Under $3K streaming dac suggestions, Roon Ready?


Just as the title explains..

Currently using an Auralic Mini to Mytek Liberty.  Looking for a one box solution to save space/cables primarily, but if sound quality improvement is capable in the under $3K range as well, then WOOHOO!!!

Will be hooked up to a Yamaha A-S2100 integrated, Spendor A4 speakers.

I've previously used: Lumin D2, and PS Audio DSD Jr. - and both of those sounded the same as my current setup, and I'm not against going back to either of those since they fit the requirements.

Open to all/any other suggestions.  I have my eye currently on: Mytek Brooklyn Bridge and the Teac NT-505.  Would prefer a component that offers balanced & unbalanced outputs, and volume control isn't needed of course.

Best,
Rob


7bc4daa2 be3e 4e1a 95da 243581b9bbb5robelvick
The Teac is an excellent choice in your price range. I have owned one since November.  Audiotroy will be around shortly no doubt to tell you the Lumin T2 is your best choice.  I have also owned the Lumin D series in the past and the Teac is just better while running the same Lumin software.  While the T2 is a very good streamer it is ESS Sabre based so a different sound than the DS Jr. (I have the DS Sr. with Bridge II in another system) or the D2 and also over a $1000 over your budget.  
+1 on the Teac. I’ve had mine for a couple months, and use it with Spendor D7’s (saw u have A4). My amp (int) is ARC DSI200. I posted my review on the Teac thread. 
Good luck and let us know what u get
Jacked on the contrary some people may prefer the Teac’s Akm vs the Lumin’s Wolfson, it is really a matter of taste we wouldn’t say the Teach isn’t good.

Personally we prefer the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge Plus over the D2 and we prefer the Lumin T2 over the Mytek so it all comes down to taste.

For the ESS guys who prefer a warmer sound the Lumin allows transcoding to DSD which generally makes the Dac a bit warmer.

So we would say Mytek for $3k and Lumin for $4.5k as the T2 is far better than the D2.

Dave and Troy


@jackd @audiotroy @kren0006

Thank you everyone for the suggestions so far. The T2 is out of my budget, unfortunately - so the Mytek Brooklyn Bridge and Teac NT-505 are still the current front runners.  Both of those let you convert to DSD (DoP) as far as I can tell, which I do from time to time, via Roon DSP.

Both of those have a lot of versatility, which is nice, but I really only need a streaming input, and balanced outputs. The Lumin range offers just that, but the D2 is the only budget friendly option for me at this time.

I think the PS DSD will have a price drop in the used market soon, or whenever their new flagship DAC becomes available.

My current Auralic + Mytek Liberty is no slouch, so there’s no huge rush if waiting is my best option. However, I’ve said that many times before, and pulled the trigger on something new the next day!
Of the streamers  mentioned, the only one that is price competitive (though still $300 more) with the Teac is the LUMIN D2, but its Wolfson dac is nearly 10 yrs old (perhaps older, couldn’t find exactly when 8741 dac was released). 

The Mytek costs 50% more than the Teac, if cost savings are a consideration. 

Teac dual monoraul AKM 4497 and balanced outputs and upconvert to DSD. Pretty solid feature set
If some of your listening is MQA, I was told that in the Brooklyn, the MQA filters (whatever that is) has to be turned on/off manually. The filters do not change with whatever audio format is playing. I’m not certain what kind of sonic characteristics exist when playing non MQA content. Just something to think about. 
@aberyclark 

Thank you for the heads up.  I usually don't use filters, so that would probably not be an issue, but still good to know.

I'm also looking at the iFi Pro iDSD, but it's not Roon Ready(yet) to the best of my knowledge.  However it does have an ethernet digital input for streaming & switchable tube output, which is pretty cool.

There might be a loophole to get Roon to work with it, and I will check the Roon forums for more answers.
I had the iFi Pro iDSD for a while. It is a nice DAC with lots of options that I appreciated. When trying to connect to my NAS the wireless streaming didn't work on IOS and worked erratically on Android. The service folks helped as best as they could, but the Muzo app really is the issue in my opinion. Hopefully they have made some improvements since then since it is a good DAC in my opinion.
https://community.roonlabs.com/t/ifi-pro-idsd-roon-ready/63087/7
From iFi audio , April 15 2019
´´Unfortunately, the Pro iDSD is not Roon Ready at this moment in time. We are however currently working towards being Roon Tested.´´

I own the Pro iDSD
lots of filters ( almost too many )
2 tube modes ( you can even change to other tubes for different sound )
I use ethernet connection
no issues with Muso app. But it is the weak link.
it has a balanced headphone output.
Well...I think i'll pass on the iFi for the time being.


