Yes it matters and personally I think you should stay separate, doing so will allow you to upgrade in stages. A new dac now and then down the road replace the Sonos.There are several threads about the Auralic Aries Mini and Blue Sound Node2 both would be a nice upgrade to your Sonos. Do some reading there is a lot to absorb here!
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In my opinion, so much of this is evolving before our eyes.
By using separate components, you get the best of both worlds- highest fidelity at the time, and the ability to upgrade in the future.
I give a +1 for Bluesound.
It has great wireless connectivity and also allows you to output to a separate DAC.
As far as DAC's go, I would try to keep the budget around $2K.
Like I said, the tech evolves so quickly that what is SOTA, may be eclipsed in a year or two.
My 2 fav's are the Ayre Codex and the Schiit Gungnir or Yggy.
If you're looking for a DAC with multiple RCA coax inputs, the options collapse into only a handful, at least based on my search, within a reasonable price range. I don't care much for the optical input. I had a limited budget so I went with a Cambridge Audio DACmagic Plus. I'm feeding my CDP and Node2 into it and the sound quality is quite good. Bryston BDA models all have two coax inputs and depending on your budget you can go new or used.
Another +1 for the Bluesound Node 2
It has a great analogue output stage,which responds very well to great cables - IC's and power cables.
I was using a good mains cable and a C7 power Adapter. I changed the IEC connector to a C7 connector, which did away with the c7 adapter - the improvements were extremely noticeable.
It may seem frivolous to spend more on the cables than I spent on the component, but in this case the improvements in sound quality was well worth it.
I found the Node 2's DAC& analogue output stage was better than my Bifrost 4470 DAC - so it's no longer part of my system
Regards - Steve
I had a Sonos and things didn’t sound quite right, so I tried running Tidal from my iPod through my CD player (it has a USB line in) and that did the trick. Dynamics returned, etc.
I gave the Sonos to a non-audiophile friend.
(note: I did upgrade the power cable for the Sonos to a PS Audio Jewel C7 cable and recall this helping slightly),
Hello I have had excellent performance with thd Aurender 100H-2T HD
With class leading super fast 120GIG memory buffer ,linear PS
Custom library interface , Tidal and much more with Gigabyte WiFi
For under $2300 and built very well 10 lbs ,and numerous awards .
If you want to put Everything on the internal HD it is faster and better
Upgrade as well as help desk write on same access page very well thought
Out and customer service is very good, and most of all sounds Excellent
I did add a Synergistic Black fuse as well as a quality Cardas PC.
Falconquest - There is no reason to upgrade your dac at this time... the Sonos is the weaker part of your system. If you want to keep the Sonos, an external re-clocker or Wyred4Sound modification will make a big difference, especially if used with a good power cord. I owned the unmodified and W4S modded Sonos with Furutech FP-320ag power cord that has the C8 connector, and this source sounded much better than the standard Sonos. However, you can improved the sound quality even further by moving to a small streaming source like the MicroRendu from Sonore or the SMS-200 from SOTM audio.
I've owned the MicroRendu since fall 2016 and can safely say it is a major upgrade over the modified Sonos. If the other parts of your system are reasonably good quality, you will hear music like never before. Plus, you can use Roon to stream from Tidal, which is opens doors to other musical worlds. BTW, I've used several dacs with the W4S Sonos in the past 3 years (Rega, Naim, PS Audio DS Junior, and Resonessence Mirus) but never really found them to transform my system like the MicroRendu with a good linear power supply (Uptone Audio LPS-1. So does the streaming source make a difference... absolutely yes!
Thank you kendrick,
I had pretty much decided on the W4S Sonos upgrade until your comments so I will do some more research. I do use a ifi SPDIF iPurifier between the Sonos and the dac but have not switched out the power cord. The entire front end of my system is powered through a BPT balanced power unit.
I am still researching dacs and have somewhat narrowed it down to the Holo Audio level 3 Spring dac, the Soekris dac 1541 or the Denafrips Ares. The R2R design intrigues me.
You are welcome. The IFI SPDIF iPurifier re-clocks and regenerates the signal before being processed by your dac, so I would think the benefits from a W4S upgrade would be marginal and probably not be satisfying in the long term as a primary music source. Looking back on my experience, the W4S Sonos is a very good source for the money but I wanted better sound than it could deliver. Better signal cables and better dacs helped but it always sounded like a digital source, which of course it is. That changed with the mR, which sounds similar to analog sound in my system... when using the Uptone Audio LPS. BTW, I sold the Sonos here on AG last week; it was snapped up in one hour!
