Upgrade of endpoint

Hi everyone, I am using ROCK on intel NUC as core, endpoint is Raspberry pi and connect to Auralic VEGA Dac by USB, then to my preamp/headphone amp system, I will play those music store on my Synology NAS or by Qobuz.

So my question is whether worth it to spend like usd1000-1500 to get an streamer to replace the raspberry pi, is it possible to have noticeable enhancements of sound quality?

My thought is most of the digital processing has already done by the ROCK (as this is one of the advantage of why I pay for roon) , so the endpoint is just passing through the signal to the DAC, relatively playing a smaller role, is this concept correct?

If this is the case, upgrading the DAC is a better option? Or getting a stream/DAC in one device?

Looking forward for some opinion, thanks

(As I’m not going to assume how it sounds…)

Guess: your Pi is the bottleneck

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I would suggest you are targeting the area that represent the smallest difference in the streamer upgrade and that perhaps you should find a way to try it out before committing to a purchase.

The DAC would be more significant, but still not that significant when you compare with the amp section, the speakers and the room or even DSP to address the problems the room creates.

But I’m certain you will get alternative (honest) views and it’s hard to know which random internet username’s advice to take - usually you go with whatever you thought to begin with, so testing your assumptions is worth the time. I think you would be wasting your money unless you want something other than how it sounds (method of use, convenience and eco system type things)

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Hard to say without understanding the current setup. My main system is geared towards multi-channel playback and there’s not a lot of choices there.

I prefer Roon Ready components without interconnecting units, so for me the simplicity of streamer/dac combination was the right choice. An expensive option, for me, but handles MC, Stereo, and headphone use. SQ improvement was off the charts, in my opinion, but not surprising. My original setup was NUC to receiver over HDMI.

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I updated from a Pi 4 to an iFi Zen Stream. It did make a difference, but only minor. And came along with a lot of firmware niggles.

Would spending the extra money on amplification or speakers be better? Yes, it will make more difference.

If you look at the Slack and ProJect streamers both around $700, they are using Pi boards in them with Volumio on top. The Zen Stream is a different SBC, but also uses Volumio.

The only thing I would suggest is if you want additional functionality like Chromecast or Tidal Connect, then it’s worth doing.

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If you are not using using an upgraded power supply for your Raspberry Pi, I would try an iFi or linear power supply before I purchased a new streamer. Sometimes power supplies can make significant improvements in the sound coming from streamers. A lot of that depends upon the quality of your DAC.

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A couple of things. The Stack doesn’t use Volumio, it did but was changed to software related to Ropieee because it was so buggy. And these more expensive Pi based boards are using customised compute modules rather than the smaller evaluation boards we were able to buy for $35. The customisation includes power supply filtering and enhancements not part of a standard Pi boards.
I began with older SBC boards. I then went to Intel NUC hardware. In both those cases I used USB. My final solution was a streaming DAC. That dispensed with USB and with good software I have had a much simpler time. One box instead of up to 5. Better SQ and much better stability.

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Yes, I ve got the LPS for the Intel Nuc and the pi

Thanks for advices from everyone, I get most of the recommendation is that there wont be huge upgrade of SQ by replacing the raspberry pi, so I will keep it in my system until I have more budget to get a better streamer dac.

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What’s missing from your current set-up? It’s important to know what changes you expect from an upgrade. Others can help you decide if that’s even possible swapping the transport.

There is nothing missing actually, I am quite happy with the current setup of CAS, but when compare with my CD player, CD it still sound more natural and smoother specially on female vocal and solo violin.