Help with DAC/EndPoint for existing system

Hi all,

Very much enjoying my roon trial at the moment and will happily let it roll into the annual payment. Now all I need is some equipment!

Picture below might help fill in my explanation. I have a Denon x3600h amp, connected to B&W 606 5.1.4 home cinema setup, with Keff speakers in the ceiling. The front speakers go through an Audiolab 6000A using the preout of the former and the power in of the later. I have a Mac mini running Roon core. And I the iPhone/iPad as remotes. At the moment, to use roon, I go out from the core via hdmi through the X3600Pre. I also have Audivarna, and can go to the Denon via DLNA, which some how gives 24/192.

Anyway, I’d like to stop using the core and the end point/dac/streamer, jack of all trades.

I’m looking for a network streamer that only can be an end point for room, decode mqa from Tidal and have a line out rather than pre. I don’t think I need bluetooth. I’ll either stick with full hi def audio, or if I’m using Bluetooth, go directly to the audio labs or apple TV.

I have two ideas in my head.

  1. Get the project S2 Network Streamer and Project Pre Box digital - This seems to get very good reviews has a good dac and handles DSD512 and 32bit/768Hz PCM. However, it includes a pre-amp with volume control and I only have one power ca connection into the audio labs 6000A. Not sure whether I can use an RCA switch to get over this. Would pluging a DAC with a pre-amp into an integrated port cause untold issues?

  2. I then saw the Lumin D2 - and I really like that it doesn’t add all the bells and whistles, it just covers what I need. However it is quite a bit more than the Project solution and only handles DSD64 and has an older dac. I also like that the seems to be someone from the company who appears in these forums. I like buying from companies with good support and a real interest in talking with customers etc.

So, Are either of the two options ideal for me, or is there another way I should be looking at this. I definitely must keep the cost below £1500, so if D2 is the answer will look at used, but ideally be closer to £1000.

All components are wired into the network. Diagram below to help visualise incase I’ve described it badly :slight_smile:

I may have misunderstood what you meant. But anyway, you still need the Roon Core on Mac or another computer after you’ve added a Roon endpoint.

I have a D2 and can happily recommend it. However, given your budget it may also be worth considering the Teac NT-505 - I think Lumin had a hand in the firmware and there are very satisfied users on the forum (though I haven’t heard it myself). Of course Peter’s comment above stands.

Thanks. Yes, that’s the plan. Roon core on the mac, then an endpoint/dac straight into the audilabs amp. I think any dac that has built in preamp won’t do because I only have integrated ports into the amp.

I do very much like the look of the D2 though.

Thanks, the NT 505 was another Option in the mix

This is what I had in mind, showing the Lumin D2 connected to the integrated phono inputs of the AudioLabs 6000A, Roon Core on MacMini, and just a phone as a remote. Feels like this would hang together very nicely. All components are hard wired into the network

I’m not sure I understand the red “pre-out” connection in your block diagram.

You definitely want to use a digital-input to your Denon AVR, to avoid a superfluous digital→analog→digital set of conversions.

Since the Audiolab has a DAC and S/PDIF inputs have you considered something similar to the Allo DigiOne?

Pre out is used purely for the home cinema. The pre-outs go to the power-in of the Audiolab 6000A to drive the front speakers when watching films with surround sound. The D2 would connect directly to one of the line level inputs of the AudioLabs 6000A.

If I understand the Roon flow correctly, with the core on the MacMini, I open the iPhone app, choose the D2 as an endpoint, find some music in Tidal, MQA or otherwise, click play, and the music data will stream across the ethernet cables from the MacMini, through the LAN router, into the D2 Network Streamer, where the DAC will do its magic, and send the analogue signal to the Audiolab Amp, which will provide integrate amplification out to a pair B&W 606 speakers.

I hope that all makes sense, and would get me a direct connection the speakers, completely skipping the Denon AVR.

Sorry. I misinterpreted the directionality of that connection in the block diagram.

I’d second @Martin_Webster’s suggestion to look at a streamer with a digital-out, like the Allo DigiOne or HifiBerry Digi+ Pro.

The ESS Sabre ES9018 DAC in your AudioLabs 6000a is quite good. If you later decide that you want something even better, there’ll be lots of standalone DACs to choose from.

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ES9018K2M is the mobile (smartphone) downgrade version of the regular ES9018.

If the objective is to bypass the Denon without any significant cost, then there are indeed options to output SPDIF signal.

If the objective is to have better SQ, then a separate network player / DAC can be considered.

@wklie hanks for clarifying the DAC.

@Jacques_Distler & @Martin_Webster The Allo Digione is an interesting idea, but having looked around, I’m think I’d prefer to get a solution now that can handle MQA too. Something that isn’t a preamp, or can be set to line out, so I can hook it up to one of the integrated ports and leave the Denon on the Power ports.

Feels like it’s a TEAC 505 vs D2 at the moment. I see a lot of people on here with these days but higher quality speakers and amp. I’ll keep reading to make sure the rest of my setup isn’t going to be the limiting factor going forward.

Thanks again everyone. I’ll like make a decision over the weekend.

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I don’t think your setup will prevent you from enjoying improved SQ from whatever standalone DAC or player you choose to purchase. People get improved SQ this way even when just using an AV receiver. Your setup with a 2-channel integrated amp is already much better than those.

I believe you’re correct in looking at the source if you would like to have SQ upgrade.

Something you may need to consider is whether you want the subwoofer to be active for 2-channel music. This depends on whether you think your front speakers have enough bass for you, and whether you believe in having a subwoofer for 2-channel music is advantageous. In case you want that, there may be implications for how the subwoofer is connected, and whether you need to use the Denon as a pre-amp (instead of Audiolab).