Music Server Advice

I’m an analog guy moving up the digital path and I’m asking for some help from my AGon colleagues with my next move. I currently use an Intel NUC/Rock to run Roon feeding an Esoteric D-05x. It really sounds good! If this sub $700 NUC sounds this good, I’m keen on discovering what can be had in the $4K to $7K range (New or Used) to replace the NUC/Rock. (I’m not letting go of the D-05x!) I’ve used Roon since its inception but I’ve tried other apps from time to time, most recently the Aurender App as well as Innuos, JRiver, and Audvirana.

Recently owned/auditioned:

Aurender N10 - Loved the sound, hated the App (to be fair I was comparing to Roon)

Innuos Pulse - Lots of detail no soul. Couldn’t listen to very long, fatiguing

Auralic Altair G1 - Mid Fi. traded in for Esoteric/added NUC Rock

Under Consideration:

- Go back to the N10 and get used to their app

- Aurender N200...get used to their app

- Antipodes...

- 432evo

I’m open to suggestions!

Digital: NUC/Rock - Esoteric D-05x - Esoteric F-05 - Wilson Sohia.

Listen to 95% Jazz.

Appreciate all responses in advance!

Ag insider logo xs@2xcommunique1

I stream music from the internet via Roon almost 100% of the time because it’s simple and convenient. 

You might want to look at the Memory Player.  I have a custom server / streamer built by Sam, super happy with the Memory Player. Below is a link to a newer version

The Aurender app is fine for me It lets you build playlists by mixing locally stored and Qobuz streamed music. But where the Aurender really shines is the sound quality. Much better than anything I hear before. It is due to the fact that music is cached in a SSD, removing much of the noise from Eterrnet and all. Last year I tried many speakers and carried my Aurender and Denafrips DAC to the stores. It repeatedly bettered by a lot whatever the dealers were using. Especially when a PC was used (MConnect etc..).

So @communique1, let me get this right after reading your thread. You’re wanting to spend several thousand dollars on a music streamer/server to put into your setup to improve the sound quality of your system, and you like Roon, but you want to ditch your NUC in favor of something hopefully better. Is that correct? Are you wedded to your present DAC for the foreseeable future? There has been a lot of great discussion concerning which streamer/server that you could try out. But IMO it’s more important to look at getting the best DAC that you can afford, and building your listening chain around that, instead of trying to make what you have sound better by adding another expensive powered box into your system.