advice on DAC and streamer/server solution upgrade

MrSingh'sStereo

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Feb 1, 2022
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Hello, I am new to the what's best platform and should appreciate some advice on upgrading my audio sources.
I recently upgraded my amp and speakers to the CH Precision A1.5 and Stenheim Alumine 3s (moving away from a Meridian active DSP speaker set up).
For the past 7 years I have enjoyed the Meridian 808v6 and the Sooloos platform ( I am not a Roon user). However , a friendly dealer lent me an Aurender N150 which is the cheapest Aurender streamer and the improvement to sound quality over Sooloos has been significant. So I am now considering upgrading my streamer and also wondering whether I should replace the Meridian 808 which currently performs DAC/ pre amp/ CD / streaming. In other words, do my new amp and speakers deserve better sources ?
The main criteria are I want to keep the box count minimum (so preferably server/streamer/ storage one box) and if possible a similar one box solution as the Meridian (ie cd transport , DAC, pre amp (both digital and analogue in).
I did consider a Rossini player but have been put off by the lack of analogue in (for my Rega turntable and Nak) and the forthcoming price hike (courtesy of the dCS Apex upgrade) although I will consider adding a simple pre amp like the Townsheand Allegri + for analogue inputs Or something similar.
I am keen to understand the options to enable me to get the best out of my new gear and all advice will be graciously received. Budget wise I am looking at around total £30,000 gross RRP.
Thank you
Mr Singh
 
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Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
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if i was you i would look for a used MSB Reference dac or stretch to a used Select. both have very high quality analog inputs and passive volume controls that can directly connect to your CH Precision amp. you will need to add a server; but the net performance with a modest server with either of those dacs and their overall capabilities would be hard to surpass for your budget. you might exceed your budget somewhat, but those are 'keepers'.

and then upgrade the server to the Extreme when your budget allows. and the modularity of the MSB allows for very good future proofing so it can evolve with you.

one box server/dacs/analog switcher solutions are going to be relative dead ends. maybe the darTzeel LHC-208 might be the exception.
 
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BlueFox

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Nov 8, 2013
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Lumin X1. If I correctly read your post it fits your requirements. Granted, I love mine, so I have a little bias.

 
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ICUToo

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Sep 20, 2021
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if i was you i would look for a used MSB Reference dac or stretch to a used Select. both have very high quality analog inputs and passive volume controls that can directly connect to your CH Precision amp. you will need to add a server; but the net performance with a modest server with either of those dacs and their overall capabilities would be hard to surpass for your budget. you might exceed your budget somewhat, but those are 'keepers'.

and then upgrade the server to the Extreme when your budget allows. and the modularity of the MSB allows for very good future proofing so it can evolve with you.

one box server/dacs/analog switcher solutions are going to be relative dead ends. maybe the darTzeel LHC-208 might be the exception.
Hi Mike,
(I love your system posts, btw)
Where might one find one of these second hand?
I've never seen one on Audiogon, nor (although I've looked less often) on HiFi Shark.
Where is the best spot to look?
 
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bryans

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Dec 26, 2017
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There was a MSB Select II on Audiogon a week or so ago. I guess someone snapped it up. If you can't find a MSB used you could start with a new MSB Premier and upgrade to the Reference later. MSB allows one to upgrade to newer models.

I would also suggest looking at a T+A SDV3100HV.

Good luck in your search.
 

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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I would make sure that any change to your Meridian 808V6 actually sounds better. Meridian gets quite a bit of stick from certain audiophiles but i think it is still very competitive. The only issue I have using the Meridian as a preamp is that it digitises the analog inputs. Other than that, I think it is a great sounding digital source.
 
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Lee

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Feb 4, 2011
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I would hold off until the new dCS announcement comes out in a few weeks. You should be able to get a Rossini DAC and Clock pairing.
 
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gleeds

Industry Expert
May 29, 2018
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Adding to Bluefox. For amazing build quality, low box count, terrific SQ, and an excellent UI I am a huge fan of the Lumin X-1. It sports a terrific DAC, an external power supply and the built-in Leedh volume processing means no pre-amplifier is required! Game changer for what you are after?

