Now that I think about latency, it might explain some of my other experiences. I’m not sure if it’s latency exactly or something else like signal integrity. Try to make sense of this:
Back when I was using Audirvana Plus on my Mid 2012 Retina MacBook Pro with a USB connected DAC, I tried playing the same WAV file from three different locations. All of these files would be buffered into the RAM.
On the MacBook Pro’s internal SSD
A portable hard drive attached directly
NAS (hard drive attached to router) sending data wirelessly to the MacBook Pro.
There were no dropouts in either method and it was fast. Yet, I always preferred the sound most of #1 - music on the internal SSD.
Now you might think that the sound differed because in option 2 there is a big hard drive attached to it or in #3 there is more RF and network activity. To counter each of the methods, when I played music directly off the SSD directly, I would have a hard drive plugged in and copying files in the background, or I would be downloading other things and watching HD videos to keep the Wi-fi active. Still, having the file on the internal SSD sounded the best.
I know the music is buffered and played from RAM, but the location/protocol it’s coming from can make a difference. I’m not sure if I have the right words, but you guys can hopefully make sense of it.
EDIT: Just realized this Audirvana story actually does support my experience with the BDP-1 written above. That’s why when I was playing music off the flash drive, it made no difference whether there was an ethernet cable plugged in or not, or if it was even active. The data for the music itself was coming from the USB flash drive. This definitely has to count for something!
EDIT2: In the early days of when I had a BDP-1 and I was still playing music off the flash drives, but didn’t have a way to control BDP-1, I bought Powerline adapters to control the BDP-1’s playback. When I added the Powerline’s with USB playback, I didn’t notice any difference in sound. However, later on when I used the Powerline for Roon, it sounded like crap. The ethernet switches with stock PS sounded better than Powerline for Roon.
There’s definitely something here.