I’m about to move to a new house where audio and home theatre will be separated. So I need an audio system for music only. I’m almost certain I will go with Tekton Double Impact speakers (http://www.tektondesign.com/double-impact.html). I’m looking for input on DAC and amplifier recommendations and any other advice before committing.
Music will come form Roon of course and I’ll probably change to core machine or run (docker? jail) on the Freenas system.
The chosen speakers are a start since they offer 98 dB efficency so they are also tube amplifier friendly
As for the speaker design, i personally do not consider them really very STEREO friendly look at the design in the high frequency area. It will not be easy to find a nice stereo hot spot with them (just my personal opinion).
OK, then take whatever you like is my opinion
I personally cannot hear differences in DACs so my advice would be take the most convenient DAC for your needs (inputs/outputs you need). Personally i had an MDAC+, a TEAC UD501 and an Antimode 2.0 as DAC/Roomcorrection System, all in reasonable price range and recommend all of them.
Tube amps of course produce a different to transistor “sound”. I had both and liked both, but since tubes need more service affection i went back to transistor amp.
With 98dB efficency speakers amps from same Watt (tube) to almost any Transistor amp will do
If you have the time and inclination my recommendation is to reproduce the equipment chain that was used by your preferred speaker manufacturer to refine the design of their speakers. So worth finding out a bit about this from your preferred speaker manufacturer. I did this with my Amphion Argon 3S paired up to a pair of Amphion Mono 100 Class D amps (the amp designer - Anaview - used the Amphion speakers to refine the amp design so a lot of synergy there) and hooked up to the Mytek Brooklyn DAC which is what Amphion use in their R&D lab. Hooked the lot up with pro cables (pricey ‘audiophile’ cables not necessary): balanced output to the amps and speakon connections from the amps to speakers. I have a custom NUC running ROCK connected into the USB on the Brooklyn. Couldn’t be happier. Cost was £3.5k.
Not an ‘off the shelf’ solution but this approach does take the system matching lottery out of the equation.
You can roll your own raspberry pi network to usb endpoint very affordably just to have a play with the difference. Several easy to deploy os’s like ropieee.org and dietpi.comcan be used to do this. They do have simple DAC options too that can be added some with amps on board.
I uses an Auralic Aries LE Streaming Bridge as roon endpoint (has only dig. outputs), then i go into the Antimode 2.0 for room correction then analog out to the Amplifier. I could also go into the AVR and let is do the DA conversion.
I use a bunch of Rpis for ancillary rooms now (dietpi and IQAudio HATs), but hadn’t thought of them as a feed into high-quality audio. I guess this would be a good test of @Armin’s assertion about the similarity of DACs!
I do need to have some sort of endpoint as the NAS will be at the other end of the house and I’ll not be able to run a USB cable directly.
How familiar are you with the Tektons? Make sure you are at least 40-50 hours familiar with a pair of well-used (read: broken in) speakers before you spend $3k. Do a home audition if at all possible. And by the way, no $3k pair is so good people will trade in $30k speakers like the ad says.