over 13 years, i've gone from 2 different versions of DIY (by my Network Engineer Son) server, to the Taiko SGM 2015 Music Server, to the Taiko Extreme with it's various upgrades, and now to the Wadax Reference Server with the Akasa Optical Interface......the improvement of the music reproduction performance has been significant.
you also have music management systems such as J-River, Roon, Taiko XDMS, and others as variables along the way.
obviously there was also the step up from the Playback Designs MPS-5 player/dac, to the Trinity dac and Lampi GG1 and GG1.5 dacs, then to the Aqua Formula dac, then to the MSB Select II, and finally to the Wadax Reference Dac.
always compared to my vinyl and tape along the way as performance references. since the Trinity dac and Lampi dacs my playback system and room have been mostly a constant. it helps to have a system that is one that tells you about differences. not all systems are equal about that.
at every step i have compared the dacs with both the new and old servers. especially with the MSB/Extreme and the Wadax Dac and Server. i compared the MSB dac with both the Extreme and Wadax server, and the Wadax dac, with both the Wadax server (with and without the Akasa optical) and the Extreme. this last go around included other listeners for each compare.
i trust my perceptions at the various points of change. the SOTA of music server technology has gone a long way in the last 15 years.....it was at the infant stage in 2010 when i got my first one. not sure when we might see a jump up over the Wadax.
but who really knows?