Music Server Recommendation

Hello AG community,
I have embarked down the path of getting my music off my computer (iMAC>USB Drive>Ethernet) and on to a dedicated music server.  Primarily I am looking for significantly improved sound quality and instant on. It will feed my DAC (most likely via USB). Need 4TB in onboard storage (no attached drives/NAS). I would really prefer to stay with Roon (have a lifetime sub) but will consider others with equal or superior functionality/sound/remote app.
Budget is $4-5k

My current primary equipment:
PS Audio DirectStream Jr/Oppo BDP-105
Ayre K-5xe Pre
Conrad Johnson MF2500a Amp
Vandersteen Quatro Woods
AQ Niagra 1000
AQ cables

I have been considering the below:

In the lead:
Antipodes EX (+ 4TB SSD)/Roon $5100
Innuous Zenith MKII Std/Roon $?? (can't figure out the US cost yet)

I really like the Antipodes especially the modular approach (ability to add a CX down the road), reviews and their reputation. Innuous seems like it may rival the Antipodes in sound quality. Both are not the easiest to buy or figure out sellers/distributors/pricing.

Aurender N100H $3000
Melco N1 MKII $??

Aurender is readily avail. Conductor app is generally well regarded. Would prefer the N10 but it is out of my range. I have heard some negatives regarding this unit being a bit shrill (definitely not anything I would be happy with). The Melco is very interesting and meets the sound quality std but is probably the fussiest from a setup perspective. Their software/remote app is probably the weakest of this group. Also confused about the 2 x XTB setup (is this a raid array or combined storage)?

What other products should I seriously consider in that price range? Is the budget sufficient for my requirements or should I look used or wait and save more?

Thank you in advance and look forward to your feedback

I own the Antipodes DX3 and I am very satisfied with it. I agree the EX+CX is intriguing, although Antipodes keeps changing the top of the line up, which can be a bit frustrating. The National Sales Manager is easy to deal with and straight up and the folks who field after sales questions are very good. 

@fdemello I transferred all my music to a QNap NAS which is compatible with ROON. I have an SSD for the database and 12Tb of Raid10 disk. It is available to all my network end points via ROON.

I do use a windows PC to convert all music to 24/192 wav format or keep it as DSD (hence the big disk storage). There is no degradation in sound IMHO going over ethernet to any of my play devices, main stereo, Bluesound speakers in other rooms, or to a DAC/Headphones via USB from my PC.

I didn't want my music stuck on a proprietary piece of hardware like Bluesound Vault or Naim or even the Antipodes. You can get a great player that will access the NAS, or use your Oppo.

I’m hosting the Roon core on a QNAP TVS-882 NAS with an i5 processor that is powerful enough to support Roon DSP engine upsampling. My main audio zone ethernet-to-USB endpoint is top SOtM pieces into an Esoteric K-01X. The QNAP/SOtM combination falls within the OP’s $4-$5K budget. For a few thousand less, he could substitute an Sonore microRendu or UltraRendu endpoint for the SOtM. The bedroom endpoint is a Bluesound Node 2.
@astewart8944 glad to hear you have had a good experience with Antipodes USA. A used DX as people move up to the CX/EX combo is also on my list to consider

@amg56 I Initially considered the NAS approach but was really looking for a piece of hardware optimized for audio performance only.  Although I do understand the obsolesence risk as this technology continues to move forward. I am sure you are getting excellent sound.  What are you all in for that setup? Where does your Roon DB reside (on the NAS?)

@abedirov Thanks for posting that review. I haven't seen that one yet

@dgarretson not that familiar yet with the SOtm equipment. Another NAS vote. Not using DSP currently (tend to like to pass a pure signal with no processing) but would not want to limit future use if at all possible ($)

Thanks all

@fdemello The Roon DB resides on the 1Gb SSD and the separate music files on the big disks. Advantage is that it won't suffer from obsolescence and the files are portable. If you go a Antipodes or Vault, the music files are not that portable or risk adverse. Best go to the Roon site for equipment compatibility.

