Servers at 3 price points.

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#1
Well, starting to do the serious leg work ahead of finally getting into computer audio.
I have the dac I'm going to use (will reveal which it is when I buy it, but at sub £4K and apparently beating some alternatives at 3-4x the price, I'm really happy w my choice).
Now I'm looking to streamers/servers.
Need it to be Roon-ready (Aurender out), HQP would be nice, and ideally a dead simple interface for this user who is all thumbs when it comes to computer audio.
At low end ie below £5k I'm identifying Auralic Aries, InnuOS Zen, AudioAanZee, InnuOS Zenith.
Up a bit ie £7-10k, we have Computer Audio Design CAT, Pink Faun 2.16, Antipodes DX.
At top end, £15k+, SGM.
Can I get a discussion going on these?
My CV - a resolute analog man who is finding my efforts to maximise things in my room esp w attention to power and noise suppression has supercharged my digital, so much so that the £10-20k that would normally have gone on my analog is now going on my digital.
But but BUT...I'm a resolute RBCD man, w my Eera Tentation cdp hitting the heights, and so just as I get my ongoing digital to a place I'd never dare hope for, I'm reluctantly considering getting a streamer/dac (cannot use the Eera as dac, no "Digital IN" jack).
My genres of prog rock and fusion still v well served by traditional cd, eg a new King Crimson period box set of 24 CDs in lavish packaging soon to be released, and I really have zero idea how much new music I'll find via Tidal/Roon.
But I feel compelled to go this route, the curiosity is pushing me, yet the anxiety of inevitable interaction with a Tablet is filling me with dread LOL.
And so with a potential giant killer dac in tow, and my inexperienced (to say the least) attitude to streaming, will I be happy to stick cheaper Aries or Zen, or will Antipodes, Pink Faun or CAD at mid expense level really tickle my fancy, or will I feel the compulsion to go deep into SGM price territory if streaming becomes something I get adept at and find lots of music I'd never guess, with me right now only used to handling cds?
I guess I'm asking if the category of Pink Faun, Antipodes, CAD, totally beats Aries, Zen, and is up there close to SGM?
Because the reviews on these 3 mid expense streamers is full of superlatives, listing no real weaknesses or shortcomings.
Because I can handle the £10-12k that this mid level streamer market would cost me with dac, it's what my current analog front end, and cdp, have cost me each.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,052
29
48
Beverly Hills, CA
#2
No, no, no!

Get Greg Beron's United Home Audio Phase 1 tape deck for $6,500!

(I will talk to Irana.)
 

BlueFox

Member Sponsor
Nov 8, 2013
1,075
0
36
Silicon Valley
#3
Throw away the DAC, the interconnect cable, the power cable, and get a Lumin.
 
Jul 18, 2014
577
11
18
#4
Marc,
A slightly out of the square option. What about going with a Chord Blu 2 upscaler/cd transport with your new mystery dac.

While a Chord Dave/Blu 2 combo is the more logical dac pairing apparently according to early feedback the Chord Blu 2 brings more magic to the equation than the Chord Dave itself.

So you have a dedicated cd transport with all the benefits of upsampling which happens in the Blu 2 rather than the server. Could then perhaps go with a simpler renderer up front like the Sotm ultra200 which is proving absolutely brilliant for me.

100 per cent on the absolute essential need for Roon based and also Tidal as it is just the most exceptional way to discover and curate new music... HQ itself may not be necessary if the Blu 2 is going to be doing all the upsampling math at the very end.

As (at best) a barely mid level computer literate myself I would definitely suggest putting aside a small part of your budget to getting a local computer whiz in to help you with the setup no matter how you go... wouldn't have to be a crazy spend I'd guess but certainly tech support would be the best investment for many if not all of us. That would be the beauty of an SGM obviously but still could just get an IT based computer wizard in to give you some peace of mind and a great start either way.

I spent the last 6 years optimising various laptops and using Audirvana, Pure Music, Amarra also with and without Tidal integration. Also then comparing Aurenders and Lumin and in the end the Sotm ultra was a clear choice for me. But I wouldn't do anything as involved as any of ethernet based approaches without some tech support as it can be less of pure music and more of pure hell when the computer eventually says no!