Since you already like your Auralic Mini, you might want to consider the Altair or the new Altair G1 coming out in August. The G1 will be around $2500.  I've had the Altair about two years and I'm extremely happy with it. It's a very competent all in one unit.  And if your mini has a hard drive installed, I believe it can be transferred into the Altair.
@bond-san 

Thank you for the suggestion.  The new G1 looks very promising, and Auralic works very well with Roon.  Just made it to the top of my list.  
One other option, which is much cheaper, is the Cambridge Audio CXN V2. It has Chromecast built-in, which is Roon friendly. Tops out at 24/96, but that’s fine with me.

However, no MQA support, which isn’t a deal breaker, but one of those things that just feels nice having. I can always have Roon do MQA converting as well.


There is another thread I have been following where someone posted information about Matrix Audio Element X. I checked it out and it both the Element X and Element M look interesting. I use an Auralic Aries LE today going into my DAC but would like to see if a one box solution can be the equal or better of this setup.
If you can wait a few months The Excellent Belcanto  2.7 dac
will have the exact dac player combo with Tidal ,Roon , Spotify,
and one or two others,for $3500 retail , definitive Audio you will get it under $3k delivered. They have given me great advise as well as service .my 2,7 dac beat 3 players  I have compared that were between $3and $4500 all well known brands . 
I built my own player with a dedicated Solid State computer drive 
using Jplay, and JRivers media25. Myself May buy the Belcanto player to get Roon and HD Tidal ,which I cannot currently get .
OP the Ifi DSD is  a  remarkable little guy sonically, it does have a few quirks and isn't Roon ready at the momment but boy does it sound really good.

Audioman, how do you know anything definative about the 2.7 Dac which is a dac and not a streaming dac? As per sound quality vs anything else what you personally like in your system may not translate the same way into other peoples systems. The sound quality of a dac will also depend on how you are feeding it.

Just went to the Matrix audio site and their dacs do seem nice, but it doesn't seem that they are doing anything really different than the excellent Mytek Brooklyn Bridge which is an American company the Matrix are Chinese made, both use the same ESS chip and offer similar features with the Mytek offering Roon compatibility which is a major advantage for some. 

As per the Cambridge it is a nice unit but not up to the same sonic standards as the other players listed above. 

We used to sell it and the Lumin at $2,300.00 just killed it. 

Your top contenders should be in no pariticular order

Mytek Brooklyn Bridge clean detailed, excellent headphone stage, analog inputs, analog volume control, MQA, Roon capable

Lumin D2: a great streamer, warm, full bodied great app, Roon and MQA

Teac we haven't played with this one, so no comment. 

Auralic G1 no idea on the level of the dac but Auralic does make excellent products with both MQA and Roon capability. 

Personally we love the sound quality of the Ifi DSD it fantastic we use it with a Roon endpoint so not an issue for us for native Roon, but sonically just amazing sounding if you want warm and very three dimensional this little guy throw a gigantic soundstage and is insanly flexibile. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ 




audiotroy -> How is the dac in Lumin D2 or  iFi Audio Pro iDSD?
@audiotroy   Thank you for the breakdown, much appreciated!

My main reservations with the Mytek is that it's packed with functionality, almost all of which will never be used (but you never know, someday I could use it as a preamp).

About the same goes for the iFi, and since I can't currently use Roon with it directly, I would be using the same configuration I am currently, albeit with a better DAC than the Liberty.  That's not a bad option by any means, but I'm really trying to limit my box count.

Another option that may work is something in the Aurender line, if they make a streamer/dac combo that is Roon friendly.  I believe they do, but probably not for my current budget.  I will search around.

Right now I'm still leaning towards the Teac NT-505 and Auralic Altair G1.  The Cambridge CXN V2 is also intriguing, but to be honest it's mostly from an aesthetic standpoint.  I love the looks, and especially the front panel displaying artwork/sample rate, etc.  Long term, that shouldn't be a deciding factor, I know.
The dac chip in the LUMIN D2 is only 24-bit and was released in 2007, right?  

