Music Server/Player for NOS R2R DAC


I'll spare the long story but have recently decided to adopt a new DAC that is a NOS based design and is limited to S/PDIF for input. Once I have it and have had time I'll post my observations and impressions for sound quality. Suffice it to say I am taking a different path from the direction many are going. My music collection is redbook CD converted to FLAC. I am currently using an Atoll MS-100 streamer/player. Very simple interface, software is simple but effective, and initially I will continue using this player.

I am in the process of selling my Esoteric K-07 CD player and have no plans to spin discs going forward. I am not seeking ROON, etc type of interfaces. Prefer keeping FLAC files on either a USB drive or internal hard drive.

So all that said.. told you I would spare the long story!!!... I am curious what music players/servers are out there built very well, great power supplies, and something that would be  a step up from my Atoll. HAS to have RCA S/PDIF output and preferably its own software.

I have identified  a few players thus far but many do not have a coax output.I am quite ok with buying used or demo and would like to keep my price under $5K (preferably less). PLayers I have found thus far which would work are:

Aurender N10
Lumin U1
Auralic Aries G2
DCS Network Bridge

I could buy a higher quality USB to S/PDIF converter but would rather avoid that.

I'll see how this goes ones the new DAC arrives and I experience NOS and R2R for the first time. Am very hopeful it will bring to my ears that which I am seeking! But, looking forward I am wondering what would be a good upgrade from my Atoll. Thx
jdavis37
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lis96ade-cocktail-audio-x30-music-server-streamer-dac-amp-new-in-b...

This new one is on sale.

It can also rip CD.

I had used smaller version X12 for 4 years with no problem.

This is an economical option.
jdavis37
 Music Server/Player for NOS R2R DAC
Does your dac have AES/EBU digital input, if so make sure your server has AES/EBU output, far better they say than using spdif rca.

Cheers George
Looking past hardware compatibility, you might want to start looking at the software and control apps. You may find you prefer one over the other.
Shkong.. thanks for the suggestion.

George.. it does offer that as it's sole other input option. DAC has not yet been ordered but should be by tomorrow. Will have same limits though. Is not a DAC for hi resolution or oversampled music.

On software.. agree which is why I prefer the manufacturer of the music server provide an app. I am technically proficient but desire simplicity for the interface. Is about listening to music and a sense of meditation, etc.The Atoll software with my current streamer/server is very well done. My wife has an Auralic Mini and I do not like its software nearly as much. Everything I currently own is redbook (16 bit, 44.1 kHz) except one recording I bought that was 24 bit/96 kHz (most likely upsampled).

Going this direction in the long run may be a little risky given CDs may die, music may turn to mostly streaming only (like Blockbuster Video going plgggth) and higher resolution/upsampled files could become the normal (they can be of course downsampled by the player). On flip side if I hear what I am hoping to hear from this the risk is worth it.

Anyhow, still looking to see what the list is of servers/players offering this limited output. So many are now USB only! 
My guess is a $25.00 Chromecast Audio will get the job done, if you have a smartphone or a computer.  I don't think you will hear much of a difference between it and your Atoll (or anything else for that matter). Look at the BlueSound products if you don't have a computer (seems unlikely as you are somehow RIPing and storing digital file).
kahlenz.. thanks.

I have no desire to downgrade what I currently have. The Atoll doesn't eat a whole lot :) 

For now I am just trying to see what other devices are available that I have missed in my search. Once I know what is available I can figure out if the SQ will improve or stay the same. If the latter the Atoll is fine. There is nothing wrong with it.

What I do not want is to use my PC for anything related to music other than ripping CDs to FLAC. I don't want to go the NAS route or use software loaded on my PC to select songs etc. I currently have an iOS and Android app to control music selection on the Atoll and it works well, has no clutter and aside from the devices having to be wifi connected it keeps my PC isolated doing the work I use it to do (and limits my IT role of home IT products troubleshooter when anything does not work for the family).

I would though like to think some of these products costing significant amounts of money would be offering something in SQ improvement and not just features. But if not I can keep my Atoll and not look back :)

But first just a list of nicely made media players that have SPDIF outputs!
I like the Aurender idea a lot, they make streamers that are not too costly...but what you get is phenomenal in terms of SQ, USB 2.0 audio output, user interface (conductor app) and internal storage (most have at least 2TB's) plus external drive connection via USB. Regardless of which model you choose, its well worth the price in every way! Also, I would look for a Digital interface processor that would except USB audio IN and then have SPDIF as a Output. Monarchy Audio may make something like this , I would call them. Otherwise get the Aurender streamer and buy a different DAC that will take USB audio 2.0. IMO.


