Help with DAC choice....

Hi All,

Here's the situation... 

I'm a vinyl guy. Looking to add digital in the form of streaming and easy access to my hundreds of CDs collected over the years which have been recently gathering dust. 

The last couple of years has seen massive upgrades to my system with the focus being vinyl (Transrotor Rondino/SME/Airtight Coda). Time to get into the digital game just for variety of music and access to my full library. However, it has to be enjoyable to a guy that loves the sound of vinyl. Not trying to better, just looking to tap into the incredible access to music that is out there.. 

I'm 98% decided that I will get an Aurender ASC10 for the pure ease of everything in one unit. I want easy. I don't want anything to do with extra computer stuff. Ripping easily is important to me. The ACS10 meets all criteria. 

Now, the DAC is the issue and where I would love your feedback. I do not have much access to demo/home trial so it's a big leap of faith here and dependence on system synergy. My front-runner is the Aesthetix Romulus Eclipse. This seems to make the most sense. I have a Janus Eclipse pre and Atlas Signature amp (will be upgraded to Eclipse). Speakers are Rockport Atria. Tara cables/ic throughout. Critical Mass Sotto Voce rack. Room is not treated. Plan to move soon and will address at that time. 

Romulus has a built in transport which is a bonus (many claim this makes the Redbook superior sounding vs accessing a NAS). The big priority though is the DAC sound. Tube output is appealing but not essential. What would you suggest as an alternative that would complement my system? Greatly would prefer to spend less. Definitely not more. Looking long term. Thoughts on Romulus vs DCS Bartok vs Aqua etc..... Any other ideas? 

Musical taste runs the gamut from classic jazz, vocals to Sabbath etc. Not much classical. No Chamber or anything like that. Massive dynamics are not key as much as detail, space, texture and insight into the music. I enjoy many Chesky recordings if that gives a hint. I don't like clinical and don't like bright top end, preferring enjoyable non-fatiguing, well-balanced top to bottom with great detail retrievement as a window to enjoy the maximum involvement in the music. 

Thanks so much for any input anyone can offer. All opinions will be greatly appreciated. 

Linear Tube Audio does not offer any kind of return or trial period for MHDT products. 
If you purchase a DAC direct from MHDT via ebay they offer a 30-day return. Of course it's always a good idea to contact them directly for complete details on their policy. 
I'd add another vote or for the DirectStream senior.

I've had it for about 1 1/2 years add very happy with a couple of noteworthy issues that might or might not be important. 

Also there is a fellow hear goes by Ozzy, he recently went from the DSD to a Lumin X1. Nothing like spending 10K+ to hear improvements. Check out what he has to say. Overall, he was finding a new found respect for the DSD although he felt the X1 was nicer, but then again 2x the price.

So the DSD issues to be aware of, if you care about MQA the only way the DSD does full unfolding is through the add on bridge. So if you plan to stream though the ACS10 you are only going to get the 1st unfold. 

I have the bridge and have been using it to stream. Does a pretty got job as a streamer but the software is not great and know to crash. PS is planning to replace 3rd party software soon. I've also heard that folks get better quality results without the bridge in and streaming from a good quality streamer.

I just purchased a demo ACS10 and will be planning to stream though it into the DSD. My internet is usually so bad I can't get the bandwidth to stream MQA files so no really loss for me. I'm hopeful that the ACS10 is going to sound better than the bridge but at least I will have a source when I can't stream

An audio friend came by to listen, he's vinyl and tubes all the way no digital. He walked away saying he liked what he heard enough that he would stream and move away from vinyl if he could get any internet. I felt it was more the rest of my system than any single component, but he was pretty sold on what he was hearing
Thanks for the feedback @doitwithlife. I'm checking out a DCS Bartok tomorrow and have been listening to an Aesthetix Romulus in my system the past few days.

They are both a lot of money. Found that the Romulus didn't move me the way vinyl does although it is clearly more than decent. Will be interesting to hear the Bartok. If it doesn't get closer to vinyl to make me want to listen on a regular basis then I may go a different direction and bring the price down and treat the digital as more of an occasional, convenience based source and leave the serious stuff to vinyl. 

Please let us know your opinions of the ACS10.