I’m looking for a very good streaming DAC –
- Roon Ready
- Ideally, price < $10,000
- Ethernet-in/Analog-Out - minimal other digital inputs
- Roon streams directly to the Dac, without needing HQPlayer/etc for good sound
- Focus on PCM, and support MQA now/soon. (All of my music is either redbook aiff or Tidal; I don’t have any real investment in hd tracks, DSD, etc)
- Mainstream/established manufacturer that will provide ongoing upgrades or repairs into the next years (it’s a big investment)
- It would be great if the DAC didn’t provide USB - USB is hard to do well, and I could avoid paying for that. (May be unrealistic, but it’s wish-list.)
There’s a few products I’ve seen that roughly target this, more or less —
-> I’ve heard this one - it sounds good to me, although I don’t know how this compares with its competitors. Can I do better?
The QX-5 spends a lot of $$ on “digital hub” inputs that I really don’t need/want (eg see darko video with a walkthrough of the internals) - internally, a lot of this unit is composed of power stages etc devoted to all these different input types, rather than simply (a) great power supply, (b) great rendering, © great D->A, (d) great output stage.
Lumen S1, etc
-> Do these sound good? Internal design looks really clean, separate power supply, few inputs. I’d love to hear more about these - these forums seem fairly quiet about Lumen. (I’ve also read that they’re best for DSD?) Are these dated?
-> Gets good reviews although it reportedly is best for DSD. Also, it costs more than $10k.
Linn DS products, e.g. Accurate DS.
-> These don’t support Roon, so unfortunately wouldn’t work.
Auralic Vega G2 -
-> I think they’re adding ethernet to the next Vega, but I’m don’t know if this would really compete with the others here?
-> I’m not sure these are available, and they’re a little out of my price range. Still, interesting in hearing any impressions.
Bricasti M1 + internal network bridge (ala M5)
-> These stretch the price range too, but could work. I’ve heard mixed reviews a from local dealer but see very enthusiastic owners online. Are these dated?
Mytek? (manhattan, brooklyn, etc)
-> I’ve been told these won’t compete, but really have no experience with them.
PS Audio directstream, etc (with bridge)
-> I’ve been told that these, too, won’t compare with the better dacs at the high-end - but again, I don’t know. However, they’re really DSD-focused.
totalDac with server, etc - out of my price range, and it’s awkward dealing with a tiny company/individual on another continent…
dcs Rossini - also out of my price range
I could get a streamer and separate DAC if necessary (using microRendu or dcs bridge, etc), but I’d prefer to get a single solution if possible.
Can you provide some feedback on the alternatives above, and let me know if I should be considering something else?
I’m particularly interested in hearing some comparative/listening opinions from people that have heard more than one of these. It’s really hard to find/hear these, and just compare in-person.
I realize that this is similar to a couple of other threads. Sorry about that - I’ve read those too, I think my requirements are a little different & more specific, but there’s definitely overlap too…