Suggestions on using a Roku w/external DAC?


I'm a big fan of my Roku boxes(non-Soundbridge versions) for streaming music. I specifically use Panadora and love the flexibility of creating new stations. I'm finding that 95% of my music listening has now transitioned over to Pandora from traditional CDs and FM. I have less time to sit down to critically listen and enjoy my collection and the Roku/Pandora combination is filling my desire for variety and discovering new artist. I've upgraded my Panadora account to Pandora One which streams at 192K bits per second(not a techie, so I don't know if that's very good or not). I'm looking to improve the sound even more since I can't imagine the internal DAC of the sub-$100 Roku is a strong feature.I figure an external DAC would really open up the music. I'm heavily eyeballing the Cambridge Audio DacMagic because of it's many features, mostly positive reviews and the low cost. Anybody using the Roku w/an external DAC care to comment on the improvements or non-improvements it made? DAC suggestions(has to be Toslink)?

I see no responses so far, and I may not contribute much. I recently got a DVD player that streams Pandora as well as Netflix and others. I am very impressed running the sound through my Decco DAC/Pre/Amp via Toslink. I now have moved the Roku box to my main system downstairs and will try a couple of different combinations. Since there I listen to Pandora through the MacMini now, I will compare it to the Roku box using (1) the Onkyo receiver, (2) the DacMagic, and (3) the Eastern Electric TubeDac. I'll let you know the results (when I get around to playing with them).
Hi Guys-- I believe if you look at the Pandora web sight you will find that it says that it will not put out 192K through these internet box devices. I have a roku also and love it. I use Pandora but MOG is the one I really love. I am not an expert and I may be wrong because I am going by memory only. I use an optical cable to my dac and it sounds good.
Hope that helps?
The Roku 2 XSHD has a built in 24/192 dac. See:

Mog is the only online music streaming at 320k right now.
Years ago I ran my Roku Soundbridge into a Musical Fidelity DAC. The difference was huge. To put this in perspective, I'm talking an older DAC from the days when HDCD was "the next big thing" - not a modern high-zoot DAC. I doubt the DACs in today's Rokus are much, if any, better than that in the Soundbridge.

Try it, you'll like it! That's what I say. I don't have much for specific suggestions - but I believe you'll hear improvement even from the (relatively) inexpensive MF V-DAC, almost certainly from the Cambridge. Good luck, and have fun!
As noted below, Pandora One subscribers get the option of 192k MP3 on the Web and when using the AIR Desktop App BUT these people are NOT listing to Pandora One on a high quality audio system where 192k MP3 would sound much better than the lower speeds.

From a business and revenue viewpoint, It seems strange to have the BEST bit-rate available on the web as most people are listening to that through comparatively low fidelity systems. It is my opinion that if Pandora One offered the 192k on these various in-home devices and Blu-Ray players, many people would easily pay the $36 per year subscription fee that would help grow your revenue stream. I would pay the $36 the minute the service is available.

Pandora said that the primary benefit of upgrading to Pandora One is no commercials. For me, I would rather pay the $36 for the higher quality bti-rate for a better sounding experience.

I have requested that Pandora offer 192k bit-rate streaming for Blu-Ray players like my Oppo Digital 105. Of course, I do not know the cost to make these software changes but I strongly feel that Pandora would get increased subscribers by providing this product enhancement.

Pandora has responded that they are a small company and do not have the resources to offer 192k on Blu-Ray devices.
Samsung SMART TV streaming Pandora One through Cambridge Audio 840C CD player/DAC upsampling to 24-bit/384kHz and on to NAD T175HD pre/pro. As good as the NAD's built in DACs are, much better overall sound quality going through the 840C.

I can't imagine the DACs in the Samsung TV being any better than Roku box. Cambridge Audio DACMagic should improve sound considerably.

Just realized old thread.

The digital sources are actually more important than the DAC. The DAC can improve things, but will always be limited by the jitter of the digital sources. Sources such as a Samsung TV are particularly bad, as is the Roku digital output.

All of these can be fixed however and have low jitter if they are reclocked by a reference reclocker like the Synchro-Mesh. This simply inserts between the digital source (Roku or Samsung TV or CD player or Apple TV etc.) and the DAC. It is powered from its own separate power supply and has a low-jitter custom clock inside. The difference is big. This is MORE IMPORTANT than the DAC. But don't believe me, read the customer reviews:

The best scenario is to use my BNC-BNC cable with RCA adapters and the Dynamo power supply with the Synchro-Mesh. A true reference digital source.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
I noticed from the above post that your Roku is connected to a DAC (and then your amplifier). The Roku web site show the Roku only has one HDMI output. How does Roku display your Pandora albums for selection? I assume a monitor is connected somehow but how does the Roku get connected the DAC and the monitor from the single HDMI output?

Can someone please explain how these connections are made (monitor and DAC?
I just bought an HDMI audio decoupler from Amazon. Have not tried it yet, but intend to use the SPDIF coax out into my DAC (so I can stop using my TV's 44k optical out).