Airplay - Sound degradation


Mar 11, 2020
Of late I have been doing A/B test of zen blue dac with Airplay and have noticed a significant sound degradation when played using Airplay. Following is my setup for the two test:

Bluetooth: ipad>zenblue dac>shiit modi3>marantz pm5005>diamond 225
Airplay: Ipad> pioneer elite n30>shiit modi3>marantz pm5005>diamond 225

What I noticed was that when playing through Airplay the highs were reduced to a significant level, imaging was as good as not being there and the bass was bit more emphasized. This was surprising as Airplay is percieved to be better than bluetooth, which has limited range and bandwidth. I did some searching and found that I wasn't alone who noted this. What I wasn't able to find was the reason for such a variance. Any clues on this?
The variance is/would be caused by the output from pioneer ---> schiit (vs zenblue --> Schiit)

Example, if you are using COAX out from both and attaching to Schiit.
In that case, the quality of COAX output would be different. The coax output is different in 2 ways

a) the timing of digital data (jitter)
b) the noise of the current (electrical noise)

Airplay is normally used as a transfer protocol (much like web based TCP / HTTP ), and it does not have any direct impact on the sound.
I use apple for my music streaming, hence telling from my experience.
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