Combination streamer and music server…without DAC

Re. Combination streamer and music server without DAC:  There don’t seem to be too many of these out there and when I do see them, they tend to be quite pricey (Aurender N20).  I would like to use the DAC on my CD player.  I’m looking for something used, between $3K and $4K.  I suppose Lumin is an option by purchasing an L1 storage unit but I’m trying to avoid having another box.  I have about 300 to 400 cd’s.  Any suggestions?  Thanks.




You can find Bryston BDP-3 for good prices used.  But I think the storage has to be external (attached or nas).  I have their BDP Pi and switch between Roon endpoint and standalone.  SQ is really good for such a small device.   It will also control an DVD device but thats adding yet another box.   Manic Moose interface is certainly spartan but you can use other interface software that is compatible with MPD  to manage local files but you have to use Manic Moose to stream Qobuz or Tidal and internet radio.  

Innuos the Zen Series has multiple options in your price range.

Outstanding FREE Software also. 

I am a convert.

I’d highly recommend a used Innuos Zenith Mk3 or Zen Mk3 (new or used) streamer/servers that have their own onboard disk drive along with internal storage — everything in one box. Good user interface, excellent sound quality, and great customer support if needed. You also have the option of adding their Phoenix Reclocker down the road for a nice performance boost if desired. There’s a Zenith available here now in your price range. Best of luck.


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six we have clients who used to own innous and now use the EVO


also innous is not upgradable we used to sell innous


we did a shootout of our aeon vs a statement with upgraded power supply it cost 3 times more and did not sound better


perhaps you should try an Aeon?

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+1 on Innuos Zenith MK3 recommendation. I'm using one with the Eno filter and it sounds sublime. Not a trace of the so-called digital harshness in my system. Plus you get a built-in CD ripper, decent storage, and a Roon core (in addition to being a Roon endpoint) ... what more can you ask for.




Having a diverse membership; including dealers, manufacturers, enthusiasts,  reviewers, musicians, audio mixers, et al - makes AudiogoN a great place to learn about high end audio. I think it’s wonderful that Audiotroy participates in the discussion forums.  He has received several favorable testimonials from members who have purchased gear from him.

The community benefits by learning about a new generation of equipment that he has personally heard and invested in. Not like some opinionated yenta who recommends gear that they read about somewhere.   Or mistakenly maligns a manufacturer for poor customer service where he read about it somewhere.

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@soix You have almost 6000 posts. Joined in 2013.    Yet, you have not posted your system. No point of reference to gauge your comments.

If you don’t like a post or poster, simply skip over it.  It’s very easy.

I think most here are smart enough to see through audiotroy's salesmanship. I doubt anyone would fall for the tactics.

However, one thing I noticed is that the quality of his responses (both content and grammar) has decline precipitously in the last 2 years or so. Previously, at least he used to share his thoughts in an elegant manner and participate in deep discussions while not always pitching his products. Nowadays, it's just blatant advertisement with very little content. Is this a different person posting under the same handle? 

audiotroy OP

I have to write replies on my phone as it is easier to finger type as I h ad a stroke which was mentioned previously

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excerpted from this discussion. 



You have no shame, and frankly your disingenuous behavior disgusts me ... I’M NOW CALLING ON THE MODERATORS OF THIS SITE TO FINALLY BAN AUDIOTROY .. SPEAK UP AND MAKE YOUR VOICES HEARD ...

I think Audiotroy is as welcome here as most everyone else. If you're disgusted, maybe you're in the wrong place.

thank you steakster


the fact is we put our money where our mouth is we heard the evos were stellar performers so we imported them and then did our do diligence by testing them vs the competition

as you pointed out this is how we all learn about new products

if someone doesnt like our posts please just skip over them

we sell our servers with a two week money back trial so people can decide for themselves to date 0 returns.


also where in the post did we put down the competition?

six we have clients who used to own innous and now use the EVO

no put down there

also innous is not upgradable we used to sell innous

that is a statement of fact In Innous can not be hardware upgraded


a zen can not turn into a zenith a zenith can not be turned into a statement

We did a shootout of our aeon vs a statement with upgraded power supply it cost 3 times more and did not sound better

that is not putting down the competition that is an opinion and an acount of what both of us heard.

censorship in a forum is a bad idea there are rapid aureder fans and maggie and vandy fans who post all the time

if someone says they heard a pair of maggies sound better thea pair of magicos that is an opinion

we all have our favorite products

the difference is we move into new lines all the time

as per servers and streamers we have sold most of them including aurender sotm, Innous, auraylic and a few others


Dave and Troy

audio intellect nj

I've got no horse in this race, but audiotroy has as much right as anyone to say that he prefers one particular piece of kit over another.  Almost everyone on the forum does that in one way or another.  That said, he does often come across as a shill, which to my mind does more damage than good for any marketing intent he has. Lots of people are put off as the conversation approaches used car sales pitch territory. 

As for me, I tend to just ignore specific thread posts that don't interest me, so no vote from me one way or the other as to whether he stays or goes. It's up to the forum moderators to determine if any no-no line has been crossed. 

