I Use an ultraRendu w a Mac Mini USB into Ayre Codex (likely DAC upgrade in my future) with Roon and only streaming - no files.
I’m interested in everyone’s thoughts and experiences on a Mac Mini replacement & though I like Roon, would like the option to hear anything, anywhere on the internet easily, ie Youtube, not to mention Sirrus etc.
How subtle will the upgrade be? $ better spent elsewhere? Likely suspects Aurender, Lumin, Roon Nucleus, SonicTransporter, Pro-Ject etc. etc.
If you allready have an ultrarendu there is nothing to be gained in sound quality when you replace the mac-mini. Others might argue that there are differences but if there are they are on the border of audibility. I have never heard any difference whatsoever between different core machines. I have tried macbook pro, mac mini, i7 desktop with windows/linux, i5 server with linux/Rock. Even an 15 year old pc running windows10. All sound exactly the same. The only thing you can gain is speed when you have a very large library. With a small library even the 15 year old PC was very usable.
Since Youtube and Sirrus are of pretty low quality anyway why not use a seperate usb dac for it directly attached to the mac-mini. No streamer is going to give you the convenience of playing sound from as many sources as your mac-mini can.
I would say no need to replace the Mac mini - it’s a great home for Roon in my experience. As for replacing the Ayre Codex, I recently got a Lumin T2 streamer/DAC which is hooked up by ethernet to a Mac mini running Roon core and by XLR to my amp - depending on the rest of your setup/requirements this would certainly do what you want (Airplay, Tidal, Qobuz, etc.), and the sound quality and build quality are absolutely fantastic. Certainly a step up from a USB solution IME.