streaming DACs around $4k


Does anyone have experience with any of the following DAC/streamers:

Auralic Vega G1 
Lumin T2
PS Audio DirectStream JR

The features I want are:
Ethernet Connection - Plan to stream tidal and use NAS
MQA Full Decode - I stream Tidal MQA a alot
Good App - I don't see the need for roon and will not use roon
dac/streamer combo - eliminates potential jitter


cbl117
Cbl we just put out a T2 unfreaking unreal for the money. 

The Lumin app is easy to use and works great.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor Lumin dealers
Dave we spoke on the phone earlier this week about the T2.  The more research I do, the more I think PSA DirectStream DAC with Bridge II is the way to go...
If you can swing it, Aurender A10 meets all of your requirements. Their conductor app is pretty awesome. It is much more musical and robust than PSA, IMO.
You'll be surprised to know that you CAN find a DSD w/ Bridge II within your budget, or slightly higher!

Take a look at Cary DMS-600. I used to have the DMS-500, and it was excellent for the money. Sounds great, and has an awesome display!
I'm in the same mode as I'm currently using an Oppo Sonica that only gives me Tidal and Spotify access. I'd like to have Quobuz and Roon availability. The GUI app has to be very easy and effective to use.
Audiotroy...  Can you compare the Lumin T2 to the T1? 
+1 on PS Audio. The software upgrades are free. My father-in-law has the Jr., and I have the Sr.  Both are excellent. 

The Lumin T2 is burning in nicely and sounding extraordinary, for an all in one streamer we have never heard anything better. The T2 just sounds so three dimensional it is intoxicating and it is so smooth, just beautiful.

Personally we feel that the PS audio software upgrades are a total gimmick. Lets get this straight Ted Smith spent years developing his software and then boom every year he seems to come up with a radical new version, doesn’t make sense, most engineers spend years developing their software and filters as mature technology with very little change unless hardware opens up new avenues.

We are not saying that the PS audio doesn’t sound good it just seems awefully weird that their genius designer is always changing his filter designs, and a guy like Rob Watts of Chord only upgraded his same filtering techniques only when hardware changes allowed for a more precise version of the exact same filter.

With the Lumin you have a fantastic native app built in Airplay and the ability to upsample of not, some people prefer PCM which tends to have a bit more top end clarity, vs DSD streaming which tends to be richer, with the Lumin you can choose how you want your files to sound, with the PS all filles are converted to DSD and then upsampled.

If someone cares so much about upgradability, we would recommend an Aqua Hifi Dac and a separate streamer, the PS offers firmware upgrades which is true, however,

Aqua makes a totally modular design which features 7-8 completely separate circuit boards, then boom in a few years you can be listening to a completely different set of hardware in the same chassis, that is way more powerful then by just tweeking software alone.

Compare the build and design of the Aqua Hif Lascala a $8k dac

https://www.google.com/search?q=aqua%20hifi%20la%20scala&newwindow=1&client=aff-maxthon-maxt... Notice there are seven boards each one is changeable

vs:

The Direct Stream Dac with Bridge Board $6k

http://www.xtremeplace.com/yabbse/index.php?topic=213909.15

Here you have three main boards with one being the Bridge Card, sure you can upgrade your firmware but howabout the freedom to completely evolve their product.

Aqua is making terrific analog like tube based dacs, for $4k the new Lavoice is making waves all over Europe as one of the best dac’s in that price range.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin and Aqua Hifi Dealers

Nonsense. The PS Audio software upgrades are solid improvements. If you disagree, you have the option of going back to a prior version. 

I have upgraded the hardware twice. This is much cheaper over the long run. 

You should listen to the DACs instead of the hijackers. 
Anyone looking at the NAD M12 or M32 at this price point?  Lumin's T2 uses the same 9028 DAC.

I ordered a DSJ but cancelled with all the hype around the TSS.  Also read that MQA wasn't fully unfolded.   I'm sure the PS is awesome, but was worried about longevity.

I have custom Hypex amps and like the ncore angle that NAD is using.  I also have a set of Emotiva active monitors.   Looking for a simplistic music server that can leverage all these upcoming streaming options...
@cbl117 

An alternative not mentioned is the Teac Reference NT-505 which uses the AKM 4497 chipset instead of the Lumin's ESS 9028 chipset.  It is a full featured streamer that is fully MQA capable and uses the Lumin app the same as their Esoteric branded family members.  It also has a full set of digital inputs to serve as a stand-alone DAC.  I also own a Directstream Sr. with the Bridge II and have owned a Lumin streamer. The Teac is half your budget but if you are interested in the Directstream it can be purchased inside of your target budget if you shop around. I also have owned the Sonica and any of the three Lumin, Directstream or Teac are a step up in abilities and app.  If I were in your shoes I would buy the Teac and put the $2000 difference in the bank.  
@jackd 

When you say Directstream can be purchased inside of my target budget, is that for a new or used unit?  Best I could find is $5050 New OTD with the Bridge II.
I bought mine a year and a half ago for inside your budget. With shipping  and taxes about a hundred dollars over.  
Marklarsen, how did you upgrade the "hardware of the PS audio product without switching platforms entirely are you saying that you upgraded the hardware by switching out the firmware?

The earlier Perfect wave dac could not morph magically into the direct stream series could it or are we wrong?

As per software upgrades you are missing our point it is not that changing the software doesn’t make it different, why is it changing? If you have a mature filter design there should be very little reason to make changes in the program other than to allow for feature upgrades.

We would be more than willing to do a shootout of our $4k reference dacs vs the current PS Audio products are there anyone in the NYC area would like to do this shoot out?

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


markalarsen,

May I know what other DAC/Streamer have you tried or compared before settling with PSA.

Some of my friends have tried PSA Direct Stream and ends up returning...they were unanimous in their assessment that it sounds sterile and lacks musicality.

For once I agree with audiotroy...they seem to have way too many upgrades compare to any other company I have known.
I'm in love with my PSA DS and Bridge II.  It's spooky good.

Also, Roon is like Leboski's rug: it really pulls the room together.
I had the Vault which I thought was good and just borrowed a PS Audio Perfect Wave with Bridge and I think it is awesome. Can anyone explain how the Direct Stream is different or better?

I upgraded the earlier Perfect Wave to the Direct Stream by replacing the internal circuit boards. My DAC still reads, “Perfect Wave Digital to Analog Converter.”  Internally it is a Direct Steam. Check out the PS Audio website for details. 

Call PS Audio’s technical department to discuss the differences. This conversion was too long ago for me to describe the differences. 
@https://forum.audiogon.com/users/lalitk

I also own a Bel Canto Black EX Controller/DAC. I, however, have not A/B them.