Just a quick attempt at reaching out to see what streamers you all use, why you picked that route & what the sound quality is like on your system? Would be great to tag on what system you have or some pics to see it’s relevance in certain setups. Even better if you can tell me what you used previously & why you changed/upgraded.
I’m between the following;
Nucleus (as Core & Endpoint via USB to DAC in integrated amp) - using MacBook as Core currently
Lumin U1 Mini
Bluesound Node 2i
Used Linn options…
I’d just be using Roon & as a standalone system with my Hi-Fi, utilising Qobuz & Tidal. We use Spotify connect everywhere else in the house & it works spot on, so have no interest in changing that.
RPi 4 w/ HifiBerry Digi+ Pro HAT===(Toslink)===>Mutec 3+===(coax)===>iFi DSD Pro
Rpi 3===(USB)===>Topping D90
Both using Ropieee OS.
Why RPis, because streamers don’t make a difference in SQ.
I’ve used and sold an SMS-200, mainly because I had to keep re-flashng the OS.
Current setup (for details please see my profile)
ROCK + LUMIN U1Mini
I’m very happy with that setup. The LUMIN integrates Spotify just flawless, so my family can always just start playing something while Roon plays and vice versa.
Had a SOtM SMs200ultra with PSU by SOtM before as Roon endpoint (extremely good SQ) but the lacking Spotify integration drove me to the LUMIN.
Before integrating the ROCK I was using an Innuos ZENith MK2 as Roon Core but the transformer was humming (very quietly but to much for me) and also Roon (UI) performance was underwhelming.
RPi4+7" Touchscreen running RoPieeeXL for my one endpoint that is not natively Roon Ready. Works extremely well.
I know a lot of people think the RPi-based solutions are too techie to set up, but that’s really not the case. Assembling the case is basic (even for combo cases like the one I used to hold both the RPI4 and the RPi Touchscreen). And RoPieee makes it dead simple on the “doing computers” front. Burning the image to an SD card is also straightforward (and there are 9,000 videos showing this on YouTube if you need a visual walkthrough) and then RoPieee takes care of the rest for you. No “doing computers” knowledge needed, really…
Currently my systems are
3 airplay zones, two are airport expresses into marginal speaker systems, the third is a homepod.
My main system is: Naim Uniti Atom -> Quad 2912
My workshop system is: rPi 3-> Iancanada fifoPi ->Iancanada Dual ESS9038 DAC -> Iancanada Lundahl transformer analog stage -> nCore amplifier -> Quad 2805
The rPi3 has a 7" touchscreen and is running RoPieeeXL
Previous systems were:
Airport Express -> DACs of my design into:
Counterpoint SA1000 preamp (lots of mods)
My own SRPP 6CG7 preamp
Classe Stereo 70
Highly Modified Dyna St-70
B&O 125AX2 based amp with my buffer
Hypex UcD180 based amp
These drove Quads (of various vintages) or electrostats of my own design.
Allo DigiOne (on Raspberry Pi 3B) > Chord 2Qute (S/PDIF)
Previously used USB on 3B but had occasional clicks and ticks.
I use Ropieee and I’m very pleased with the DigiOne and no need to replace with anything else.
I currently have a Lumin D2 on one setup and the SOtM SMS-200Ultra Neo (along with their sPS-500 power supply) on another one. I have had both for about a year and they have been great and sound excellent. Neither have given me any issues. At work they use a Sonore UltraRendu, which also sounds great and has been trouble free.
Uh oh, that makes a little nervous about my SOtM, lol. Was this recently?
Besides my Linn systems (see profile), I’ve iterated over a number of different streamers (SOtM, Sonore, Auralic, Metrum, Allo) depending on various factors, including their sensitivity to power supply, which DAC, and more. I’ve now converged to a DIY solution that I find very effective: Pi 2 Design Pi2AES shield with a Pi 3 or Pi 4, their recommended SMPS, and Ropieee. Total cost $275 with the I2S board. As good or better than anything I’ve used before, even at multiples of its cost, for S/PDIF coax, AES, or I2S.
I run a variety of RPis with HifiBerry or Alloo HATS to output to DACs. Also a few ChromeCast Audios but they’re harder to get and aren’t perfect.
Raspberry Pis are cheap and easy to set up. You might need to do a little reading first but there’s plenty of available help.
A couple years ago, but the design hasn’t changed.
Don’t know why these type of devices weren’t designed from the beginning to use eMMC memory, which is not susceptible to being clobbered.
Always keep a backup copy of OS on hand.
Thanks @Philipp_Schaefer. I toyed around with a Lumin U1 Mini a few weeks back & I was impressed.
Very responsive, good sound & what appeared to be fantastic build quality.
Definitely a market out there for decent, out the box transport streamers.
Now that Metrum Acoustics is back from the tomb (long story), their streamers might be worth considering. I owned a Metrum Ambre for a while and I was happy with it — self-contained, good sound quality — but at some point I was reworking my audio systems and I no longer needed it, so I sold it. A year later, things changed again and the Ambre would have become useful, but by then I was DIYing Pi2AES-based streamers.
Using a Lumin T2 for the last few months. Flawless operation and truly outstanding sound quality. Very impressed.
Nucleus+ -> Smythe Realiser A16
-> Cambridge Edge NQ (can go via the A16 too but why ?)
IPad Mini for Roon Control.
The Edge NQ is just fantastic. Wouldn’t trade it for anything. Even the headphone amp is so good there is simply no need for an external one. Going via the A16 if I feel like playing with surround effects. The Nucleus+ is a pretty good streamer by itself if you have an amp with hdmi inputs. But nowhere near as good as the Edge NQ.
HP EliteDesk 800 G2 i7 as the Roon Server to a PS Audio Directstream DAC for main system.
SonicTransporter i5 --> OpticalRendu --> Chord Hugo TT2 DAC
I’m a bit u sure of the definition of streamer?
We all must have a core, so presumably that’s not what you mean.
So the streamer in my main system is an Auralic Aries, replacing an ultraRendu, which replaced a RPi.
Kitchen system is a Bluesound Pulse Flex, TV room it’s a Bluesound Pulsebar ( replacing an RPi into a Naim SuperUniti ), bedroom a Bluesound powernode 2i (replacing a RPi into a Naim UniQute).
Were it not for the wonderful RPi I wouldn’t be here now but it’s been totally usurped by more specialised products for me.
Rpi4 running Vitos connected to an ifi Zen Dac then to my Onkyo Tx-8270 receiver. For headphones I use an old Android TV Box running Coreelec and roon bridge in Docker connected to a Sony NW-WM1A DAP.