That is the same year iPhone was released! Ie, stone ages for fast moving tech area (at least as fast moving as audio gets). 

I havent listened to it and I’m sure it’s great for that era but just making the point it is 12 yrs old 
The only thing I would consider is the Ayre Codex, plus whatever you can do for the streaming part. I ended up with the Roonb Nucleus, serving both the endpoint and core functions. It sounds fantastic! For me, the Codex is what transformed the digital side of my system from HiFi, to truly musical. The only better choices I have heard are above $5k. The Aurilic stuff I have heard were not in the same leagu.
@musicloversaudio Thank you for the suggestion.  The Codex was on my watch list last year, but to me it seems like a sideways move from the Mytek Liberty.

I haven't heard the Codex, so I could be way off, but as far as my main goal, it puts me on the same boat.
Interesting post Musiclovers Audio an Ayre dealer. 

We have heard the Codex and quite frankly it is a very nice $2k dac personally we would take the Ifi DSD over the Ayre any day of the week, the combination of tubes and upconverting to high res DSD is awesome  sounding and extremely musical also with its multitude of filters you can have your digital sounding anyway your like

The Mytek is also a sweet little dac, not quite as bloomy as the ifi but an exceptional all around performer.

And if you are going to spend $2,500.00 on a Codex and another $1,200 to $2,500.00 on an appropriate streamer, and a digital cable you are going to be in the $5k price range, and then you have wonderful class leaders like the Lumin T2.

Kren the Wolfson Dac is indeed an older dac, just like the Burr Brown PCM 1792 that is used in the Bel Canto, the same chip is used in the brand new $8k Naim NDX II so the take away is unless you are processing to DSD 256 to 512 or higher res PCM the dac chip is just one part of the equation. 

Lumin uses the Wolfson because it is a very analog sounding dac chip.

We had a Lumin A1 traded in and it easily sounded as good as many of our modern dacs, just lacking a bit or air or prescence compared to the more modern Lumin T2 or some of the other dacs.

So yes it is nice to have the latest chip set back a dac's overall sound is affected just as much by the analog output stage, the dac's filters and jitter spectum and clocking.

For this reason the Lumin D2 is still considered one of the best sounding dac/streamers in its price point. Lumin is a divison of a large engineering company that builds broadcast gear and high performance cable boxes, they have a far greater engineering pool to call upon and  resources than most high end audio companies, which is one of the reasons that Lumin continues to be such a big player in  our little world. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


We are working hard to make a sale!
Rbach, it has nothing to do with us trying hard to make or not make a sale. One of the facts in this industry are there are market leaders and products which continue to endure and set a precedent.

Wether or not you like Mcintosh, it is a classic brand, same as B&W or Kef.

Lumin was the first major streaming company. When the A1 came out it was the defacto standard for what a streaming product could be and set the standard for what most people want: a good easy to use app, the most requsted streaming sources, airplay, over the air updates, musical sound quality, a digital output. 

Today there are a ton of good choices but remember the company that got the ball rolling. 

Also we have our favorite brands just like any dealer, or consumer. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ


Here is a list from Michael Lavorgna / Twittering Machines...

(From $200 up through $38,0000)

https://twitteringmachines.com/streaming-dacs-a-list/
We are just here to help you make the right choice.  Our choice!
Yes Rbach we are using our super powers to convince everyone.

As per the list we have 13 out of of the list of 51 dac/streamers mentioned which is not too shabby:

We sell Naim, Nad, Lumin, Krell. Mytek, Ifi, Cary so we actually do know what most of these devices sound like 

If you consider that we used to have the Cambridge models that would have given us 15 out of 51. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
david_ten, great list, thanks for posting!  I have been looking for a list like that.  Funny when I got my Teac I naively thought I was at mid or higher end of streamer food chain, cost-wise ..... nope!
Post removed 
Thanks for the link @david_ten
One option that hasn't been mentioned is the miniDSP SHD, a very nice sounding unit.  It is not deluxe, but if you want DSP for your room or to attach 1 or 2 subwoofers, it is far more flexible than what Roon offers. If you've no interest in DSP, it might not be the unit for you.
@audiotroy 

Thank you both for the countless hours you spend in this forum. We are so fortunate to have a paying, advertising dealer on this site willing to take his time to compare the products he carries to the ones he doesn't, then of course letting us know which ones are better. Just knowing the the Audio Doctor is ALWAYS in (working the forum section) is of great comfort when we need solid, unbiased advice.
rbach, you are welcome. Dude we have a ton of experience and if you look at Twittering Machines list of recommended streamers we have 13 and at one time had 15 of his list of 51, that is a pretty good indication that we know how many of these dacs sound.

