Yeah, sometimes your wallet can scream pretty loudly, but let your ears do the talking...not the least if it can save you some bucks.
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I have been in IT most of my career (now retired) and an audiophile longer. I bet I have had more laptops, PC, MACs, streaming and storage devices than you. (I’m not trying to be a jerk, just state where I am coming from).
I resisted buying a high quality dedicated streamer for a couple decades. What a waste. High quality dedicated streamers and high quality dedicated DACs simply are at completely different levels. Designed from the ground up to stop noise and vibration of typical computing environments… they (well made ones).
Every dedicated music server I have owned completely trounced every pc or laptop I have owned. Some examples; Aurrender N100 ($3.6K), Aurlic Aries G2 ($5K), Aurender N10 ($10K), and Aurender W20SE ($22K). I found the latter was so good that it was a bargain (I have associated equipment to take advantage of it).
I looked up Pacific Valve… and only saw a really inexpensive DAC. In this cost category it is hard to say what is going to sound better. An audio system is composed of all the components. If they are all highly low budget then listening is going to be the only solution… well, that is always true… but what is the rest of your equipment and venue?
I suspect a Bluesound, Lumin… or low end Aurender would completely answer your question and you would not be going back to PCs or laptops ever.
Every dedicated music server I have owned completely trounced every pc or laptop I have owned. Some examples; Aurrender N100 ($3.6K), Aurlic Aries G2 ($5K), Aurender N10 ($10K), and Aurender W20SE ($22K). I found the latter was so good that it was a bargain (I have associated equipment to take advantage of it)."
In this I disagree, I went from a dedicated PC striped down for dedicated audio streaming to first a Roon Nucleus (just crap IMO way over priced too, specialy when you open it up) then to my current streamer the Aurender A10 and frankly its not really much better then the dedicated PC I was using prior feeding a Schitt Gumby milti bit DAC. Its definitely quieter and has a blacker back ground but its lacking in hi frequency detail and spatial Q's IMO ( using the internal DAC that's supposed to be excellent).
I used Spendor D9.2 speakers that are a bit tipped up in the top end and are very detailed so there should not be a noticeable roll off on the top end (compared to other sources I have). I'm saying that at 57 so I probably don't hear much above 12k anymore.
I'm not saying the Aurender A10 is not over all better but not $8k better IMO ( and the interface is just easier on a computer), think hard and use your ears not your eyes before you buy.
Also consider having your computer optimized for audio before you make any move. you may find you don't need to upgrade.
Each dedicated music server I've owned has utterly outperformed any computer or laptop I've ever owned. Aurrender N100 ($3.6K), Aurlic Aries G2 ($5K), Aurender N10 ($10K), and Aurender W20SE ($22K) are a few examples. I discovered that the latter was so excellent that it was a great deal (I have related equipment to benefit from it).
I disagree with this because I switched from a dedicated PC that was stripped down for dedicated audio streaming to a Roon Nucleus (which, in my opinion, is just crap and way overpriced, especially when you open it up) and now to the Aurender A10, which, to be honest, isn't much better than the dedicated PC I was using before that was feeding a Schitt Gumby milti bit DAC. It is undoubtedly quieter and the background is darker, but (with the supposedly superb internal DAC) I feel that the high frequency detail and spatial Q's are lacking.
Utilizing Spendor D9.
There shouldn't be a perceptible roll off on the top end thanks to two very detailed speakers that are slightly tipped up at the top end (compared to other sources I have). At 57, I doubt I hear anything above 12k anymore, so I'm stating that.
I'm not saying the Aurender A10 isn't better overall, but it's not $8k better in my opinion (plus the interface is plain simpler on a computer). Before you buy, think carefully and use your ears rather than your eyes.
Before you take any action, you should also think about having your computer audio-optimized. It's possible that you won't need to update.