Ideas on how to make a "poor man's" Ayon S-3

Hi Everyone,

Since purchasing a new big screen plasma TV and surround sound system I have gone about putting all my video media and blu-rays, etc on my NAS drive so now I can easily access all that content over my network and stream it to my system. It works quite well and I love the convenience.

I'm thinking it may be time to start looking at ways to do the same sort of thing with all my Digital music. It would be nice to be able to be able to quickly access and play it through a network streamer which I could control with my smartphone or a tablet.

I was looking at the Ayon S-3 network streamer My amplifier is a PS Audio integrated ICE Amplifier so I like the idea of the Ayon S-3 because it enables me to run the streamed music through a tubed pre-amp before feeding it into the PS Audio. The only drawback to the Ayon S-3 is that it costs about $8,800 which is a fair bit out of my budget range.

What I was thinking of doing instead was getting a cheaper network streamer with digital out and feeding that into a nice but hopefully not too expensive tube based DAC/headphone amp and then analog out of that into the PS Audio ICE Amp. The PS Audio doesn't have any headphone jacks on it so this solution has the added bonus of giving me a way to listen to my music through headphones which I can't do right now.

Can anyone recommend some good network streamers and tube based DAC/headphone amps that I should look at? Or can you suggest another way I could go to accomplish the same thing?

I'd like to be able to do it all for under $2,000 and I don't mind buying stuff second hand.

Thanks in advance for your anticipated sound advice [pun intended ;-)]
The Ayon S3 is more than just a media server.

It's got the guts of an Ayon Skylla DAC built inside and if you look at the price of that unit, you can sorta understand why they priced the S3 as such.

So you need 3 different units to recreate that functionality: a media player, a DAC, a tube preamp.

You can get a bit of that functionality by trying something like this:
a. get an AudioGd Reference 7.1 or 5 or 10

The 5 is similar in design to the Ayon (stacked PCM1704). The 7.1 has more DACs stacked. The 10 is like a 5 with a headphone output. That may be what you are looking for.

b. get a PopCornHour PCH A300. That has a simple screen that allows you to navigate without turning the TV on. Use the coax output to the AudioGd. Bear in mind this is not tweaked or designed for absolute fidelity but it sorta gets the job done.

c. get a decent tube preamp like a preowned ARC or maybe a Schiit Lyr which has a single input preamp and headphone amp as well.