Read up on LeedH here:

Also, a great match running fully balanced into your CH Precision amplifier. Best of luck with your new system!
 
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howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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Adding to Bluefox. For amazing build quality, low box count, terrific SQ, and an excellent UI I am a huge fan of the Lumin X-1. It sports a terrific DAC, an external power supply and the built-in Leedh volume processing means no pre-amplifier is required! Game changer for what you are after?

Read up on LeedH here:

Also, a great match running fully balanced into your CH Precision amplifier. Best of luck with your new system!
I use a Lumin T2 and I consider it a bargain. Not quite as impressive as the X1 but for a cheapish one box solution it's hard to beat.
 
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MrSingh'sStereo

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Feb 1, 2022
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thank you for all the replies. very helpful. I would like to guage opinions on the whether it is better to buy a more capable dac with an built in streaming card or have a 2 box solution - seperate dac and streamer ? so for example , a ch precision / dcs rossini1 plus streaming card v bartok with aurender n20 v lumin x1. what are the incremental differences for these approaches?
 

howiebrou

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Since you have a decent dac i would put the money into a good preamp and then later on put your next purchase into a streamer/dac when your Meridian falls apart.
 

MrSingh'sStereo

New Member
Feb 1, 2022
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I would make sure that any change to your Meridian 808V6 actually sounds better. Meridian gets quite a bit of stick from certain audiophiles but i think it is still very competitive. The only issue I have using the Meridian as a preamp is that it digitises the analog inputs. Other than that, I think it is a great sounding digital source.
i recently borrowed a ps audio reference tube pre amp and ran my vinyl through it directly to the a1.5 power amp and compared it to the 808v6 which digitises the vinyl signal. I actually preferred the vinyl replay via the 808! - more solid image and cleaner (especially for old records) . via the PS audio pre amp, the sound was enjoyable too - a bit slushy, and coloured in a good(ish) way but the 808 approach gave a better sound to my ears! meridian do make good dacs and i actually preferred the 808 v the dac module in the ch precision i1 (when I had it on home loan) and actually this led to my decision to abandon the i1 purchase and instead go for the a1.5 and retain the 808. I have the aurender n20 on home loan at the moment - much more capable than the n150 but i am now wondering if a better dac will take the performance up another notch
 

howiebrou

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Jun 29, 2012
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thank you for all the replies. very helpful. I would like to guage opinions on the whether it is better to buy a more capable dac with an built in streaming card or have a 2 box solution - seperate dac and streamer ? so for example , a ch precision / dcs rossini1 plus streaming card v bartok with aurender n20 v lumin x1. what are the incremental differences for these approaches?
May be the P1 would be of interest. It's a preamp, dac and streamer all in one. https://www.luminmusic.com/lumin-p1.html
 

howiebrou

Well-Known Member
Jun 29, 2012
2,618
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680
i recently borrowed a ps audio reference tube pre amp and ran my vinyl through it directly to the a1.5 power amp and compared it to the 808v6 which digitises the vinyl signal. I actually preferred the vinyl replay via the 808! - more solid image and cleaner (especially for old records) . via the PS audio pre amp, the sound was enjoyable too - a bit slushy, and coloured in a good(ish) way but the 808 approach gave a better sound to my ears! meridian do make good dacs and i actually preferred the 808 v the dac module in the ch precision i1 (when I had it on home loan) and actually this led to my decision to abandon the i1 purchase and instead go for the a1.5 and retain the 808. I have the aurender n20 on home loan at the moment - much more capable than the n150 but i am now wondering if a better dac will take the performance up another notch
The Meridian ain't no chopped liver. I used to own the 808.2 and it worked really well with my Sooloos system and even vinyl. I would venture to say that may be the PS audio is not quite in the same level as the Meridian but the CH i1 certainly is and if you prefer it, why not keep the Meridian until you find something to demo that really beats it. You can just add the Aurender now, keep the 808 and you will have a killer system till that special dac appears.
 
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