Top music streamer for 2019? Aurender N10’s?


I will shortly be purchasing a Gryphon Diablo 300 integrated with its internal DAC module.  I’m now wondering what to do about a music streamer, as I’m doubting that my current stock Mac Mini with Audirvana will do justice to the Gryphon.  My budget is < 10k.  After scanning forums this is what I’ve found consistently:  1) Aurender is frequently recommended, seemingly more so than other brands, 2) the Aurender N10 sounds much better than the much less expensive N100H, 3) Any higher end dedicated streamer will elevate sound significantly over my Mac Mini.

So it appears my best option is the Aurender N10 other than the price tag.  My questions are:  1) Do people agree with the statements above?  And, 2) How do the much less expensive Moon Mind 2 and Bluesound products compare with the Aurender N10?  Is the difference large?  And, 3) How big is the sound quality increase going to a N10 from a Mac Mini, and what specifically are the differences I should expect? 

Thanks

nyev
You should look at the Auralic Aries G2. It's a fantastic piece of equipment both in terms of sound and build quality. I have the full G2 Auralic stack along with the DAC Vega G2 and the clock. They are phenomenal and look super!
Right now the Innuous line is the hottest ticket.  They sound fantastic and should be on your list. 
look at the new Aurender ACS 10. Does everything. 
Auralic aries mini. If you just want a streamer. Comes with internal SSD memory capacity. Don't really see any reason for putting out more money.
The Lumin series are a contender.  I'm also trying out the iFi Pro iDSD in my home.
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If you want MQA, you will need to looking into streamers that have the capability - both Lumin and Aurender do - there are many others. Also the MQA streamers should plug into the Diablo via the XLR inputs and not through the DAC as the Diablo DAC cannot encode MQA. I currently use a Lumin T1 with the Diablo 300 and am happy with it.
Thanks for all the feedback and advice.  Rdk777, I hadn’t considered that the Gryphon DAC module doesn’t support MQA.  Are you saying that I would effectively need to consider a streamer that has an integrated DAC as well as the Gryphon DAC?  If so, it might make sense for me to consider NOT proceeding with the Gryphon internal DAC if it will be redundant to a streamer with an internal DAC that supports MQA.
Here is our take and we were Aurender dealers until recently. 

We started selling Aurender when they came out and we had done demos vs the Mac Mini and moddified Mac mini and the difference between the two devices was quite audible, with the Aurender server sounding better increases in clarity, bass and dynamics were the most noticable.

Then we started with more expensive servers the Baetis Reference for example a $15k state of the art music computer, we took that unit to one of our clients who had an N10 and a Laufter Technik Memory Player both the Memory Player and the Baetis did sound smoother and more involving then the N10.

In the mean time we had the Innuous Zenith MK II which we compared to the $15k Baetis and the Baetis was better but the much less expensize Zenith a $4k server came pretty close. 

Now we have the new MK III Zenith a $4,200.00 server 1TB which sounds far better than the older Mk II, so what we are saying and agreeing with Granyring that Innuous is making the hotest line of servers on the market today. The Mk III may sound as good as the Baetis we have them in different rooms and we have yet to do this comparision, if the Mark III does then it should outperfom the twice the price Aurender N10. 

Also Roon is one of the major advantages yes you have to pay $119 a year or $500 life time for Roon but you have some major advantage with Roon over the Conductor software:

1: Roon allows you to upsample or upconvert your data a 16 bit 44k Tidal sample can be converted to 24bit 192k, 384, 768k, DSD 64, 128, up to 512 DSD,  your dac may sound signifigantly better running at a higher sample rate

2: Roon allow for custom room Eq

3: Roon has extensive Meta Data  with Roon radio allowing the system to recommend different artists based on what you like which is a great way of discovering new artists.

4: Roon allows house wide audio managment via many Roon compatible devices including Sonos, NAD Blue Sound, Chrome Cast, Airplay enabled devices,

5: Roon can be controlled by an Ipad, an Android Tablet, an Iphone and Android phone or via a Desktop application.

6: Roon has fantastic integration of a storred library with Tidal and Qbouz to augment what you allready have into one seemless browsing experience.

So for $4,200.00 you would get one of the best servers on the market

What makes the Innuous so good:

1: Custom motorboard designed to eliminate noise pollution and to minimize contamination from the CPU to the data buss.