We also have many other dacs, severs, that were not listed on his list as some of these are not streaming dacs. 

The one thing that you should know is that a reviewer has to go by memory they test and send back, test and send back and compare only a handful of products at a time, while we have multiple products in the same store and sound rooms. 

If you actually look at our line listings you will see we have one of the most diverse selections of digital products out there, so we can offer our clients the best advice to fit their needs. 

You can choose to work with us or not but the facts are the facts that we got a boat load of these products.

http://audiodoctor.com/wp/our-brands/

we are evaluating Ifi and have the Ifi DSD pro, not working with Aurender at this time, and have add Golden Ear and still have PSB. 

So in terms of selection that is a lot of great digital.

As per comparing products to ones we don't carry we usually have people bringing in dacs, and amps when they evaluate loudspeakers so we do get a chance to hear a lot of competiting products.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ



It's such a pleasure to watch a real pro work the forum!
Chord electronics? Hugo2? Qutest?
NAD C658.  DAC and Preamp with Dirac Live.  Works great with Roon for me.
@audiotroy - I always enjoy your knowledgeable posts and I don’t find you to come across as a salesman at all - you tend to show a lot of restraint in light of the negativity thrown your way and provide some very very useful first hand information.  

I use a Nativ Vita as my music server and they have a matching DAC which I don’t have - anyone use this combo? (comes in around $3K).  

I use my Vita with Roon and a SSD hard drive and love it’s interface - my DAC is a Cary DMC 600 as I still listen to CDs.  Personally I like the sound of Cary equipment.  I had an Aurelic Vega before it and I liked it as well.  
The Nativ Wave is their DAC
I would like to recommend the Naim NDX, which can be had used in your price range.  The Naim is not only a high quality streamer that works perfectly with my NAS, but it has an excellent DAC, an upradegeable power supply if you are into that sort of thing, and several outputs and input options.  The topper is that the Naim app is free, and IMHO, works as well as Roon without paying anything.  The Naim app lets you view your music according to your file structure on the NAS, and for most of the music, provides a nice write-up on the album and artist if you want to review it, and allows you to play an entire album, internet radio, and the streaming services like Tidal as well. 
I have a Auralic g1 that I’m gonna sell . Haven't even taken it out the box . I’m just gonna stay with my my node 2i for now . I will give a great deal to whoever is interested in buying the G1 . Pm me for the details 
I'd suggest you look at a used Cary DMS-500. Cary has replaced this in their lineup with the -550 and -600, but it's still a very capable dac/streamer that matches all your criteria. It's Roon ready, full MQA decoding, natively supports Spotify, tidal and internet radio streaming, has both balanced and single ended outputs as well as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. I've been using one for about a year and a half with a roon core setup on a NUC computer and am quite satisfied with it. If you can find a used one it should be within your budget, as it retailed for $3500 - $5000 new, depending on the Cary direct level.
@bthartman  Thank you for the suggestion.  That does seem to check everything off my list.

I know little about Cary as a brand, so will have to do some research, especially regarding the different "direct" levels you mentioned.

Any further info would be appreciated!
@jimman2  The Nativ looks very cool!  I like the screen.  Hard to find pics of the actual unit (front/back) from actual users.  I'm guessing it's pretty new to the market.

Not sure if there is a streamer & dac version, or if you have to purchase two separate units.

I'll keep looking at more info.
A product not mentioned in this thread so far is the Benchmark DAC3. I realize that it alone is not "Roon compatible". But read on for there is a method to my madness.

I’m running a DAC3 in an all digital Atma-Sphere/Merlin system. The DAC3 was one of the components that replaced a Resolution Audio Opus 21 CD Player. The other piece was a Moon MiND2. The MiND2 is Roon compatible.

