I hope this question will allow everyone to have some fun. I have a pair of Focal Sopra 3 (I dont consider them bright, but just right), 2x REL S812 subs, and a Bryston 6bsst2 amp. I know it is a 3 channel amp. It was being used in my Movie Theater. Going forward I will be using it for a 2 channel system until I decide to buy mono blocks. This 2 channel system will only be streaming digital music, but might consider adding a photo stage later, so would like analogue inputs. The room is fully treated from 30hz on up, and is 16'w x 30'd x 10'h.  


I am looking for a Streamer/DAC/Preamp to run this system. I really do not want to add a computer to this system to run files through it. I prefer a plug and play solution. It can be one piece or 3 separates. I like a rich sound from top to bottom. I prefer a sound like Aretha Franklin over Allison Krause. I would like a big Soundstage. I also have 1 gig speed thriugh ethernet. The final item is the budget. I really like Value, so if you can come in below the budget it will be considered. $10-20k USD max. Will consider new and used.  I have considered T+A, Naim, Mola Mola, and some other manufacturers, but would like yalls input.


Let's Go!!!


Another long time REF5se user / addict…. love it….

Love my Aesthetix Pandora DAC… you can get it w excellent volume control and it has the finesse and stones to drive a long XLR to amplifiers… They make 3 levels: standard, Signature and Eclipse. i have the Sig. Tube rolling a hoot in both the REF  ( 6550 only ) and the Pandora.

Enjoy the music and the quest OP……


@hsounds Roll a 60’s New Jersey Tung Sol black plate 6550 into the ARC and get the pre on HRS or equivalent isolation for a near religious experience…..

Tomic601, I have been keeping an eye out for the Tung Sol 6550 black plate. I just bought two NOS SED Winged C 6550. Very, very nice! Way better than EH or Sovtek. I was thinking about upgrading to the Ref 10 SE. I don’t feel that way anymore after the NOS tube. This is a note to the OP. Two people who love the $5k-$6k Ref 5 se. You will probably not be able to demo one. Don’t worry, you won’t need to. 

@hsounds ​​​​@tomic601 thank you both for the good information.  You have added more research to my list.

Gold Note is another good choice.  You could go with a DS-1000 Evo DAC/streamer that has a class A preamp stage, for only $7,500.  If/when you decide to go vinyl, Gold Note has 3 different, highly regarded phono preamps ranging in price from $2k to $11k.  And then, down the road, you have several nice choices for GN amps as well.