Higher-end MQA streaming DAC recommendations

I realize there are probably several similar threads for MQA DAC/Streamers, but i’m looking for a standalone unit, w/ better sound quality than a Bluesound Node 2i. I want ethernet in, analog out, so a streaming dac, not just a streamer.

I currently have a Logitech Transporter, but would like something w/ MQA. I also want to minimize components, so don’t want to go the Pi/Node + DAC route.

Have been considering the Meridian 218, but its not much of a looker. i know there are several options higher up the food chain from Moon, PS Audio, etc, but i’d like to keep this under ~$2.5k, preferably under $2k.

any recommendations much appreciated.

just a bit over budget.

Check out the Matrix Audio element line. Also slightly above budget, but maybe you can find it on sale for Cyber Monday.

ASR Review

1 Like

thanks- i’d forgotten about this. it ticks most of the boxes, but that display would get some getting used to. i suppose it can be turned off.

Lumin D2, available in either silver or black.


What about the TEAC NT-505!

1 Like

A Lumin D2 would appear to meet your requirements, but you don’t list the rest of your system so it’s pretty hard to give advice . If you have top drawer amp(s) and speakers then you should go for like a Lumin T2. If you have Boulder, D’Agostino, Constellation, top end Gryphon go for dCS or Lumin X1. FWIW some reports of poor QA with regard to Mytek products recently. Context is everything.

1 Like

I think for under 2k the Topping D90 might be a choice.
Most people who own it, seem to be happy with their purchse.
It measures pretty impressive on the Audio Science review forum.

The Topping D90 is probably pretty good, and probably very good at its price point given a range of reviews by reviewers who have listened to it and compared it with a number of other DACs near or just above its price.

However, I believe the D90 is a stand-alone DAC rather than a streaming DAC which is what the OP appears to be looking for.

NAD may be worth a look or listen, they have room correction too if that interests you.

Just add a Raspberry with Roipieee and voila, you have a “streaming” Dac.
If you want a streamer (direct network connection) you might look into Matrix products.
They measure pretty impressive too and users like them as well. Just a bit more expensive than Topping.

I think you should give this a second look.

A RPI 4 with fanless casing and SMSL M500 take very little space and you get

  • a network streamer
  • a very good mqa capable dac with balanced outputs and ir remote control
  • a decent headphone amplifier

and all this for less than 600 bucks

1 Like

That might be not too bad, but the OP was looking for a single stand-alone unit rather than a cobbled together setup, otherwise I’d have recommended something like a Sonore microRendu (Roon enabled) with a matrix DAC, or perhaps even a Topping D90.

There are many streaming DACs out there from the likes of Cambridge Audio, NAD, Pioneer or even Naim Audio and Moon Audio at he sort of price range indicated. but I haven’t personally heard them so can’t really give a recommendation.

I’m pretty sure that the Cambridge and Naim are also Roon enabled - you would have to check up on the others

the Teac is interesting, thanks for the suggestion.

I have been looking at a few other options:

-NAD C658 (haven’t been able to get past the looks)
-Naim ND5 XS2 (my dealer doesn’t stock them, so no way to hear one)
-Can Belto e.One Stream (ticks all the boxes, and I like the form factor)

For what it’s worth, I started out in streaming with the mark 1 version of the Naim ND5 XS in one of my systems. It was ok, but I ‘improved’ the sound by adding a Chord Hugo DAC and using the ND5 XS simply as a streamer.

That was many years ago, and the second version (the ND5 XS2) appears to be very much better as both a streamer and a DAC. I haven’t heard it myself, but people I know who have heard it are definitely of the opinion it’s very much better.

However, the Naim definitely does not support MQA and so it won’t be for you if you want an MQA enabled DAC.

1 Like

yes, and it’s a bit more than my budget, but i may reevauate.

again, the Bel Canto looks great.

There is a posher NAD. M something.

1 Like

The ones I’m familiar with are the M10, M33, and M50.2. M10/M33 are integrated amps. the 50.2 does not have analog outputs.

M12? I think…

a bit beyond my budget, plus the BluOS card is showing as not currently available.