Add External DAC or Upgrade to a New Streamer / DAC?


So upgrade-itis has struck again and I'm looking to improve my digital front end. Right now I am using the HiFi Rose RS250 (Quobuz - Roon - Ethernet - HiFiRose) which is fed into a PrimaLuna Evo 400 Integrated into GoldenEar Triton One.Rs Cardas and Wireworld interconnects and cables. My question is this. In order to achieve a marked improvement in digital sound quality (and being that I enjoy the look and interface of the Rose) is there an external DAC you would recommend running the Rose through (as cost effective as possible - pre-owned or demo preferred) or is there a Streamer / Dac combo product that would be the smarter upgrade move. I'd appreciate any input / advice. Thanks!

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With USB connection DAC uses its own free running clock and requests data from streamer when it needs a new portion. USB connection is asynchronous and does not carry any clock information - only request from receiver (DAC) and response from sender (streamer). In that case jitter is only limited by the quality of DAC internal clock.

Other type of connections are synchronous and thus all devices should be slaves of the same clock source. This can be DAC internal clock (propagated to streamer), or DAC  is also a slave to some external clock source. But in that latter case jitter is limited by the quality of DAC circuit that synchronizes local clock with external master.

If clock distribution is not possible, then ASRC in DAC is the only way to minimize jitter, but ASRC may add its own distortion.

 

 

I too am considering either a HiFi Rose or an Eversolo, but only for the streamer portion. I would use an external DAC with either of these boxes.

I had a borrowed RS250 inhouse for a few weeks and loved some things about its GUI, especially the HDMI out, which lets you stream YouTube or display the streamer’s menus on a TV. Given that my "serious" stereo system also supports the front speakers of a multichannel home theater, that functionality is pretty handy.  And unlike some DACs's HDMI ARC implementations, it transmits video to a TV, not just audio.

Has anybody had the chance to compare the two interfaces in depth? Enough of a difference to warrant a multi-kilobuck price difference?

 

 

cundate2's new post reminded me to give my follow-up experience in case it might be of use to anyone. I ended up keeping the HiFi Rose as a streamer then bought a Pontus II 12th to pair with it. There was the exact type of musical synergy / improvement I was looking for. Not earth shattering but more than subtle. Initially I thought due to budgetary considerations I'd start with the Pontus and if the sonic combo worked out I'd consider going further up the Denafrips chain to seek even greater improvement. But this very unusual (for me) thing happened. After a couple weeks playing the Rose through the Pontus it occurred to me that I was enjoying the music and I'm going to leave the setup as is. At least for now. Weird.     

@cundare2 Elite Audio conducted a number of streamer demos across their team and voted on performance. While they and numerous other video creators boasted the impressive performance of the Eversolo, in this video against notable streamers including the Hifi Rose, the Eversolo models still fell towards the latter half of the list. Surprise surprise. It may sound great, especially, for the money, until you hear something even better.

As an Aurender dealer, a buddy of mine piqued my interest in the Eversolo as it might be an attractive line to carry for those who don’t want to spring the money for Aurender. But after learning more, I decided to just further advocate for  my customers to consider Aurender. 

Perhaps you may find this video useful. 

https://youtu.be/lXrUXE-kGSw?feature=shared

 

blisshifi: Thanks for the link. A little bit of useful information there.

Despite the controversy here, I think a HiFi Rose streamer may be the best choice for me. But understand that my application differs from that of most other posters, who don’t care if a streamer can display video & its menu system on a big-screen TV.. That’s a solid selling point for my family when they’d be using the streamer in the home theater, and for me when I use it for "critical" stereo listening, seated 10-12 feet from the equipment rack.

As for the HFR DAC, well, I actually did have an RS250A inhouse for a month and found it bug-free, and to be more detailed & transparent, and to have a more holographic soundstage than my existing DACs. But the bar was low. I’m only just starting to move from physical media to streaming, so my current DACs are pretty old and mid-fi -- think Oppo BDP-105. So I can’t say anything intelligent about the HFR DAC, except that I could live with it if there were no other options.

But I do know computer interfaces, after 40 years in the industry.

I’ve asked for streamer-UI opinions several times on Audiogon and other forums but have never received an educated response based on first-hand comparisons. So unless somebody can suggest an interface that’s more flexible and easier to use than that of even the $2700 "budget" HFR RS250A, I think one of the Rose streamers would be hard to beat.

At least in my particular application.

I still, however, hate paying for a DAC I’ll never use. But also I’m not sure that I can justify paying $5200 for the HFR RS130 DAC-free transport.