Should I cash in?

I have an Oppo UDP205, using it as Roon endpoint and DAC, fed by a very old Mac Mini (no idea what OS, it’s too old to use Roon 2.0 though). I never use physical media any more. 
should I sell the 205 and upgrade the Mini to a more updated version, then get a DAC to replace the Oppo’s DAC? I do currently use the balanced outputs to my pre (currently an Emotiva XMC-2), then to the Pass 250.8, then Aerial 7T’s (so you experts can guide me based on level of current equipment).

My technical knowledge on digital is almost non-existent, my eyes glaze over quickly when discussing bits and clocks and formats. I know SQ is subjective, but I would like the option of Roon on the go, and my current setup won’t allow that, and the sound quality of what I have is satisfying as is. Not looking for a leap forward in that department, but any changes would have to be at least as good. 

I also have a BDP103, so if I did need a transport with the new equipment to load what few discs I have, I would have that.


There will be a day when you wished you could play your disks. Maybe the internet is down, or you have that killer version of DSOTM on SACD that is not available on streaming services, or you have not converted your disks to FLAC.

You can play those remaining disks at REFERENCE level using the following device which outputs DSD or PCM via HDMI. Do not let the low-price fool you. GeerFab Audio - D.BOB Digital Breakout Box : Electronics

I have an Oppo BDP-83 that I got used for $200 and I use it as a transport with HDMI out to the D.BOB. The D.BOB sends SPDIF to a DAC. I tested 2 DACs that worked with the D.BOB. The sound is great.

  • Benchmark DAC3B
  • Schitt Yggi+ OG and Less Is More

I love the 2 Yggi+ DACs I have. I wrote something about those 2 DACs ().

I am in similar situation and am ready to upgrade. I have digitized all my CD/SACDs to FLAC or DSF files and ready to move from the Oppo UDP-205 to a dedicated DAC. I think I will most likely sell the Oppo, if I move to a new DAC.

Unfortunately I do not see any mainstream companies releasing DACs based on the new AKM chips. Sick and tired of seeing the ESS based DACs - with the knowledge that these chips internally convert DSD to PCM. The only DAC that is on top of the list is the T+A DAC200 or a Marantz SA-10. Both of these have their proprietary DSD implementation.

Somewhere boxed up in a closet is an Oppo 103, so I wouldn’t be transport-less, should it come to it. 
primarily, out of laziness/ease of use, I stream Tidal through Roon, and also the few discs I’ve bothered to save into the Mini. Unless I’m missing something, you’re recommending a good option on the DAC, but what about the Roon core part?

My recommendation would be to:

1. Leave the current mac mini as Roon Core

2. Get a good streamer that’s Roon Ready (Lumin, newest Aurender, Innuous)

3. Get a good DAC (depending on budget research DAC recommendations in the forums)

4. Eventually upgrade the preamp to a Pass XP-12, XP-22 or Audio Research if you want to try tubes

You will have a kick ass system. 

The mini has been very stable, I have to admit. It just won’t allow Roon 2.0 for mobile access.

The preamp upgrade has been needed, well ‘needed’ as much as anything is in this hobby;). But yes, I know that’s a weak link.

DAC and streamer should be separate, I assume?

That’s a nice system and would benefit greatly from a new preamp. I just put an XP-12 in my system and I love it. I understand being a bit overwhelmed by the digital world, there are so many choices and combinations. While separates are ideal, you might start with a streamer/DAC combo. Audphile made some good recommendations. 

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Thanks all. I have an Eero already at the system, since the internet comes into the house where all the equipment is.

as an example of my lack of computer savvy-ness, is it possible to update the OS to a version that would support Roon 2.0? If so, the Mini can stay, if not then it’ll need to be replaced. If I’m going to replace equipment, I may as well improve the functionality in areas that matter to me, as well as (try to) ensure the SQ is advanced. I’m seeing a lot of responses to keep the Mini, but it’s too old to support the advanced functionality available now. Tvad suggests a Nucleus to replace the Mini, which would be my first thought, but I’ve seen a fair amount of ‘meh’ opinions on the Nucleus. It would be simple, and simple is good. Back when computers and audio were separate hobbies, I was good;)


not seeing any suggestions to keep the Oppo, so the basic question of should I cash in seems to be a ‘yes’.

