DAC/Preamp/Amp Recommendations

Hello all,

I listen only via streaming (Tidal) from a Bluesound Powernode2 to PSB Imagine B speakers via Audioquest Rocket 44 cables to tame any high frequency harshness.  I’m reasonably happy with this setup but would like “more.” Bigger soundstage, better imaging, more “open” sound, etc.  I listen mostly to jazz and blues, plus some classical and rock.  I am decidedly NOT a bass-head and I listen at moderate levels.  I prefer a neutral to slightly warm tone.  Listening chair is about 7 feet from the speakers. I am 66 years old with a touch of tinnitus.

My budget is $10,000 total.  If I allow $4K for speakers and $1.5K for an Innuos Zen Mini with LPS (I would like to use Roon*), that leaves $4.5K for all the components in between.  The NAD M33 would fit right in that budget slot (can I bypass the DAC?) or I can go for separates.  This is where I need the advice.  One possibility is getting the NAD C298 amp and then spend $2.5 for a DAC and preamp.  The idea of a tube preamp is intriguing although I have never had a tube component.

Thanks in advance,

* from what I have read, this would be the most stable, futz-free way of using Roon.
If you only stream and don’t need the CD ripper you might consider this
https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/audio-server/products/sonictransporter-i5 add an LPS and you should have a roon platform for less than $1.5K

Then consider Simaudio ACE at $3.5K. https://simaudio.com/en/product/ace-all-in-one-music-player/
Roon ready, DAC, plenty of digital inputs. and a nice clean setup. I have never had Simaudio product but the combination has me intrigued. So check out the reviews on the ACE
One Ace review among many.  https://www.tonepublications.com/audiophile-apartment/moon-by-simaudio%E2%80%99s-neo-ace/

$5k left over for Roon subscription and speakers.

Lots of options for you to choose.

Correction:  The standard Moon Ace may not be Roon ready.  So you could do and SGC package like this that gets you a renderer.  https://www.smallgreencomputer.com/collections/audio-server/products/premier-server-player-combo-son...
Should still have plenty for speakers.

Also this is a Amp heavy group.  You might notify , somehow, the guys over in the digital group where a bunch of the streamer types hang.

Here’s one idea:

- SGC OpticalRendu with LPS and optical conversion: $1500
- Soekris 2541 DAC (R2R): $1300
- Unison Research Unico Due integrated (tube pre): $3700
- LSA-10 Statement monitor speakers: $2500
- LSA-20 Statement floorstanding speakers: $3300

The Unico Due will give you some of that tube magic, soundstage, and touch of warmth you’re looking for and LSA speakers will give you spacious and holographic 3D soundstage to compliment the Due. The Soekris DAC will give you refined neutral and natural digital and SGC Rendu will get you excellent streaming without paying for a server or DAC you won’t need. (BTW, dump Tidal and their MQA utter nonsense and give Qobuz a try). Just one idea based on what you’re looking for, and best of luck in your search.
I have this coming this week. I have been meaning to get this forever and finally pulled the trigger. This should be one of the quietest and best ways to get music from a ROON server located anywhere on any crap computer to a USB DAC. The Fibre cable will kill all the EMF and other analog noise. It does not matter what is before the Fibre, it won’t get by it and pollute the DAC.

UniFi Switch PoE 8 (150W) × 1 ($199)

opticalRendu - mode 5 with RoonReady output only × 1
(No Power Supply Included) $999.00

Sonore Branded systemOptique Certified Fiber Optic Cable × 1
3M $70.00

systemOptique Certified SFP module × 2 $40.00

I should add the I have a Uptone Audio LPS 1.2 power supply also on the way in February for the opticalRendu.

Thanks, everyone.  These are great suggestions and give me great ideas to research.