I went the NAS way from Windows Server and Media Centre, well before the newcomer technologies. I guess it will be what you are most comfortable with. :)

If improved sound quality is one of your main criteria consider Wolf Audio. Their Cub is in your price range and their customer service is second to none.
@lwin I did initially look at Wolf Audio. I was a bit turned off by the lack of reviews and buzz. I will take another look at the Cub. Thanks

@fdemello Another way to look at "a piece optimized for audio" is to separate the "ethernet problem" from the "usb problem." This has been examined on the Computer Audiophile forum, concluding that the ethernet-to-usb conversion and usb regeneration is a greater challenge than the host computing engine. On a budget of $5K (or more), there is much to recommend hosting Roon on a high-performance, computer-grade NAS like QNAP, and focusing $$$ on Ethernet-to-USB endpoints that are "optimized for audio."

Check out reviews of SOtM sMS-200ultra, tX-USBultra, SPS-500, sCLK-OCX10. You can add these products incrementally as budget permits, without obsoleting anything. I've had the Sonore microRendu as well-- it offers tremendous value at around $600. 

@dgarretson Thanks for the info and you make some good points. Still not sold on pivoting back to a NAS approach. That QNAP is $4-5k. And everyone I know that has a multi-box setup like the SOtM products is looking to simplify their rig.  Excellent value though as you mention. My DAC is already a Roon endpoint so I'm not sure that works from that perspective as well

I have been very pleased with the SQ from my Antipodes DX and I will be happy to have mine back from Antipodes today in its new Gen3 form (with the V4X electronics). I am going to set it up this weekend running a short CAT 7 wire from the DX to the latest SOtM ultra triad that will serve as the endpoint (or renderer) then a very short USB from the SOtM tx-USBultra Signal Regenerator into my Pavane Level 3 DAC. That set-up should be sort of like running the CX + EX combo except with the SOtM stuff as the endpoint instead of the EX.  As @astewart8944  says, Antipodes do change the top of the line-up but they keep improving an already very good product line and by offering owners the option of upgrades, they have kept the DX in the mix while improving it, which adds value. The folks at their N America service center have been great to deal with through two upgrades of my DX.

I also want to try Metrum's new Ambre as a ROON endpoint and they now have MQA and I2S modules that are user-installable into my DAC that would allow me to run I2S directly from the Ambre into the Pavane. I will probably eventually pick up an Ambre and the two modules and compare them directly with using the SOtM gear as my endpoint.    
I don't know if they are still available, but I recommend the Antipodes DS GT. I compared it to the Antipodes DX gen 2. In my system the DS GT had a larger, more defined soundstage, better separation of instruments, and more detailed than the DX gen 2. 
@mitch2 Would love to find a used Antipodes DX. Out of my price range new. Glad to hear your experience with Antipodes N America has been +

@ricred1 I will keep an eye out for that one. Don't see many Antipodes hit the used market (probably due to the upgrade paths)
I owned an Aurender N100H for 2 years and recently purchased an Innuos Zenith mk2 SE (demo unit from Axpona 2018).  As far as usability the Zenith is way easier to use.  Ripping CD's is so easy compared to the Aurender....Also the ability to use Roon over Aurender's Conductor app is a huge step up.  My unit came with 4 TB's and with my large library I needed it.  Innuos just came out with the Zenith mk3.  If you are on a budget I'd look for a demo Zenith mk 2.  I'd call Mark Sossa with Well Pleased Audio for a retailer near you, he is the US distributor for Innuos.  He might also be able to find you a demo unit....Hope this helps.
 @ron17 I just got a price on the Innuous MK3 4TB at $6k. A little over what I want to spend. Good advice on the Mk2 and thanks for the contact.

@bbarden45 haven't heard of them but will do some research
I’m in a similar position, running Roon ROCK on a PC into Matrix X spdif 2 USB>I2S into DS. Sounds pretty darn good but wonder how much more a proper server would improve things.   Adding the Matrix DDC really cleaned up the USB signal allowing it to become much more dynamic and well cleaner with less treble fuzz.

I too would like to stick with Roon (lifetime), Pink Faun are hand built in Scandinavia and thus difficult to eval in US at home but the/he welcomes returns up to 30 days to allow a trial for the cost of return shipping of course ~$100.  

I’ve not been terribly impressed with very many other builds. Many of them are not much more than slightly customized PCs.  Pink Faun, Antipodes look well done.  Wolf, not so much.  Aurender doesn't run ROCK.