Matt
Thanks Matt,

I have the N10 on my list to look into for many of the reasons you have also given. It has the output I desire and appears to have a good app to play the music and the external drive connection is a plus.

The different DAC part at this point is not in the equation. There are available options to convert USB to SPDIF that would work if I ever need such. That said I will evaluate the DAC when I receive it in terms of whether or not going this way actually works for my ears. I doubt that it will but we'll see! The Lampi Atlantic was my second place finisher in my evaluation of what I wanted to buy and it could resurface. if it does then USB is back in play. For now though I am very curious to see how a very well made NOS DAC will sound!
Have only demoed, but liked the bryston bdp pi
I own a Bryston BDP-2 with the IAD card upgrade and like it alot...you can pickup one used for 1200-1500...Bryston software is a bit quirky, but once you get used to it it's not so bad...I also have the Bryston BDA-3 dac which is really nice.
Thx Clyde, I'll add the BDP-2 and 3 to the list! Appreciate the input!
https://antipodesaudio.com/antipodes-dx.html
I have a DS model which FLAC rips CDs as does the DX which is a later version. They have SPDIF, coax and USB outputs
I use this with a Denafrips Pontus which is NOS/OS and is R2R type, to great effect.

Aurender N10 via AES (best) or coax, so you take advantage of the aurender's special OCXO clock.
I use it with denafrips Terminator R2R DAC. Can't be happier of the sound/tonality. Aurender is the market leader in my opinion, period. But that is my opinion :)
ian...........

Thanks. I am having a dense moment.. when I look at the Antipodes gear on their website the images don't show the aes/spdif connections on the back yet I can find manuals, etc which do show them. I have seen many positive reviews of this equipment and they seem to have  avery positive following. If they are still making units with s/pdif coax etc they will be on the short list.

saleh.......

Also thanks especially for the added info about the clock benefits. The N10 was already on my short list but is good to see the positive comments.

To you both thanks for the NOS R2R comments as well. I've heard positive things about the Denafrips units as well. I have high hopes going NOS and not going down the more common path of oversampling and filtering will pay off.

I'll dig further into the Antipodes questions. It could just be I am having a Sr moment though I still have trouble accepting that I am no longer a youngster!
I believe Antipodes has optimized around USB output, for their current models. They also offer Stereo Analog Out. (Going off of memory...let me know if otherwise).
David.. thanks. I wrote Antipodes and received  avery quick reply stating current models did not offer S/PDIF output but they were working on changes in the next 6 or so months. That fits my timeline well so we'll be able to see what they do. Amazingly fast response to my question!
@jdavis37 I owned the Antipodes DX--it had SPDIF out. I now own the Antipodes DX3. It has USB out only that I then feed to a DEQX Premate that has SPDIF out to my DAC. If your DAC performs better via SPDIF than USB, I recommend this approach. FWIW, I'm a strong advocate for Antipodes servers. However, they seem to constantly be changing their "flagship" and it seems this has made consumers cautious in pulling the trigger on their products. The EX/CX combo two box "flagship" came out less than a year or so after the launch of the DX3 "flagship."
Please confirm whether they told you they would be going back to an SPDIF out option on their newer EX/CX combo line up. If so, this would be pretty big news since in the very recent past they have strongly argued that their architecture is specifically optimized for USB output (as @david_ten notes) and as such was superior to SPDIF output (their words not mine). 
Instead of just looking at streamers that just meet the output requirements of a specific DAC I would look a little further in the future to very likely DAC changes that may have other output requirements.  In that regard the Lumin U1 and Mini or the Aries G1 and G2 have all four basic outputs.  
@jdavis37    you probably spoke to Tony at Antipodes. What a terrific support person he is. Any issues at all, he can remotely access your PC and set everything up to work exactly how it should, or how you want it. My DS has USB and SPDIF outputs and I have found the USB to be more organic and is my preferred option. Their units also come loaded with some good music of various genres so you can get going immediately without having to rip CDs into it. I am supremely happy with the pairing of the DS with the Denafrips Pontus. Their support matches that of Antipodes too - fast response and eagerness to assist from the wonderful Alvin.