Home network audio options (streamer/DAC)

I’m a custom database software developer. I know computers. In fact I just finished rebuilding my development system and spent a ton on hardware and software. But I haven’t updated my audio equipment in a very long time. I have the following:

- pair of B&W 805’s (not D’s, not S’s... from around 2000)
- Rotel RB-1090 2 channel amp
- Adcom GFP-750 2 channel preamp
- Adcom GCD-750 CD player
- M&K V-125 subwoofer
- lots of decent Audioquest cabling

Every time I get a new CD I rip it to FLAC files. I listen a lot on my computer when I’m working on a 1/2 way decent pair of powered bookshelf speakers just connected via SPIDF from my onboard sound. Nothing fancy or expensive but it actually sounds almost better than my dedicated 2 channels system. But lately I’ve been considering some updates to my main audio setup. Probably a new pair of more full range speakers (I used to have a pair of B&W 805’s but sold them on here in 2000 cuz I needed the money for something else - I have regretted it ever since). No idea what yet but something under $6k or so.

My CD player is getting a bit old. It has served me very well and it works fine for now (except for the remote which is toast) but I’m very much wanting to have access to my music on my 2 channel system without putting discs in a drive. So I’ve been considering some sort of NAS/Streamer/DAC setup. I only recently started doing research on this topic. There seem to be very many options. I don’t need an actual NAS right now. My computer is on most of the time and I could network it to a streamer without any trouble. All my music is on a couple of big high quality WD drives on a very good LSI RAID card. And if I decide to do so, throwing a decent NAS together is not a big deal for me.

I don’t want to replace my pre. It seems like a lot of home audio streamers come with a pre built in. What I’d really like to do is get 2 separate components: A decent streamer (alone, no pre, no DAC) and a decent 2 channel DAC. By decent, I don’t mean $20k. I don’t have that kind of money. Something on par with my other hardware is fine. Maybe 3 or 4k total for a streamer and a DAC together. And I’m not committed to them being separate. I’d be okay with a 2-in-1 (streamer+DAC). That’s mostly what I’m finding anyway. It seems that most modern streamers can be controlled via a smartphone app. I don’t see the point of one if it can’t do that, so that’s kind of a must. I know quite a few come with a screen and a remote but I don’t care about that if I can run it from my phone. I don't want a 3-in-1 (storage+streamer+DAC). I don't want to be tied to the storage in the device and I don't want the noise of the storage in the same room as my 2 channel equipment.

Anyway, like I said, clearly tons of options out there. I’m looking for advice and maybe some recommendations. Maybe I’m thinking about this the wrong way. I don’t know yet. I’m just starting to get familiar with the idea.


Keith :-)

I went with the Bluesound Node. It has an internal DAC that can be overridden, but for the price, it is pretty good. 
Connectivity is excellent and the App just got a serious revision. 
Customer service is excellent, as well.
Though you state you don't want an all in one, they do make a nice Vault that can hold your music as well as stream.