I also have an interest in R2R dacs, including some you mentioned and Metrum products. I previously mentioned trying a number of expensive dacs and not finding a meaningful, longterm improvement until replacing the Sonos with a better quality music streamer like the mR. So my caution would be don’t expect a dac to "fix" problems that are better corrected up stream, so to speak.
Another lesson recently learned, and much to my surprise, was that good quality power strips can make a difference when used with routers, modems, switches and servers. I have an Audience AR6 PDC for my stereo setup, and it helps a lot. I recently bought a used IsoTek EVO3 Sirius for the computer gear and WOW, the improvement is amazing. All the digital grunge that accompanied the music signal is gone! Furman Audio makes some less expensive devices you could trial on home demo for around $180. The AudioStream author uses these on his system.
Any sense of how the MicroRendu compares to the Auralic Aries Mini? The latter seems to be quite highly regarded also. I get what you're saying about the upstream component so I will focus on that for now. One thing I have to say for Sonos is the interface is incredibly simple and stable. As for power issues, I don't worry about power with the BPT in the system.
+3 for the Bluesound node2. It's a really well designed unit. The remote works a treat. I've used it's analog out against the Schiit multibit Bifrost, and found it quite close.
What c7 plug did you use? I tried the Pangea 14se, and it is a loose fit and falls out. Sounded better but…
I have not listened to the Aries Mini and cannot comment on the sound quality. My guess is that with a linear power supply (e.g. Sbooster) and a good dac, the sound would be very good. You can probably find some discussion here or elsewhere that compares the different Aries models. The manufacturer is getting ready to release a new model, so you might see some used Aries and LE units for resale. These would give you an option of using Roon, which the Aries mini does not provide. A major downside, IMO.
Yes, the Sonos interface is terrific. But having made the transition to Roon, there is no going back. I tried Roon free for 30 days last fall, using the office iMac as a temporary server. You might do the same.
About your possible dac choices, I was unfamiliar with the Soekris dac and went to the company website to find this notice. "Due to declining sales, limited resources available to design new products, and increased competition from Asia, Soekris Engineering, Inc. has suspended operations in the USA as of today." There is a down side to buying good stuff from small, boutique companies whose products are not well known (think resale) or have limited financial resources.
Here is the link to Soekris. They have four new models of their R2R dac coming out. With their top of the line unit dac 1541 selling for $1,190.00 I anticipate we'll be hearing more from them soon. I was pretty much set on the Holo Audio Spring until I learned about this. At less than half the price it's a tough decision. I have read a couple of reviews and discussed with another member that it is almost indistinguishable from the Holo. Definitely something to consider.
falconquest - If I understand correctly, Soekris is merely winding down its US operation, and will continue to produce/sell from the EU and expand the product line. Even so, there is added financial risk when buying relatively unknown audio gear from overseas suppliers who don't sell in the US... if that is where you live. If you live in the EU where the company is better known, that's another story. Assuming you order the Soekris dac, will there be a right of return? Synergy and user preference is so important.
The point I was trying to make earlier was not to put too much faith in the ability of dacs to correct problems upstream. Some dacs are much better than others in dealing with noise and jitter upstream. The best are very expensive. The Holo Audio Spring, which is supposed to be a very fine dac, is often used with other devices to cleanup the data stream.
So to briefly recap my story, I tried to find audio "perfection" with several better, costly dacs but found more satisfaction by improving the music streamer.
Welcome. The combination is beyond decent...the Holo dac with Aurender streamer should sound fantastic. Great choice. I bought a used the Aurender N100H last year and liked it very much. The unit is well built, the control application was very slick, and the sound was excellent. The only reason for selling was I was in the trial mode and didn't want to stop! You should be very pleased with the combination. Good luck and enjoy the music.
I have had the Bluesound Node 2 for a few months now. I agree with the others, I really like it for the sound and flexibility. I can play Spotify, MQA files and even a very large library of digital files I have on hand. This player has a very good DAC, but it can allow for any external DAC or DAC upgrade in the future.