Aurender A20 or Lumin X1

I considering one of these as my next DAC/streamer. From a purely technical perspective, which one should I buy?


Technical? I would think sound quality would be the criteria.


I am a big fan of Aurrender. I own two. Lumin is highly regarded but when I researched streamers, Aurrender came up with reviews and a reputation for being better. But someone that has compared these two specifically would be more qualified to verify.


Personally, I am a a big advocate of separate Streamer and DAC, unless there is some constraint.

+1 @ghdprentice At this level you should really be looking at a separate streamer and DAC. 

If you must have Roon then the Lumin. Otherwise , my $$ would be on Aurender. To be honest though, I would grab the N200 and a Weiss 501 or Denafrips T+ for close to the same money.

Both are great but as @ghdprentice stated, how they sound in your system and to your ears takes precedence over any of our opinions. Beyond that, look for features that are more important to you.

You asked for opinion, so here is mine. A quick glance at the features tells me A20 is a better product, especially the analog section, better proprietary app (unless you prefer ROON, which requires a separate computer to run ROON core). Critical Listening Mode, dedicated Headphone section and User-Installable Storage option which eliminates the need for external NAS. Aurender, IMHO offers the most elegant one-box solution.

I am not going to get into the debate of one box vs separates. Separates are to be pursued if you like flexibility and chasing ultimate SQ. Otherwise, one box offerings like A20 are pretty darn good to keep things simple and uncluttered.

Good advice on the separate components at that price level. I have an Aurender N200.    It's been great, keeps getting better with each firmware and software revision 

ROON is the only way I roll. I am definitely a power user of ROON. So no interest in Aurrender (I have heard it). I prefer a $400 cheap computer to run my ROON core in a far off room away from my 3 ROON Endpoints. I use fibre optic to make any negatives of using a $400 computer far away from my gear go away.

The X1 is a great streamer and I owned it. I like the DAC of the Schitt Yggi+ Less is More over the X1's DAC. The streamer on the X1 is great as is the LeedH volume control. There is a new Lumin streamer that takes the DAC section out and is cheaper. That would be what I would get if I went back to a Lumin streamer. The X1 DAC is very good but I like the Schitt more on the top end.

The Sonore OpticalRendu is as good as the streamer on the X1, but sounds different. A bit calmer over the wild child streamer sound of the X1.

The PlayBack Designs Streamer-IF is maybe my best streamer. Unlike the other 2 which used fibre I am using Ethernet and SPDIF for the PlayBack Designs streamer into a Benchmark DAC3B. That stream sounds great. The plan is to buy a PlayBack Designs Dream DAC to use the Plink of the Streamer-IF (so fibre). That Plink streamer is likely going to be the best I have ever had. It only works on Nagra and PlayBack Designs DACs.

The main question for you is ROON or no ROON.


Feature sets are usually bigger differences than SQ.

Do you want Roon or don’t want?

My first DAC was a Lumin D2 with an LPS.

The sound was very good, musical, detail, depth, I was very happy with SQ. Unfortunatly, the app was a problem. Connectivity, chashes, post upgrade lack of functionality and system recognition. Support via trouble tickets was less than ideal. 

I replaced it with an Aurrender N20 and since added a second to my home. Both are excellent pieces, SQ fantastic, tech support very good, IMO the best app of a pure streamer solution.

Has anyone else seen the following about Roon and Aurender by chance?

On the Roon forum I had read that “They said that with the new line that utilizes Intel instead of AMD, that they are working on a Roon Ready status for Aurender.”

Wouldn’t this qualify the Aurender A20 since its CPU is Intel and not AMD? Couldn’t a software update make this Roon Ready then?


ROON READY should have nothing to do with the processor. ROON READY is the ability to talk a particular protocol call RAAT. If Aurrender can be programmed with understanding of RAAT then it would be  a ROON READY endpoint. 

The reason Aurrender has not done so is likely because they are direct competitors to ROON.


Roon would be decisive for me. Roon adds greatly to the experience and I've found no better way to discover new music. Like everything in this hobby, it's subjective and not for everyone but having been a Roon user for a couple of years I'd hate to be without it. Otherwise either would be a good choice. 

