Streamer and DAC Combo or separates

I am getting back in the game after a hiatus of 5 years. 

Obviously the landscape has changed and while I have been trying to keep up with the latest, I appreciate the kind advise of those who have been in the know.

Starting with the front end, I see that some of the newer DACs also come with the streaming capabilities inbuilt; such as the new dCS Rossini or the PS Audio Directstream with the bridge 2. 

This eliminates the need to transmit data via USB interface at all, as you will be connecting the DAC to a NAS or a network via RJ45 (or even wireless).

On the other hand the 'traditional' was of doing it is to use a PC/Laptop or a dedicated streamer connected to DAC via USB or by any other connector.

Appreciate if I could hear your thoughts on which way I should go, assuming that the software used to drive the streamer is not an issue.

Thank you very much. 
Not knowing rest of your system or your budget it's hard to make a recommendation. Having said that, you're entering the digital era with lots of options.  

I chose to to go with separates. Among the streamers, I wholeheartedly recommend Aurender streamers. Great iOS app, solid build and amazing sound.  No software issue.  They are releasing A10 in June that will offer one box solution with with built-in DAC.  

Since I own Modwright amps, it was a easy choice for me to grab Elyse DAC to pair with my Aurender N10.   

Good luck with your search! 
What's your budget? 
What kinds of recordings (resolution, format) do you have and what kinds do you see in your future?

Like lalitk said, it's a good time to be shopping for streamers. 
Thank you both lalitk and dbtom2.

1. If I am going for streamer and DAC separately, I will have a budget of around USD 10K, but if I am able to go for a combo unit (and if this turns out to be the way forward) I am hoping to spend around 7-8K.

2. I already have a Ming DA MC 300B-845A Class A push-pull 845 tube mono blocks. It uses 2 300B tubes as input tubes to drive a pair of 845 tubes per mono block.

3. I have been using Martin Logan before my hiatus so I am looking at buying a pair of ML Montis and use the Ming DA on the panels (the cone speaker is self powered in Montis).

4. As for the genre of music, it will mostly be jazz, small ensemble and some classical music. Nothing earth shattering 

5. I already have a semi-decent collection of high resolution (upto 24/192) music in FLAC and some DVD-Audio .iso files. Recently I have become interested in DSD as well, so I see myself acquiring more music on DSD.

6. We run an 'android-household' so I will need a steamer that comes with an Android control app, but I do not think this will be an issue since almost all of them support Android now.

Please continue to share your thoughts.

Thank you very much!
Hey Jamal,

There's no substitute to visiting your local hifi dealers to see and hear what they offer.

You mentioned the PS Audio Directstream DAC w/ Bridge 2 and that's a well-reviewed device but it presumes you have a NAS or file server with the audio tracks on it. 

You also mentioned you have some hi-res and dsd audio files already. Are these on a PC? Laptop?

Streaming is a term that can have different meanings. For me, streaming means when I'm listening to music via the internet using Tidal, Spotify, iTunes, etc. Other people refer to it as listening to digital music played locally but not from a CD. Wanted to clarify that. You also didn't mention whether you wanted something to be a "dedicated" streamer. That is, it doesn't do anything else except deliver music. A PC or Mac isn't a dedicated streamer but it has other uses and advantages/disadvantages.

Good digital playback/streaming systems are available from Aurender, Auralic, Antipodes, etc. That's just the A in the alphabet. ;) So you know there's a ton out there. What your local dealer's carry is a good place to start. Your budget isn't a problem. IMO.

I use Roon streaming from the USB on my Mac Mini via an LH Labs DAC that is compatible up to DSD256. My audio files are connected to the Mac via a DAS but I plan to acquire and use a NAS soon. Roon is just now coming out with linux versions of their software that will run on the recent vintage NAS and allow me to take my Mini out of the playback chain and control via iPad. Not to worry android user: Roon's software controls are also available in android versions and run on a wider variety of android based devices. (And you can control an entire household/nightclub/office of music playback, if you like.)

I keep thinking that if your files are on a PC/Mac, get yourself an inexpensive dsd compatible dac (say, ESS Sabre chip-based) for a few hundred and listen to your audio files through it. Then shop and audition those higher end DACs that use R2R technology or FPGA chips which are considered better (by some) at rendering the digital audio stream. It's really how your library sounds best that matters.

Good luck and keep us posted. 

Thank you very much dbtom2 for your detailed response. Really appreciated.

Yes, my music library (amongst other data) is currently sitting in a 10TB drobo NAS. This NAS is connected to a Roku4 via the home network for video. However, I am in the process of acquiring another NAS for the family photos and videos and dedicating the drobo for music.

What I mean by streaming is both accessing the files stored in a NAS as well as streaming off the net (such as Tidal).

And yes, I am looking for a dedicated streamer for my two channel music only system. As mentioned above, it will have its own dedicated NAS and most likely I will be deployed in a separate network as well, in order to reduce interference.

I have no intention of using a PC / Laptop to steam music.

I too subscribe to the notion that a FPGA based DACs will sound better, because it does not tie you down with the ’house sound’ of the chip used (such as Sabre, AKM, Burr Brown, Wolfson etc) and will also provide much greater upgrade-ability. But the problem with this approach is that not very many manufacturers offer this solution. The ones that I know are dCS (very expensive), PS Audio (I am considering them) and Chord (have not heard them).

Hey Amal 

(Not "Jamal" + apologies)

If you can give Roonserver a trial, I suggest that first. This would reveal whether the linux build will work on the NAS you have. 

Visit the Roon Community Forum:

It reads like you're pretty up-to-date on the tech and looking for a streaming system that eliminates the hardware of a player like a pc or box. Though I haven't tried putting the Roonserver linux build on a NAS - yet - there are Roon users having success with that topology. 

Good luck.

He said with budget envy ;)