talk about a music playing network system the terms we use are: server, controller, renderer. If I can bring some clarity to those terms I think it will be helpful.

          Part of the problem with “renderer” (for willem) is calling it a “player” suggests it is playing something (like a DASC does) or it is producing sound.

          The renderer is digital in and digital out. It’s simply the gateway between the server and the DAC. It is what the server connects a specific file to and it is what receives, collects, and then organizes that file into a form the DAC can understand.

          1. It is increasingly common to call devices with a digital output a “network transport” and with analogue output a “network player”. See for example Lumin or Cambridge Audio, but many others. This is the same as with CD transports and CD players. The difference is whether or not it includes a DAC.

            I appreciate engineers call some of these things renderers, but to the general public render is something you stick on the side of your house.

      3. Paul, you have picked a really great topic and there is an opportunity to do the community a real service with clear definitions and clear sensible terminology. You could even get us to vote!
        When we talk about a vinyl record player, I think most of us know exactly what parts go into the system, a turntable, a tonearm, a stylus, a phono preamp and most of us use the same terms. Even though I have been using streaming services for more than a decade, and use them daily, I find that I am often confused by the terms I see used. So the opening comment by Steven really resonates with me. I would love to see terms that are clear and intuitive.
        To me these would include:
        Renderer (see note below)
        I do not really like the term renderer that much and wish there were a clearer and more intuitive term

  2. Terminology. What Steven wrote is absolutely correct. Maybe a ven diagram or a flowchart would help.
    One observation. All the talk now and to come is about digital (COMPUTER or facsimile of) audio equipment integration and user interface. So it only stands to reason that much of the terminology is rooted in that area.

    The computer interface is Where every (poetic license ) audio manufacturer including Roon misses. Their assumption seems to be that everyone has a working knowledge of networking- cmd line programming – registry editing and so on.

    Wonder why phones – chrome cast – AirPlay and ear buds are so popular and main stream? Easy – simple set-up – one icon to push.

    This series will be a fun read Paul, thanks…. Please let it get “in depth…”

    1. I agree (except with the first sentence). The computer audio forums and digital audio discussions are full of IT and computer nerds talking a language that I do not understand at all.

      Good streaming is plug-and-play, you don’t need to know diddly squat about anything. There are plenty of devices that you simply plug in, enter your music service user/password, possibly your server IP address, put an app on your phone and off you go. Auralic got this right 10 years ago and IMO is the basis of their huge and well-deserved success.

      It’s when things go wrong and people start talking to you in techno-gibberish about TCP (which I thought was antiseptic mouthwash for halitosis). Fortunately those days are largely past.

      1. In response to your last sentence. It‘s manufacturer dependent.
        Let’s take network storage…. How much… what raid configuration… what’s the IP address… how many users… one just for music or one shared… fan noise…. A data center needed? And so on. When you have familiarity it’s easier. When you don’t, you either need an IT consultant or hours of searching to find a solution that works. Going to rip out every wall in the house for hard wire or going to go wireless?
        Just got a new streamer – great app – wireless part of it just quit. Yet airplay. Chrome cast etc are just fine. Software related or hardware related? Customer support sucks. (Fair judgment on my side as that’s a major part of my job).
        How much of All the intricacies of Roon are you familiar with? Or do you use just some limited features you’re familiar with.? Gonna use a service like Spotify or Apple Music? Then ‘sound quality’ is not in the fore front.
        When it all works it’s good. When it burps or sh*ts is when the frustration comes to the forefront. Maybe there’s a reason vinyl or the cd spin are in vogue again… one room one simple music source.

        1. Half the problem is that there are so many potential uses and services. For example, I don’t use playlists and don’t know how to compile one, but many people live by them.

          It’s also a moving target. I bought my first QNAP server around 2010 and it was set up by the supplier. I had no idea, it was very complex and I hardly ever touched the settings. I replaced it in 2019 and was able to set that one up myself, with difficulty. I was hit by ransomware last year and had to wipe it clean, but found that QNAP had a new Wizard that made set-up almost automatic and a complete breeze.

          Having your chosen streaming service “onboard” is the route to an easy life and why people chose certain devices.