P.S. I had Vandersteen 2Ce Sigs for about 20 years. I enjoyed them very much, alas they were too large for my semi-retirement downsized house.
Regarding Wolf, they don't speak to anything they've done or changed about the hardware to differentiate it from say a NUC (at least I can't find it on their website) vs. Antipodes that goes to great lengths to detail their philosophy and what they've done to isolate different sections of hardware involved and the very special power supplies, multiple power supplies keeping noise separate.

I see the Pink Faun as very much like the Antipodes from an engineering standpoint without the marketing budget or fancy case...and thus less costly spend.  PF also has an in-house built I2S output avoiding any conversion to USB or other to feed directly into DS.

This all said, I read reviews like this one of the Aurender N100H that compare it to a completely untreated laptop USB signal into DAC.

'Between the Roon and Aurender servers, differences in “Folia Rodrigo Martinez” were slight but generally favored the N100H. While the Roon-based setup was eminently listenable, the N100H sounded slightly more relaxed, with harmonic structures that were a bit richer. And while the Roon setup sounded slightly less dynamic than the N100H, it was scarcely lacking in this regard. However,
bass extended just as deep, with as much impact, and the soundstage was as expansive.'  

This does not read like it warrants the spend for the improvement to me.
FYI, the Melco is only around $2000.  There is a very knowledgeable Melco dealer in Edison, NJ - Care Audio.  The Melco also got a pretty good review in one of the big rags (Stereophile or TAS).

I would give serious consideration to the Melco.  I heard it (in the context of an unfamiliar system) and it sounded very good to my ears.
I agree, the Melco hardware appears very well done, alas it does not run Roon Core software. I too am willing to give up the convenience of Roon but whatever replaces it must have the same functionality that I use in Roon, and a brilliant interface or it will be a step back for me.

If, when, a change isn’t smack me in the face (ears) better for me, like the Matrix X Spidf 2 was, it’s simply not worth losing anything else in the process hence my hesitation to give up Roon convenience.
@bbarden45 Hadn't noticed that on the Wolf and very true on the Antipodes website. Clear & detailed. I have to do more work on the PF. Have at this point eliminated the N100H. Agree it doesn't seem worth the $3k over what I'm doing today. You would have to go to the N10 at $8k (and you would have no Roon). 

@bondmanp @bbarden45 I am very impressed by the Melco but their proprietary OS, what appears to be finicky setup and no Roon pushed them down my list. Too bad because they might jump to the front based on value if they had Roon. I contacted them and they said they have no plans to add Roon.  Also agree that at this point anything other than Roon will be a big step back. Which is knocking Aurender off my list at this point as I zero in

Thanks guys
Let's keep sharing what is collectively found.  I'm sure there are some small US-based makers of audio servers that would be easier for us to test in house, it's just a matter of finding them - like Pink Faun of the states.
I've looked at the SGC builds and they appear to be nice computers, but again, they do little/nothing to differentiate themselves from a standard PC or NUC.  I've asked on other forums for something that makes them different and have not been able to get the owner, Andy?, to give any details.  Other than fan-less, which in my case doesn't matter except that it lends itself to one less noisy device on the main board beyond the fan.

I'm looking to go well beyond what a PC can produce.  Well done power supplies, isolation, removal of PWM fan controllers, isolated USB outputs, I2S output.  No fancy case, no extra fluff.  It will live in back room in a AV cabinet never to be seen.
@jb0194 @david_ten SGC was on my original list but as @bbarden45 suggests - there is nothing available that outlines what goes into this unit. Website is more marketing/feature based. There isn't even a peak inside the unit.  How much different is this than my MAC serving up my music currently at a cost of $2-$3k? 

My server will live in my rack in my living room.  Would prefer something that looks good but sound quality is paramount and I could live with a no frills black box if that presents the best sound/value 

Anyone familiar with Baetis? 
Have you considered a Music Vault from Sound Science. Neal has a great reputation and supports his products. He has various models which to choose.

I just order his Diamond IIA model which includes the following from his email:

"Your Vault comes with 16GB of RAM and a very fast processor. It gets the most out of Hi-Res files and DSD. It utlizes an energy efficient i5 quad-core processor with passive heat sink and It comes with16 GB of RAM. Included is a Western Digital 3 TB MyCloud for auto-duplication of your music,, plus a 250 GB SSD for the Operating System and control software.

Plays any sample rate and DSD effortlessly. The only Server that's faster than the Diamond IiA is the M7.

The Diamond IIA has bit-perfect output over SPDIF, AES/EBU and USB.

