DACed and Confused here...

So many brands/models/shapes/sizes. Everyone has an opinion.

I have decided to start my streaming with a DAC. I will probably just use a tablet initially with Quobuz or Tidal, before ultimately getting a proper streamer.

Looking for <=$1500. I thought I was set with the RME ADI-2 until I read here that it would require a new power supply and basically an engineering degree to make it sound good (not flat, not analytical). Is that price point too low?

System is ARC REF 5se --> Art Audio PX-25 --> Blumenhofer FS-2, with the DAC coming in as the source.

Can anyone give me some guidance?


I recently purchased a used Pontus to go with my Node 2i and was a significant upgrade in sound enjoyment. Considering the LPS for the node now. 
enjoy the ride and the music!

Digital streaming can be done in various ways and requires more that just a DAC

A DAC is just the conversion of a digital signal to an analog signal

A streamer includes a DAC but also includes a network capability and generally a preamp capability

There a many streamers available from under a $1,000 to many Thousands.

I had a MiniDSP SHD which is a streamer but also includes licenses for REW and DIarc software. The software can really make a difference as they help with dealing with unique room situations. I also use Audirvana Studio on a PC for streaming features

My MiniDSP SHD did a great job but FOMO  ( fear of missing out ) took over and I UPGRADED to a Pontus 2 12th-1.

Was there a difference Yes, was it substantial not really.  The MiniDSP SHD with room correction was very good and the Pontus is also very good. Both provided great sound stage and music definition.

Just know that what ever you choose in 90 days something better will be described just sit back and enjoy the music.

Hope this helps







@charles1dad I knew the user name SETBliss had to be you and I am sure the new owner will enjoy your Yamamoto for many years to come.

With your set up and quality of your gear, I’d spend on a good steamer with an app you like, then I’d pair it with a DAC.  As others have recommended, buying used is the way to go.  In the digital chain everything will matter, especially with your gear.  Upgrading which you will likely want to do is a lot easier if you go with a stand alone streamer and DAC.  

I’ve had all in one streamer / DAC’s and separates.  If you go the all in one route, Lumin D2 with upgraded power supply is really tough to beat.  If you go the separate route, Aurilac and Lumin both make great streamers with apps that are well supported.  Don’t sleep on how important that app, interface is with a streamer.  Node, Cambridge have probably the best in BluOS.  MHDT DAC’s are amazing, had the Pagoda balanced but also depends on what sounds good to you.  MHDT is very musical, can make even bad recording sound good but they aren’t detailed or as analytical as say a Weis DAC.  Research different DAC’s, different designs and implementations, why people either like or dislike the sound signature, roll with what fits best for what you like and the synergy with your existing gear.  Then pick a streamer paying close attention to what outputs on the streamer maximize performance and what inputs on the DAC maximize the performance of the DAC.  Synergy is key and both streamer and DAC’s will have options, streamers outputs and DAC’s input’s but you’ll find most of the gear will be designed with one of those maximizing sound quality, performance.  Buy used, then if you get the itch to go a different direction, you won’t lose too much $$ and the DAC is what you’d swap out.  I’ve 2-4 DAC’s that I have been able to a/b compare on my system for a decent stretch, in my system, you can definitely hear the difference from DAC to DAC.

Good luck and welcome to the streaming journey.