Using streaming as a main source ---DSD, FLAC, MQA Streamers and DACS

As I read these forums, and watch copious amounts of Youtube, I'm struck by what a bad idea some of the streaming / digital formats are doing. I'm trying to build a system where I have a streamer, dad, and amplifier (with pre-amp) as separate components but what I keep finding is that the streaming/digital world is totally confused.


MQA seems to be both advancing with new MQair support and dying (few audiophiles seem to like it).

-- DSD -- 

Seems to be favored by High-end audiophiles but not streaming services. 

-- FLAC --

FLAC seems to be pushed by Qobuz which seems to be the preferred service for high quality audio (but not for music recommendations). 


Choosing a Streamer / DAC is a nightmare -- given the industry going back and forth on quality, formats, special licensing. Does one choose the formats they want to use and then find appropriate DAC etc or does one choose a DAC that sounds great and then accept its limitations.

I don't understand why streamers don't commit to upscaling to 24/192 or DSD256 for any format so the DAC peeps can focus on a single format. 

So how does one decide where to start? 






Streaming need be no more difficult than the rest of your system. You simply need the highest quality streamer and DAC you can afford. 

It's not a matter of cost. It's just I like to use streaming. The recommendation system on Tidal is great -- Qobuz not so much. My budget would be around 6,000-7,000k USD so Aurender / Innous are my likely choices for a streamer. I can use ethernet but for starters I'm been using a WiiM-Mini over wifi (I'm testing out options).  Right now I have a basic set up - Rega amp with a built in 24/192 DAC that I'll use. My next updates will be a: 

- Streamer. I'm looking at Innous / Aurender / Auralic. Ideally there would be a high end blue sound streamer or a high end Sonos streamer but neither of those seem likely in the short term. (The play everywhere feature of those platforms is great). Those platforms seem to have the best apps out there - and best integrations. 

- DAC. Sort of unknown at the moment. I like the reviews of the Denafrips DACs and PS Audio do a nice DAC but I'd need to demo them. Sadly more and more brands are becoming online distribution only so trial equipment is getting harder and harder to find - especially at my budget.

I have a good local dealer but like all dealers their range is limited to the brands they work with.

What I'm really wondering is -- should I spend my 7k on a set up which would set me up for the next 10 years or do I wait, spending perhaps half that now, and wait to see where the market goes.

I'm not going to buy anything for 3-6 months -- I want to upgrade my speakers first (again a lot of brands with great reviews are moving to an online direct model).    


After being out of two channel for a while and just HT I got back into it. I started with Chinese dac that was all in one streamer and tried roon for 30 days.  Wow I was hooked.  I ripped everything I owned including SACDs (DSD).  I upgraded Dac and streamer and whole 2 ch system. Discovering new music with roon is a wonderful experience.  If you like what unlike and just want to listen to it maybe a DAC that can read from usb is all you need.  But for me streaming is great and yes it’s a rabbit hole of expenses.  No budget restrictions go big and get an all in for 20k and keep it simple.  

Sounds like you want to weigh  options and take it slow. Best efficient option is go with the Wiim Pro streamer and Cambridge 200M dac which does MQA. I agree the DAC buying options are very confusing right now.




KISS. Get an all in one streamer/dac. Listen ‘n learn. First step. Hold

A new or used bluesound on the low end to Lumin or Arunder on the high end are such units. A new Lumin T3 or used Lumin T2 will leave room in your budget for audio grade ethernet cables.

Aurender’s are great streamers but alas they do not work w/ Roon.

Roon is an overlay shell software that runs your Ripped CD’s (into flack files), Qobuz, Tital or whatever you stream from and is a better software interface than anything else. But to that you’ll need thier neclues box. It should be calked Pardoa’s box. I was never going to use Roon untill I did.

@kiwiscott Take it you are in New Zealand. If you are USA or 🇨🇦. Where are you? Asking to see if there’s a friendly sort here that you might visit or what dealerships to point you towards?