The Diamond IIA is a digital source designed to offer your DAC perfect bits with the lowest jitter which is what your DAC needs for optimal performance.

The Diamond IIA comes with a Blue-Ray drive. This drive was chosen for its superior ripping qualities and has the benefit of allowing the Music Vault to perform as a DVD Player. With optional software it can play back Blue Ray discs too. CDs in perfect shape can be ripped perfectly in this drive in as little as 2 minutes.

The Diamond IIA operating system is housed on a lightening fast solid State Drive which makes it very responsive to commands and keeps the 3TB hard drives working as accurately and quietly as possible. Separation of control and data opens up the data disks to a full 3TB of music storage.

The MV Diamond IIA comes with Jriver for playback and DB Poweramp for ripping as well as Log me in for my remote support.

Your enclosure has a
Footprint of 17.5"W x 13"D x 6"H
Weight 30 lbs"

PS  I ordered mine without Roon but could add at any time in the future.

@bbarden45 This is Joe from Wolf. I'd like to discuss some of the points you have made above (I need to reread some areas, but tight schedule this morning) to better understand what aspects of other manufacturers sites are more attractive to you. I will say that there are a couple areas that I put my foot down and said, "No, we aren't going down this road of marketing speak, and naming something that should be present on every system."  That may be the wrong approach in some cases, but (so far) we prefer to demonstrate our systems prowess in person - at shows, in shops, homes, etc. Please feel free to get in touch directly
@fdemello I suggested Small Green Computer because @bbarden45 asked to "share what is collectively found" and this:

I'm sure there are some small US-based makers of audio servers that would be easier for us to test in house

Music servers are fairly straightforward to put together and most of us can certainly do so. I chose not to, not because I cannot build one but because my time has value, I value what a designer (specific to their units) brings to the table, and because their units work and are supported. 

I have the sonicTransporter AP (and previously the simpler i5 unit). It handily outperformed my Windows based system and though I cannot say the following with certainty, it will likely surpass your MAC system.

Doug Schroeder of Dagogo recently reviewed the very combination I have here:

And you can reach out to him directly @douglas_schroeder or here:

I am powering my sonicTransporter with an HDPlex power supply and I am using basic isolation devices. I will likely improve the power supply, DC cables, isolation, etc. to squeeze more out of it.

At present it is an essential component in my system and I am very happy with what it brings to my system.

Andrew Gillis of Small Green Computer has been terrific with his support and availability. If you want to save a bit, wait for one of the sale periods (perhaps they will do something for 4th of July) and / or go with a bundled offer.

I have and am also actively considering Wolf, Innuos, Antipodes, etc. so I am not wedded to my unit, but I do strongly recommend it.
@david_ten Understood and thank you for the follow up information and your experience with the company.  I will do additional research on them and keep them on the list. 

@ronrags I will take a look at Sound Science.

Appreciate all the info
@fdemello  You are welcome and all the best with your search.

If you want to dive deeper into music servers, I recommend spending time over at Computer Audiophile.
@fdemello , @bbarden45 - I wanted to pass this along some recent press here while we work on our site redesign, and press page in particular.

Part-Time Audiophile – AXPONA 2018

dagogo Red Wolf Review - By Doug Schroeder

Youtube: WolfTV  HiFi Uni
@thewolfaudio Thanks for the links Joe. The Red Wolf is way out of my price range. Same with the Alpha (to bad you skipped over the 4TB option and go 2TB-6TB). Based on my budget it looks like I'm comparing The Cub to the competition
I did get a price on the Innuous Zenith MKII Std from Old Forge Studio (CT) of $6k. A bit over budget. May have to look used if I select this unit or wait for it to come down. MKIII due out in July
@david_ten  "If you want to dive deeper into music servers, I recommend spending time over at Computer Audiophile" Good advice. I forgot about this site
Fdemello we are also innuous dealers 
You can use a 1tb and save money that way over the 4tb model.

If you want to know more PM us.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor Nj
@fdemello - Understand that we are going through a major redesign of our site, and there are some aspects - such as a 4TB option that absolutely is available. I’ll also say this here first: There is a new server, placed right in between the Cub and the Alpha 3 that we are about to release. It’s target price starts at $3600 and comes with 2TB storage standard. As soon as the photography is done we’ll take it live, but I’d be happy to discuss it with you offline.

