Next Step on the Digital Journey

Hi folks
I currently run Jriver 27 on a Dell laptop and want to upgrade in the coming months. Jriver was used primarily as playback software for locally stored files but with the advent of streaming it performs these duties 90% of the time as well as DSP and volume control. Local playback is 10%.
The reasons to upgrade are to have a fanless source, more attractive form factor, and improved sound from better hardware and maybe software. I'm happy to change from Jriver but there are a few non-negotiables: 
  • The solution must support DSP and have an excellent digital volume control.
  • The solution must be able to host and stream Spotify so my wife can control playback from her cellphone via the Group Session function. Roon doesn't stream Spotify so that is off the list as I don't want to have separate software for different streaming sources.
  • The solution needs to seamlessly stream, in order of preference, one of Qobuz, Tidal or Amazon. Of these three only Amazon streams seamlessly with my current Jriver setup. Qobuz and Tidal have gaps at the beginning of every song / piece. I've searched forums, opened support tickets with all the vendors including Jriver, but haven't been able to fix this.
  • Some support for remote management of the streaming service a la Roon / Tidal or Qobuz would be nice. If Spotify was also natively  supported then good (not sure this is achievable), but happy to control song selection from the Spotify app as we do today.
  • Some local storage for the ripped CDs. I could keep the Dell laptop as a server and plug it into the router, but this would need to be relatively straightforward as I have some tech skills but I'm no expert.
  • Either USB of SPDIF output into an Aries Cerat Kassandra.
Options I've looked at include:
  • If Roon and Spotify played nicely together that would be ideal but they don't.
  • If Icould get Qobuz / Tidal to play nice with Jriver I would use one of these as my high res source and upgrade hardware only, but I've tried over the last 12x months with no progress
  • If Qobuz / Tidal had the same Group Session capability as Spotify I would consider an alternative to Jriver that did volume and DSP (like Roon) but I don't believe they do.
I'm open to suggestions, including a dedicated streamer that meets the requirements, however based on the research it appears building a PC with Jriver 28 is probably the way to go, wait for Spotify Redbook and use Amazon for hi-rez.

Before I make that commitment I'm keen to understand what alternatives there might be, I m sure I've missed something 🤔.
What is your budget?  I have been going through getting a new DAC and have gotten to hear many of the new ones at various price ranges to see how much I should spend.  There are great options at all price ranges.  Keep in mind that if you want the BEST sound, Roon is not the way to go.  It just doesn't sound as good as a JRiver set up (I have access to both and enjoy Roon for fun sessions, but JRiver when I will actually listen).  

Need to know budget and then the rest of your system as digital is so dependent on the power in your house, the sever/renderer you use etc... The same DAC will have the same sound signature, but can sound totally different in each home.

Convert all your music files to mp3. 

You will save time and improve sound quality.

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There are a few servers at various price points that seem to stand out for my money.  Again, it's all about how much you want to spend, but I've year to hear any computer sound as good as a dedicated server.  I also have yet to hear any internal streamer sound as good as a comparable streamer that's in it's own box.  That doesn't mean you can't get a very good streamer inside a DAC or server.  
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Any alternative to a laptop or any PC is an upgrade. What are you looking for? $100 worth of Raspberry Pi checks all your boxes if you have a USB DAC. Another $75 gets you to a SPDIF or i2s DAC. Plus learning curve.
A dedicated server is going to sound much better than an off the shelf PC.  Servers are computers that are purpose built so there aren't things running in the background that will ruin the music.  Special power supplies are SOOOO important and computers don't have those unless you start trying different LPS's and where to install them.  Just so many reasons a good server is much better.  Source and speakers are the most important parts of the system.  DAC's are part of the source, but not more important than the server/streamer.  You also need ot make sure the server/dac play well together.  
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Hi folks
Thanks for the responses. The key questions are:

  • is there a streamer that meets the functional requirements listed, or do I need to by / build a server?
  • If I go down the server route, is there software that does DSP, supports Spotify streaming, and works with Tidal and/or Qobuz? Jriver doesn't, and neither the Jriver forum, Tidal support and Qobuz support have come up with a fix. 
Budget will be dictated by the solution. The rest of the system is Aries Cerat Kassandra DAC, VTLS400 and Genesis G2Jr speakers.

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I'm happy with my border patrol dac...its r2r with tube rectifier in power supply...does not do dsd or whatever and I don't just sounds natural and not digital, dare i say it sounds me, this is all I will ever need.
Solutions that check all of your boxes:
  1. Look at the NAD C658. I believe it checks all of your boxes.  
  2. Or you could use a streamer together with a Mini DSP. My understanding is that your system would look like this: Streamer --> Mini DSP --> DAC. The Mini DSP will handle the DSP, but you may be lacking some functionality with its Volumio software. E.g., I don't know if it supports Spotify by itself. But you could pair the Mini DSP with a capable streamer that does handle everything you need. I recently reviewed ifi Zen Stream, and I'm a fan of both the quality and functionality. 
Wolf Audio Luna R
Can be set up with either J River or Roon (both can be avaliably on it).  Talk to Joe Parvey at Wolf and investigate what they can configure for you.  I am a current Wolf Audio Alpha 3SX owner.
Hi Folks
Thanks everyone for your responses. Some interesting posts that maybe weren't on topic, but generally a lot of good ideas.

Has helped me move forwards.