Background – I have a PWD Mark II, upgraded from an original. I had been feeding it with a Squeezebox Duet, then got the Bridge when it was introduced. I was in fact a Bridge beta tester, so have been suffering with no gapless playback and control point issues for years. My music library (mostly ripped CDs along with downloads from HDTracks (96/24) are on an external hard drive attached to our main home computer – a MAC mini. I’m using Twonky or Logitech Media Server (and recently loaded Minimserver on it) and Plug Player as a control point on an iPad. I like to stream a lot of Internet radio stations to learn about new (to me) music.
So I need to replace the Bridge. I thought about a Mojo MAC Mini or something similar, but am leaning strongly toward a streamer. The Auralic Aries seemed promising, but now that it’s out the jury is mixed. I don’t want to deal with more control point software problems. I read the CA reviews of various products and like what I’m reading about the Sonore/SOtM products.
I plan on getting a Synology NAS to serve my music from, figuring it can run LMS, a DLNA server, JRMC(will it?) I will be streaming over WiFi from the NAS (upstairs) to the streamer (basement) and I do have a wireless bridge at the audio rack, so the streamer will be fed from an Ethernet cable
At a low cost point, the SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server will do what I need, but Chris’s review indicates you need a USB-xxx converter to make it sing. The Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is pretty pricey. The Sonore Rendu seems like it would sound better by itself and I could live with SPDIF into my DAC. The Sonore Sonic Orbiter seems even more attractive in that its USB output can feed my DAC directly (the PWD does have an asynchronous DAC input) and I can add a USB-xxx converter down the road if it will improve sonics.
I don’t have a particular budget in mind (well, the sMS-100 Mini Server plus a Berkeley Audio Design Alpha USB is more than I want to spend right now.) So my question is, what is the best bang for the buck, a SOtM sMS-100 Mini Server at $450 with a USB-xxx converter and possibly the battery power supply; a Sonic Orbiter at $900; a Rendu at $1400; an Aries or Aries LE at their cost; something I haven’t mentioned?
Looking forward to your suggestions and recommendations,