Need advice: streamer+DAC, minimal box count

I have some leftover speakers (mostly powered, I have preferred those for decades), and I’m interested in setting them up in rooms in the house. But they have analog inputs, so I need a DAC, and they are remote so I need a streamer. And I want reasonable sound quality, because my other gear is nice, don’t need world’s greatest but good. And I don’t want to overspend on secondary systems, otherwise I would get a Chord Hugo 2 + 2go, I have written about my love for that but that’s $4k.

And note, I want a minimal box count, not a lot of external power supplies and cables and stuff. For example, in one room I have a MicroRendu in front of my DAC, but that’s Eero node with power brick, plus MicroRendu/LPS1/power brick, DAC with power brick, 7 boxes and 6 cables, a rats’ nest.

For example, in one such secondary locations I use an SMSL SU-8 DAC, perfectly adequate for the purpose and costs $200, but it doesn’t stream, no Ethernet input.

Any suggestions? Preferably a single box streaming DAC, closer to $1,000 than $4000?

Bluesound Node 2i? Power supply built-in, works with Roon, WiFi and Ethernet. £499. Metrum Ambre?

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Teac NT-505. Closer to $1000 than 4000, mains powered, Ethernet in, variable analogue out, works very well with Roon using a Lumin inspired front end.

Well, yes, I expected to see some raspberry pi suggestions…
I actually won’t need the amp hat, since my speakers are powered.
But in any case, tell me this: I haven’t really been following the discussions, but I get the impression (if nothing else by the sheer volume of threads) that things in raspberry pi land are not really smooth and not really reliable. I want plug and play – hell, I had a NUC that worked perfectly well, and I still replaced it with a Nucleus.

Yes, I had forgotten about the Bluesound.
It doesn’t list Roon support on the website, but I see it discussed here, so I assume it’s supported well?

cocktail X-14?

Btw, I also noted Volumio has a box as well as the software. Volumio Primo.
Doesn’t list Roon either, but again, I see Volumio discussed here.
Is this box a good solution? Anybody know?

To the contrary, I’d say I’ve had less issues with my Raspberry Pi/ Ropieee endpoints than proprietary equipment. I didn’t mention them because your budget–although I must add that a Raspberry Pi + DAC hat is on par with the Bluesound–and that your preference of a single box. The RPi needs an AC/ DC adaptor.



Huh, not on my radar at all.
A brand from my youth.
And it looks like gear in my youth as well…
Does what I need, a little expensive, perhaps because it does a lot more than I need.
I think that’s a Roonie difference, since we do everything through Roon we don’t need additional functions, and knobs and buttons and jacks and displays.

Lumin D2 ?

Lindemann Limetree Network?

Orchard Pecanpi Streamer?

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Interesting, thanks everybody.
Lot more stuff available than when I last looked.

I realise this makes sense on ‘paper’, and also that you much more actively contribute to support queries than I, but I can’t help feeling that the Node2i is disproportionately represented amongst them, particularly amongst those with WiFi. As an avid reader of @AndersVinberg posts over the years, I’d hate for him to get a lemon. I’d certainly suggest searching the forum first. Of course, it could just be that it is very popular…

Oh, and yes, I’m not a Bluesound fan for a host of reasons I’ve documented on this forum but, if you believe me, that’s not the main reason I’m encouraging caution on the part of the OP.

I have 2 - Node 2i’s connected via WiFi to my network, which is ORBI based, from different systems. Both are reasonably close to a wireless node backhauled using Cat5 or 6, I don’t remember, to the primary router. I use Roon and Tidal, my music is on a 40TB Drobo NAS, one of two, the other with 1500 ripped movies, and the core runs on a 2012 MacMini shared with Plex. I have never had a drop out that I remember and it’s a busy network, running UHD movies over the network to my OPPO uses far more bandwidth than any HiRes audio does. I’m a Network Architect and I have no less than 8 wireless networks running at once with lots of opportunities for overlap and interference but the 2i’s work pretty flawlessly.

I don’t use the internal DAC on either 2i, they’re not bad but I just use other DAC’s instead. I don’t use the app since I use Roon so I don’t really care much about it once the box is setup. I had a Squeezebox Duet on my second system but I got tired of the drama, it would just go away some times for no reason and I just want it to work. I deal with network issues all day I don’t want more troubleshooting at night. I want to listen to music.

I did look at a Primare NP5, tried it out for a weekend but took it back. You do need a DAC with it but it’s got most all the 2i has plus Chromcast built in. I used a Topping D50s and it sounded fine. I had no trouble with wireless. It’s app needs some work and it doesn’t handle local files on it’s own very well but that’s why I have Roon. When I looked a few months ago after it came out it wasn’t Roon ready but they said it was coming soon so I used Airplay 2 instead. Seemed like a well built piece of equipment. My problem was I don’t use Alphabet (Google) stuff. Their business model is to follow me around and amass data about me and sell it to other people without my permission or buy in. I thought I’d be able to use the NP5 after setting it up and just not use Chromecast. Unfortunately the only way to get it set up for wireless is to install Google Home on your phone. After it was recognized the first thing it asked was to turn on location services for the NP5. WTF! I took it back Monday and deleted Google Home from my phone. Just my security background making me paranoid. Your mileage may vary.

Fair enough! I really like it though! :nerd_face:

I would definitely consider Auralic Altair G1. It’s not closer to your $1000 than $4000 but almost exactly in between. I have not heard it but as streamers come I have yet to hear anything better than Aries G2 on this side of crazy money (could probably already be described as crazy money though). Altair G1 seems to really live up to its promises while being somewhat affordable.

Yes, I recall there were some issues a couple of years ago that affected some but not all users. I think that is water under the bridge now.

Also, I made a suggestion–as requested–not a recommendation.

Fair point - and likewise I made a suggestion to search the forum first, so I guess we’re approaching this similarly.

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Naim ND5XS2

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I am with @Martin_Webster on this. RPI 3 or 4 + Ropieee (= roon endpoint) + LPS/wall wort … + USB cable into a SU-8 is more than a match for SQ. Downside it is 3# boxes and yet small ones.

That said for less than $200 AUDIOPHONICS RASPDAC MINI Kit DIY Streamer for Raspberry Pi 3 & DAC ES9038Q2M + LPS say $100 as an option. 2# small boxes.

Agree with @Quaerit the Auralic Altair G1 is very good indeed if well above $1,000 (if only it had a digital out), home auditioned it & the Aries G1; if I had not made my own streamer the G1 would have been a purchase. 1# Box.

If you are a DIY-er circa $500 of parts could be a one box solution that will have the SQ of $1,000+ Streamer/DAC IMHO. 1# box

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