I’ve been streaming music from a PC to a DAC since the early days of EAC and the original Squeezebox, so I’ve been doing Stuff like this a while. While I currently stream to my PS Audio DS DAC over its Bridge II interface, it is limiting in some ways. I’d like to change that.
What I’m looking for is a good bang for the buck network streamer that will let me run everything into my DAC via I2S over HDMI. The device must have that interface natively - no add-on to get that. I looked at one device but saw (IIUC) that it limited the resolution of Qobuz data at its output. I don’t want that. It must provide at its I2S output the full resolution of whatever is going into it. It should have the ability to stream all the stuff that’s out there, including Internet radio, either through its own interface or something like LMS (although if I have to go that route I’ll have to get some sort of Android device, since it’s not supported on iOS anymore ). My own music has been stored and managed for years on an 8 drive Qnap RAID NAS, so I really don’t need on board storage. I recognize that will likely be sonically superior, but as my primary means of listening are still DMP for digital, plus analog, I’m willing to make that compromise in the interest of a quality (still quality) budget solution. I also don’t need a drive or a ripping capability. A single box solution is preferred, and also preferably running off a good linear supply. I’m not able to jump into the pricey end of this world just yet, so I’m hoping for something that will get me into things without too much sonic penalty. Used devices are always an option.
Seeing I2S is a proprietary connection, you’d probably have to build your own, like here:
The Octave will not be budget, apparently around $6,000, and a closed system.
I am wondering what HD formats you are planning to use. I have a 4 x 4TB RAID QNAP, used for business, tried using it for audio and it struggled with 24/192 files. I bought a music server, but then bought a 4 x 2TB SSD QNAP TS473 for business for about £1,500 ($2,000) and it is dramatically faster.
Someone will ask what you have against a usb to I2S Matrix conversion. Otherwise sounds possibly like a complete rethink.
I have actually been contemplating one as I have an Aqua DAC but going to let them get out in the market for a bit longer and my dealer says that every time he orders one (five so far) they are sold before they ever hit his store so he has never even heard one himself. He just puts a new label on the box and gives it right back to the shipping company. With Christian’s current pissing contest with Danny at Roon sales may or may not be affected so they are easier to get without a waiting period. So after the first of the year either it or upgrade the Aries G1 to a 2.1.
Tony22, if you get the Mano please let us know what you think of it. I’m looking for essentially the same thing as you and didn’t want to invest $2k - $3k on something with more capability than I need (e.g., built-in DAC, on-board storage) and potentially only a modest increase in sound quality over the Bridge II. Good luck in your quest!
I don’t know why my reply to you was not sent ! I have another e-mail. It is : firstname.lastname@example.org As I mentioned in the e-mail, I have a Magna Hifi Mano Ultra Music Streamer for power use in the USA and Canada. It has never been used. It comes with a Audioquest Pearl HDMI cable, a Pink Faun LAN cable, and an RCA SPDIF connector. I also have an Invoice from Magna Hifi. I paid $1229 for the entire package, but would settle for less !
If you do a search for Magna Hifi Mano Ultra Music Streamer, you will see great reviews in the European press ! I wanted to sell because I did not want to invest in a smart phone or Apple phone to do start-up with the Mano ! After start-up, you can use any computer to use the Mano ! If you have any other questions, I will attempt to respond !