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I’m sure the sonic weak link is the Emotiva processor, but the system is hybrid HT and 2 channel, but a good pre is on the wish list. It would have to have HT bypass, and although I’d like to try a tube pre, it seems to be a little limiting being part of a hybrid system, so I’m thinking of staying with Pass, as was suggested and going -12 or -22. 
first things first though, gotta sort out the 1’s and 0’s. Is there a way to quantify the level of the DAC in the Oppo to an equivalent stand alone? Then I can see what level of DAC/streamer/etc that I’d need to replace it with. No point in going through all this and ending up loosing sound quality b/c I didn’t get good enough equipment.

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This idea started yesterday, initially the idea was to ‘swap’ the Oppo for the replacement. So that would depend on what the Oppo would fetch. Used is fine. 
option 2 is do nothing, since I’m basically happy with the system, just looking for increased functionality of Roon 2.0.


i know how this bug is, though….it won’t stick to initial plans;)

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If you want to maximize the ROI with your first purchase get a preamp. Or pickup an all in one unit like the Bricasti M3 with network renderer. It has excellent preamp section (I owned this DAC and used it direct and with preamp) that will hold you over until you can get a good dedicated preamp. Spending almost a grand on mac mini just to get the latest Roon version won’t upgrade your system’s sound quality. 

I cashed in a over two years ago and sold my UDP-205 for nearly 3x what I paid. I even nodded it with an LPS from OppoMod to great success. Still, it couldn't compete with my then PS Audio DS DAC playing files off my server. And now, with a Lumin U2 Streamer, fiber optic LAN and Ayee QX-5 Twenty DAC, the Oppo is ancient history. It's been over two years since I've spun a disc and don't miss it one bit (pun intended).

Roon has announced the Nucleus One. At $499 it may provide what you are looking for to solve the Roon part of your proposed upgrade.

Oppo was a good choice back when it was sold. Back then, some have upgraded Oppo sonics with Modwright mods here (discontinued)

But since then, there have been tremendous strides in sonics for both DACs and servers and digital audio in general has been a hotbed for new products and innovations like newer chips. So sonically you’d be better off moving on to upgrade

@english210 - after determining a budget, if you reach out again we can point you to great products to consider

Yeah, sounds like I need to audition some DACs and servers. Is it safe (ish) to say the greater sonic improvement will be the DAC, and the Nucleus or equivalent for usability portion is less sonically critical? I don’t have bad gear, but a $20K DAC seems like it’s overkill. Budget is important, but it’s more important not to waste money. When I pull the trigger on something, it needs to be an improvement. Sounds like $2-3k may not get me that, and over 10 would be hard to swallow….ive never laid out more than 6 at a time. 

The general audiophile rule is to address the weak links in one’s audio chain first

There are tons of really nice DACs in the $3k to $6k range, I'd demo as many as I could get my hands on and go from there. One needn't spend $20k to get excellent sound. 

Notable DACs (prices not up to date):

2.3 Doge 7 MkII tube DAC              

*2.6 Ferrum Wandla - HR competes w 10k DACs 

     +1.2 HYPSOS power supply 

2.7 LAiV Harmony DAC

3.0 Musician Aquarius - sounds like a $5k DAC

4.5 Wired4Sound DAC-2v2SE                    

5.0 Audio-GD R7HE MK2                              

5.6 Kitsune Hifi May-KTE                     

*6.6 Lampizator Baltic 4 (punches way above price point- beats KTE).                  

 6.8 Bel Canto Ex1 DAC (Transparent)                    

7.1 T+A DAC200

7.3 Lampizator Golden Atlantic TRP