Do you use Roon? That is a primary decision I think, and will eliminate a few major contenders if you do. Having a Roon Streamer is a must for me.
Auralic Aries G2.1 (built in China, but great US support and service) Aurender, choices as per budget, Innuos, choices within budget as well. Then the more 'upscale' brands, Grimm (US?), Antipodes (Australia), Pink Faun Pay attention to the power supply if you want the best. That is why you will see two box designs... Aurender does not play with Roon I think, but very well reviewed. I enjoy my Aries G2.1 with custom power supply. (I think it is great). Made a huge upgrade over the streamer in my very nice DAC. Many other less expensive options but you said...
I agree with fastfreight
Roon or not? I LOVE Roon and can’t imagine not using it. If I wanted a streamer that wasn’t Roon-capable, I would get an Aurender. Their Conductor app is the best one I have seen that isn’t Roon. FWIW, Robert Harley has used the top Aurender in his reference system for years.
I think something like the Innuos Zenith paired with a DDC like a Denafrips Hermes will provide excellent streaming performance and allow you to take advantage of the AES/EBU input on your Canary that many put up there with an i2S connection and could save you $$$ as well. Also, if you have some prized CDs that aren’t available to stream — and who among us don’t — you can just load them into the Zenith and have access to all your music from your listening chair without dealing with CD transports or incorporating external SSDs into your setup that can be involved/frustrating. At my stage it’s nice to have all this digital stuff as close to plug n play as possible, and for me Innuos does that, and their Sense app is reputed to sound excellent and their customer support is also excellent. What more could you ask for? Hope this helps, and best of luck.
Also please invest in your network.* No point in having your streamer not sounding like it should. Lot's on Agon..just search.
* if ethernet is coming in from cable...get good cable(s).
If using a switch, then get a good one...enterprise or an audio one.
Filter that cable (EtherRegen of Network Acoustics).
Roon nucleus makes roon easy. SQ from computer via USB not best. Been there..done that.
Qobuz my flavor for HiRes streaming music...others abound too.
And the Lumin U1 Network Streamer is another stunner.
Your streamer budget is WAY out of my price range, so I can’t give you a recommendation there.
But I agree with Soix on adding a Denafrips DDC like a Hermes at $1,250 or the top of the line Gaia at $1,800. Adding the entry level Iris has transformed my Node 130 to Denafrips Pontus II combo….I can imagine with your budget, you can put together a “forever” combination
Personally I have tried very good streamers and in my home not worth $5k+
since I have a very advanced dedicated line using awg10 Copper wire Pure silver contacts 30 amp line on a separate copper buzz bar ,and 2 inch silver plated grounding Rod . It made a night and day difference in inner detail and black back ground .little green computer with linear power supply using SS drives .
over $4k i digital cables ,I have a uptone ether regen which is very respectable .
the synergistic research Ethernet hub is the best I have tried for streaming .
itretailsover $2k I can get $20 % off that , the Denafrips Terminator + I am buying soon it’s the best dac under $12k I have tried and this includes the chord Dave ,
land Holo springs may KTE within the last 6 weeks . In NewEngland we have a nice multi state Audiophiles that we visit and share .i owned a Audio store until 2010 .i have learned many ways to get great results for much less monies then many $$ audio systems.
I have the red wolf 2 sx.
joe Parvey can make you one even though it says to be released soon in the website.
I had the wolf 3sx and joe upgraded it to the red wolf with a separate linear power supply. You can see that in my system profile .
imo it beat the innuos statement , flagship aurender and lumin u1.
taiko extreme even though I haven’t heard it in my system ,I think it sounds better . My good friend uses the taiko as his streamer . But of course it’s not made in America and wolf audio has very good customer care and that’s why I haven’t upgraded to the taiko .
