Thanks for the comments George and Audiocrazy.
Jim- Are you hearing any sonic improvements between gen 1, 2 and 3?
Let's analyze what's going on here...
The job of a streaming device is to deliver a bit-perfect digital stream to a DAC of some sort. The job of the DAC is to convert that digital stream into the analog audio you listen to. So you are listening to the DAC, not the streaming device.
If the streaming device did not deliver the digital stream in a timely fashion, you would hear clicks, pops or drop-outs. This is normally not the case as streaming devices are optimized to make sure this does not happen.
The differences in these models lies elsewhere. The Generation I StreamPlayer used an embedded processor to run a 32-bit version of Linux. It is entirely capable of delivering a reliable bit stream to a DAC. But as demands for additional functions increased, the Generation II was developed on a more powerful i3Core processor also running a 32-bit version of Linux. This faster processor allowed the system to more efficiently handle higher resolution files, including DSD, as well as additional functions like a more powerful web interface, a database, Airplay, etc.
The Generation III StreamPlayer was designed around an even more powerful i5Core processor and a 64-bit version of Linux. These were required in order to accommodate Roon which runs its own database and provides graphics capabilities to Roon remote devices. Roon is much more processor-intensive than the applications that are used in conjunction with the Generation I & II units.
So the difference is not how well these units deliver a bit stream, but more so in how capable they are in running additional functions at the same time.
Again, the sound quality of a digital playback system is determined primarily by the DAC, not the streaming device. So although some may report increased audio quality from Generation II or III StreamPlayers, it is highly unlikely that this is actually the case.