Server/Renderer vs. Oppo's simple app

Hey all ...  I'm going to dive into music downloads and Tidal so I've been doing my research on what do I need to get started... So its clear that we need a DAC, amp, speakers, file storage, and internet... but what I'm confused with is the front end... Oppo has a DAC (Sonica DAC) that has a simple app that can stream Tidal from the internet and can read your downloads and play them for you , while there's a lot of dedicated server/renderers out there for big bucks to perform the same tasks as Oppo's app...  So my question is why should I spend thousands for a server/renderer when I can get it for free ?  Did Oppo break the unwritten audio law of a simple app is all you need ? Is there an sound advantage of buying a dedicated serv/render ? Has anyone have the Sonica and tried both ways, with vs. without ?  The only reason I can think of why people would buy a renderer/server is because they already have a DAC that they like and/or tricked into thinking they need a separate unit...

thx in advance and value your input(s)

P.S.  it seems with the money I save on the renderer I can use it mod the Sonica (Modwright)

A "Server/Renderer" has to do with DLNA interfacing using more than one device. For example, you could have a computer with JRiver software. JRiver can act as a "DLNA Server", which means it is a network based source for storing and streaming media content. A "Renderer" is a target device that will absorb and "play" media content. For example, a "Renderer" could be a bluray player on your network. Using Jriver, you could target the bluray player to "render" music files (essentially "play" the music files).

As far as the Sonica is concerned, it is not entirely clear from the documentation, but the way that Oppo words it, I would interpret this as the Sonica app on the android/iPhone/iPad will connect to Tidal and stream down Tidal music. Then Sonica app will then send that audio directly to the Sonica DAC. In this case, the Sonica app sort of acts as a "DLNA Renderer", but it still has to pass it on to the DAC (so it’s sort of like a "renderer" for another "renderer" (the Tidal music service would be like the originating "DLNA Server", but it uses special Tidal interface instead).

I think the reason people have DLNA Servers is that they have a very high dollar DAC that they want to play the audio with (like many thousands of dollars). Also, these server renderers can put large focus on digital circuits to reduce jitter and make clock pulses with exact timing. This is good, but it does cost money.

If you are happy with the Sonica in your budget, I would say to get it. The Oppo software is excellent and you can spend money on Sonica modifications, which will further improve things! For $800, you won’t be able to get a server/DAC combination that will come close to the Sonica.

Slight correction to the comment above:
Tidal streams directly to the DAC and not through the Sonica app.  The app is only a 'control point' (to use DLNA terminology).

What you gain in simplicity by using the Sonica, you lose in functionality.  For example, I miss the convolution/DSP/upsampling ability of Audirvana and/or JRiver.  This is the biggest compromise for me.

Also the Sonica app's library management is much more basic compared to dedicated music players such as iTunes, JRiver or Audirvana.  It can organize by artist/album/genre and create playlist, but that's about it.
I tried Oppo to DAC

I have tried Server to DAC.

For me the Server was better at everything.

Now if your a DIY Guy you could upgrade the Power Supply on the Oppo and see if this would help.

I have the new Oppo Sonica with Modwright mods and I think the mods are worth every penny, sounds very good. I don't use Tidal but it is on the Oppo app and looks easy to use. I have a desk top computer in another room and use the Jriver app mostly as a remote but I can use the Oppo app as well. This setup sounds so good that I'm done.