Recommendations for upstream of MAC7200 / DA1

Hi folks,
I have a MAC7200 (and B&W diamonds), and would like some recommendations for upstream of the DAC.

I’m temporarily using an old (late 2008) MacBook as the core & output via USB, and am considering:
-(new) Mac Mini or NUC or Nucleus or Small Green Computer; for either just core, or both core & output
-separate NUC, or one of the Rendu’s (if the above is not running both core & output); open to others

I’m specifically looking for sound quality based recommendations for interfacing the McIntosh DAC (DA1) in the MAC7200, since my understanding is recommendations vary based on the particular DAC.
I’d also appreciate any general input/experiences, though too.

I stream mostly pop from Tidal Masters through Roon (life member), and don’t currently use DSP, HQPlayer, etc; but I also like to experiment.
And, I’m OK with making an investment to get the “right” equipment (i.e. but not spending $ on equipment that makes no difference).

Thanks much!

If that’s the case, you may first download a free copy of REW software, spend 100$ on a UMIC from minidsp, read up on @Magnus very good tutorial while waiting for delivery, and take your setup to another level with room correction…
You will not regret having gone through the learning curve, I assure you!

Happy tinkering and stay healthy

Thanks @Marin_Weigel!
That’s sounds fun and I’ll dig into room correction down the road (bookmarked!).

With regards to the upstream equipment, (after quite a bit of reading) I see that @Magnus uses the Allo USBridge, and they have come out with a newer version - any word on experiences with the new or old & McIntosh DA1?
Anything good/bad about the new (2020) Mac Mini?


Hi @MixTape. Wish I could have responded earlier but I added a Nucleus with 1TB SSD a couple of weeks ago. I would recommend the Nucleus via USB to the DA1 like I have in my C49 preamp. The Nucleus as a dedicated core and streamer works great with no other expense and you are silently set for life. I truly love the sound. I did add a BOTW linear power supply. If DSP is truly something you want to max out then get the Nucleus+ but for my 700cd’s and 700 Qobuz files, it was not worth more money to me.

I’ve had my Nucleus connected to my McIntosh MA7900 for a few weeks. I should mention that I’m using an outboard DAC, a Schiit Gungninr, which I think is better than the supplied McIntosh DAC. The Nucleus works very well. But I wouldn’t buy it if I had all this to do over because you’re tied to Roon with it. You cannot, for instance, ditch Roon and just use Tidal, which is what I’d like to do. I’m not thrilled with Roon, particularly it’s very much off the mark listening recommendations. Anyhow, the Nucleus is easy and sounds great, good luck to you.