          1. Ok after reading the replies from Paul above. This is not going to be fun. Accept his terms and his definitions. A server is a place to access stored files (apps libraries or what ever) – it involves hardware to do that. The term server in most circumstances refers to the hardware to access the files stored. Now it means library. I see nothing but making the waters murkier….
            Audio terminology and definitions to take what already exists and make it sound more special.

            What is the hardware called to access the library of the PSA web site – the Octave Records Recordings – I know it’s called a library… oh wait library = server….

            1. I agree. I was going to say in my last reply to him that most libraries are not on servers at all, but on phones or computers, which is why usb has always prevailed and most streamers have a usb socket on the front for ease of attaching such devices.

      1. I started off thinking that way. Now I think All that will be learned are terms used by an industry…. Some value but not reflective of terms used by the industry that makes streaming digital audio possible. I’ll read with interest, but you could break it down like this before the days of the internet.
        You went to a physical place called a library. Full of library books- The server
        The librarian was the controller – from organization to what data was available and sometimes helpful in finding the information you were looking for.
        The renderer was your eye brain interface (individual comprehension)

        This is 50 thousand foot view. – not the details to make it all happen.

        1. Mike, you know that I love to use streaming as one of my three forms of listening. You also know that I’m never going to stop listening to CDs. I know your listening preferences and your primary way of enjoying music. At the end of the day, we both honor each other’s preferences. Everyone has their own path and in our case case they may be somewhat different but the end result is the same, enjoying music for music’s sake. I believe you also know the old Yogi Berra(ism). “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”. 🙂

          Enjoy your weekend Mike.

        2. I’ve been streaming for 13/14 years and still don’t know what a renderer is. So I googled it which got me no further, except for finding a thread in the PSA forum:
          The answers were as clear us mud, until Chris1948 from down the road explained thus:
          “A renderer is the word used in the UPnP/DLNA specifications to describe what ordinary mortals would call a network player”.

          1. After having a few moments to ponder – todays ‘terms descriptions’ describe in simple terms the concept of taking a digital file from storage to an analog audio signal.
            Take a phone for music. All the process are seamless and built in.

            Where I’m tripped up is defining server = library. To use an analogy –
            in a restaurant a server brings you what you ordered from the library. The process in simple terms
            Server takes your order and brings it
            The controller is the menu and any modifications the patron asks for
            The rendering occurs by the chef and the utensils you use to consume.

            I’m sure you can come up with a better analogy / description.
            Like I said this is the 50K meter view – concepts – not the terms used to implement those concepts.

        3. Mike, you know that I love to use streaming as one of my three forms of listening. You also know that I’m never going to stop listening to CDs. I know your listening preferences and your primary way of enjoying music. At the end of the day, we both honor each other’s preferences. Everyone has their own path, in our case case they may be somewhat different but the end result is the same, enjoying music for music’s sake. I believe you also know the old Yogi Berra(ism). “When you get to a fork in the road, take it”.

          Enjoy your weekend Mike.

  3. Thank you Paul for your introduction to streaming and the explanation of Server, Controller, and Renderer. I’ve wanted to get a basic understanding for a while now, but there are so many ways to get lost and confused with it. I appreciate that you are giving us the building blocks first. I’m looking forward to the next installments.


    “The renderer is the device that plays the music from your server. It can be a standalone device, such as a wireless speaker or a headphone amplifier, or integrated into another device, like a DAC. The renderer receives the audio data from the server and converts it into an appropriate audio format to convert the signal to analog.”

    Paul, I would not use the word “plays” in the first line. If you ask almost anyone what it means to play digital music they will tell you it has to be converted to analog so you can hear it. It has to go through a DAC. Your saying that the renderer only prepares the digital data for the DAC, thus it does not play the music.

    I am looking forward to tomorrow.

    1. I want to open a .pdf file. I can use any number of programs (apps) to render it into a form I view on my screen.

      For music stored as .flac files, microRendu performs that, passes it on to my DAC.

      1. Peter I use more than one MicroRendu in my home and have for years. I have mine set up as Roon endpoints but as you no doubt know other configurations are possible and easy to set up. My question to you is: Is the MicroRendu the renderer? Or is the MicroRendu plus the software that allows it to be the Roon endpoint the renderer?