But purely in terms of changing the way you listen to music Roon and Tidal are absolute game changers (especially Roon) and going this direction is ultimately the big win and will be about letting go of any musical boundaries of the past and an infinite injection of the new horizons and wildly joyful musical expansion. It's an absolutely priceless liberation that'll make you forget all about any anxieties about what is possibly missing in your gear and replace it with just the endless pure wonder of world of more music.... so now best hop off me soapbox and head on back to the music. Best of luck with it.
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#5
BlueFox, you have to do better than that LOL.
Why?
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#6
Tao, I've never got on w Chord gear, but will bear in mind.
The SOTM is on my radar however.
Tao, their website is a bit bewildering.
Can you guide me to what device(s) from SOtM I should be looking at. If you prefer to PM me go ahead.
Appreciate your time.
 
Last edited:
Jan 20, 2013
335
0
16
London, UK
#7
If you need a CD ripper, Roon, Tidal and ease of use then Innuous Zen fits the bill to test the waters of streaming until you decide if it's for you or not.
Plus points, local service and support if anything should go wrong. Great value and even more so if you scored one on fleabay.
Discovering new artists I think will be the deciding factor as you have already shown you are capable of using the Roon interface on iPad.
Cheers
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#9
You're too kind Barry, I tend to be all thumbs looking for music at yrs.
I suspect I'll be using my cdp for some years yet, so a ripper is not critical.
But ease of use and local UK support makes a lot of sense re Innuous Zen.
 
Jan 29, 2014
983
0
0
Cape Town South Africa
#10
Start simple , Roon/Tidal, one of these sub 1000 quid computers like these and the dac of your choice...
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#11
Rodney, maybe I can use the laptop/IPad built-in spkrs too? LOL
 

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
8,850
44
48
London
#13
Auralic is superb value for the money, easy to buy and sell used. I would go for their cheapest and not try to get the best Auralic. They all have digititis as Bill will tell you too, and I have been telling him that for two years... But I think it is a great value to get used to streaming till you buy your more expensive server. I don't know the Zen but price wise seems great.

You can compare Melco, Aurender N10, Auralic and possible CAD at Oxford audio. CAD is restricted in terms of USB only. You can get Lampi SK for compare. Bill compared SGM to Melco to his Auralic and now demoed the SK.

I don't know anyone here with Antipodes but really like that review against the N10. But I would just start with Auralic or Zen and be patient as you get used to it, by that time prices will be down and quality will improve.
 
Jan 20, 2013
335
0
16
London, UK
#15
Auralic is superb value for the money, easy to buy and sell used. I would go for their cheapest and not try to get the best Auralic.........
I don't know anyone here with Antipodes but really like that review against the N10. But I would just start with Auralic or Zen and be patient as you get used to it, by that time prices will be down and quality will improve.
Just checked out the Innuous Zenith at the Indulgence show and quite impressed with the build quality. The Aries looks flimsy by comparison. Zenith used in at least 2 further rooms, I didn't spot Auralic in any.
Cheers
 

spiritofmusic

Member Sponsor
Jun 13, 2013
6,244
14
38
E. England
#17
Keith, the Nucleus needs NAS storage, none onboard.
When's it out?
 

asiufy

Member Sponsor
Jul 8, 2011
2,699
4
38
San Diego, CA
almaaudio.com
#18
If you need a CD ripper, Roon, Tidal and ease of use then Innuous Zen fits the bill to test the waters of streaming until you decide if it's for you or not.
Plus points, local service and support if anything should go wrong. Great value and even more so if you scored one on fleabay.
Discovering new artists I think will be the deciding factor as you have already shown you are capable of using the Roon interface on iPad.
Cheers
+1! That's exactly what I've been telling Marc. Test the waters with a fairly inexpensive unit, with full, local support. Then graduate to the big leagues if you must (SGM).
The Innuos line became our go-to streamers, as they do/have it all, UPNP, Roon, linear supplies, isolated Ethernet ports, etc. I need more time with the new Zenith SE, as that has the potential to be pretty close to the SGM performance-wise.
I'm waiting to get our first units of the Roon Nucleus, but that one has potential as well. But not having HDs built-in is kinda of a pain.
 
Feb 16, 2017
169
1
18
Spain
#20
Wadax Server.
I still have not heard it (only the DAC), but I know who has done it and says it is extraordinary. And in this forum Stereophonic, owns one and speaks wonders of it.
 

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