we are the us importers 432EVO music servers these are made in Belgiium serviced in nj
our servers are fully modular and upgradeable
we have gotten rave reviewsfrom the absolute sound and positive feedback and a new review will be out soon in Stereotimes
we outperform innous and grimm
the absolute sound reviewer actually purchased the review sample
please reach out to our office for more info
Dave and Troy
Audio Intellect nj
I switched from a dCS Vivaldi Upsampler to a Grimm MU1 about 6 months ago. It took me about 15 min. of an in home dealer demo (via UPS) to decide the Grimm was playing in a different league. If you are interested read the reviews on the Grimm and the interviews on Youtube, as I found them to be accurate to my listening experience. I didn't believe the company's claims that you don't need the usual exotic power and internet treatments, but I have found their claims to be true. By replacing the factory power cord with a Shunyata Sigma or Alpha V2 NR cord I can make it sound slightly different, but I can't tell if it's better. I also had the whole two Farad LPSs with all the upgrades, Afterdark 10MHz clock with $450 clock cable, all tied to my Etherrgen and several higher end Ethernet cables. I went naked for fun, that is I plugged the "house wire" CAT 6 cable with no switch other than the utility house switch to the Grimm. Without the big time switch, cables. and clocking, my decay and leading edge definition were better and still digital glare and sibilance didn't show up. All that extra gear did help my previous streamer, but it sounded like a filter with the Grimm. It was a humbling experience. It appears that Grimm has sorted clean power and low jitter to a level that other manufacturers have not yet achieved. So for 12K invested in a Grimm you get a built in Roon Core, 4 to 8 TBs of storage, a world class streamer, AND you don't need to spend 7 to 8 K on ethernet enhancements and power cords. The Grimm is also designed to feed any other manufacturer's DAC which appeals to me as well. If you PM me I will tell you what Grimm dealer let me do the free in home trial. This is a difficult post to write, but I went down the wrong road for the right reasons. For me, learning is one of the joys of this hobby. I encourage you to seek out a free Grimm in home trial and experience the grimm within your audio ecosystem. I think you will be very happy you did so,
Also suggest the small green computer rendu roon player via usd to dac. My house is 6 years old and built with standard cat 5, using recommended cat 5 on Amazon. Roon core is a Microsoft surface 7. My only issue was using Amazon hd via iPad. The orbiter has an apple simulation called shareport which to my ears is not up to the roon mode. maybe blasphemy, but since I prefer Amazon’s ai to find new playlists, using a 40 dollar chromecast audio via optical cable with a Lenovo tablet.
I recently attended a presentation by Lynn introducing their new Klimax Streamer/DAC. $50k if memory serves. I asked what the new product had inside besides the DAC which made it reach the new levels he described and we heard.
His reply "The DAC is everything" .
That said I would shop DACs carefully and spend my money there.
I own an Innuos that has no DAC but rips, Streams and stores.
Made in Portugal. Support people very responsive.
For my money it is perfect. Is the Grimm better? Or is it a Grimm fairy tale?
Maybe just Grimm and bear it.
It is $10k more so lets hope so.
Odd thing is nobody reviews streamers against
each other as is done with other equipment. Why? Perhaps it is
as the old Blue Bonnet margarine French Chef ad stated " Pas difference".
Do make the right connections from router. Buy an Uptone Audio Etherregen.
And enjoy the new music you will discover with Roon. BTW Roon has no support
Innuos has its own sorting/search software called Innuos Sense. Rumor has it that
Roon degrades the SQ. Not so with the InSense or so they claim.
I do like Qobuz. Hope they survive.
1. Whatever streamer you may chose, first improve the network. As a minimum, install a decent audio switch such as SOtM SNH-10g (best with full upgrades) and an external power supply such as SOTM SPS 1000 or Ferrum Hypsos. If possible, enter it through fiber and SFPs from Finisar. This will be a huge improvement for whatever streamer you choose. Better than these, just get the Melco S10 (not S100).
2. What is your preferred input to work with your DAC? If you like USB, I have found nothing better than Melco N10. Most Innuos and other brands are OK, but their USBs are noisy and need external reclocking. People will tell you they are happy with the USB from other manufacturers, because they have not heard better. Using DDC brings benefits but is yet another way to fix a problem you should not have in the first place. The Melco does not need extra crap, their implementation of the USB port is superb, the best I have heard. If you would rather use AES/EBU or even better, I2S, then the best are Grim Audio or Antipodes Oladra.
