What streamer to use?

Hi,

Got my Intel Nuc yesterday and installed Roon Rock.

I have a Bluesound Node 2 as streamer and DAC, at home. As an external DAC I have a RME ADI 2 fs, but I use that one as DAC and headphone amp at my office. Used it at home first and it’s amazing.

Now it’s time to upgrade because the RME stays at my office. As a standalone DAC I have my eyes on the Schiit Yggdrasil.

But what to do with a streamer? What can I win with an upgrade over the Node 2. What do you use? Budget around 1500k.

My amp is a Primaluna Dialogue Integrated amp with a set of Klipsch Cornwall IV’s.

Thanks for your input.

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I’ve recently moved from a Allo USBridge to a Lumin U1 Mini and I’m very impressed with the Lumin so far. The sound, to me, is much warmer and the little more defined. It was really easy to install and set up and has performed without any hiccups. I looked at a whole bunch of other streamers and I’m really glad that in the end I chose the Lumin.

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If you’re not adverse to a little tinkering, a raspberry pi (+ hat if not using usb), with ropieee or similar, will yield amazing performance for very little outlay. At least while exploring other options.

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I’ve owned an Yggdrasil for several years, now upgraded to Schiit’s latest USB (Unison) and analog boards. I’ve used quite a range of streamers with it, including some costing well into the $1k-$2K range. The best that I’ve used is a Pi with a Pi2AES board running Ropieee, for a total cost around $250, connected to the Yggdrasil with S/PDIF (coax or AES3). Unison USB from a good USB streamer (the last I owned was the Allo USBridge with an Sbooster LPS) was a close second, just very slightly less defined/incisive. I also use Pi2AES-based streamers with two other good DACs, Sonnet Morpheus and Holo Spring 2 KTE.

From my stramer-DAC experience and (and decades of work around digital hardware and software), if a DAC requires a comparably-priced streamer to work at its best, I’d look for another DAC. Current Yggdrasil USB does very well from a basic USB streamer, and I’d not even have tried anything else if I did not already have the Pi2AES already for a different purpose and tried it with the Yggdrasil out of curiosity.

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I’m of the same opinion as Fernando.

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Thank you. Well, for the price a Pi with hat if needed is a no-brainer. Definately trying that out.

Do you mean an almost 3k DAC works best with a streamer in the same price range?

Hi Mike, Never tried a Pi but from what I’ve red today it’s pretty awesome. Juist have almost no experience with streamers except my Node 2.

My Setup

  • Nuc 10i7 with 32GB, 1TB nvme + 2TB SSD
  • Raspberry pi 4 4GB with VitOS
  • Khadas Tone Pro 2
  • into AVR Denon x2400h
  • Focal Sib Evo 5.1

A Schiit Yggdrasil takes USB, so you just need a pi4, case, psu, and SD card with Ropieee. There’s an intro here: RoPieee | Getting Started

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No, what I said is that if a high-end DAC requires a streamer costing the same as the DAC, then the DAC is poorly designed and you should get a different DAC. A well-designed DAC is able to filter out source electrical noise and timing variation. There might be slight differences between different sources on a well-designed DACs, but nothing major that would justify going to multi-$K sources. In my experience, given what I know about technology, YMMV.

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Curiosity, does your Yggy falter when confronted with 192 track? Mine sure does.

I’ve been edging towards an Intel Nuc and installing Roon Rock as well. Great to hear the feedback. I think I just edged a little closer ! Love flexibility and experimenting. Great comment. Thanks.

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It’s perfect, and always on. First wanted a Nucleus but that’s expansive considering the Nuc does the same. Takes 15m to setup, including reading how to…

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That’s really good to hear. Since the Nuc is so inexpensive I might experiment with it when I can get the time to catch my breath. Later on I shall be getting the Nucleus but as you say … a little pricey. So I need to save up for that. Then I can decide what works better for me and I can let my sons play around with the other. Never ending story … messing around with various pieces to see what sound I like best and then selling gently used pieces. It’s the price of experimenting I guess. What a hobby. But I love music.

No. I don’t have a lot of 192 tracks, but I have some and I’ve never had a problem with them playing on the Yggdrasil. I can’t recall all the configurations I’ve used, but I’m pretty sure I’ve played 192 tracks via Unison USB (from the original Allo USBridge) and via AES (from Auralic Aries, Metrum Ambre, and now Pi2AES).

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Get another RME for home and pair with an RPi4.

You already have and enjoy ‘state of the art’ at the office. Home deserves equal ! :smile:

You’re even in a position to try it at very low cost (just need to bring RME home and buy a cheap RPi4).

Or at no cost - bring RME home and use Node 2 as streamer (use it’s TOSlink output into ADI-2)

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That was my starting position at home, Node 2 as streamer and RME as DAC, great great sound.
But I can’t help thinking it will get even better with an Yggdrasil.
And today at my office, my DT 1990 Pro with RME kicks ass.

Technically/objectively better, probably not…

Subjectively better, possibly but only you will be able to confirm with your own ears.

Best of luck, whichever way you go !

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I’m running a Celeron NUC with Rock as an endpoint. Works really well with a Schiit Modius.

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Far from me to deter you from getting an Yggdrasil, which is one of my favorite DACs. The Yggdrasil shows its qualities best with a good speaker system like yours. However, keep in mind that this DAC very much wants to be on constantly for temperature stability (like other multibit DACs, but maybe even pickier than some of those), and its soundstage with speakers is closer in (“second row”) than other DACs I’ve used, which may of may not be your preference.

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