what is the best of the best?
Cost no object?
PS Audio DirectStream DAC with Bridge II. It’s got an LCD screen that displays the album that is playing and the remote functions work in Roon so you can pause and restart music from your armchair. Plus the thing just flat out sounds awesome. Cost? About $6900.
Well, let’s say in your own personal price range… Which DAC, and why?
I have both the Mytek Brooklyn and the PS Audio DSjr. As far as Roon integration they both work absolutely flawlessly. I have had zero problems with both integrating with Roon - often group them together via Roon. The PSA DSjr has the advantage of not needing additional computer hardware by using its built-in Bridge (direct ethernet into the box), but that freedom comes at a price point double the Brooklyn.
As far as sound I personally feel the PSA DSjr is a big step up over the Brooklyn, but again at double the price you’d expect that.
I use the Brooklyn in my home office either feeding a small Parasound Amp with small Klipsch speakers or directly driving a pair of Audeze LCDX headphones. The PSA DSjr is in the primary system feeding a 150 watt full Class A White Audio amp into Shahinian Hawk Ensembles. The two environments are definitely Apples and Oranges making direct comparison difficult, but there certainly is more magic with the DSjr. The one downer about the PSA DSjr is that it does not have any headphone jacks. I really wished they provided for headphones.
I’m still looking for the best.
NOS DAC + Roon up-sampling + affordable price, I recommend Holo Audio Spring R2R DAC.
The Audioquest Dragonfly Red, very small, Sounds good and now does MQA, Price/Perfomance Winner in my Book.
I think it’s fairly safe to say that everyone thinks the DAC they own (or have definite plans to purchase in the short term) is the best DAC. Consequently, I’ll put mine forward for consideration: exaSound e32 and PlayPoint. The DAC has good specs and has been well reviewed — it’s performed with zero problems since I first plugged it in. I particularly like the PlayPoint streamer — it can function as either a RoonReady endpoint or an HQPlayer NAA and it autosenses what it’s being fed, so I can A–B RoonReady vs HQP NAA just by transferring zones in Roon. I also like the fact that both units are designed so as to facilitate use of a linear power supply, and I find that using a high-quality LPS noticeably improves SQ in my system.
OTOH, I’ve heard this and this both sounding very good.
Honestly, I think any DAC that works without drivers on MacOS and Linux is a good DAC for use with Roon, with extra points for good Ethernet connectivity. From there, you can decide on your own price point and desired features.
Had a listen to a friends NADAC and it sounded very nice, detailed and with a vinyl like presentation, very easy to listen to.
Audiobyte stack. Black Dragon plus Hydra Z plus ZPM. By far the best DAC in my third bedroom.
The best DAC: quite simple, buy a dCS Vivaldi stack…
Anything that you can connect to a Roon Endpoint, or the most expensive you can afford, or hey… the one you like. Roon is no part in this quest.
The best advice yet!
Raspberry PI (Hifi berry) into an NDac with a 555ps (power lined), sounds epic, great sonic quality, detailed and quite a vinyl feel.
Holo Spring Level 3 KTE (Kitsune Tuned Edition) fed from a Singxer SU-1 via i2S connection.
Holo list price is $2,500 from Kitsune. And Singxer is $400.
This is another one of these “you’ve opened a can of worms posts.” Roon has nothing to do with the best DAC, since any DAC will work with the proper Roon endpoint. As for “the best” DAC, you will find this discussed thousands of times on audiophile forums, with no clear winner. It’s entirely subjective. The “best” one is the one that sounds best to you and that has the features you need.
a good NOS DAC like Metrum Musette. Let roon do the upsampling, or not, and you have the best of both worlds.
With so many people having difficulties with reaching maximum rates and DoP / native DSD complexities over USB, I recommend people take a serious look at Roon Ready players with analog outputs. (That is my real opinion, even though I have a conflict of interests.)
Schiit Yggdrasil. In my system it outperformed DACs costing 10X the price. Highly recommended.