New to network audio — help me pick my hardware!

Hello! I auditioned out Roon at my local dealer recently and was instantly hooked! Right now I’m using an Apple Airport Express as my streamer / DAC, but it’s giving me problems — an excuse to upgrade! I’m looking for a network player and DAC (or 2-in-1) that is Roon ready, can handle DSD and MQA, and has balanced XLR line out. I’ll be connecting to DAS via ethernet. My budget is $1k but I can stretch that if there’s a compelling need. I’m currently considering the following combo:

SOtM sMS-200 + Topping D70

I’m also wondering if using my desktop as DAS is viable (desktop -> ethernet -> streamer)? I want to avoid NAS if at all possible.


Sounds good. Your desktop should be fine for running Roon. I might ditch the SOtM and just use a Raspberry Pi 4, about $100 with case and power supply, to feed the D70, bringing the total cost to $600. The Pi is really all you’d need, I think. What Intel chip is in the desktop? You might want to to have something hefty if you’re going to be doing video or gaming while also running Roon in the background.

Oh, and does the D70 do MQA? I bought one with MQA decoding, but found I never used that feature.

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My desktop is a 2012 Mac Mini with i7 quad core. I think it’s still up to the task? I don’t do anything CPU intensive when streaming.

The Pi 4 sounds very interesting. Are there any guides or resources on how to get that up and running with Roon? I’ve built PC’s in the past, but have no experience with Pi’s.

It’s dead simple. You buy a kit (I like the Cana kits on Amazon), and snap the pieces together, about 4 steps to it. You burn the RoPieee OS to an SD card and shove that in the SD slot, then turn the thing on. Run a USB cable from one of the USB ports to your D70. Roon will take care of the rest.

There are guides on the forum here. Or look at You don’t need a “hat” or a display if you don’t want one, just the Pi (and case, and powersupply, and SD card to put the OS on). It just acts as a transceiver between the Ethernet and the DAC.