Not a fan of the shameless promotion when we have run other people off this forum for being shills and peddlers.

He should take an ad out on this site. 

Most other dealers on this forum have the integrity to refrain from posting on threads like this. 

Personally I would never spend a dime with that outfit.  

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It would be nice if other dealers beside @audiotroy also posted. Seeing a discussion or civil debate between dealers might provide information that doesn't come out when only a single dealer posts.

As for the comment to soix, 

Yet, you have not posted your system. No point of reference to gauge your comments.

I've had made sense of any number of posts by soix and others without referring to their system. Why the heck would that be necessary to gauge their comments? Befuddling remark.


There is a "bottom feeder" aspect to this behavior- no matter the topic, this dealer will weigh in, and attempt to make a sale. If Audiogon is about monetizing opportunities, especially for those in the trade, the dealer should pay for advertising. You don't see Ralph, Duke or others shilling their products aimlessly; far from it, they weigh in with knowledge and advice, without looking to "sell" their wares. I would figure anybody who needs to do this is not the kind of dealer I'd want to do business with anyway. It is annoying behavior though. 


You don't see Ralph, Duke or others shilling their products aimlessly; far from it, they weigh in with knowledge and advice, without looking to "sell" their wares.

Agreed. Nor do they contact you via private message to let you know about deals.

I went from the Vault 2i which served me well to the Aurender N200 and love it.  It is built like a tank and support is excellent.  You can find one used at the top of your budget 

To answer the OP question: Innuos for sure. Several tiers at different price levels.


Now, for Audiotroy (Dave and Troy): the moment I saw the title of this thread, I immediately though "here is Audiotroy with his 432 EVO servers"... which is fine for me. Free speech, broken record or not.


In your budget, I would look for N100C or N10.  There are few listings for your consideration, 


Honestly it is a turn off....  Although other folks in the biz contribute and I find them knowledgeable and very diplomatic about over stepping boundaries. 

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soix no disparaging comments were made at all

being non upgradable is a statement on design

and telling of the results of a shoot out is not disparaging either 

@op - you can use a the computer of your choice running Roon. You need to that your DAC has a USB input and that it will see the output from the computer - but most will.

As long as Audiotroy points out he is a dealer, which he always does, his opinions are welcome, that is of course just my opinion.

Buy a little green computer which is a excellent option 

Sonore is all fiber optic super low noise and SS drives. Well worth the look.

"Without DAC"

Can’t make your CDs play analog without one.

There is no question in your post except for a suggestion ask.

Here’s my suggestion:

Post questions if you desire help.

$200 will get you a Raspberry Pi streamer and a 2 TB SSD for "server" storage.

All my posts have been removed, so I guess the best advice as per this site is to just buy whatever audiotroy recommends. Totally corrupted IMHO, and this post will no doubt be removed as well. Just buy what audiotroy recommends because it’s obviously endorsed by Audiogon. Objectivity be damned.


I just got into streaming about six months ago. I bought a new Bluesound Node N130, $600, a better USB cable, $225 and a linear power supply, $475.

It’s hooked up to my router and through the router, to my NAS that has about 1500 CD’s on it. It’s plugged it into an external DAC and the to my integrated. My CD player and Transport ( I have about 1600 CD’s) are also plugged into the DAC.

Total cost is about $1300.


It’s true I am a “ rapid “ Vandy fan….. rabid test rabbit done died…..

while the future proof upgradability of hardware is of clear interest to many ardent audiophiles, One important consideration for the OP might be software… A streamer / server is quite software intensive…. So pick a long lived firm with a history of successful software rolls…and support…. at 440 hz….. smile :-)

I have owned 5 streamers / bridges and listened to perhaps 20 more. Starting at the bottom end the iFi Zen Stream sounded very good but was hell to live with, The Stark sounded wonderful but was worse, totally incompatible with my Mac environment even the dealer couldn't make it work. The Marantz was so bright I stopped using it and went to a separate dac. Tried Sonore but eventually decided I like music not fixing problems every day. So onto other potential solutions beg, steal and borrow, Aurendar, Moon, Lumin, Cambridge Audio etc.  a mixed bag probably more due to DACs than any thing else.  Eventually decided 1, get a better DAC so Denafrips came on board, 2, don't ever use the screen so why pay for one and potentially have a component inside my box that is needed. Eventual solution, Lindemann Limetree Bridge.  Compared extensively in store against others costing 4, 5, 10 times more, I could tell no difference. Had a year works all day every day, sounds great, good app.

Lumin U1 is cheap now that Lumin released the U2, has a good app and support and most importantly you will need to spend double to best it.

+1 @oddiofyl 

Basically I did the same, I was happy with the Bluesound Vault 2 until I could step up to use an outboard DAC with it and then up to the Aurender N200. The other suggestions are good also, but you need to compare what functionality each company offers (or doesn't) with their product to what you want to be able to do.

Get the Aurender. I have the W20SE, there is no better streamer on earth. Highly recommend English Electric 8 switch network switch with Audiowise DC power filter on it, you’lll be in streamer heaven with Qobuz.


