RAAT vs. DLNA (redux...)

I’ve reread the “What’s the point RAAT vs DLNA?” thread. As I understand it, the biggest criticism of DLNA is with older implementations that played fast and loose with the standard.

Am I right in assuming that anything produced in the past five years or so no longer has “substandard DLNA implementation?” To be specific, I’m currently using an Apple TV Generation 3 as a (DLNA) endpoint. I have two questions specific to the Apple:

  1. Would there be any audible difference between the Apple TV’s DLNA Ethernet input and another device that would accept RAAT? If so, why?

  2. The only digital audio output on the Apple TV 3 is TOSLINK optical. I don’t want to use the cheap DAC in the Apple TV… USB is the audiophile “preferred digital interface” with optical being looked down upon. But the only significant complaint about TOSLINK that I’ve ever read is that it has higher jitter than USB. HOWEVER - If you’re using an asynchronous DAC (and we ALL are, these days) doesn’t the DAC buffer and recheck the signal before going to the DAC chip? Wouldn’t that banish the jitter issue conclusively?

So to summarize, using the same DAC, would I expect to hear any audible difference between my Apple Airport 3 with its TOSLINK output and another streamer that had both RAAT and a USB output?

Thanks - Glenn Young

DLNA and RAAT are only delivering bits. If you are using the same DAC, I would not expect audible differences, but I guess it depends on the DAC.

Generally speaking, I would expect a good DAC to do that and reduce jitter to levels that are below audibility. It would be good to know which DAC you are planning to use.

Are you really using an Apple TV 3 as a DLNA endpoint?
I didn’t realize this was possible and if so I’ll be heading up to my attic to look for mine.

I don’t have an opinion either way but I know a few folks with high end gear who prefer Toslink Optical over USB.
But I suspect this may be due to less than ideal USB implementations.
Other than Toslink being limited to lower resolutions than possible with USB I suspect at the same resolutions the difference would be slight if noticeable at all.

I think there are more issues than just that, some fundamental in the design. For instance, if the endpoint/DAC buffers, and the standard does not tightly specify how much and what the delay may be, synchronized multi-room is already out of the window. Apart from the thread you read, Danny elaborated in other places as well, e.g.

It’s still splintered which is why most devices tend to implement their own take on it to suit their own app and device development rather than look at generic controller apps. Linn and Lumin both adopted Open Home variant. Still lots don’t handle gapless unless you use their app, the controller is still where all the playlists live and sets the queue which means pick up another controller you don’t necessarily have access to them. It works but generally feels like navigating folders which is tedious and so 90’s.

OK - To answer all questions as best as I’m able:

  1. My DAC is an older Emotiva Stealth DC-1. This is fine for me because I don’t stream high resolution, strange CODECs, or MQA. ALL my music library is 16-44 wav files (and lest you say that they can’t sound good, I can assure you that they DO!). In fact, I’ve had vinyl-heads listen to my 16-44 files and be floored by the sound quality.

  2. Not only can Roon see Apple TV as an endpoint (available for as little as $10 on eBay), but also Roon can work with Apple AirPort Express as an endpoint. WARNING - Apple has been reducing the number of outputs on their Apple TV models. The Apple TV-4 has ONLY a HDMI output! If you want TOSLINK optical output from an Apple TV, you need to buy a TV-3 or earlier.

  3. Were I interested in high bit-depth or exceptionally high sampling rates, I’d be more interested in RAAT (and end up having to buy a fancier streamer and DAC). But having read your feedback, I’m beginning to conclude that my existing equipment is sufficient to my needs. It’s cheap, it’s paid for, and it sounds amazing! Who am I to blow against the wind?

Glenn Young

Postscriptum - Merry Christmas to all of you and yours - You have all been a boon to my audio journey this year and I really appreciate it!


Just for info - if you send via airplay to the Apple TV Roon will resample your 44/16 files to 48/24.

Not at all sure this matters however!

RAAT is more careful - and Roon doesn’t resample unless you ask it to.

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