DAC - Streamer or all in one unit

Hello all,

Starting from scratch presently and having been out of the Digital SOTA loop for a bit..

looking to build an above average primary stereo system. am trying to decide which way to go with a digital ONLY rig.

go with separates, and get a mid level dAC or higher and as competent a Streamer, or an all in one integrated unit which addresses red book or CD rips and streaming needs/desires without the need for ROON., regardless.

i’m guessing the investment for either avenue to as much as $10K all in, perhaps.

not opposed to giant killer big bang for buck gear that drops in below my initial budgetarry target either.

obviously the obligatory additions of more wires is duly noted if separates are the path. and they would be addressed apart from any chosen budgetary target.

your thoughts   or first hand eXP with recently released (’18 to ’20) DACs, and streamers in general, would be immensely well recieved and definitely appreciated.

thanks much!!
I like my Directstream DAC.  FPGA with free updates will keep it current. Darko liked it equal to a $12K Chord Dave.
Then all you need is https://stackaudio.co.uk/link2/
With free shipping and 30 day trial.
I put my music on SSD's and find it easier and better SQ than my Synology.
You could drop all your tracks on:
and have plenty room for ripping more.
I also recommend Magna Mano and miniDSP SHD Studio streamers.  Both have different feature sets.
agree w many of the comments above

keep streamer and dac separate - streamer/interface technology still sorting out, moving target, lots of half ass solutions, whereas DAC technology has now advanced to the point that very very good sound can be had for $1000, whereas just few years back you needed to spend multiples of that for similarly good sound

since covid shut in in february i have climbed the learning curve - tried several streamers, close to 20 DACs... have a very good feel for what is out there, what is available

key conclusion is with a modest streamer properly connected to a $1000-1500 DAC one can have SQ that truly rivals excellent analog with zero apologies ... it won’t sound quite like analog with LP playback's sympathetic distortions, but nonetheless will sound clean, tonality rich, image very well, sound very real...


much appreciated. good insights and your EXP is certainly . valued.

Usually I try to seek that line where diminishing returns begins to announce itself and maybe take one more step.

garnering the input to date, I’ll be keeping to the theme of using separates for my digital front end. I was leaning that way anyhow.

now… which one

I went with the BC DAC 3 as it had the sonic attributes I enjoyed and or desired in that system. strong leading edge definition.
healthy bottom end impact and definition. sort of akin to a Dodge Viper than a BMW 500/700 series in terms of raw horse power , or so I wrote in my review of the BC D3 back then in these pages.

as a source I feel it must have the aforementinoed characteristics along with excellent imaging or one should look elsewhere..

could you recall some of the more recently released (2018 - 2020) DACs in the $3K to $6K MSRP range which possess such a voice so I could look into them a bit?

huge thanks!