FWIW, I think the Opus 21 is still a great piece of gear and I used its DAC with a Sonus BlueSound until earlier this year. The Opus’s DAC is nicely relaxed and very musical.

The Sonus, unfortunately, had limitations. There were connectivity, software and support issues. Its internal DAC doesn’t bear acknowledging other than to say it doesn’t bear acknowledging.

Upgrading to Moon MiND2 fixed the Sonus’s problems. Which is not a big surprise given the price differential between the two products. But, keep in mind, the MiND2 requires an external DAC.
Back to the original story, I initially I used the Opus’s DAC with the MiND2 which resulted in a very pleasant improvement over what the BlueSound provided in all the things audiophiles want: clarity, tone, space, etc. Again, no surprise given the price differential between the two products.

Allow me to insert that the MiND’s native software, at lease the Android version I was subjected to, is poorly written. After a few months I upgraded to Roon and now have no complaints. Roon filled in what was missing. So add $500 to what you pay for a MiND2. It’s still worth the money, but my suggestion to Moon is to negotiate a perpetual license with Roon for their systems. At least for the convenience of their users. I’m a software tech and Roon is very nicely written. It’s not perfect, but is well on its way. Kudos!

Adding the DAC3 to the mix took things to a higher level. Again, more of the things audiophiles want. The most noticeable difference between the older Burr Brown DAC chips in the Opus and the DAC3 was the sense of "being in the same room." Sure, there was more clarity, et al, but the "aliveness" was the big set apart. Even with the system playing in the next room right now, Oscar Peterson playing "On Green Dolphin Street" is truly toe tapping and I want to go there to listen! But I digress (um, or not).

I mostly listen to classic rock, blues and jazz. The latter two genres offer a lot of small venue recordings. On these the difference that the Benchmark makes over the Opus is very obvious. There is a greater sense of space; I am there. On recordings I’ve always thought were weak, there’s more body. I’m looking forward to listening to higher bit-rate recordings now that I have a DAC that supports them. I’m told it makes a difference. We’ll see.
The Mytek the OP mentioned is on par with the Benchmark DAC3. Definitely worth a listen. I chose the DAC3 for aspects the Mytek doesn't support. More esoteric than substantial and not worthy noting.

As I re-read the OP before posting my thoughts, it looks like they might be focused on a one box solution. The MiND2 supports Roon and since buying it I’ve upgraded to a perpetual Roon license. But the Roon doesn’t have a built in DAC. If you have a usable DAC to use in the interim, and can make a two step upgrade, the MiND2 and DAC3 mate very well together. It’s been a great bang for the buck upgrade for me.
Good luck to you in your pursuit of audio nirvana.
@fpeel 

A couple years ago I was using a Benchmark DAC2 HGC, as a DAC and preamp too for a bit.  Very, very nice piece of gear.  Extremely accurate sounding, no jitter, no coloration whatsoever.  I'm sure it would mate well with my Yamaha/Spendor setup, but as mentioned previously, I'm still looking for a one box solution right now.

The Simaudio Mind Streamers looks great, but my Auralic already works wonderfully with Roon and sounds great with the Mytek.


A must read Class A - Bell canto Streamer $2495, definitive audio 
delivered for around 2 grand a No brainer !!
https://www.audiostream.com/content/bel-canto-refstream-asynchronous-ethernet-renderer
As I mentioned earlier the Belcanto Ref stream got an award or two, and in the fall it will have combined the excellent 2.7 dac together for around $3500 before discounts and will have a Roon as well as Tidal ,plus Spotify. Their digital compares with. Dacs 2x + their cost.
There's a listing right now for a Cary DMS-600 for just over your budget, but you could offer a bit lower. The -600 is the top in Cary's lineup. There's a review of the DMS-500 from a while ago:

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/cary-audio-dms-500-network-player/
This new one looks interesting. Maybe too may features (Phono pre, FM tuner). You also have the ability to record any input at 24/192. With all the features, I'm assuming corners have been cut to keep the unit around $3k

http://www.cocktailaudio.com/home/sub01_02.php
Hello again I added the Belcanto streamer ,and in the earlier very good review it State no Roon or Tidal ,that is not true 
maybe in a preproduction model it gives you a ton of options .
and can be bought for around $2k ,$2500 retail. Dedicated audio 
gave me several great deals and free shipping.
http://www.belcantodesign.com/home/eone/stream/