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 got the impression the last time I talked to Aurender that they are done with enhancements to Conductor 3 and are working on 4 

After Dark has a new server coming not listed yet on their site though some information can be found at AudioPhileStyle and for those whom home brew their server devices After Dark are offering a pretty interesting product line they develop in-house .

I have had Innuos Zenith, Evo 432 Aeon , Rockna WaveDream Net including a couple other server streamers my current home brew edged all of them out performance wise at a third of the price though I’m pretty sure I’m going to try the After Dark offering when it hits the market next mouth .

@in_shore Could you share your secret sauce that beats out Evo 432 Aeon? From what I gather home brewed solution doesn't have the custom software as 432, Grimm and others do. 

As an early adopter of Roon, with a lifetime subscription, and one who enjoys having multiple Roon endpoints, I have steered away from Aurender.  But the word about their Roon integration is intriguing.

I now have the Grimm MU1 and love it.  It replaced both my Nucleus+ and my Aries G2.1 and sounds fantastic. So much so that I am considering a second MU1 to use as a second endpoint only, an update that Grimm says is coming this year.

Aurender going with Roon will just complicate my brain!  Would the top Aurender best the Grimm as both Server and Streamer?  Then I could use my existing Grimm as the second endpoint!