Auralic Vega G2 or Denafrips Pontus II 12th + streamer?

I'm looking to add digital to my system as a supplement to vinyl (my main listening avenue), but I've been debating whether to go with a very capable combo unit like the Vega G2 or separates for some time. My main concern is longer term support re: various streaming service apps, etc that might make built-in streaming capabilities outdated in a few years in combo units.

I had a thought that maybe investing in a great DAC separate that will outlast changes in streaming tech where I could just upgrade separate streamers in the future if necessary might be a better approach, but I don't know.

I like the idea of keeping it simple with a combo unit a la Vega G2 or Hifi Rose or something, but I'm also not interested in anything that might be a brick in a couple years. Not interested in having the 'smartphone' experience of needing to upgrade every few years, especially at a multi-thousand dollar price point.

Having an excellent control app is 100% required for any streaming solution I consider as it needs to be very simple to use (will be controlled by family occasionally as well via an iPad most likely, which is mostly why).

I'd like to stick to under $5k total (used is fine). A used Vega G2 tends to sit at about $4500-5k on the market from what I've seen, so this would be the tip top end of what I could consider.


That’s funny “you don’t want a brick in a couple years” if so I would keep it separate. I’m where you are now. I got into streaming over a year ago and prefer my records but streaming is so easy. 

I’m using Auralic steamers, I started with Auralic femto clock added the s booster LPS then to G1. I like the app it’s wireless and never have drop outs, but it’s all I’ve ever known. I’m looking to upgrade now but don’t know where to go.


Dacs I started with RME/Teddy Pardo LPS and Chord Qutest but moved on to MHDT Orchird and Havana then to Pontus 2. 

If I could only keep one dac it would probably be the Pontus it’s very detailed and natural sounding for digital. The Orchid is even more natural but darker and rolled of highs vs the Pontus. I use 6922 and 6sn7 adapters on the Orchid and have a large stash of Amprex and Ken Rads plus many more. You can make that Orchid sound sweet. Changing out some critical film caps makes a nice different. Snip and solder, I didn’t even take out the board. Spending long periods of time with Pontus it’s nice to put the Orchid in it’s a breath of fresh air. Kind of like changing out cartridges. 

I’m using a Audio Hungary a50i class a tube amp and use different preamp tubes depending on which dac I use. The Orchid seems to like Telefunkens and RCA’s and the Pontus likes almost everything but sometime Telefunkens can be to much.

I'll second an Innuos streamer but to jump up to the Zen Mk3 or the Pulse. The Sense app is slick and sounds great. Paulcreed’s description of the Pontus II and Orchid is spot on as I’ve owned both too but I kept my Orchid. It has the upgraded parts and 6SN7/6DJ8 options. Used pieces of the above would meet your price point. Add LPS’s where applicable.  I was strictly vinyl spinner for years.

Thanks for the tips!

I think I have decided on going the Zen Mini mk3 + PSU and Denafrips Pontus II combo. I don’t want to dump a ton of $ into streaming setup at this time since I primarily listen on vinyl, but I think this will be a very solid start. If I want to upgrade in the future, having the separates will make it easier to just swap something out like, say if I wanted to get a Lampizator DAC or something. Just not really wanting to make that kind of investment into it unless I’m spending around 1/2 my listening time with streaming.

I should be able to track down a used Zen mini + PSU for ~$1500 I’d think - just have to wait for a pair to pop up. There's usually a few pontus examples on market used at any one time so that’ll be fairly simple too unless the 12th anniversary one is worth just shelling out the few hundred extra it would cost vs a used pontus II (non 12th).

You might consider this Zen Mk3 for $2k instead of the Mini as it’s better overall, you won’t need to buy the LPS, and you don’t need the Mini’s DAC. I think you’re making great choices with both the Innuos and the Pontus BTW and think you’ll be very happy with the pairing. Just fyi and FWIW, and best of luck.

@soix I considered that, but the form factor of the mini and ability to just stack it on its PSU is very helpful for me. Don’t have a ton of space to fit this stuff in on an already pretty full rack, so saving half the horizontal shelf space is a major benefit. Would allow me to have the streamer and DAC on the same shelf next to each other or could squeeze it next to something else if necessary. I haven’t seen or found another streamer solution that is this small form that offers the level of robust UX as this does. There are some more DIY solutions, I suppose, with something like a Pi, but I don’t want to mess with that or use a computer like that as a source.

But, if I somehow stumbled on a used Zen at the same price point as the mini + PSU, I'd probably strongly consider it anyway.