  5. I don’t stream music but some tunes are not available in a physical format so there may come a day. Paul’s post and the comments are all very interesting but I’m not sure it’s any clearer to me. 😉 As a fully paid up audiophile I love my multi box system but must confess when it comes to streaming a simpler, possibly one box solution could be appealing. Still, when it comes to audiophilia, simple doesn’t usually apply. For now I’ll stick with physical media, pop it on the player, and go. Music to my ears.

  6. I would suggest one consider some additional properties which might be taken care of in the server. This is in the case that one has a physical server (a computer or possibly a NAS) on their home Network.
    The Server has additional possible functions:

    It can run powerful software like HQPlayer which provides the ability to run room correction profiles, general EQ, and, which can be to great benefit, much more precise and fantastic sounding oversampling. By utilizing the processing power available today in high powered computers, HQPlayer provides oversampling software for on the fly oversampling which is way, way more sophisticated and precise than anything running in hardware on a DAC. For my listening, there is a huge step forward in sound quality by using HQPlayer to oversample all files to DSD 256 using its advanced filters and modulators.
    By doing this, the DAC’s job is also made much easier, and a simpler DAC can be used which does little, to no onboard processing. This adds the side benefit of the DAC not being subject to the onboard noise generated by running the processing onboard. In my case I often use a simple DSD DAC, which is specifically designed to just take in single bit DSD 256 and convert it to analog.

    1. According to todays post server = library.
      What’s not taken into account is what is the thing called to access that library – the actual physical device. That’s also called a server. Where I take issue is using an accepted standard term of server and changing it. Like in a restaurant a server brings the food to your table. The food isn’t the server. The food was selected from a library.

  7. Unfortunately it didn’t clarify things for me. In my scenario of NAS, Jriver on a PC, Bridge II and iPad, I thought to have storage (NAS, which only stores but doesn’t serve), server (Jriver on a PC), renderer (Bridge II) and Controller (iPad with the JRemote app).

    Due to Paul’s definition I have a controller (Jriver) and a renderer (Bridge II). The rest is not clearly identifiable by today’s explanation.

    For me unfortunately definitions are as unclear as before.

    1. I’m 90% with you. The clue is “NAS”, which in long form is Network Attached Storage. That’s clear and unambiguous. I would call River a “streamer”. The streamer is the software, the key component that sources and distributes data.

      The extraordinary thing is that my first NAS was 500gb, but you can now get a 1tb usb stick and people keep their entire music library on them.

      1. So then we also have a different understanding. I’d not call Jriver a streamer, for me it’s the server SW, installed on a PC which means the HW part of the server. The streamer for me would be equivalent to the renderer = Bridge II which streams the data from the server to the DAC.

        But I know that’s also not necessarily common understanding (if there’s something like this in this matter at all). Many probably say the server streams to the renderer = Bridge…I could live with that.

        For me a streamer or server or renderer is HW (with its SW part inherited).

        Not sure if this whole topic is suited for Paul‘s posts, which, as I understand it, is meant to scratch the surface only anyway.

        1. So what do you all a device, like the new Innuos range, that hosts streaming software but does not store any data? It’s not a server. They, like many others, call it a network music player.

          At the end of the day there is no standard feature set for any part of streaming, so it’s near impossible to have any consistency.

    2. I have to correct myself in terms of controller: due to Paul‘s definition, in my case it would be JRemote on my iPad, not Jriver on my PC. I agree with this, so the controller is rather the control SW on the mobile device, not the device itself.

      I was confused as Paul mentioned Roon as a controller…but I understand he just means the part of Roon which acts on the mobile device (together with the server part of Roon).

      1. Roon includes a server application (Roon Core), a streamer (Roon RAAT), a controller (Roon Remote) and a renderer (Roon Bridge) – all software applications. So it covers all of Paul’s 3 Essential Elements and the one he missed out, the streamer itself.

