Another Streamer Recommendation Question


Hi Folks -

I know there have been a lot of threads talking about various streamer options, and I've gotten a lot of useful information from them. I didn't want to derail those threads with my own questions, so I thought I'd start with my own post.

I am considering a change to my streamer configuration and would like some opinions/recommendations. 

I bought a Denafrips Terminator which arrived a couple of weeks ago and have noticed it has occasional glitches when I feed it upsampled or hi-res content over AES/EBU from my Bryston BDP-2 streamer (with upgraded audio card). I think this is because the DAC uses a FIFO buffer and reclocks the data internally. Since the streamer clock and DAC clock are not locked, eventually the DAC's internal FIFO will run out of data or overflow causing a hiccup. It doesn't happen often (maybe once or twice a day that I've noticed), but I'm thinking that switching to a USB-capable streamer may make sense. 

I'm running Roon on a NUC (ROCK) in a fanless case (standard SMPS), feeding the Bryston over ethernet. I'd like to explore options that would be at least comparable in audio quality (ideally a step up) with minimal investment. I could justify up to $2500 since I'd be able to sell my Bryston for $800 or so to cover some of the expense, but I'd prefer a less expensive solution.

Options I'm considering:

Get a good LPS for the NUC and a decent USB cable and connect directly to the DAC. If I go this route - recommendations for LPS and cable? Would a $150 ebay LPS and AQ Coffee USB cable be reasonable? Or are these cheap supplies ( https://www.ebay.com/itm/Finished-100VA-Ultra-Low-Noise-linear-Power-supply-ouptut-9v-12v-19v-24v-etc/221884083511 ) not worth it. 

Add a SOTM tx-USBultra with SPS-500 LPS to the above option (+ $1600 new, maybe $1000 used). Plus a second USB cable.

Add a SOTM SMS-200 Ultra to the above (another $1200 new), or without the tx-USBultra. 

I've seen these three SOTM devices together for sale used for around $1800. 

Other streamers such as Lumin U1 Mini, Innuos Zenith. (maybe under $2K used, plus I'd still need a good USB cable).

I'd appreciate your thoughts on the above plus other recommendations. If you can give me an idea of cost, that would be most helpful. 
Ag insider logo xs@2xjaytor
I would say ZENith MK3 but it is way over your budget. Or a ZEN MK3 plus PhoenixUSB, but that combo is also way over your budget.

The path of least resistance for you is to get a good LPS to feed your fanless case NUC and stream from it. 

For good USB cables that don't break the bank, check out Triode Wire Labs. Or even a used Sonore by Cardas (there is one for sale right now at USAM for a good price)
Hello jaytor!
In my main rig I’m currently using Roon Nucleus as my principal source, connected by USB to a Chord Qutest. I’m using a Curious USB Cable which goes for $350. I’ve been running with this configuration since November. I just upgraded the Power Supply to a 19 Volt Sbooster LPS this past weekend. Preliminary results are very positive, but I’m still very much breaking in the Sbooster, have not quite a hundred hours on it at this point. The 19 Volt Sbooster goes for $399. Whether that can match the SQ of the Bryston BDP-2, that is another question. But before doing anything else, my personal recommendation would be to first give the folks at Bryston a call and get their take on what you are currently experiencing.
Thanks for the feedback/recommendations so far.

@jassman7 - I don't think this is an issue with the Bryston. Other users of the Denafrips DACs have reported similar issues when connecting via something other than USB. Alvin from Vinshine Audio (the distributor) has indicated that this is a known issue and is a result of the way the Denafrips DACs reclock the data. -

I should state that I don't think this is a serious flaw with these DACs. I'd much rather have an accurate, extremely low jitter internal clock feeding the data to the DAC than rely on minimizing jitter from an external streamer and cable. I have gone for many, many hours of listening without hearing any hiccups, all while enjoying great sound.

I think the approach that Denafrips is taking is a good one since it minimizes the effect of a less than perfect streamer and cable, but there will be occasional issues due to the independent clocks. The only way to overcome this is to use an asynchronous DAC-controlled interface (like USB) or phase-lock the internal clock to the streamer clock, which is very difficult (i.e. expensive) to do while achieving the low jitter that's possible using an independent clock.

I am definitely seriously considering just using the NUC as the source using an LPS and good USB cable. Even if I ultimately purchase a high-quality USB streamer, the LPS and USB cable are not lost investments, so it seems like this is a good stepping stone toward my goal. 
I am definitely seriously considering just using the NUC as the source using an LPS and good USB cable. Even if I ultimately purchase a high-quality USB streamer, the LPS and USB cable are not lost investments, so it seems like this is a good stepping stone toward my goal.

You nailed it! @jaytor  --- that's indeed the right approach, for now, and for future upgrade path