What are my options for music files, CD rips, and a DAC all-in-one solution?

I’m reviewing my digital chain and think it could be improved.

My current set up is this:

  • Rega Aethos amp (because of my analogue chain)
  • M-DAC Audiolab
  • Marantz CD player
  • Ripped CD files and other FLAC/WAV files converted to Apple Lossless and stored on an external harddrive. This is then managed by iTunes and connected to the DAC via a USB cable from the Mac.
  • Sonos for streaming my ripped music collection and internet radio.

My ideal scenario would be an upgraded DAC that could rip CDs and stream music services/stored files. Whether that exists or if I’d need a different unit for ripping/storing CDs I don’t know. I’ve mainly focused on my analogue chain up to now but want to focus on the digital side and improve what I have.

I’ve heard good things about Naim, but don’t need another amp. Keen to hear the thoughts of members here who are digital first.


Not sure how to quote posters I’m replying to but I think that’s good advice from @mahler123  and I’ll look for a streamer only that also has USB input. Now I’ll research which one would fit best with my system.

I use the Melco N 100 NAS-streamer.  It comes with a 2TB hard drive.  It will play Tidal and Qobuz and connects to my DAC via usb.  The free app is basically the MConnect App, it’s worth paying a few bucks for the actual MConnect app because it works better.  You will need a ripping device.  I used first Apple optical reader, for around $80, eventually shelling out a lot more for Melcos own optical reader.  The Apple did a pretty good job but made an occasional error, the Melco has been flawless.  Both optical devices can be used in conjunction with the N100 to play CDs.  You can add extra Hard Drives through the usb inputs, either generic or Melcos own.

  The Melco is a player in my main system but acts as a server for other streamers in the home, which may be a consideration for you.  It doesn’t have Bluetooth, AirPlay, or Chromecast.

@vinylshadow Yes the Mytek Empire is awesome sounding! I can't speak for the Aurrender A30, but i can for the N10 and the Empire is much better sounding. Yes, it is 6K more then the A30, but also includes a full balanced preamp and a very good phono preamp with nickel transformer that the A30 does not have.

I’m now thinking it would be best to get a standalone cd ripper to put all the music on an external 2TB harddrive as FLAC files, then connect this to a streamer and then into the Audiolab DAC and add a ROON account (Mac acting as the Core) to manage everything. So it’s just a question of which streamer. Don’t want to waste money on one with an expensive integrated DAC, as I have a standalone, unless it’s one that my Audiolab will be an improvement over.



Does anyone have experience with the Naim Uniti Star? Seems like a good solution for what I’m after and would run via my m-dac+.