To Stream or not to Stream


[A collective sign resonates from forum members upon seeing "Stream" in the title]  ...Before you run away, I read a number of threads dealing with streaming, so this is to ask about what I didn't learn.

I am trying to select a streaming option into my McIntosh DA2 DAC. I would like to stay south of $4k and get the best bang for my buck. It would be best if I could sit in the comfort of my chair with my MacBook, iPhone or iPad and control my music. I do not need a fancy screen on the component. They are nice, but I only care about the sound.

To make a decision / purchase I hope to get answers to the following:

  1. I have a CD collection, but none are HD. Why do people rip CDs when all of those CDs can be streamed from music services? I have Tidal and want to drop it for Qobuz. Learning more about the burning CD topic will help narrow down if should go with a ripper / streamer combo. 
  2. I can't find much on my DA2 DAC but assume it's top notch being from McIntosh? Consensus? How do I know if I should use it versus another streamer option with its own DAC?
  3. It appears that a USB connection is needed for DSD512 (basically the most demanding formats)? I can't find much on this but many of the recommended streamers on this site do not always have USB-out, which is confusing at some of the high price points!?
  4. Is DSD only achieved from ripping CDs?
  5. What are people doing to stream DSD512 or other formats of this quality? 
  6. I haven't seen anyone recommend the Roon Nucleus? If I'm not going to rip CDs, is it one to add to my consideration list?

This would be easy if I had money... Aurender ACS10 if I want to rip or N20, up. Others as well at these price points.

I see used N100s here... maybe that's my answer unless I want to rip. The Innuos is intriguing, but you have to buy a separate power supply... I just want to get this right the first time and be happy. I'm already gun-shy of making another purchase mistake like the new Bluesound Node 2i I need to sell... It's only a mistake because it does not do USB-out (as of this post) or support the formats I wish to stream to my DA2. Not a fan of its software either. 

Thank you!


B96cd818 e67c 4884 b39c b6346905c10fizjjzi
@lalitk +1 question to @itsjustme. Would love to know the configuration.

@griff69 The Auralic is also on my list. Thank you.

[ Warning: niave question ahead! ]

I like the idea of leveraging currency exchange rates to either pay less (Canada, Australia, etc) or purchase a solution from another country. My fear is with the power cord / supply. Is this a risk that I will have to have a solution to work in my Massachusetts home???
You can rip any damn thing with Foobar in Win 10. Ripped digital files played from a RAM Disk are the best I have heard, and the NVMe drive I use is very close.

A Blueray/DVD Burner is perhaps the most capable device for ripping CDs. I have about 100G of ripped CDs and Hi Res files, well backed up, on my machine.

As a computer is a noisy thing we need a good way to get the bits out in good order. A Pi2AES used in a network bridge delivers astonishingly low levels of both noise and jitter to your DAC.
izjjzi,

". I see it's another offering where you have to buy the separate PSU." I started with the Antipodes S40. After I had the S40 I decided to purchase the S30, S60 PSU and K10 ripper. No absolutes in audio; therefore no matter one's preference only your ears can decide. Unfortunately it's impossibe to audition everything in your system.
For me, at a certain point, I realized that I needed to focus on what I really wanted. First and foremost, it was a streamer and high-quality DAC in one box. The rest fell by the wayside.
@izjjzi 

If you don’t mind me asking. What did you not like about the sim audio integrated as I am considering one. Thanks