Test of modern, simple, moderate cost system

It would be interesting to see a test of what I consider a modern, simple, uncomplicated system.
Something consistent with the move to small, single-purpose devices I have discussed here.
Not complex. No PC. No NAS. Specifically not a Computer Audiophile.

Not super-expensive, that makes it irrelevant for most of us, and such systems are often high-strung and replete with discussions of room placement within inches.
Not super-cheap, then we get into DIY, nothing wrong with that but it has its own complications.

Not bogged down by old-think: I have seen some reviews recently where the tester had trouble because of starting with an already-complicated mindset and too many components, not mainstream

The kind of system that I would recommend to a 1st-world normally affluent, middle-aged, non-technical music lover.

If I were to build such a system, I would get a Nucleus, an external 1 TB USB drive (SSD for $350 or HD for $50), and powered, USB-input speakers (from KEF to Kii). Direct USB connection, or add a MicroRendu if you want. Total budget $4k to $20k depending on speakers, not peanuts by general standards, but reasonable by audiophile standards.

AND NO COMPLICATIONS. No worries about LPS or power conditioning or USB cleaners or audiophile cables.

The problem is, my own system is already too complicated. And in various rooms, either above a reasonable budget or piled up with obsolete, less-than-modern gear and too many boxes. And I fear many of us in this forum are in a similar situation.

Anybody who has built such a simple system and can comment?

I can just use my Naim Atom if I didn’t want Roon. It’s all in one and sounds the bomb. You can plug in a HDD and play direct as well as stream from Tidal, Spotify Airplay or Chromecast. Hook up whar ever speakers you want. I would never invest in a one stop box though for my data needs or I’d have to have too many separate items to do the rest of the things I enjoy. I don’t see the complication of a NAS. QNAP are so simple to operate and once setup I rarely go near it. I also dont want to spend 2000 on a computer that can do one thing.

How do you get your cd collection on your system too without a dedicated ripper. If you into music I am sure they would have a healthy selection. I guess a sonic transporter would be a better choice for this than a Nucleus.

One man’s simple is another man’s complex, I’m afraid. My system is as simple as my needs allow (and really not that far from what you describe):

NUC with 2 external disks (running Debian, mirroring disk 1 to 2 every night, mirroring to cloud every week)

Old-school Meridian DSP speakers (S/PDIF), Dirac Room Correction via MiniDSP (3 digital inputs, RC-ing every source)

Main endpoint:
Meridian MS-200 > Reviver > MiniDSP

Toy endpoint:
Pi/Digione > MiniDSP (UPNP (Audirvana, Qobuz), Librespot (Spotify), Shairplay-Sync (Airplay), HQPlayer NAA, Roon Bridge)

TV/Cable Box/DVD/BluRay/Apple TV > MiniDSP (via TV > Optical)

Everything (including Roon) remote controlled via Logitech Companion Hub + Remote

Airport Express (wireless bridge) > microRendu > Meridian Prime

Bluesound Pulse 2 (Wireless, RoonReady)

100% stable, 100% of the time – but I don’t think I could slim it down. :slight_smile:

If I were buying new today though, I would probably get pretty much the system you mention.

Rip on a computer.
You can attach the USB drive to the computer and copy it over, or copy it over the network. Drag and drop.

That’s universal, not part of what this test is about.

Only the bedroom system qualifies :slight_smile:

Mine is only a bit simpler (no Dirac).

We are disqualified.

So sad…

If I dump the TV, can I please keep the MiniDSP? :wink:

You’re disqualified too.
Anybody who can even have that conversation about the QNAP is a rare exception.

Sorry confusing since you mentioned no pc. Still the Atom is the most fully baked one box solutions I have found and it sounds amazing and its Roon ready. So combined with a nucleus it could be a contender.

Intel NUC i5 (Roon Core)

Room 1: Allo USBridge–>Brooklyn Dac+ -->Rega Elicit-R–>Kef R300 speakers

Room 2: Allo DigiOne–>Wyred4Sound 2v2 DAC–>Cambridge receiver–>Dali Spektor 2 speakers

pretty straightforward :slight_smile:

Merging+Player with connected 4 TB USB Harddrive for music files, Headphones, iPad for control. Done.

If you didn’t want the phones, then just add an Amp and Speakers instead.