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Streamer + DAC to be connected to Active Speakers (Genelec 8030s)

Dathzo

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Jan 20, 2021
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Hello good people,

I am looking forward to hearing your recommendations on the following: I would like to have a streamer solution for my Genelecs 8030. I use at the moment a Sonos Connect but want to improve my setup to:

a) better audio quality (not hard as the Sonos Connect does not have a great sound)
b) keep ease of use as much as possible (Sonos UI is pretty good)

Some features I would like to get with this upgrade:

1. One device with a combined streamer + DAC is best
2. Going for high-quality audio, so at least 24-bit capable
3. Stream from Tidal (hence Tidal Connect is a big plus. Tidal through Bluetooth does not do it as it would only be 16-bit)
4. XLR outputs are strongly preferred
5. MQA is a bonus but not mandatory
6. HDMI Arc is a bonus but not mandatory
7. The Whole upgrade should not cost more than 1500€

I know is a long wishlist, but some of you may have already encountered a good solution that you are able to comment on. I have been reading a lot in this forum, but still, I am to find the perfect solution if such a thing even exists. Some possibilities I have mulled are:

Raspberry Pi-based solutions

i) "Naked" RPi4 + RME ADI 2 DAC (1050€)
ii) "Naked" RPi4 + Topping DX3Pro (350€)
iii) Allu DigiOne Signature + any of the DACs from i or ii (750-1400€)

Question: does it really make a difference to have the cleaner board from the Alli DigiOne Signature instead of a "naked" Rpi4 directly to the DAC via USB?

One-box solutions

iii) Matrix Audio Mini-I 3 Pro (980€)
iv) miniDSP SHD (this is expensive at 1500€, but it also has room correction)
v) Cambridge Audio CXN v2 (1100€)
vi) Canton Smart Connect 5.1 (500€)
vii) Bluesound Node 2i (550€)

Any perspective of the best choice is very welcome here. I am aware all of this is very subjective in many ways, but that is perfectly ok.

Thanks in advance.-
 

EdW

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This question has cropped up on ASR discussions once or twice before.
consensus is that the Allo Digione is not needed to suppress USB issues between the RPI4 and a high quality DAC.
I found no issues with a Topping D90/RPI4 combination and I certainly tried looking. I’m sure that the excellent RME DAC would be equally capable of rejecting any USB noise issues from a direct drive from a RPI4. The RME DAC is a very solidly engineered product as well as offering near state of the art performance.
 
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Dathzo

Dathzo

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Thank you @EdW, I appreciated the perspective.
So option iii is off the table and option i seems to be your preference from the RPi solutions.
Thinking about one-box solutions, any obvious winner there?

All the best.-
 

EdW

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I know less about the one box solutions. The miniDSP is reviewed by @amirm

https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...nts-of-minidsp-shd-dac-dsp-and-streamer.4286/

Looking very quickly at the review you would still need a USB source to drive it - perhaps RPI4? But seems to be a good choice for room EQ. Plus analog input capability. So overall an attractive solution and value for money

Cambridge audio CXN v2 - haven’t seen a review on this with measurements but Cambridge Audio is usually pretty good. Look at the subjective reviews to see whether the streaming software is to your liking

The other units you mention I don’t know anything about
 
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Dathzo

Dathzo

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Thanks again @EdW, good comments. It appears that the miniDSP is a streamer per se. From their website: We have also added network streaming over Ethernet, using a dedicated quad-core ARM processor. Out of the gate, we are shipping with Volumio, a popular open-source network streamer.
 
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