  8. I am truly fascinated by the comments on this particular post. These clearly demonstrate that various streaming terms are interpreted very differently by experienced users. It would be really great to have this discussion lead to commonly accepted terms based on plain language so we can communicate on how to continue improving streaming sound quality in each step

    1. That would be great but it failed a few times already. There’d have to be at least the various most common (3-5?) types of installations (various separate or integrated options) considered as examples, it would need a differentiation between (or combination of respective) HW and SW parts etc.

      It either needs very good preparation beforehand to cover this, or a forum topic with the openness to react on feedback and questions to bring this to a definitive end. I currently don’t see this coming here or in the forum in the little but necessary depth needed.

  9. If you aren’t savvy with the behind the knobs tech parts, think of streaming as those Star Trek Replicator window thingys. Just press a button and out comes absolutely any food you ear wants to consume.

    Being a life long tech geek I know that my music collection is at SMB 192.168…. NAS or UPnP or NUC or on the Apple Time Machine (because we back up our back ups – DON’T we…) – MY fear is one day I’m going to start to lose my marbles and forget how to map those drives, find, remember, configure, install, update, troubleshoot and DO all that fun cool tech stuff is going to ebb from my cranial capabilities…. THAT is going to be the frustrating hell of those so-called golden years. They’re called golden years because that’s the color of the front of your depends….

    But in the meantime, I’m gonna listen to the other 6 albums of a terrific band I lucked onto yesterday and they are going to enhance the work day. Streaming… it is just (insert your expletive here) awesome! New discoveries, new music. DAILY.

    I guess my other fear (concern?) is when we get to the point where NOBODY any longer knows the behind the knobs workings of tech and we are just at a societal level of:
    “So, where IS that song coming from?”
    “Pfft – I don’t know – NOBODY knows…”
    The utterence of “AI” (pronounced aayyii with shoulders shrugged & palms up to the sky) will become the ubiquitous replacement for “I dunno”

    We’re still a ways away yet, a recent experiment loaded 130,000 various photographs into AI to teach it to recognize skin cancer; it came back declaring that rulers were malignant.
    Tech 1: “Well how did THAT happen… ”
    Tech 2: “(Shrug) Aayyii!”

  10. Wow, they do make it complicated.

    I loaded all my CDs and many Hi Res to a Mac-mini. I use JRiver to play it. I use the iPad as a remote. The music goes from the Mac to the RME DAC and from there to the amps and speakers. Or in my office from the Powerbook to a SMSL DAC to the powered loudspeakers. Same JRiver set up.

    I can also “use” the JRiver to listen to “radio” (?). I can decide, if I want, to use Spotify or anything else. If I use iMusic, then everything is played as 16/44. If I use JRiver, which is my standard, everything plays the way it was loaded or it appears online.

    The English Steve is right.

    It is irrelevant if I store the music in the hard drive, an external drive or I play from something in the “cloud”.

    With all this, the turntable and CD player are gathering dust. The TT is stored, and the CD/DVD player is still connected just in case, but I can’t remember the last time it was on.

    1. Yes CtA that is exactly my setup too.
      Isn’t technology wonderful.
      All our music at the touch of a button. Just like our impossible dream only a decade ago.

  11. I’m confused by Paul’s description of the renderer – and I spent my career in computing. A few questions: 1) does the renderer do D/A conversion? This sentence suggests not: “the renderer receives the audio data from the server and converts it into an appropriate audio format to convert the signal to analog.” I read this to say that the output of the renderer is the ‘appropriate audio format’ expected by the device for D/A conversion (the second ‘convert’ in the sentence) after the rendering is complete. 2) Paul then wrote, “In a high-end renderer like PS Audio’s Bridge, that format is I2S.” OK as far as the I2S format is concerned, but hold on – the Bridge II contains the renderer? I use Roon over USB, which doesn’t go through the Bridge II. Does that mean my DSD DAC has multiple renderers for Roon? Or is there no renderer at all for data received over USB? (I doubt it.) Or maybe the renderer is actually not in the Bridge? 3) How do we square the answers to these two questions with Paul’s statement, “The renderer is the device that plays the music from your server.” Surely we wouldn’t claim that the Bridge is what plays music from the server.

