Streamer Comparison and Suggestions

I am considering options for a new streamer for the specific purpose of improving sound quality as a Roon endpoint feeding a DAC.  

The set-up:

  • networked server/Roon core in a separate room
  • connection to my main system using fiber, a converter and LPS
  • very short Ethernet cable into dual Bonn N8 switches
  • Network Acoustics Ethernet cable then muon filter
  • Metrum Acoustics Ambre Roon endpoint/streamer (currently)
  • Variety of DACs having USB, S/PDIF, and AES/EBU input options

The Ambre is a Raspberry Pi based device with internal LPS and femto clocking.  I am curious whether some of the more expensive, more well-known streamer options may result in improved sound quality as a Roon endpoint feeding my DAC - which is my only goal.  I intend to continue using Roon to control Tidal, Qobuz, and my server stored music files so the addition of fancy touchscreens, on-board storage, or optional player software will not affect my decision unless the device also offers improved sound quality.  

Streamers I have been considering are in the $5-8K price range and include:

  • Sonore Signature Rendu SE (optical or otherwise - USB output only) $5,300
  • Innuos Pulsar (USB output only) $7,999
  • Auralic Aries G2.2 (lots of flexibility) $6,099

Thanks for any suggestions and specifically any comparisons between the streamers listed above.


If you are a ROON user, then the 3 streamers I owned would all work well. They best part is you do not need a superstar music server (also known as a computer).

  • Lumin X1, this is a DAC and streamer. Lumin has released the streamer part of the X1 as a new product.
  • Sonore OpticalRendu
  • PlayBack Designs Stream-IF (fibre optic only works with PBD and Nagra DACs)

These 3 are awesome streamers and the first 2 were used with fibre optic. Using fibre means it does not matter what was before the fibre, such as the music server.

I did not use fibre with the Streamer-IF since I have not purchased a PBD DAC yet. I used SPDIF with the Streamer-IF into a Benchmark DAC3B. Even in that setup the sound was comparable to the other 2. I am thinking there is some fibre inside the box that is hooked up to the SPDIF pathway.

I use an Auralic G2.1, very solid,  can’t go wrong with the G2.2

if I had unlimited funds I might consider a Grimm Audio MU-1

I have a Pulsar. Love it.

Sense App allowed me to ditch Roon which I was more than happy to do

Mitch2 - it's very simple to switch to roon on the pulsar, takes a few seconds. You just toggle out of "standalone" mode on the app where sense is streaming qobuz or tidal directly and switch to roon where roon takes over the interface and sees the pulsar as an end point. Makes it easy to compare sonics, app responsiveness, etc.