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I am currently utilizing a Naim Uniti Star all-in-one. For $5K retail, this unit plays well above its price. I only stream Tidal and Qobuz, and the Naim app is very reliable. Unit is also wifi. I have not had any dropouts. The amp section is much more powerful than its rating. It has enough current to drive a pair of B&W 802d3's. Currently, I am using the preamp output into a CODA 16. The system still sounds great, but the CODA's fidelity is showing the weakness of the Naim preamp section.
I auditioned the Naim Star against a Mcintosh integrated and Naim's ND5xs2 streamer. Overall, the sound of the Mac/Naim streamer combo bested the Uniti star by maybe 10%. In my opinion, the combo was not worth the money ($12K). The Uniti Star is that good! I have not auditioned the big brother (Nova) but heard that it is superb.
Don’t pay any attention to anti-digital trolls. They have been living in their cocoon way too long to realize how far digital has progressed.
There are some very high quality one box streaming components available with built-in DAC and volume control. Couple of questions,
1) Are you going to use a separate preamp and amp?
2) What is your budget?
For starters, you can look into Aurender A10 and Lumin T2 streaming players. Both of these brands offers great features and app experience that makes streaming a cinch.
I'm willing to spend $2500 (probably used so someone else takes the depreciation) and I'm just looking for a streamer/dac. I have everything else. Lately I've been building up a VPI Aries 1 with a Fatboy arm after a long succession of vintage/modern tables... so my vinyl front end has always been quite good. I should mention that I'm currently using an Arcam r-Blink bluetooth dac so the bar is set low in terms of improvement.
@dhcod If you are looking for a user experience closer to an LP collection, I'd strongly consider Roon. So you'd ideally want something to run Roon core in addition to the streamer(Roon end point) and a DAC. Suggestions:
Roon Core: SonicTransporter from Small Green Computer ($1K new) or if you're DIY-ish an Intel NUC (see JDarko video for good explanation)
Roon Endpoint: Sonore opticalRendu or if you're DIY-ish one of the Raspberry Pi-based ones like Allo or Hifiberry
DAC - so many threads...so many DACs...Ares II, Audio Mirror, Soekris, are worthy contenders
With used prices on one or two or them you can probably hit $2500 total. Cheers,
There's plenty of digital stuff out there, but I would not sell my turntable until you know you're satisfied with your digital setup. Maybe cull down your record collection but bad digital can be a real turnoff and then you stop listening. Not knocking digital, but you really need to find a setup that satisfies you.
bluesound node 2i $400 used
cullen cable digital cable 1.5m $100
mhdt stockholm 2 or istanbul $800-1200 used or new
we 2c51 tube to replace stock 5670 in mhdt $100
metrum amethyst $800 used
ayre codex $900 used (substitute lifatec 1.5 m glass toslink cable for cullen)
lovely analog-like dimensional sound
make sure you have good high speed ethernet or wifi
smartphone or tablet to run blu os controller app
tidal master and/or quboz hifi subscription
I know how you feel. I was always a vinyl person until a few years ago, but circumstances changed and I now find myself embracing the benefits that digital music provides.
Unlimited music for one low monthly fee is hard to argue with. I will always keep a few hundred records and a turntable, but for me it will just be another option.
If you can find a used Lumin U1 mini for $1200 to $1400 or an Auralic streamer with femto clock for $700 to $800 used. I found MacBook noisy as a streamer. A nice R2R dac since your coming from vinyl. $1500 for a new Audio Mirror dac or if you can find a used one even better. MHDT Orchid dac new $1200 or $900 used if you can find one. Rolling tubes in the Orchid is fun and beneficial. I just got into streaming 4 months ago. I kept my budget around yours and haven't missed my turntable. I have a Auralic G1 streamer, MHDT Orchid dac, but did add the RME adi-2 dac when I'm in the mood for something a little different. I'm a vinyl person and it cost 4x what I spent on streaming and my turntable has not been used very much lately.
I deleted my prior post as I hadn't read your original post carefully enough.
I don't have an exit planned for vinyl at this point, but I was looking for a listenable digital solution for listening to new music, casual listening, etc.
The first thing I tried was an Innuos Zen mini which has a DAC built into the Innuos (one box solution). The results compared to my vinyl setup were inadequate for my needs, with the sound quality too low.
A few years later I tried and purchased an Innuos Zen III in combination with a Line Magnetic lm 32 dac. This provided sound, that while not as good as my analog setup, was much less expensive, listenable and quite good. I also used ROON for this setup. I don't think it significantly affected the sound quality, but it made a significant improvement to the overall experience.
This two box solution might work for you because the two units are stackable. You could improve the sound quality further by using a Innuos Zenith and/or a better DAC, but these components fit the price point in my budget for digital as well as being available locally.
You can see a picture in my system which is posted. There is also a Linn CD player sitting on top of the Innuos and LM units.
Best of luck with your search.
Check out used Bryston BDP 2 for a streamer. There is one on audiogon for ~$1k. Add a good DAC for another $1500K and you are in fat city. The BDP will stream Tidal or Qobuz through the Manic Moose interface and play via MPD. The Manic Moose interface is seriously spartan but it works and the SQ is top notch. Then if you really get into it you can add Roon on a Sonic Transport for another $1000 plus the Roon sucscription , the BDP 2 can be configured as a Roon endpoint. The Sonic Transport and Rendu solution is also another good suggestion but I Think the BDP/MPD combo sounds better than Roon.