I regret giving away my KEF 107.2s when I bought the Reference 1s.
If your source is Roon, running Roon core on your PC, and your target is a USB capable DAC, forget the Rendu and make your own Roon streamer from a Raspberry Pi 4 with Ubuntu 19.
$150 in cost to build, including a 128 GB micro SD card, giving me tons of space for additional Linux packages.
I’m using it to play to my Mytek Brooklyn.
Check with the DAC maker to see if they know if their USB receiver chip has been added to the Linux kernel. Most have been.
Op there are a number of ways of building a great digital front end.
Part of this discussion is what is important to you and how you are planing on using the system.
You have two options one is to buy a great dac that will elevate the sound of the system signifigently, really great dacs are in the $2-3k price range and really amazing ones are about $5k and above.
If your budget is eaten up by the dac then you can use a laptop to get you started with streaming and then circle back and move into a much better sounding server such an an Innous or Aurender at the next go around.
Or you can look at a really good streamer/dac with or without the addition of a server, you only need a server if you want to store a CD library or have to add streaming music sources such as Tidal or Obouze to a dac that does not have a network streaming card.
Most streaming dac's will play Tidal or Obouze, Spotify and similar popular sources via an app.
There are a few very good affordable streaming dacs, the Teac NT 505 and the Lumin D2, the Myteks, the next class up is the Lumin T2 and a few others on the market, then the uber class dacs like the new Bricasti M3 which is quite extraordinary but with a streaming card would be more expensive than your stated budget, we don't sell the Auralic but they also make a good dac/streamer.
Our advice would be to purchase the best dac you can first, use a laptop for now or get a really good streaming dac like the Lumin.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin, Mytek, Bricasti,
I’m in a similar spot as the OP. But I’m having doubts as to whether my CD collection is worth ripping because some may not be in pristine condition and most of my recordings are available by stream.
I’ve been able to compare specific CDs to Tidal streams. I found that when the recordings were excellent there really isn’t that much of a difference in sound. Otherwise, sometimes the Tidal stream sounded better than the CD and sometimes the reverse. Not sure I want/need an iPad screen with multiple choices of the same song.
The Aurender 10 is a simple, elegant, and expensive solution to ripping and storing. However I am uncertain about the value proposition.
I think I’m heading in the direction of a really great DAC and an adequate streamer that may be upgraded in the future.
Any thoughts on Denefrip DACs as a value solution?
As you can see above we are recommending the best dac in the price range. The Denefripps is supposed to be a great dac, however, for the same price as that Dac, there is T+A DAC 8 DSD which is outstanding and if you can run DSD 512 via a computer server running Roon,Jriver, or HQ player will beat most $10k dacs.
The new Bricasti M3 which is just amazing, and it is made in America and it has a host of great features including a pure analog volume control a streaming card option and a headphone option the dac is mind blowing completely raised our expectations in great digital that is in the 5k price range according to Bricasti the M3 is 80-85% of the sound of their reference M21 for 1/3 the price.
The Innous servers which start at a bit over a thousand bucks also streams and rips so you can get a great ripper/HD storage system that is not so expensive.
We are not saying that the server doesn't make a huge difference the servers do just if you have to get started you can use a laptop first and then replace that with a dedicated server.
Other considerations are do you look at a real marvelous streaming dac like the Lumin T2?
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ Lumin, Innous, Bricasti, T+A dealers.
The dealer is recommending products he carries. Grain of salt here!
"As you can see above we are recommending the best dac in the price range. The Denefripps is supposed to be a great dac, however, for the same price as that Dac, there is T+A DAC 8 DSD which is outstanding and if you can run DSD 512 via a computer server running Roon,Jriver, or HQ player will beat most $10k dacs."
The DAC you are thinking about is great but for the same $ we have something better.
Rbach the dacs we have are very highly rated, we sell, Aqua Hif, T+A, Bricasti, Lumin and many others.
Try to find a Denefrips professional review, not too easy very few reviewers have heard one in the reviews, could only find three reviews, Six Moons, Audio Bacon and Audio Stream,
We could find one review where the Terminator was compared to a Chord which was a bit more expensive and also had a volume control and was better in some ways and bettered in others.
The issue with Denefrips is the direct model takes away the possiblity that the Dac in test will be compared with Dacs that are allready well known in one location.
Rbach we are not saying our dacs are better just that there are some really outstanding choices that the OP might not be thinking about.
The Bricasti M3 is amazing sounding, similarly priced and you have options of adding a nework card, it has an analog preamp stage and can be a headphone amp as well, very cool feature set.
The T+A also has a resitor analog volume control, is also a headphone amp, and comes from one of the best digital engineering departments in Europe, The Aqua Hifi Lascala is 100% modular and completely upgradable, with the Terminator only one board can be changed easily.
Again considering that we are a very dac oriented store and continue to bring in and test many dacs gives us a pretty wide perspective in what sounds good. Again we have Ifi, Lumin, Mytek, Bricasti, Naim, T+A, Aqua Hif, Light Harmonic, to name a few of the digital lines we carry.
Rbach how about you extoll for the rest of us your vast experience with all the dac’s you have tested?
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ
Your rig is more than adequate, the RME dac is superb, I don't have it but the developer of hqplayer uses it, Amir at ASR tested the rme and it has the lowest noise levels, supports direct dsd unlike other dacs, it is on the expensive side there are cheaper alternatives and more costly ones if you want to save money. PM if you want, I have tried several rigs and if you know a little bit of computers there are really good options. I am not a dealer nor associated to any manufacturer
Paul McGowan from PS audio posted a recommendation (video) which consists of a Mac Mini as a server. I tried it and it sounds better than all the streamers I have used in the past. To save money, I bought a used Mac mini and upgraded the HD. Also, the best DAC for USB input is the Musical Fidelity V90 ($299). The USB input outperformed the other DACs I experimented with.
Best of luck..
I purchased a Denafrips Pontus DAC this past year and am very pleased. Here’s a brief review that I provided on it...
Good luck and happy listening! Michael
Did you buy and put in the latest processor board and DSD upgrade it is a noticable difference as of March $250 worth every
dollar it was so good I listened to the benchmsrk3 detailed but too nuetral Brooklyn+ decent , ihad the lampizator dac3 ,and latest
Schiit Yggsdrasil which has good detail but not much 3 d and non forgiving.