Speakers: Rega RS7 floor standers
Amp: Rega Elex-R
DAC: Rega DAC (older model not the newer DAC-R)
Streamer: SONOS Connect
Analogue: Rega Planar 6 turntable with high end MC cartridge with Rega Aria phono stage pre amp.
The cabin room I use for listening produces a nice sound. I get fantastic sound quality when playing quality vinyl records. The Planar 6 and Aria is a very highly regarded system. Glowing reviews highlight that it is somewhat “component dependent”.
Playing digital music (during attentive sessions) is disappointing though. I am not using Roon yet, just the SONOS app, playing TuneIn and Apple Music, etc.
So, I would like to get a better streamer and remove the SONOS Connect from the system. The fork in the road is how many boxes do I use?
Add a new streamer and keep my Rega DAC and Rega Amp?
Add a new streamer and a new DAC but keep my Rega Amp? One box or two?
Add a new streamer, DAC and Amp; all separate boxes?
Add one single high end box that serves as a streamer, DAC and amp but keep my Rega Aria phono stage?
Replace all components with one box that serves analog and digital play?
Ideally I would like to improve the digital sound WITHOUT impacting the analog sound I enjoy currently. Replacing most or all of my current boxes would be expensive. I am not sure how successful I would be at selling my current kit.
To my eye option #2 is the most appealing? The other factor is that I have a custom triangle shaped equipment rack with limited space.
Any suggestions for a good Streamer/DAC upgrade here? Budget would be around $3000 or so?
Once this is done I plan on using Roon, most likely with a Nucleus…
You should start out by downloading Roon to your Windows 10 computer or Apple computer and subscribe to Tidal and/or Qobuz. Stream to whatever Roon ready device you have or purchase a Roon ready DAC such as Dragonfly Cobalt. You will never listen to Apple Music again. By the way, all music you listen to is analog.
I’d go down your preferred route but first add a streamer and keep the Rega DAC. An S/PDIF streamer such as the Allo DigiOne if very capable and not a significant investment (I read that the USB input is not so good.)
This Rega system is housed in our island project. Our primary home is all Linn based: latest Majik DSM with Majik 140 speakers (plus multiple room play via SONOS).
The room conditions between the Rega and Linn systems are quite different. Although I have more money invested in the Linn I am still very pleased with the Rega gear overall. The Elex-R is a very nice sounding amp for the money.
But the SONOS Connect has got to go. Hence my question…
I had the Rega DAC and it is a good match for the Elex. Spending a load of money on a new DAC will then show up the Elex as the pinch point.
I’d do as @Martin_Webster said and add the Digi one. It’s a balanced investment that matches your system capabilities.
However, your DAC is at least seven years old. If you really like it and are confident that it will deliver the sound you’re looking for with an upgraded transport and lossless music from TIDAL, Qobuz, or your own local FLAC library, I’d still go with the Allo. However, DACs age about as well as smartphones (perhaps a little better), so a 7 year-old DAC is like a 35 year-old pair of loudspeakers.
If you’re open to trying something new, the PecanPi from Orchard Audio is a single-box solution that would probably be a significant upgrade from your Rega. It’s simply Ethernet in and Analog audio out. It’s definitely worth checking out: https://orchardaudio.com/pecanpi
I have not heard one, but I’ve heard mixed review. In my view, a $4k streamer is problematic because, as I suggested, they don’t age well. Spend $4k thoughtfully on an amp or speakers and you can enjoy them for decades. Most streamers will be approaching end-of-life after six or so years because they are based on computer technology.
I’d spend $500 on something like the PecanPi and spend the balance of that $3k budget on IsoThermal TubeTraps from ASC. This is more likely to revolutionize the sound of your system than spending thousands on components with a comparatively short shelf-life.