Wanting to upgrade my streaming sound quality.

I would really like to get my streaming sq up to my analog sq. My equipment is a McIntosh MC 452, C47, TD 124 with an AT 150 SA on a SME M2-9 tone arm, a Rega P8 with an Alpheta 3, a restored MR 74 tuner, driving Aerial 7t speakers. My streaming now is an iPad with a usb cable into my preamp with Tidal. I would be willing to spend around $2500 . A one box solution would be preferable for a steamer/dac combo although two boxes could also work. I’m not interested in multiple clocks and separate power supplies etc. Also I don’t use CD’s for a source.  I do have AT&T fiber internet with up to 1000 mb speed and my modem is only around 5 feet from my audio rack. Balanced inputs is preferable but not a deal breaker. I’ve looked at the HiFi Rose 250 and the 150 although the latter is more money than I want to spend. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I’m an Analog guy in a digital world.



A couple of things. Don't listen to people that have biases against MQA, their judgment is flawed to start with. Same as asking a pure analog guy how digital sounds, they will never tell you that digital sounds good. Good MQA IMO is better than vinyl and good MQA is better than cd SQ. Most people who hate MQA never actually listened to it or refused to buy the appropriate equipment to do it right. You also have look at the libraries of both and see who carries the music you listen to. Qobuz didn't have all the music I like whereas Tidal does.

I had the same preamp as you do, the C47 and the DAC is low fi. I never used it because I had an external dac that was far superior, which is typical when you combine a DAC or phono preamp in a preamp or integrated. The only reason I had the C47 was because I had a vinyl setup that cost 3x more than your setup and when I got my digital setup correctly, I sold all my analog gear and the C47 because now I go directly from my dac to the amp, no need for a preamp.

Never use USB into the dac. its flawed and even when buying all the gimmick pieces of equipment to try to make it better, its still bad.

You need software that can read/stream data at its best. That doesn't include amazon/iTunes, they are both low fi sounding. I also had a dedicated streaming box a few years ago that sounded better than my audirvana/pure music/Mac mini setup. But when Roon came out and the better Audirvana software, I got rid of the streaming box. I also got a much better external dac that has ethernet and I2S inputs so now my server is located in a different room than my dedicated audio room. What is an external streamer server? A computer with a proprietary Linux OS, and a locked system. Ask the vendor how you are going to backup the internal drive that stores your music.

Get a new M1 Mac mini with an internal SSD for the OS and the music app with 2 external disks for your ripped music and backup, then use Roon or Audirvana and you have your server, 1 that is much faster than any of the other dedicated streamers out there.

If you go cheap on the dac, then your digital sq is compromised. For $2500, use your existing pc/Mac at home with at least 16G of ram and SSD for the OS, get Roon or Audirvana, then spend $2500 for a used ps audio ds jr dac that has ethernet built in and you will have better sound than your analog setup. With this setup, then you can determine for yourself which is better for you: Qobuz or Tidal and MQA support is built into the DS jr. If you want better sound quality, then jump up to the DS sr.

It's 90% DAC,  10% streamer.

With streamers It's 90% good reliable software that is easy-to-use and does not crash or hang up. 



I WAS a vinyl guy.

understand you want a one box solution, but I would suggest keeping them separate, just as you may want to upgrade a phono cartridge 

Aurender N100H + Schiit Yggdrasil works extremely well for me, at a $5K cost including cables. And has balanced outputs, which I use.

I agree with @rbstehno about MQA. If you invest in a new streaming DAC, try to find one that does MQA decoding and rendering  (esp. if you plan to use Tidal).  FWIW,  a couple of Matrix Audio products perform much better on ASR measurements than the PS Audio DS Senior, for a much lower retail price. But, notwithstanding what ASR measurements do or don't capture, many people seem to love the PS Audio Direct Stream Jr/Sr.  And PS Audio products are made in USA, evidently with excellent user support. 

A nice feature of both the PS Audio and the Matrix products is that they support both USB and Roon-ready network connections.  I prefer a network connection for reliability and ease of use.  I don't find that either one necessarily sounds better or worse than the other, but sometimes I've had trouble maintaining the USB handshake when changing sources/settings or powering on/off.  On the other hand, for some DSP software (like HQ Player or BACCH4Mac), you may need a USB connection.  With the right recordings, BACCH4Mac (even the $1K intro edition) can create impressive spatial audio effects.  Nevertheless, I find myself often returning to an ethernet connection.

My system: sonicTransporter i9 (runs Roon Core); Mac Mini (intel CPU) to manage downloaded music library and to run DSP software (HQ Player, BACCH4Mac); Matrix Audio Element X (preamp/DAC/streamer);  Benchmark AHB2 (power amp); JansZen Valentina P8 hybrid electrostatic loudspeakers.



You have 1000 mg speed in that you are cutting in have by using wifi. First step is to make sure your streamer is hard wired to you net with cat 7 wire. This alone made a big difference in my sound quality.