So with my new system coming together, i have amp and speakers sorted out. I was going to do what I’ve historically always done and get a DAC, but given location of roon core, direct DAC connection is a pain, and I’m keen to minimise box count. So instead, I’m looking at streamers.
Initially I was probably content just to get a Cambridge CXN V2 and move on with my life, but as it has a ton of functions i’ll never use (e.g. airplay, chromecast etc etc) I wonder if a simpler device would make sense.
There is the Lumin D2, but its quite pricey and I’m not convinced I believe DAC’s sound different enough to merit the cost.
So, what are peoples experiences… simple, roon endpoint with XLR output that has a measurably good DAC stage.
If you want a device that doesn’t have elements you’ll never use on them you’ll have to build it yourself or get something commissioned. The product that comes closest would be Orchard Audio’s Pecan Pi streamer which is essentially Pi based so you can choose your preferred OS. Put Ropieee on it and you have well regarded hardware with Roon specific software. Leo is easy to contact re the hardware as is Harry regarding the OS. They both have accounts here.
Are you looking for an all-in-one streamer and DAC, streamer only, or separate streamer and DAC? Streamer only or streamer and DAC then a raspi as streamer works great. Tons of DAC choices that are terrific and inexpensive. I’m using an SMSL 300 MKII that I picked up on Amazon. I picked that over a Topping D10B because the SMSL also has volume control and remote. Both have balanced output. If you want an all-in-one then good luck. I haven’t seem many that measure well and are inexpensive. My headphone system uses a raspi with display and Khadas Tone 1 into Drop THX789. The SMSL and tone 1 sound equally good to me so balanced out isn’t needed in my setup. Both also sound as good as my Chord Qutest for what it’s worth.
I found different DACs to indeed produce a diverse soundstage - worthwhile enough to experiment and explore the perfect match for your system.
I guess the most important point is how the DAC chip is implemented, what components are used in the device plus the interconnects used.
I just „switched“ from an ESS Sabre 9028Pro in my McIntosh C53 DA2 to an ESS Sabre 9028Pro in the Lumin T2 (to the C53 via Shunyata XLR) - and could not be more astonished with the sonic difference.
Besides my T2, I still use my first love - the RME ADI DAC FS2 due to the tight sound signature and amazing functionality, now fed via USB from the T2.
With Lumin you can‘t go wrong, or alternatively and more $ friendly did you look into the offerings from Pro-ject such as the DAC BOX RS2 ?
Matrix Audio… have one of these and its just great… small handy good remote no fluff… only pro model now I think. dont be confused by the AMP reference its for headphones but has XLR/RCA out plus fixed/variable volume control too.
Has LAN and Wifi and supports Line in too if you have a TT with Line level preout.