2:Custom USB buss or higher end custom usb card on higher end units

3: Massive linear power supply designed by Dr. Sean Jacobs an expert in digital power supply design in the Zenith the power supply is a Linear Power supply with three stages of regulation with Mundord Capacitors

(the new Zenith MK III comes very close to the $7,500.00 limited edition  Zenith Se

4: Ethernet noise filter incomming to eliminate noise entering the server

5: Ethernet noise filter outgoing to provide a cleaner filtered ethernet data signal for ethernet enabled dacs

6: Shock mounted SSD drive. 
Optimised SSD with vibration and EMI treatment

7: Custom software and tweeking of the Linux core to minimize any processor noise

8: Aluminum case

So yes, please check out the latest Innous servers the Zenith MK III is fantastic and the new Innous Statement.is an unbelievable accomplishment that people who have heard it say it is the best sounding music server on the market although it is a $13,750.00 sever

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


Assuming you’ve replaced the hard drive with SSD on your Mac Mini why not try running Roon with Tidal and Qobuz before spending more money on another box? It seems like a "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" issue.  I'd concentrate on the DAC.
I just received my Innuos Zen 3 and it is remarkable.  So meaty and full bodied while serving up the details in a most musical manner.  This unit is only $2500 or so with 1T of memory.  I loaded 1020 CDs and only used 50% of the space. I have heard many players and this one is easily a Best buy at this price. 
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A few years ago, I evaluated a few music servers and the Auralic Aries was much better than the Aurenders. Since then, I sold the Aries and went back to using a Mac iMac for storing my ripped music and access to Tidal, using Roon on the Mac iMac, and then using a PS Audio DS dac so I could communicate to the dac thru ethernet instead of an inferior USB. Aurender has too many gimmicks like an SSD for caching songs. What a waste of a SSD. The aural ds lightning software was/is much better then the Aurender software but Roon is far superior to anything out there. Also, I want to keep any computer (all music servers are computers) out of my audio room and using the bridge inside of the dac allows me to use ethernet.
Buy the New NAD M10. All in one solution. The best piece I ever come across in the streaming all in one solution.
Touch big screen. 

Find a Aurender dealer and audition N10 with your Gryphon DAC. Once you hear it, everything else recommended so far simply pales in comparison.

Don’t sweat the MQA compatibility, Aurender does the unfold of MQA files upto 24bit/96khz resolution. Or you can stream full high resolution files (24bit/196khz) through Qobuz.

The Conductor app is excellent too. 
+1 on the Innuos. I have a ZenMini (with optional linear PS) and was astounded by the quality. You can certainly afford the top of the line Zenith MKIII.  I think you cant go wrong for sound and price, as well as ease of use.  It does come in 1TB ($4250) but can go as high as 4TB ($5650).  Awesome piece of equipment
grannyring--did you audition the Zenith vs the Zen?  I can't decide between the two-- was wondering if the extra 2K for the Zenith was worth it.  To me, that is a big price gap.  I'm comparing what would be $2,749 for a 2TB HDD Zen to $4,899 for a 2TB SSD Zenith.
Just a follow up on the iFi iDSD pro.  Sounded great for a few seconds then shut down and wouldn't come back up. Back it goes.

So frustrating.
+1 on Innous.  I have the Zenith MKII w 2TB SSD.  Functionally and SQ-wise, I find it excellent.  I haven’t heard the MKIII and don’t plan to because I might be too tempted to upgrade.

Innous tech support is also excellent.
I have borrowed a Gryphon Diablo 300 from my local dealer, Evolution home theater in Atlanta. I am using it to stream both Tidal  and Qobuz via my PS Audio Directstream DAC with Bridge II as well as using my NAS hard drive and CD player. Speakers are my Sonus Faber Amati Tradition.  Software is either MConnect or Roon on a dedicated Intel NUC server.  

The sound is absolutely outrageous!

Since the Gryphon I borrowed has the built in DAC option, It is my plan to compare the 2 DAC’s when I can get the appropriate cables.  

I also have a Diablo 300 on order sans DAC or phonoboard.


Thanks again for all the replies.  

Seems like there is lots of love for the Innous.  I hadn’t heard of that option so I will look into it further.


I just checked and it doesn’t appear that there are any Innuous dealers in Western Canada.  Any suggestions on Innuous dealers?  I noticed you can buy Innuous products directly on their website but they indicate the Mk III products are available for pre-order.
It would be worth seeking out Fidata, less well known than Innuous but state of the art servers in my opinion. There are two models with 1TB and 2TB storage options. For streaming link the Fidata with a streamer such as the Lumin U1mini or Lumin U1 depending on overall budget.
I just went for the Zen without trying the ZENith.  Did not compare.  I have read in numerous places that the much more expensive ZENith is not that much better.  It’s a tad better, not 25% better or anything like that.  

