Best cost-no-object streamer or streamer-dac combo

My list, so far, is as follows:

Lumin U1 or S1
Auralic Aries or Vega
Grimm MU1
Naim NDX2
Goldnote DS100
Innuos Statement (kinda steep 15k)
dCS Bartok or Network Bridge
Mola Mola
Aurender (kinda steep, some almost 18k)
Mark Levinson (stupid steep 30k)

Realistically, I’m probably not going to spend 15k or more, which sort of narrows it down.

Any additions to the list, or any positive experiences with the aforementioned?

Thanks in advance!

Naim ND555 with 2x 555PS DR

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If cost was no option, then the Lumin X1 would be at the very top of my list. I have the T2 and it is an exceptional piece of kit, so I can only imagine what the X1 is like with the right amplification and speakers.


If cost is truly no object, then you might consider the Rossini DAC over the Bartok (unless you want the headphone output).

(FWIW, I am a Bartok HDAC owner. I wanted the headphone output.)

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Also consider Matrix Audio products (ElementX, X Sabre Pro)


Lumin X1 and T2 support DSD512 over RAAT. For the stated budget I recommend Lumin X1.


I use Matrix Audio, but a dCS Bartok hold be my bucket list product.

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You know, there are costs other than dollars. I’ve been very happy with the relatively inexpensive streamer-dac combo I use on my best system: a Raspberry Pi3 streamer running RoPieee feeding bits via USB to a Topping D70 DAC. The RPi is completely hands-off, fire and forget. No fuss. It just works.

The DAC does 768KHz and DSD 512 (not that I care), and has balanced XLR outputs. Sounds wonderful, and has excellent objective measurements over at ASR. I’d recommend this combo to anyone. For less than $500 for both.


Have you considered the Moon 780D v2?

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Without some context, it’s just a list of expensive boxes…


I was lucky enough to review the Gold Note DS10. It is superb.


That one’s on my list as well. Understood, from aforementioned, that cost isn’t everything, but I’m just researching. I have built two Raspberry Pi streamers from scratch with an optical HAT and they work great. It was an adventure teaching myself linux; this was probably four years ago and I didn’t use Ropieee, but Volumio, and added the wifi, bluetooth, and Roon texts. It was “fun.” But, I did get a chance to teach my son some about computers.

Anyhoo, If I’m going to sell my Bryston streamer and my Nucleus, I might as well get a unit that runs Roon Core, has a hard drive, streams as a Roon endpoint, has a DAC, and supports Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify Connect, internet radio, etc. So far that puts me basically at the Grimm.

Any other devices that support Roon Core and endpoint in the same box?


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ROON Nucleus+ / Mola Mola Tambaqui.

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The Gold Note cannot function as the core, it is an endpoint only. I’d say that the Nucleus+ would be your best bet for the core.

In the context of this thread, I would have thought that was something to be avoided. Decoupling the Core hardware from the endpoint is something Roon recommend, and I would apply the same approach with UPnP servers too.
On the subject of these Nucleus+ recommendations, I would say that if you ‘need’ the + for multiroom, DSP etc. you are making it work harder, generating more electrical noise, and potentially affecting sound quality. All the more reason to put the Core at a distance.

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I personally favor separates, as it provides for more downstream flexibility to plug and play best in class component of the moment…

On that basis, I would recommend the Lumin U1 streamer, and Schitt Audio Yggdrasil DAC. The resolution of both and musicality of the Yggdrasil are second to none imho.

Can’t argue with that, because I don’t know your criteria.

FWIW, ASR has reviewed both the Mola Mola Tambaqui and a couple of the Matrix Audio DAC/streamers. According to the ASR measurements, the Mola Mola is the best product of its kind (out of scores they’ve reviewed). But that is only according to their SQ metric, not a comprehensive assessment of factors such as ease of use, ease of integration, reliability, customer service, etc. Mola Mola beats a couple of Matrix products “by a hair” for measured noise/distortion. Would you hear the difference (in your room, with your other gear, with your ears)? Maybe not, even after paying a big price premium for the Mola Mola. On the other hand, I can just about guarantee many users would care about issues such as fussy volume control, which ASR observed in the Mola Mola. The Matrix Element X IMO has excellent, precise volume control as well as pretty much the same input options as the Tambaqui. The Element X also adds RCA outputs and seems to have (as far as I can tell from pictures) a more informative front panel display.

So I agree with the previous poster’s point that “without some context, it’s just a list of expensive boxes …”. But if measured SQ is your only criterion, and truly without any consideration for price, then you might want to seriously consider the Tambaqui (assuming we can be confident in the ASR measurements).

I’ve heard the Tambacqui, it truly is a wonderful DAC. But the dCS remains on the Wishlist.

MSB “The Select DAC” with network renderer, ~$100,000 after clock upgrades etc, You did say, cost no object, right?
If cost really IS an object, the entry level DAC is around $10K.
The RoonReady Network Renderer V2 plays very well with Roon. I have an older Analog DAC with the network renderer and it is rock solid.