To the gentleman who messaged us just now on our site - if we don't answer immediately past 6PM, please leave your email address. I don't ask our guys to monitor the chat after hours, I take that upon myself - with three small kids, I don't hear it sometimes over all the ruckus in the evenings.
A viable solution is the SOtM SMS 200 Ultra. It does the same as the Aurender N100H, but no internal hard drive. Very good reviews for around $1,200 and can be purchased from Crux Audio in the US.
@audiotroy thanks. I need 4TB for my collection and future growth. Will be in touch if I go this way

@thewolfaudio Thanks Joe. I'll keep an eye out for your new models and glad the 4TB can be added

@koestner Looking for that one box device with storage


You are missing the point you do not need any onboard storage. 

You use a NAS and point Roon to the NAS and import the files that way 

A 4TB NAS is $400 to $800 which is way less then the 4TB SSD that Innuous uses for internal storrage.

There is 0 need to store locally as the NAS based store being pulled in via ethernet sounds just as good.

The new MK III Innuous will be impossible to beat, literally impossible for the money, only Aurender, Naim, and Lumin make their own motherboards, every other computer based server uses an off the shelf motherboard which may be modified but was not designed from the ground up for music.

Aurender doesn't do roon, Lumin is a Roon endpoint, but only a dedicated Roon server can do the full upconversion and upsampling which many of today's dac are emabracing for the best quality sound.

The new statment combines a crazy outboard power supply, femto clocks, custom motherboard, custom software, a custom digital output board.

The MK II  SE beat a SGM server yet cost less then half, the MK III servers will set a reference point that most small music server companies will not be able to touch. 

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
@audiotroy Hello. I know I don't "need" onboard storage. I want it. If you read my original spec I do not want to go down the NAS/attached drive path (right now).
I'm also not sure I agree it will sound as good coming from a NAS over a network vs an integrated player.

I can see why you are enthusiastic about Innuous

I would love an MKII SE, MKIII or Statement but that isn't happening based on my expected pricing (if a MKII Std 4TB is $6k)

If an SE 4TB or MKII 4TB becomes avail as the new models come out certainly contact me

Thank you

The onboard vs NAS arguement is a tough one for some people to get.

In the world of digital the packeted music going into the server may actually sound better than the onboard music via the ssd. As per packeted out that is a tougher call, as many fine dacs are only usb input.

We do have the Light Harmonic USB cable that has a femto reclocker built into the cable and boy is it amazing, it does cost $2,000.00 so it isn’t cheap but it beats everyother digital cable we have tested so far.

As per not embracing the NAS that is unfortunate we are running a QNAS with 8 bays and 32TB of storage with 21 TB active on a Raid 4 configuration and the QNAS Rocks.

If the reason you are not looking for a NAS is there is no ethernet in my audio room, most of these servers will require a Wireless to wired ethernet bridge to work as well.

The other option is to purchase a demo MK II and then upgrade it to the MK III when you are ready.

If you have additional questions please give us a shout we are one of the best stocked digital dealers in the country with the following digital products on display: Naim, Innous, Baetis, Lumin and Aurender servers,

Dacs, NAD, Mytek, Nuprime, Aqua Hifi, T+A, Light Harmonic, Lumin, Naim

Digital cables Wireworld, Light Harmonic.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

There have been good suggestions in this thread, but my personal favorite is the Lampizator superkomputer.  A lot of the performance is hardware, but also software and operating system.

I've found the Lampizator both had impeccable hardware and power supplies on top of being customizable more than others.  The SQ difference among the elite servers is a negligible, so I made the decision on customization.

 It's also by far the best looking and comes in a secure flight case to ensure less potential shipping damage.  If you've read stereophile or shipped lots of good in the past, you'll realize that tons of things break in shipping and it's not always obvious. Companies that pay extra attention to shipping get my business more than others.
IMO, the typical music servers that are talked about in this thread,  are based on old technology. IMO, if you have to connect something using a USB cable to an external dac, it’s old technology. The new technology involves using a “bridge”. I have been using the PS Audio DS with network bridge II and it sounds much better than the music servers I have had or auditioned for the last 12 years. Read the review of the DCS network bridge in Stereophile from last Nov. when I purchased the PS Audio piece, I was happy to sell my external music server and the AQ Diamond USB cable
Call me an ignoramus if you like but I do have a little trouble understanding this.

