Mid Range Streamer DAC recommendation help requested!


Good evening,

In looking for a new one box music streamer /DAC  I am striking out as far as the actual in store, "seeing, listening and buying" process is now a little bit harder to find.  

 Two of our local brick and mortar A/V stores have closed, Axpona is postponed until 2021, and the big city stores are now curbside delivery or online only.   

For now I am hoping to share this discussion with the Agon experts here to get your thoughts and feedback regarding a few possible good music streamer / DAC candidates.

I am looking for a  good quality Streamer/ DAC  that should provide years of good, enjoyable music service.

Some of the  Brands /models that I have read about as being good mid range devices are listed below:

Bryston BDA 3.14
Cary Audio  DMS-550
LUMIN  T2
Mytek  Brooklyn  Bridge / Manhattan

Please share your experiences (good or bad)  if you have had some extended / operating listening time with any of these components!   

Some of the criteria that I would hope to find would be :

1. Very good sound quality,    
2. Reliable, durable,  (something that does not break down during streaming or need  frequent tweaks or updates)
3. Future-proof, (as much as is reasonable) 
4. A product that is fairly easy to operate, and also fun to use.
5.  Right Jacks and plugs for the key connectors.  (Do not need a headphone jack or TT connector at this time).
6. Good quality  DAC chips, with equally high specs for playback PCM and DSD levels, etc.
7. Should function perfectly with ROON, Tidal, MQA, Qobuz, etc.

Not interested in the multiple box / PC route as I am not an IT person.  

PS 1: There may other Streamer DACs that should also be included  in this list ,and please suggest those in your reply email.

PS2: The output end of the music is through Legacy Amps and Legacy Focus SE speakers.

PS3: I will pursue some type of  digital storage in the future, maybe like a Roon Nucleus or equivalent. 
Hopefully that future NAS will mesh perfectly with the new streamer  DAC.

Thank you very much!

Dan


  








dan2019
Yes, there are dozens of threads in this section discussing these issues, so a few brief comments.
1) OP doesn’t mention if they intend to use a streaming service such as Tidal or if they intend to rip convert a CD collection and stream that.  If converting CDs will be involved then equipment for that is required.
2). Expect some degree of difficulty.  In general it’s not as easy as pop open a CD drawer and play the disc.  WiFi vs wired is another issue.  Customer Service will be important, since because some degree of difficulty is to be expected you want to be able to contact the company and get reasonable support.
3) controlling app is critical.  For example my Bryston BDA-3 sounds magnificent but is not fun to use due to a terrible software controlling program.
Lumin T2, a great one box solution.
I've said all this stuff before, but I'm still loving my Mytek Brooklyn Bridge.  Via the Mytek BB, Qobuz and Primephonic, my two streaming sources, can deliver truly excellent sound quality.  And now that the BB is pretty much broken in, my moving coil-equipped turntable sounds good enough through the device to take me out of the market for a stand-alone analog stage.  More often than not, double-layered CD/SACDs sound better via the BB's DAC than through my SACD's SACD output.  Agreed, my system is forgiving when it comes to brightness, and the BB's control panel that is set up on my Windows laptop sometimes needs to be helped through a couple of hoops in order to operate, but even if you and your PC have gone brain dead, you can still just press the appropriate buttons on the BB itself.
All this isn't to say that you can't do better than the Mytek, but at this point I've stopped obsessing about componentry.  Instead I leisurely cruise Primephonic, cue-ing up yet one more performance of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony.
How many times has this question been asked and answered? What seems to be ignored is the importance of the functionality of the app that goes with the streamer. If you mainly add classical music to your Tidal etc library  I have not found one adequate app. Idagio is the only one that adequately catalogues classical albums by composer but Idagio is a streaming service for classical music only and is pay for play. Even Roon doesn't get it right and is very hit and miss with it's search engine. Many apps are fine for rock, jazz etc as long as you know the artists first name but can't get it right for classical.
Enjoying my NAD C658 but only because I couldn’t afford the Mytek BB. 
What are you planning to stream to? This was another reason I went with Blueos, future expandability in his-def. 

Your mileage may vary....