Stack Audio Link II....why do I need it?

Ok I’ve tried real hard and have made no progress.
People use this with Roon.
They. Say it improves sound quality

I use a Roon Nucleus and play FLAC files from my NAS. it works fine.

So I can’t figure out if I should add this to my system for performance and/or sound quality improvement.

Any help would be appreciated

Thank you

Thomas,

what is your current set up?

IMHO, any streamer sans DAC that says it improves SQ is full of ■■■■■

In a system with adequately designed components one shouldn’t need a streamer to improve SQ.

The only questions about a streamer should be does it have the I/O ports you want and does it support the player/streaming services you want.

Anything else is snake oil.

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Have to agree with @xxx for the most part i/o and compatibility with your current setup is really the biggest part of the streamer.

Looks nice. Definitely seems spendy for the functionality it provides relative to alternatives. I would say that “need” is a strong word. But, if you want it, go for it.

Thanks for asking
FLAC files on NAS
NUCLEUS + to Matrix device via USB (This is roon end point?)
Hdmi from matrix >DAC (I2S)
Think that’s it

@thomas_clark1 which Matrix device?

Not familiar with them, however if already using it for streaming I doubt very much changing to the Stack would make any noticeable sound difference.

You would probably get more noticeable results simply tweaking speaker, listening position etc.

Me, I’d save my money and stick with what I had.

"Stack Audio is focused on the source. Introduce noise and distortion at the start of the playback process and it disrupts the enjoyment of the music. The LINK II has been built from the ground up to remove unwanted noise. Your favourite music sounds more realistic and immersive. "

This is a dubious claim, and they don’t supply anything by way of evidence to back it up.

Also, and this is a minor point, I always find it off-putting when there are typos and other errors on a web page. If their QC can’t manage a web page …

Screenshot 2022-03-08 at 22.28.13

The Stack Audio device is essentially a custom Pi 3 (the v2 may be Pi 4) compute module with dc supply conditioning on board. That conditioning extends to the USB connection to your DAC and goes some way to explaining claims of superior SQ, depending on experience with the actual product (and of course peoples beliefs). The designer, John Westlake also did the Pro-Ject streamer so you could consider that as a possible alternative. Ultimately a standard Pi 4 SBC loaded with RoPieee and a cheapish Chinese 5 volt 3 amp supply will achieve a similar result to a Link 2. But if you bought a Nucleus for its convenience then you will probably buy the Link 2 for the same reasons. Look for a 30 day return policy. Try before you fully commit to it.

So there are a couple of uses.

First, for the best sound quality, Roon recommends not using the Core to connect to the system. The reason for this is that any processing increases the electrical noise making it to the DAC.

I use the iFi Zen Stream along with a NUC running ROCK as my core. In my opinion, it is an improvement from running the USB from my core to my DAC. Not night and day, but noticeable.

For others who are not using a Nucleus as their core, there is the potential for fan noise to also intrude on the listening experience. Using an endpoint means that you can put it in another room.

It also allows you to have multiple endpoints around the house.

Is the Slack better than a Raspberry Pi?. No idea. Is it easier to setup? Probably

If you are only going to have one listening point, have a Nucleus or fanless NUC, there are probably better things to spend your money on than the Slack or similar.

But it might be worth trying a Pi to see if you see an improvement.

That’s the USB In Detox working. Whiter whites and all.

Honestly though, I really want one of these devices to compare against my current set-up. Someone can send me and I’ll tell you if it made a difference. May take me a few weeks or a few months to make a determination depending on how much of a difference it makes. :slight_smile:

Thanks to all the responses that will keep this fool and his $$$ together for a bit longer

2 Likes

The Matrix thing I use to allow for I2s from nucleus to DAC