Best “end-game” system for streaming from iPhone with Ascend Sierra 2 speakers?

I’ve finally bought some Ascend Sierra 2’s after a ton of back and forth , stress and research.  

I literally just can’t get my head together around how to put together a top SQ streaming system using my iPhone through USB and wireless (I think) that will be “end-game” without spending a fortune.
I don’t plan to continually keep selling and getting new units but may add things over time (mainly more speakers/subs or entirely new systems for other rooms). 

I’m only interested in 2.1 listening WITH a subwoofer (Rel, Rythmik, MJ Acoustics etc. ?) and I listen to all types of music from the best quality versions of Tidal, Apple Music, Deezer, And even Spotify.

My budget outside of the money already spent on the Sierra’s is about 4 grand over time (the sub (s) and stands may have to come later although I would rather have it all and now of course. Used is fine but I’m thinking that I’m too scared to buy from anyone other than a dealer or someone with a stellar and extensive sales record. 

The room is not ideal as it’s very large with living and dining rooms are both together with 10 or 11 foot ceiling.

I also think that I’ve ruled out class d but could possibly be talked out of that and I also would prefer stuff made in America or Canada or Europe but that’s not 100% either. 

Less boxes and complexity is also a plus. 

Right now for example, i’m looking at a used Krell Digital Vanguard at around $2800 or a non-digital version at around $2400 but if I went for those I would probably have to delay the subwoofer and stands for awhile. Also, can I even add a sub to that unit? A Hegel Röst @ around $1900 sounds interesting but I’m concerned about the relative low power. Same for Naim Atom. Odyssey amp with a streamer/dac or preamp (or both?). You get the idea. 

I have a older cheap pc that I could possibly use if things are simple but I don’t see that happening because nothing ever seems to be when it comes to windows. I also might consider buying a cheap Apple iPad or etc if needed. 

So within those somewhat loose constraints, I would like some advice and suggestions please. 


The speakers and sub should be at least half your budget. Buying a $3000 amp for <$2000 speakers makes no sense.

The Outlaw RR2160 would be more than adequate, and had bass management for the sub (Rythmik FTW).

For streaming, just use AirPlay; if you have a tv, get an Apple TV, and go optical out from your tv.

Or, a Marantz SR7012; was $2000, but now <$1000 as it’s a generation old. It is surround sound receiver (with AirPlay audio), but at 1/2 price it is competitive with $1000 integrated amps.
Thanks so much for your suggestions and I will definitely take it into consideration. 
I wouldn't suggest the marantz. It sounds like you're interested in pushing your components to their limit and a surround receiver just doesn't make sense in a 2 channel application.

You have to first decide how you want your source to work; streaming or file playback. It sounds like you stream music so I might recommend a bluesound node 2i (made in canada) which I've recently purchased and has turned out to be an excellent source. The blueOS app works very well and you can connect multiple streaming accounts to it and control everything through your phone. The bluesound is much better sounding when the ethernet cable is plugged in, so take that into consideration. One advantage of the bluesound is there is an internal DAC that is fairly good (burr brown chip) which you could use before purchasing an external DAC.

I personally would go the route of an integrated amplifier without a built in DAC. DAC technology is changing at a very fast pace. This strategy would let you upgrade down the line. Keep in mind, the bluesound does not have USB out, so if you are interested in DSD, you would need USB streamer.

For an amp, I think you could be fairly flexible. I would choose an integrated 2 channel amp with one or two sub outputs. It doesn't sound like a phono input is desired so you could find units without that option to save money. I think bass management could be done manually if you get the right sub. Two options are the rythmic f-12 and the svs sb-3000. Both have integrated bass management that can be manually done; the svs within thier app and the rythmik on the back of the amp. One problem with the krell is that it doesn't look like it has a sub output. Depending on your goals that could be a problem. The bluesound node 2i does have a sub-out, however its fixed volume if you use it properly which isn't ideal but can be made to work. You just set your sub volume to a typical listening level and then manually adjust it beyond that.

One option is the musical fidelity m3si or m5si. Both don't have sub outputs but it looks like there are good deals on units right now if you do some searching. These are well respected amps however they have phono inputs and no sub output. Another option would be a peachtree nova 150. This unit has a built in DAC and phono but has a sub out. That is a class D unit which it sounds like you want to stay away from. Honestly, for budget, you could spend 2k on an amp if you wanted to, it would likely sound really nice if it pairs well with your speakers. I might try to get input from others who have experience with the Sierra 2's as I do not. 

Also, don't forget to budget for cables and stands! They really do matter.

There are a lot of things to think about when building a system, its exciting to be starting out! Good luck!