3. Which one to choose depends also on the rest of your system for sound matching and the type of sound you like. For thorough reviews please go to Hi Fi Advice and check their music server reviews for Grim and Antipodes. For something better than these two you would need to spend more than $60K and get diminished results from brands such as Wadax.
Hope this helps, it comes from a lot of personal experience and research. I do small private reviews and A/B comparisons for friends, one is a high end audio shop owner with plenty trade ins, the other is a high end distributor. I enjoy testing as part of my hobby.
Currently use Lumin but have recently demoed Innuos and Aurender. Innuos worked without glitches over a 2 month demo period. The only issue I found was it took a while t lock into my network but once it locked in it stayed connected. I felt that the Innuos Zenith MK III was a few notches above the others.
I’m not sure how far along you are in your process, but I highly recommend you spend $$ on your internet infrastructure. If you don’t get that part to an optimum level, no matter what you do after the connection, you will be limiting the full potential of any equipment.
@audiotroy interesting line of product you have.
Let us know how you make out!
I have had 3 Wolf Audio streamers in my system as I moved up the line to the Red Wolf. You cannot beat their customer service and product quality. I still purchase music so having the ability to rip music was important to me as was being able to stream.Contact Joe and he will put together a unit that will exceed your expectations.
This is why I provided the Grimm link earlier in this thread. With the stated budget there are very good options to choose among. The Grimm MU is very formidable. Granted it is not made in the USA.
Recently changed from Innuos Zenith Mk3 to the Grimm MU1. Full disclosure, I loved my Innuos and could have lived happily ever after. If that describes you, if you are happy with what you already have then don’t demo a Grimm. Its a completely different animal and you can’t unhear the increased performance. Simply amazing.
There is a post above that says “it’s all about the DAC”. I believe that is bad information. The quality of the streamer is critical to achieving superb sound quality. My contention is that both the DAC and streamer are important and require equal attention and consideration. No doubt your experiences attest to that.
@charles1dad +1 . I don't stream but it is readily evident that what a DAC is capable of delivering is dependent upon a quality source feeding it. I had never focused much on the transport until I purchased a Mojo Audio EVO DAC. Ben from Mojo asked me what transport I'd be using, I told him a Cambridge CXC (a decent CD transport). He told me if you want to hear more of what the DAC can provide to upgrade the transport. Bought a Simaudio 260DT and it was evident that the Cambridge was holding the Mojo back. It's not going to be any different with the quality of a streamer.
When ever I see people post “bits are bits” I recognize it as an attempt to sound informed, when that retort implies otherwise. Some folks just really downplay the importance of the source. It is so obvious that better digital sources matter significantly.
I know you said you did not need a DAC but at your budget, the Lumin X-1 is a tremendous DAC/Stremer and very easy to use. It is not built in the USA but I have had 4 of them.
If you want an end-game music server, please look up Lucas Audio, Ok, they are based out of Poland and the UK but their music server is incredible and Lucas Domansky, the owner is a computer genius and offers 24/7 service. If nothing else give him a call on WhatsApp. You will be convinced after talking to him. Even though I now have a Lampizator Pacific DAC, the Lucas Audio Music Server is the component that took my system to musical bliss.
Another Grimm endorsement here. Besides the outstanding sound quality, I appreciate the greatly simplified set-up --- no more fancy switch, or ethernet cable, or outward linear power supplies. I use it with a $2 generic power cable, and put my good PCs on my other components. The only add-on I found worthwhile was a good digital AES cable -- I like Black Cat's cable for that.
Another vote for Innuos. Works great, sounds great. Simple to use w/ no unnecessary displays on the unit that you probably can't see from your listening chair anyway & are all on their app on your laptop, ipad or phone. Roon endpoint if so desired & rips CD's quickly & they may sound even better than listening directly to the CD transport.