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concern is longer term support re: various streaming service apps, etc that might make built-in streaming capabilities outdated in a few years in combo units.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.


@soix Thanks! That makes sense. I hesitate since regardless of the choice, they'll be getting amplified by SET amplification and going through both a tube pre-amplifier and the tube amp. I also will be listening to more lively music versus vinyl where I focus mostly on Jazz, so having a bit more detail might be a good idea to balance out the tube amplification.

Worst comes to worst, I can always sell whichever one I go with and get the other down the line. They both seem to have fairly good resale value and sell fairly quickly.

mmcgill829 - How are you liking your new digital gear?  I am leaning toward a Innuos Zen/Denafrips Pontus combination.  Without hearing them yet, it appears they would be a nice combination.

@olyaudio I forgot to follow up here!

I did end up going with the pontus/iris combo for the dac/ddc to pair with the Zen. They sound great, but definitely invest in a high quality HDMI and USB to use with them. The HDMI is best if kept very short (ideally less than 1m if possible. Mine is 0.5m). I got mine on sale from DH Labs. The cheap amazon cables I had did not sound great - in fact, connecting the DDC to the DAC with this cheap amazon HDMI actually made it sound worse, oddly enough. Like a veil was over the music. Replacing the cables eliminated this issue though.

Everything was fairly straight forward and easy to set up. The pontus was a little more annoying to set up, but they have a video walkthrough on youtube for it that was helpful. The pontus if buying new does NOT come with a power cord, so keep that in mind. I missed it when reading the listing details and was surprised when I received it. I had some spares laying around though.

The Zen is nice and the app is fairly simple to use, though I do have some annoyances with it. In order to navigate to qobuz to see my playlists, it's a fair amount of clicks, all of which have some slight delay, and the app likes to boot back out to the screen to select the device fairly often - which means clicking back on the device, then the music tab, then scrolling all the way down and clicking on qobuz, then scrolling down to get to playlists, etc. It's a minor thing, but it is a little irritating. I think once I get an ipad to use as a controller instead of trying to use it on my phone, it might be a bit less of an issue due to the larger screen.

Otherwise, easy to use, easy to drag and drop music files onto the device via shared network folder, etc. Spotify connection can be a little bit finicky if you use it or anyone else in your household does, but can connect multiple accounts to be able to use it for spotify as well, if you so desire.

Sound wise, I'm quite pleased. While it's not 1:1 vinyl equivalent, I wasn't expecting that at this price point. It's pretty close though, which is saying something. Significantly better than any of the more 'budget' solutions I've tried in the past.

Since I primarily listen to vinyl on my system, this works really nicely for me. If I ever choose to upgrade down the line, would likely just stick with these two brands and move up to their top of the line offerings most likely. I would consider demoing a Lampizator DAC at some point possibly, but the price points on those are a different ball game.

Anyway, long winded but hope that is helpful!