Music Servers / Streamers
So, what is a Music Server, and how is it different from a Streamer?
Basically, a Music Server is the more complex device, that'll work as a complete source component for your audio system, and that will play music sourced from files or a streaming service. It is a single device that connects to your local network, either wirelessly or through regular Ethernet cabling, and plays music from locally stored files, or a source within the local network, such as your computer or a NAS (Network-Attached Storage), or even from the Internet, through the use of a commercial streaming service, such as Tidal or Qobuz. A Music Server might have a built-in DAC, or feed digital data to an outboard DAC, via USB, Network, or through legacy connections (SPDIF, AES/EBU, etc.). The Server might also be able to "pipe" music to other devices located on the same local network, the "Streamers".
A Streamer is then a simpler device, that holds no local data, but receives the music files from the network, either from a Music Server, or from an Internet streaming service such as Qobuz or Tidal. A Streamer will usually come with a built-in DAC, but many models do not, and require the use of an external DAC, through USB, Network or legacy connections (SPDIF, AES, etc.).
So, a Streamer is a device that purely fetches the digital information over the network, and hands that to a DAC, while a Music Server is a more complex device, able to run music cataloguing software such as Roon, to organize your music library.
Today, the market has Streamers and Music Servers of many kinds, and we're here to help choose the best solution for your listening habits (and the size of your music collection!)
Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions, or if you'd like us to help you through this "digital maze"!