Lets take Tidal and Deezer 16/44 red book quality streaming.
How does any higher end music server make this sound better than from my Bluesound Vault2?

I mean they cannot extract any more information than is there so is the reasoning that say the vault2 is not extracting all of the information bit perfect?

What am i missing in my comprehension?
And I am ONLY referring to streaming services that are currently available, discounting Tidal MQA for now.

I have been considering a change but having a hard time understanding what more I could get with streaming.

I presently send the data from the vault2 to my Lyngdorf2170 via digital coax
Rbstehno, your comments are totally odd. A network bridge is doing exactly the same thing a server is doing. A per USB being somehow inferior it all depends on implimentation of the cable, the dac and the server.

The Audioquest Diamond is not state of the art in any way, we started with the Diamond as it was really the first high end USB Cable, and then we graduated to the Wireworld Platinum which was even better sounding, then we moved to the Enklein pure silver, which was better still than the Wireworld and then we found the Light Harmonic cable Lightspeed, which has a Femto reclocker built into the cable and this is the most remarkable USB cable we have yet tested.

A Network bridge is taking packeted audio from the Network and then in the case of the DCS then outputing to the Dac via AES or SPDIF or USB.

If you are looking to do the highest sampling frequencies of Quad Rate DSD a standard AES or SPDIF cable will not pass those frequencies nor will the DCS bridge.

Now it also depends on which servers you were using before the DCS bridge, the Innuous sounds way better tha the Aurender we sell both.

You may have had decent but not a state of the art server before you moved to the DCS piece.

You are also missing the user experience which Roon brings which makes listening to music a much more exploratory experience.

Uberwaltz, you are missing the concept of upconversion or cross conversion. By emploing a server which allows you to change or cross convert you can create a psuedo high resolution data stream from a 16 bit 44k sample. The actually difference between a true high resolution sample and a reprocessed one may be completely undiscernable.

We routinely take Tidal data stream, upconvert through our Innous server to our Light Harmonic Davinci and listen to all music at Quad Rate DSD and the sound is glorious.

Server with Roon, and the ability to upconvert or crossconvert can dramatically create a much more analog like sound even with a standard Redbook digital data stream.

Labtec the difference between reference servers is hardly neglibile we heard major differences between the Innuous Zenith, the Baetis Reference x, and the Memory Player.

The difference is a combination of hardware, software and implimention of all of the different factors. As per packing a good cardboard box can be very effective, if you don’t think you aren’t paying extra for the fancy flight case that you will never use again you got another thing comming.

We are really looking forward to our new Innuous Statement which employs a totally custom designed motherboard, a state of the art USB output board, a temperature controlled clock, custom software. This will be the best sounding sever on the market, save your pennies at $13k it will not be cheap, but it should set a new reference for a digital front end.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ

@audiotroy Maybe I am missing something but it is hard to believe a $400-$800 NAS (which based on other opinions is inherently noisy) would be better than a well designed server with onboard storage.  You also seem to contradict your packet philosophy ("In the world of digital the packeted music going into the server may actually sound better than the onboard music via the ssd") by touting a USB connection from the Inuous to your DAC. Why wouldn't you go via Ethernet to stay all packet transmission?
I am open to the NAS approach if I can be convinced. 

I do have Ethernet at my rack however I do not have home runs from my router but rather MAC>Cable Modem/Router>2 floors to Netgear Switch>1 floor up to 2nd Netgear switch near rack>DAC. I know that is not ideal. Adding a NAS (since I would not put it near my rack) will go down a similar path. Have no idea how to make that better currently.

@rbstehno The Inuous/Melco/Antipodes can connect via Ethernet to a DAC so I'm not sure that is old tech. I have the PS Audio DSJr with the Bridge II card as well but I am looking to improve how I feed my library to that

@labtec interesting unit but over my budget at $8k 

Good discussion. Thanks all

Still not clear on what I could do and what is required to improve my sq. But I am not going to clog up the OPS thread, I will contact you directly for advice.
Thank you
The issue with  packeted audio is very simple, if you have an dac which can take an ethernet direct signal you may get the best possible sound quality out of a dac, however, if your dac does not possess an ethernet connection then you can not use the dac in this mannor.

We sell Naim streamers and they run off an ethernet  connection, while other dacs that we sell such as the T+A, Aqua Hifi, the Light Harmonic and others do not accept an ethernet connection.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