Innuos removes all the glare and digital artifacts that robs music of its soul and emotion. You can turn up your music and listen with ease.  Just amazing what they have done here IMHO.  
We carry both the Zen and the Zenith and we have a Statement.

As you go up the line on a resolving system the sound just becomes lusher and more full bodied.  

The fascinating thing is how much better the Statement is over the Zenith you can acutally hear it over computer speakers in this video:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sslybP0v5y8&t=507s


The removal of noise and cross contamination makes a huge difference in the digital data stream, and allows you for kind of like the first time to experience how good digital can sound.

One client who demoed the Statement in his system his wife could easily hear the difference from the other room vs anohter branded  $2600 server he previously had. 

The Zenith uses a more sophisticated power supply which is populated with Mundorf capacitors aside from some other improvements over the Zen. On a good system the music just flows better and is even warmer and fuller than the Zen. 

The Zen is a stunning server for $2,600.00 and we have yet to find another brand of server which can better it.

You can elevate the servers with even better isolation feet, power cord and a high end ethernet cable.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Innuous Dealers


After weeks of research I have decided on the Innuos Zen MKIII. It should arrive in a couple of weeks. Excited!
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Both Aurender and Lumin unfold MQA. A full list can be found at -
https://www.mqa.co.uk/customer/our-partners

I didn't want the DAC module because the Lumin T1 along with Tidal Hifi (hi-res) met my needs.  The T1 has a built in DAC, but not internal storage.  You can get an external Lumin for your personal music collection as an option.  The Aurenders have built in storage on certain models. The only downside for me is my CD collection which will collect dust, but most of it is available on Tidal. Lot of good choices out there - with and without MQA - you'll have to decide. Hope this helps.
Love my Innuous Zenith 3. Wouldn’t want a built in DAC. DAC technology seems to change pretty often and I want the ability to upgrade a DAC without having to buy a new server. 
I’ve had Aurender and Antipodes music servers, I personally preferred the Antipodes because I like Roon better than the Aurender Conductor app.

Antipodes products are within your budget and worth considering.

I’ve owned--and still do own--products from Bluesound. While they are super-convenient, I don’t think the sound quality of Bluesound gets anywhere near Aurender or Antipodes.


Does the INNUOS Zenith MK III Server have an AES/EBU output connection?   If not, the USB is the only connection available for
connecting to a DAC, correct?   Thanks.  
Hgeifman, I checked the Innuous site and it appears you are correct - it is USB to DAC only.

Just curious - do you see that as a disadvantage?
Zen and Zenith both have Ethernet outs, so if your DAC is network-enabled, you can use that, and it'll usually be better than USB. 
This is cool as it makes them relatively future-proof. Use USB for now, and eventually, when you get a network-enabled DAC (most will go that route sooner or later), you can continue to use the same music server.
Some DACs still sound better through legacy ports, like SPDIF or AES/EBU, so this is something that needs to be examined case-by-case, maybe consulting first with your DAC's manufacturer.
Anyway, we are one of the oldest dealers for Innuos, and it's a tremendous product throughout. We also did carry Aurender and Auralic, but now we do only Innuos.

cheers,
Alex
Alma Music and Audio





Lumin X1 is the one: The ultimate Streamer with DAC. Ideal features, outstanding sound and 3D imaging. Very liquid and musical. I can't ask for more.
If you want to use the DAC built in to the Gryphon you might just look into a Auralic Aries mini or the now equivalent.  I used and still have my Aries Mini and it works great.  It can unfold MQA. The built in DAC of the Aries is rubbish. So expect to use a SPDif output. 
On the other hand, if you want to move up I would recommend a PS Audio DirectStream DAC Junior ($4000) or the Senior ($6000) with the bridge II. These option will give you a world class DAC and streamer built in. They are Roon endpoints too. Makes things so easy. The best part is that these are FPGA DACs and can be upgraded via firmware. 

Jason
Another vote for the Innuos Zenith...

I am the proud owner of an Aurender N100H as was a close friend of mine.  My friend had a situation that utilizing Roon would allow him to compensate for.  As a result, last year at Axpona I became aware of the Zenith and steered my friend to it.  He bought one of the last Mk II Special Edition.  Comparing to the N100H, the Zenith was a significant step up.  I have not heard compared to the N10...  But I can say the compared to the Zenith internal operating system complimented by the Roon system gives him a much improved user interface.  Duplicate file searching, file management, CD ripping, backup, networking capabilities and overall useage are just far superior.  I am a fan of Aurender, but their choices in operating software are going to leave them relegated to the dinosaurs of audio unless they can significantly upgrade.  My biggest problem is in managing my 2 TB library and inability to backup on the Aurender platform.  For these reasons alone, I would steer you towards the Innuos.  If you need help finding a dealer.  Private message me and I will send you contact information for the NA sales rep. 