Roon would be a major factor for me, too.  Another would be the separates v. integrated issue. If you want to integrate streamer + DAC + preamp, and are ok with the price, then either of these products appears to be a good way to go. 

I suspect you'd get even better sound and more flexibility with a good separate preamp for volume control between the DAC and power amp. Possibilities: the  Matrix Element X2 Pure (streaming DAC) +  Benchmark LA4 (or HPA4) line amp, with the sonicTransporter i9 music server/streamer.  That gets you Roon Ready, HQ Player, dual ES9039 PRO DAC chips, a top of the line analog preamp, more versatile I/O (including HDMI ARC, i2S,  WiFi) and a fanless Intel i9 server, all for much less than $15K.  

But then, I have not heard the Aurender or Lumin products. Unfortunately it'd be hard (impossible, even) to audition them all side by side. A single high-end integrated component does result in a lot less clutter, as well as more streamlined operation from a single app or hand-held remote. The SQ ought to be great from any of these alternatives.

The Lumin X-1 is a world class streamer even better is the Esoteric N05 XD. Good luck to you! These are the best of the best IMO.

Why peg yourself down with a dac streamer combo ?

when there are so many better individual dacs ,and as technologies get better you are not stuck , a server streamer like a Innuos  or others yes,

 then buy a individual dac to your exact tastes, is a bit more logical in the long run.

Your question is kind of like asking do you prefer a BMW or a Porsche? That's something that sound quality should decide, but IMO you can't go wrong with either unit.

However if it were my money, I'd go separates as others have suggested. An Aurender N200 and a Denafrips Terminator Plus 12th DAC can be had for similar cost as the A20 and X1....and that would be world class. I'd also throw the Weiss and T+A DAC 200 as options if one were so inclined.

However if it were my money, I'd go separates as others have suggested. An Aurender N200 and a Denafrips Terminator Plus 12th DAC can be had for similar cost as the A20 and X1....and that would be world class. I'd also throw the Weiss and T+A DAC 200 as options if one were so inclined.

This is an excellent recommendation IMHO, unless you’re a Roon user I guess. 

Sold my Aurender and bought myself a Lumin, I was tired of the interface problems with music streamers, no longer wanted the hassle, just wanted the best most comfortable listening experience... bought a lifetime subscription to Roon. I now listen to far more music with far more interest than I ever have.

Good luck with your decision.

@vthokie83 I had the luxury and pleasure of driving both an M8 and a Porsche Carrera GT some years back. The seat of my pants told me I should opt for the GT. Sadly I am the proud owner of neither. My back and neurologist had different plans for me.

Like those cars another of my senses (hearing) will tell me which of these two boxes to buy. However, I was asking about them from a technical perspective because perhaps someone out there has some insight into the hardware/firmware that might give one a leg up over the other before bring them into my home for a test drive.

Based on comments here, from friends, and others I am leaning toward the A20.

I appreciate the input from all here, thanks.


Absolutely you are correct, you were specifically asking about those two units....and I truly believe both the A20 and X1 are truly amazing products (though I've only heard the X1 and A20 not in my system). And as so often happens, we sometimes throw out ideas that were not requested; sorry if that was the case. I have heard the N200 and the Teminator pairing in a system I know well, and oh my God.....nuff said as Stan Lee would say. Best of luck to you in your choice, let us know how it works out

If Roon is a must for you, then it's simple -- pick Lumin. If not, flip a coin. They're both excellent companies with an established track record. The differences in SQ will be negligible and down to personal preferences.

P.S. Or you can wait until Aurender becomes Roon-ready.

I can tell you from personal experience that the N200 and TPlus is a magical combination and betters the A20 not to mention as already said by many above much more versatile. 

@yyzsantabarbara appreciate the education/information. That Roon forum thread was the only place I had heard Aurender becoming Roon Ready. Had my hopes up.

I spoke with my guy at Upscale Audio about a week ago on this subject and he called their Aurender rep who confirmed that the Roon-Aurender marriage is going to happen in the near future. He told me that the Aurender folks are very responsive to any questions or problems.

As others have penned it’s X1 for Roon. Full disclosure I bought a used X1 and I’am bery happy. 
I have listened to both but not in the same room and it’s the room (the while shebang) that matters most.