Digital Upgrade Recommendations

Looking to leverage the knowledge of the Audiogon experts for advice on how best to upgrade the performance of my digital front end to sound more like my vinyl rig.  Currently, I have a Roon Nucleus acting solely as a streamer feeding a Denafrips Pontus II via an Audioquest Diamond USB cable.  I’m looking to spend roughly $600 and the options as best as I can tell from scanning the forum are:

  1. Upgrade the stock SMPS on the Nucleus to a good LPS power supply
  2. Add an Etherregen and place it before or after the Nucleus
  3. Purchase the Iris DDC from Denafrips and go I2S to the Pontus II
  4. Other?

All suggestions and recommendations welcome!  


Thanks jjss49 but if A+B makes C redundant, why not just go with C, the DDC?  Won’t the DDC clean up the digital signal as much as much as the Etherregen but feed I2S directly to the dac?

I would first research what is the best digital input on the Pontus II. Some DAC's perform better with I2S, others with USB. This will determine the ideal device feeding the DAC. The last link in the chain before the DAC is the most vital; components further upstream can be isolated by streaming over a network–lessening their significance.

Owning a Roon Nucleus I assume you are using Roon? If the Nucleus is running Roon Core, it is not only playing the role of streamer but also the role of server. In this case I would suggest offloading the streamer/Roon endpoint duties to something like a Sonore ultraRendu or microRendu. Connect either of these devices to your router/switch/modem over ethernet, and as long as they are on the same network as the Nucleus you can use them as Roon endpoints. Then go USB into the DAC.

You can supplant ethernet with fiber optic for even better isolation, but cost and complexity increases.