    My guess is that in the Roon architecture, the renderer is the RAAT implementation inside the playback device. I’d further guess that in the DSD DAC the RAAT implementation appears once somewhere in its guts, and is not replicated for each I/O circuit, which would mean it’s not in the Bridge. But that’s just my guess.

    1. A renderer in the sense of a digital audio system is digital in and out.

      So, you use USB as an example. USB is not in a format a DAC can understand. It must first be rendered (converted) from one form to another.

      In the DSMKII there is a chip that is specific to USB that provides the two-way communication and the drivers and software to perform the render from incoming data format to outgoing data format required by the DAC.

      *The term render comes from the software industry. In computer graphics, for example, a renderer is a software program that takes data describing a 3D scene (such as the positions of objects, their colors, and lighting conditions) and generates a 2D image from that data. i.e. data coming in one form is processed to output in another form.

      Step back for a moment and consider that a DAC—any DAC—must at some point get I2S data in order to work. Data coming over USB must be converted through a renderer (program or hardware), just as network audio must first be received then converted to a form acceptable to the DAC.

      Data in, different format data out.

      1. Completely confused.
        sirdodo asked if he uses Roon on a computer to send data over a usb cable to a DSD DAC, where is the renderer? Likewise I used PSA DAC via usb for years with no Bridge installed, which we are told in the original post is the renderer.

        What is “Data in, different format data out” for a DAC? By definition, a DAC output is an analog signal.

        A CD transport does digital data in, digital out, is that a renderer as well?

        1. I’m also more and more confused. Although certain parts of explanation surely make sense, they don’t in a broader context together with other statements.

          It’s a topic not explainable or needing a lot more details and relations to several examples of configurations. Like a series of maybe 5 Paul’s posts just on the first simple topic of defining the 4-5 main components in streaming for 4-5 different setup examples of mixed HW/SW incarnations of them.

          1. I have a house with about 35 wireless all-in-one streaming devices, so not much in the way of components.

            Most of them have multiple streaming platforms onboard and hence multiple possible controllers.

      2. Thanks for your response, Paul. If I may ask a clarifying question: should I also consider the RAAT implementation in the DSD DAC to be part of the renderer for Roon? IIUC, a playback device must support RAAT to be considered ‘Roon Ready’.

        1. RAAT (Roon Advanced Audio Transport), is built into Roon and not the DS. All we have to do is follow their protocols for discovery, volume accessibility, etc. RAAT is how Roon is able to identify a DAC and communicate with it.

      3. Hold on, I store my DSD128 needle drop recordings on my NAS ( which was designed to be a digital audio storage device ) and right now I have it feeding the DS MK2 DAC through a USB cable because we still do not have an AirLens. Because my NAS was designed for audio it sends all DSD files that go over USB cable using DoP. DoP is how the DS MK2 DAC handles DSD internally so what is doing the rendering here?

  12. Thanks Paul for starting with the very basic framework. Defining these basic terms helps understanding the Hans Beekhausen discussions and reading a “basic” Panasonic 4K 820K Blu-ray manual. Thanks for all you do.

  13. I simplify things. There’s the bit that decides, does the job of getting some music to the part that actually does the playback; which could be me walking over to a stack of CDs, and picking one and putting it on, or someone going to the jukebox, slipping in a coin and pushing one of the buttons, or, an incredibly convoluted and sophisticated chain of computer stuff that does no more than than the previous two actions. And then there’s the playback.

    For me, it’s all about the second part. The first part is being a collector, or enjoying the concept of choice; the second is partaking of the sensations that listening to music brings – and is vastly more important, to me 🙂 .

      1. Server, Controller, Renderer, library, apps, players, streamer, host, collect files, Roon Ready, turn a player into a streamer additional streaming hardware, Roon app controls…”


        Radical idea — INSERT DISK — PUSH PLAY —- M U S I C !!!!

        Rock on.

  14. The sad part of this discussion is that it is making some participants think that streaming is complicated for the user. You can purchase a BluOs powernode, connect it to speakers and LAN, sign into a service such as Tidal or Qobuz or Spotify and have the world’s music at your fingertips in less than 15 minutes WITHOUT knowing any of this technology

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