Not much discussion here of a computer plus Audirvāna or other software, with an outboard dac. This is very flexible and I have found the DAC makes a big difference. Chord Qutest has galvanic isolation on the usb. This sounds markedly better than an RPi with various hats, which I also tried.

I recently upgraded to a Aurender N150, I'd go with them, thing is built beautifully, and sound is phenomenal, dead quiet and I put 500 CDs on the internal SSD in .wav and they sound better than ever.

I used to have a Sonos Connect mod wright and all my music playing from a NAS through the modded Sonos and it sounded awesome, the Aurender playing them directly from the internal SSD blows the old setup away, I do also do a little streaming on Qobuz, but the internal SSD files sound the best, the HiRes stuff on Qobuz is pretty good though.

My vote is Aurender, the only thing I wish they did was include a IR remote, just for play/pause and skip tracks, I dont love having to do everything while getting a tan from a ipad screen during a listening session.

Brandon:  I’m newly retired and the Aurender W20SE would account for 1/2 annual of my combined Pension and SS!  I do want to thank everyone for their suggestions.  A lot to mull over..

I highly recommend the bluos node. You can upgrade the power supply and add fiber making a hard to beat budget streamer. Good luck in your search. Remember you can spend a lot of money with little return, be careful!

everyone is going to recommend the brands they use so here’s mine 

Wolf Audio Systems. I use a LUNA R pure digital. Wolf works with stillpoints and audience for their internal vibration control, and wiring. If your music system is in your TV room, The Wolf 🐺 can hook up to your television and display your music on your TV as well and you can use a wireless mouse to navigate through your server or roon or whatever. They are built in Florida and they can be remotely accessed from the manufacturer who is available almost all the time to help over the phone. I had an issue this week and all I had to do was call Joe and he access to my server and fix it while I was at work.  

also the sound quality… it’s amazing but don’t take my word for it. It’s also a stereophile recommended component. 

Audiotroy does not hide the fact that they are a dealer.  Dealers can offer insight, have experience with different products and are exposed to things we are not. I want to hear from people/dealers with that experience. Dealers that put themselves out there are at great risk on these forums because they know that if someone buys something from them because of a recommendation they made and it does not perform or if they give bad service, they will be destroyed on the same forum with negative comments.  In my mind, I would feel more comfortable with a dealer like that because they know all eyes will be on them. 

Take a look at Melco’s. Not as big on this side of the pond but huge in Europe and Asia. Storage as you need, Roon ready. You can stream thru Ethernet without the use of USB. I have had Aurender and Lumin’s and Melco’s are a step above. 


Congratulations on your retirement! One thing I forgot to mention in my previous post is App interface and tech support.  A robust, well laid out app interface that allows for easy browsing and access to / curation of your stored music is equally important as choosing the right hardware. For longevity, sound & build quality and worry free operation, I highly recommend one of the Aurender streamer that fits your budget. 

Just read up on customer service experience of Bluesound owner, not only its atrocious but non-existent for most part. I know this cause I used to own BS Vault. You can save money and buy one but be prepared to toss it in the bin when it fails. 

Before you spend a few grand on a streamer/server I have a suggestion. For reference, I'm using an ASUS gaming laptop, PSA PerfectWave MkII DAC, PSA PerfectWave transport, Krell preamp and amp, and Thiel CS6 speakers. I have hooked up my laptop to my DAC using an average quality 15' USB cable. I ripped my CDs (over 4,000) to uncompressed FLAC using dBPoweramp.

If you have a laptop handy you can do a little test that may be enlightening. I'm assuming that you have Tidal or Qobuz and you also have a CD player. Hopefully your CD Player/DAC has a USB input.
 - Rip a favorite CD to uncompressed FLAC on your laptop.
 - Install a music playback program on your laptop such as foobar2000 (it's free).
 - Hook up your laptop to your DAC with a USB cable.
 - Compare the ripped CD to the same CD played in your player.
 - If you have a high res music service compare the same version of the album with the rip and the actual CD.

On my system I can't hear a significant difference between the ripped file and the actual CD. I'm pretty sure that in a blind test I couldn't tell them apart. Same thing when I play the same version of the CD through Qobuz. I've tried this with several CDs (using one song to do the test) on several different days and I'm comfortable that if there are audible differences they are not significant to me.

I'm not adverse to spending good money on a streamer/server but so far I can't justify it. I wouldn't expect a ripped file or the Qobuz version to sound better than my CD player but I'm really surprised that they don't sound worse. If you follow the conventional wisdom, my setup should lead to horrible sound. I'm using a supposedly noisy PC and I'm hooking it up with an inexpensive long USB cable.

One possible explanation for this homogenization is that my DAC has a "Digital Lens" that buffers and reclocks all incoming data. All I can say is that I'm glad that I spent an evening geeking out on my system so that I wasn't blindly spending significant money on an alternative setup. I am probably going to go with a Roon Nucleus at some point but more for convenience than sound quality. 

@8th-note  ya man…. You might be shocked at what this can do:

Pardo LPS > Netgear Nighthawk Switch > SGC Optical > Pardo LPS > Nucleus

Evaluating that in my reference system….. amazing for the  $