I am happy with the Aurender, it is a solid system.  But in this case, the Zenith grass is just much greener!
Sorry guys 
get yourself a Jays Audio
transport with a R2R ladder Dac and you will be in heaven.
Jays audio cdt2 mk2
you will enjoy your red book cds.
Take a look at small green computer for their sonic transporter line to replace Mac mini/Roon core, and Sonore products for their Rendu line of streamers. Direct to customer, cutting edge tech you, top notch sq and reasonable prices. Highly recommended 
Antipodes are worth a listen.
What are CDs? Ha! Any CD I may buy will get ripped immediately and loaded into Roon with all the music I stream from Tidal. What a joy to have all this music available with just a couple of clicks! Amazing time to be a lover of music. I am listening to more new music than ever and loving the experience. My digital front end has never sounded better than with the Innuos/Tidal/Roon combo. I have owned all manner of great CD players and transports and the Innuos takes the sonic lead in my experience. Great sound all at my fingertips. No more looking for a CD by fumbling through a bunch of plastic cases.

I realize some like to handle discs and that is great for them. Great time to buy CDs cheap so your in luck.

I have access to and actually experienced more new music in two years than the previous 30 with the advent of Tidal and streaming. My newfound love for Americana music is all due to streaming and Tidal.  
Great feedback.  Glad to see a variety of opinions but it still seems the largest consensus is around the Innuous Zenith MKIII.  In general on the internet where there are lots of opinions  I usually base my opinions around patterns of consensus.  The Zenith seems like a winner to me because 1) Seems people think it is at least as good as the N10, and 2) it is almost half the cost of the N10.  Thanks all, as I said, I’d never heard of Innuous before this thread and I likely would have paid double on the N10 if not for the feedback here.
Keep It simple 
i have a Dac, Jays mcdt2mk2 Transport with a good R2R ladder Dac 
Hi End Nirvana 



Nyev we are Innuous dealers and were until recently Aurender dealers so we are in total agreement with the wonders of the Innuous products.

A couple of good points however were made by a few other posters:

1: The dac board of the Gryphon is a $5k ish upgrade. for less money you could get a Lumin T2 which is a remarkable $4,500.00 streamer however a good set of cables would add $1-3k so that would have to also be considered, then their is the flagship X1 which is a $14k streaming/dac which would easily match the quality of the Diablo. 

The issue is how good do you want your digital to be and at what price?

The Gryphon digital option should be auditioned vs some of the other really good options for similar money. 

So you could go with Gryphon Digital board + Innuous Zenith $9k or so

(advantage no interconnect and you get a great Roon sever)
Possible issue is how good is the Dac board, Ess 9018 is the older chip vs newer ESS 9028 and 9038 pro chip sets

                                   Lumin T2 Plus cable $4,500.00-$7,500.00 you can stream Tidal, Qubouz, you wouldn't get a Roon sever 

Advantage easy to upgrade separate streaming dac, newer double Dac 9028 pro chip set, probably better sound then digital board

                                 :Lumin X1 insane reference level streaming dac which matchs or betters most of the $25-30k plus digital front ends 
for $14k plus interconnect.

Just food for thought

Dave and Troy 
Audio Doctor NJ Innuous, Lumin, dealers
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@Shakira. You have earned no credibility here, however, John certainly has.  I’ve never done business with him nor have I ever owned Vandy’s. I just hate to see someone who lives “in a van by the river” try to harm a retailer with many years of exemplary testimonials. Rant over.


+1 @ricred1 You should consider the Antipodes line. I have heard the DS, owned the DX and currently own the DX3 server. I have also listened to much of the Aurender line. I favor the Antipodes sound quality and Roon capability. Your budget is such that you are in the range of the current flagship Antipodes CX+EX combo (which I haven't yet heard but hope to at AXPONA this year if I'm able to attend).  
+1 on the Lumin. Aurender lost me with no Roon support.
I have compared Roon with Aurender Conductor app and didn’t feel shortchanged in any way with my iPad music-browsing experience.

The app lets me seemlessy toggle between Tidal, Qobuz and it’s internal hard drive. I can browse top songs from my favorite artist or browse similar artist in that genre. One of the feature I really enjoy, creating playlist from my queue. And the Conductor app is free 😉

I just happen to care more about the sound and build quality of my streaming device over a fancy interface.