now that I have sorted out my amplification with a NAIT XS2, I am looking at improving the streaming part of my system. I currently use a RPI/DigiOne box as Roon endpoint that is connected to a Naim DAC. Now I am wondering if any improvements can be made by replacing the Raspberry Pi with a a dedicated Roon transport such as the Limetree Bridge or the Waversa WStreamer. Does anyone have any experience with these two devices (or any comparable in that price range)?
I can obviously upgrade the Raspberry Pi with a DigiOne Signature and Allo Shanti LPS, but I am wondering if there is anything out there that is maybe visually a little more appealing while hopefully improving sound quality as well.
Take a look at my expanded profile details. I’ve taken my Allo transport setup about as far as it can currently go. I was wondering recently about where to go next if there were further gains to be had (and a tidying up exercise). I concluded there were relatively “inexpensive” options (e.g. Lumin U1 mini) but I was probably going to have to be spending in the £3k+ region (e.g. Auralic Aeries G1/G2, dCS Network Bridge) to get any kind of noticeable performance uplift.
It was at that point I put a halt to the search. a) I’d be spending far more on the transport than the cost of the DAC, and b) I have a hunch we’ll soon start seeing loads of new versions of these transports with optical fibre connectivity built-in. If built-in fibre connectivity offers further improvements over today’s offerings I might as well wait before sinking quit a bit of money in now.
Many thanks for your input. My thought process is very similar. With the pace of change in streaming I am reluctant to spend a fortune on a device that might be outdated in a couple of years. That’s why I also decided to keep DAC and transport separate. At the moment I will either be upgrading the RPI with a LPS and/or DigiOne Signature or an affordable transport like the Limetree or WStreamer. Budget would be roughly the same.
For Roon connectivity, I use a Sonore ultraRendu with my NDX, and I use a Waversa WStreamer with my chrome bumper system. Both with excellent results.
I get the best sound from the ultraRendu, by connecting to the NDX over the network via UPnP. I first tried a USB to SPDIF converter attached to the ultraRendu, but it did not sound as good, to my ears.
But as I don’t have a streamer connected to my chrome bumper system, I went with the WStreamer to a Schiit Modi Multibit DAC via SPDIF, to my NAC62.
The only problem I’ve had with the WStreamer, is that I cannot get it to connect to it’s firmware upgrade server. It’s not a big deal for now, because it was already upgraded to the latest as purchased. But I’m not sure what I’ll be able to do if there are desirable firmware updates in the future.
@Tamarin, thanks for your response. I might have an opportunity to try out a WStreamer in the next week or so.
I have not looked into the Sonore products much because they only have a USB output and the Naim DAC does not have a corresponding input. How does the UPnP setup with the ultraRendu you describe above work? Thanks.
@toscana, the Sonore ultraRendu (or microRendu) can pair with a Naim gen1 streamer * via UPnP over your network (or with a Naim V1-DAC via the USB input). However, as you need a connection straight to a Naim NDAC, it won’t be suitable for you.
So in your case, a WStreamer would be a valid option. It has both USB and SPDIF outputs. You can use the latter to connect to your Naim NDAC.
* Current gen Naim streamers handle Roon natively as certified, Roon-ready endpoints, so no bridge is required.
For Roon I use an OpticalRendu which is powered by a LPS and it’s very good. I used to have an Aries G1 but I’ve found the OR in my setup to be a lot better to my ears. Spent a bit of time putting together some good optical converters for the NUC and an Optical switch and love it.
As mentioned above, I see optical being the way forward. Cuts out all electrical network noise from ever getting to the DAC.
The OR also provides a great end point for HQPlayer as well.
When my 252 arrives to replace my SN2 in the music room, the SN2 will be spare. I have a Nova in the lounge and could use the SN2 there using the Apple TV as a Roon Transport and routing the optical output from the TV to a Heed DAC I have spare, and feed the DAC into the SN2. Would this be worthwhile, or is sticking with the Nova a better option?
Many thanks @Tamarin.
Yesterday, I played around with with my UQ2 and rooUPnP which seems to be a similar concept like the Sonore UPnP bridge. The software is still in beta phase but it works reasonably well.
But for some reason, I have a preference for a dedicated hardware device like the WStreamer. It seems a bit pricey for what it is but I hope the sound quality is a noticeable improvement over my current RPI solution. I should have a WStreamer here for testing over the weekend and am looking forward to comparing it against the RPI and the rooUPNP bridge.
How do you find the WStreamer from a sound quality perspective?
Thanks @anon23154165. I have looked at the Sonore products but unfortunately they only have a USB output and my Naim DAC does not have a USB input and I am a bit reluctant to add another device like a USB-> SPDIF converter.
One advantage of using the Apple TV - DAC - SN2 is that it can be set to run on one input to the SN2 and I can use Roon via the iOS app or Apple TV app. I can see / hear that working quite well for Mrs Mike, who currently plays music through You-tube on the Apple TV app.
Certainly the amp side of things with the SN2 will have more slam and grunt for the Totem Hawks. It’s just a question of how the transport/DAC side of things at the front compared to the Nova will go. I’ll give it a go when the other gear arrives.
I suppose, if I wanted to get really crazy, I could bi-amp with the Nova and the SN2 in power amp mode - I have a spare set of NAC A5…