dac and streamer or seperates

Want to spend about 5k

System right now is a Krell S-300  love it!

B&W 804's  love them too

Well treated medium sized room.

but I'm using the built in streamer and dac.  

I would like to take my streaming to the next level.

At 5k would you go separate DAC and Separate Streamer or all in one?


May I ask how you listen to music and what type of music you listen to? What are the important criterion?  Since your room is well treated, i expect you pay attention to those details. 

An audition of the variations you’re considering will inform better than any of us can. That said, since you asked, I will offer that my experience brought me to the conclusion that  the streamer is more important than the DAC. I’ve listened to a fair number of DACs well above the price point you’re considering. They’re different of course. But the better streamers opened up the music with a given DAC more than a better DAC did with a modest streamer. My experience only - YMMV so an audition is a must. 

Complicating things is that most DACs have certain inputs that are better than others and may be revealing of the cables used to connect them. So, you’ll want to pay attention to those details too.  In any case - let us know of your progress. 


I recommend separates.

I’ve been doing streaming by about every possible way in the last twenty years. Typically the streamer and DAC should be of about equal investment. You want as high a quality you can get in each (picking the very best you can). Particularly in the DAC you want it to support your musical preferences. Pay particular to the sonic characteristics. Particularly in this price category you can get highly detailed fatiguing DACs. 

I recommend Aurrender streamers… used would be required since their lowers price models are over your budget. I am not familiar enough with current DACs in this price range to specify a DAC. But… you might leverage the sound quality here as well by getting a DAC less than five years old. It is likely to put you at a higher level of performance. 

Typically SP/DiIF / AES are the best performing connection… but depending on the streamer / DAC USB might. But the difference is not likely to be large. Something you can play with after you get them.

I was in the same thought process not long ago. I ended up with an Aurender A15, for half of list price. Streamer/DAC. From what I have read it is pretty much their N200 streamer, which is excellent, but with a DAC.

I figure I could get a separate DAC at some point.Anyway I think the A15 sounds great. Paired with ARC ref5se and ref75se.


I’m not familiar with the Krell, but it appears to be an integrated amp introduced around 2009.  You don’t have your system posted on your profile and I’m not clear on what piece of equipment has a built in streamer/DAC.  Am I looking at the wrong K300?  Were there modern streamers in 2009?  I’m guessing that I’m looking at the wrong K300.  The reason I was looking for your equipment was my concern that it is a challenge to get great streamer, DAC separates with great cables for $5000, so I was wondering what would happen if you bought a great $5K DAC, or streamer and upgrade the second component at a later date.  Would put a used Aurender, or used Holo May DAC, or similar DAC within your budget.

I would like to take my streaming to the next level.

The issue with streaming is what the quality of the file you are getting. Low rez, hirez, lossy, lossless, compression. I know you can solve this problem by throwing a lot of money at it, I took an alternate route.

I bought a streamer that included room correction ( a Martin Logan Unison in one room and a Paradigm Link in another). This streamer also functions as a preamp so if yopu want your CDP or turntable to benefit from room correction, plug it in. Otherwise the streamer works with an app.

I got a Sony Signature Dac that can remaster files into DSD that works well for me. Sony coinvented the CD, the SACD, DSD and they spent buku bucks developing this tech over 5 years (the "Signature line"). So I went with features instead of just throwing money at it to take my streaming to the next level and it worked great.