New Endpoint/Amp, what do Rooners recommend?

My current Endpoint is a fine small DENON PMA-50 DAC/Amplifier, connected via 5 m High-Quality USB Cable on my MacBook Pro. Sometimes i stream also via Bluetooth (aptX) or to an via analog-linein connected RaspBerry Pi whith a volumio SD-Card and HiFiBerry DAC which i can strem to via AirPlay.

There are 2 things i want change with a new DAC/Amp Combo:

1.) streaming all file-qualities 16/44 up to DSD 128 via ac-WLAN or Ethernet (no USB-Cable needed for best quality)
2.) i want a bit more punch for my Bookshelf-Speakers then the 25 W the PMA-50 can deliver.

All Files reside on my QNAP NAS, which is running great on my internal network. Roon runs on my MacBook Pro, i have eyed a Intel NUC as Roon-Server for later. iPad and (later) iPhones as roon-clients, and later 2 or 3 more Endpoints with smaller Speakers in other Rooms of the House.

I have eyed the new DRA-100 from DENON, but maybe someone here can recommend a better solution with a pricepoint of max. 1000 Euros, build-in dac and Power of at least 2 x 50 Watts.

TIA for any recommendations.

Bernd

That Denon is a nice looking device. The one requirement that you have that is trowing me for a loop in thinking of products is the network streaming. I can think of plenty of good items at your price range that play dsd but drawing a blank if any are capable of doing it over a network connection rather than USB.

In the DAR video here they talk about upcoming products with a significant number coming out around the summer, maybe there will be something that not only meets your qualifications but is also Roon ready which would play very nicely with your plan to use a NUC based server.

I know an all-in-one streamer/dac/integrated Roon ready device with a nice display would be a very appealing product to me, and if one is released as a somewhat reasonable price, someone is going to get a good deal on my current Dac and Amp in the used market.

1 Like

You could use the Kef X300A speakers with a Sonicorbiter SE.

http://microjukebox.com/products/sonicorbiter-se

This would give you a full RoonReady certified solution. The only thing it doesn’t have is DSD. I have been using Roon to resample DSD to PCM and it sounds very good. I think it would sound great on the Kef speakers. If you wanted to add an iFi DAC into the mix it would do DSD on the DAC as well and would still be close to 1000 euro for the whole system.

@agillis @AgDev01 thanks for the Recommendations. I think it would be best to wait a few months until we see at least a few RoonReady Devices. So for the next 3 to 6 month i will stay with my DENON PMA-50.

I have made the decision to wait for roonready speakers/systems to be available. i was going to go down the Bluesound route but they are not supported yet. Until then I will make do with Airplay, using a mix of airport express’ and Airplay speakers (like the Harmon Kardon Aura I have in the kitchen). If Bluesound speakers are supported first I will kit my house out in them, otherwise will probably go with the first decent roonready solution.

I saw these and was thinking about them… the internal DAC is 32/384 and DSD 5.6MHz.
Cheaper than the KEf with a higher spec, but of course listening is the only comparison.

They look interesting. Will they work with Roon though? I guess you would need something like the sonic orbiter as well and not use the wireless feature?

Yes, you would need to add something like the sonic orbiter.

I have the yamaha nx-n500 and they work fine with Roon.

The ess sabre dac in the speakers is readily recognized by Roon. I send the signal to Signalyst HQ player and everything works fine.

Did it recognize the DAC or did you play over AirPlay?
I have a Yamaha R-N602 receiver and the only way I found to connect it with roon is via AirPlay.

Play it through USB, not airplay.

Everything works fine.

Hi - do you know if USB on the Yamaha works for Linux? I’ve got Sonore endpoints and I’d love to know if I can get DSD from Roon to these speakers.

One of the best (cheapest) way to get “everything” working is to buy the NADC390DD in combination with the (build in) Blous MDC module. With “everything” i mean : Roon Endpoint (RAAT) plus MQA complaint. You can buy that combination already for € 2000,- (demo 3 months old) with some negotiating. (retail “normally” € 2.998)

That together with some good HD-tracks can (almost) play any speaker in the midrange section. Played the system for a few weeks on a set Sonus fabre Venere 2.0 and now on my superb (looking) white B&W Emphasis. The tracks are on a Synology DS916+ (8GB) and so is the Roon Core. (The database resides on a extra 240GB SSD via the USB 3.0 connector as described on this site) The CPU-load on the Synology is less than 20% with lots of other applications on it, so the performance is more than good. (use everything wired if possible)

When you have already a good amp and/or €2000,- is to much, you could buy a Bleusound Node2 for € 549,- and hook that up. The Node2 is also a Roon Endpoint and MQA complaint. Although the Auralic mini is (technically) a better choice, has better specs, and is cheaper it is not MQA complaint and no Roon-endpoint.

Is € 549,- to much than buy a Raspberry Pi, download the Roon-bridge image from this site and you’re ready to go for approximately € 50,- That is, when your amp has a USB (audio) input or a Hdmi (audio) input. If not by a DAC-HAT or a SPDIF-HAT for the Raspberry Pi for another +/- € 50,- For the money the sound is awesome, you could say at a Sonos level. I’ve used it via Hdmi and USB, two notes : via Hdmi the Roon-bridge is limited to 48Khz as the Linux kernel doesn’t support it (better the ALSA driver) OOB. via USB you can go to 96Khz. In both cases you can tweak with a better PSU. Expensive : the S-Booster botw (linear), less expensive : the IFI I-power (switched)

Want “everything” working and superb sound? By Meridian.

Best regards,
Léon

“If UNIX isn’t the solution, you’ve got the wrong problem…”

While I second your thoughts on Bluesound, a few remarks:

  • The Aries Mini is currently in process of becoming RoonReady (beta firmware with Roon support is already available)
  • IMO, a Pi with Digi+ Pro hat sounds quite a bit better over SPDIF than Sonos does. The same goes for the top-of-the-crop in DAC hats – try comparing with an Allo Boss, for example.
  • DietPi supports 192kHz over HDMI (although limited to 16-bit, I believe) and up to 384kHz for most DAC HATs;
  • For USB DACs, the Pi supports all of the rates that the DAC can handle, up to 768kHz
  • Meridian are getting woefully behind the curve in networked audio with the 96kHz limitation still present on their networked options. Maybe the upcoming 218 will improve on this.

Hi Rene,

Correct, i meant my DAC was limited to 96Khz, not the Pi, my mistake. Good to know about the Aries Mini, still it won’t play MQA. (Roon will do the handling).
Keep up the good work and thnx for the feedback.

Léon
“you are making progress if every mistake is a new one”

Roon recognizes my Onkyo receiver.