I’ve been using a Mac Mini and an older Teac DSD DAC to stream Qobuz along with CDs (aiff) and SACDs (dsf) stored on a local NAS. I use Room as the main interface.
I’d like to eliminate the Mac Mini and move to a dedicated streamer and new DAC or, alternatively, a streamer/DAC combination. This is in part because the thinking seems to be that a dedicated streamer (for various technical reasons) will contribute to better sonics compared to the Mac Mini which might be detrimental. Secondly, the DAC is outdated and can likely be improved. Third, I like the aesthetics of some of the modern streamers with their LCD screens etc.
I’ve moved away from CD players and vinyl (they’re just not for me anymore) and want to setup a digital only/steaming service/local file front end. I can rip Cds, SACDs and vinyl in the event I am looking for a particular mastering etc. These days I tend to stream from Qobuz about 80% more than my local NAS. In that regard, I am somewhat on the fence as to whether streaming from Qobuz and possibly Tidal is really all I need.
I don’t have any experience with MQA, but I think I would like to have the ability to decode it in full. I’d like to retain the ability to play .dsf/SACD files but I’m much less committed to that than I used to be.
As examples, I’ve looked into Bluesound and the Eversolo dmp-a6. The features of the Eversolo seem to check many boxes, however, the reviews are mixed as to the sonics–of course, it could be paired with a new DAC.
All of the foregoing as a long way to get to the point of asking what other’s might consider where better sonics and modern equipment (with en eye to upgrading along the way) are the goals, be it a streamer/DAC or separate devices. My budget would be in the $1000 to $2000 range to start, new or used–although with used I don’t know how long it might take for used equipment to age out. At the higher end I would have to upgrade in steps.
I suppose the options might be to keep the Mac Mini, and improve the DAC; get out of both devices and upgrade gradually (maybe the Eversolo or another recommended device) with a new DAC; or a new steamer/DAC combo (like the Bluesound or Eversolo or something similar). I’ll never have a $10,000 budget for this in one lump sum, but i’d like to get on the road to the best digital front end I can put together. Not sure whether Roon will always be necessary.
My solicitation for advice is the fact that there are just so many products out there that it’s difficult to know what devices to consider and which tones to eliminate.
Any opinions are welcome.