Curious to know your streaming and dac set up and the best recommended streamer under $15k

Curious to know your streaming and dac set up as well your best recommended streamer. I have recently upgraded my dac and have used 2 different set ups in an attempt to find the my best combination.  Former set up was Roon Nucleus+ connected to a Lumin T2. New set up is a new Nagra Tube Dac and a separate Power Supply and I had that directly connected to my Roon via Shunyata Sigma USB cable and using a Shunyata Ethernet connection to my network. Didn’t feel like that was my best possible sound so introduced the Lumin T2 back into the fold as my streamer and then connected the Nagra to the Lumin T2. This was a much improved sound. At this early testing point I’m curious to see if anyone uses and/or recommends a streamer that has significantly improved their sound under $15k. I would like to stay with the Roon platform. 

Current set up is Audio Research Ref160S amp, Audio Research Ref6SE pre-amp with Wilson Alexia speakers.  All cabling between these components is Transparent Reference. 

Unfortunately, I have not had time to photograph and upload my new Nagra dac. 

I really appreciate anyone who takes time to assist with some thoughtful ideas, experiences, or recommendations. 

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xwoots

@dancarlson10 @adasdad 

Two great responses.  

Originally, I did have my Roon Nucleus+ connected directly to the Nagra Tube Dac.  Roon is plugged directly into a Furman Ultra Linear Power conditioner Elite 20.  Ironically I do have the Audioquest Niagara model 5000 on order to upgrade from the Furman.  When I was tinkering the first thing in my setup was Roon directly connected to the Nagra via a USB connection.  Then I went and added the Lumin T2 and went from the Roon into the the Lumin then into the Nagra.  This actually improved the sound, thus my post seeing if there was something out there that would improve on the Lumin as a streamer connection.  I also eliminated the Roon completely and streamed Qobuz and Tidal directly into the Nagra from the Lumin. and that sounded great as well.  Based on the "tinkering" it does sound better in both instances when I have the Lumin directly connected to the Nagra or said another way the Lumin in front of the Nagra.

For relatively little money, you can try an Sbooster (et. al) external power supply for your T2. Installation is pretty simple, it does require you to cut one wire, IIRC.

I recently added a Lumin U2 Mini to stream to my Bricasti M3 DAC via USB, and I am delighted with the results. Hard to imagine it gets much better than this. I had previously upgraded my network with fiber and linear power supplies. My 2¢.

A couple of months ago I also upgraded my previous Hegel HD30 DAC to the Nagra Tube DAC with the Classic PSU to move into a full Nagra system. The PSU is also powering the Nagra Classic Preamp. At this point I’m only using a single Nagra Classic Amp (waiting to add the second to run them in mono in the next years). Up until this week I owned both Lumin T2 and U1. After adding the Tube DAC to the system, I made several extensive A-B comparisons between all the components I had in the streaming path. I am not doing Analog. I have a CD/SACD player (Marantz SA-1) and streamer only. During the tests, the T2 was powered either by a Farad Super3 with upgraded Farad silver DC cable or the Sbooster. All my equipment is connected to the Synergistic Galileo SX Ground Block using the High Definition SX PowerCell Ground Cables and supported by Center Stage 2M footers.
First thing I noticed with the DAC upgrade is that all the previous digital signal processing I was doing for the previous DAC became obsolete - EtherRegen, multiple Mutec re-clockers in series (all synchronized by Mutec REF10 Master Clock) and all using Transparent Reference XL power cords, XL 75-Ohm clock cables and Reference AES/EBU only degraded the sound (ambience, decay and soundstage). All that wonderful gear was removed and sold. I only kept the Synergistic Research Ethernet Switch UEF connecting the Lumin streamer(s), a Lumin L1 and TP-Link Wireless Access Point with Shunyata Omega ethernet cables.
All the above to say that after removing all the “extra” from the system, I tested both T2 and U1 feeding the Tube DAC with Transparent Reference XL BNC, Shunyata Omega AES/EBU, Omega BNC, Omega USB and Dynamique Audio Zenith 2 BNC and Apex AES/EBU.
From all the possible iterations made for almost three months, the best sound I consistently got was using the U1 connected to the Tube DAC with the Dynamique Apex AES/EBU – better than the Shunyata Omega USB. If I used the T2 with the best of my available cables (Omega BNC/USB and Omega Ethernet), it could match the U1 not using the top cables, but when using the best cables with the U1, it performs better than the T2. If I did not have both to compare directly, I would be happy to use the T2, but the U1 can go further beyond it. I do not think the X1 with USB or BNC connection to the Nagra would best the U1 using AES/EBU, but I have not tested that.

I do not use Roon. I have Tidal and Qobuz and Qobuz sounds better to me. Using the Marantz as transport feeding the Nagra also sounds better than the XLR Analog output of the SA-1 going directly to the Nagra Pre.
Hope this helps you.

@kellerjr01 Fantastic information.  Thank you reading and responding.  Sounds like with a little more tinkering I will get there.  Appreciate your time.

@woots if you do end up looking at the Lumin U1, since you wouldn't have need of the X1 DAC, it may also be worth looking at the X1 power supply upgrade for the U1. The outboard U1 power supply is already excellent, but the X1 power supply further improves upon it.

I have another suggestion for penny pinchers, and no, it’s not the troll’s $150 Dac!

It seems someone has developed a new high nickel content transformer already for the PS Audio Directstream MKII. The Dac in its stock form has already been reported to beat out the tambaqui and another Dac around $14k (or maybe it was equal to)

With the $650 dollar transformer upgrade the Dac should be able to comepete with $15-20k dacs. Obviously a Dac with a tube output stage has its own benefits, but the PS unit is only $8k and people like myself who had the MK1 version are getting a very healthy trade in allowance until the end of the month. My MKII should be here next month, and till then I only have access to LP playback.

I’m also an EtherRegen user, but will be going USB with the mkII.


I started with a Lumin X1 and Lumin L1.  Overall nice but wanted more.  Recently added a Weiss 502 Mark 2 (Lumin X1 still used as streamer).  Really elevated sound quality in every respect.  Also, added a Sonore Ethernet to fiber optic and ran the fiber optic cable into the Lumin X1 optical network input.

I have a streaming only rig consisting of a fanless Roon Rock NUC powered by a Farad Super 3 LPS, Paul Pang Quad Switch, 2 FMCs one being the Sonore Optical module Deluxe V2 both FMCs powered by LPS, Aqua LinQ streamer with HQPlayer core module, Aqua Formula xHD rev 2 DAC and Pink Faun LAN cables.

My ISP modem is powered by an Sbooster mk2.

I connect Laufer Teknik Memory Player streamer to Aries Cerat Kassndra II DAC. The streamer is under $15k. Good luck!

I have had the Lumin D-2, U-1 mini, A-1 and X-1.  The X-1 is a very good DAC / Streamer.  I have also had the Laufer Memory Player.  For me the best Music Server under $20k is the Lucas Audio LDMS and his customer service is second to none.  You can configure it anywhere from $5k to $20k.  Once I added that to my Lampizator DAC the SQ went through the roof.

The Op should call Lucas Domansky on What's Ap and just discuss your needs.  He is a great guy and a computer genius.  In fact, I am receiving an upgraded version next week.  Lucas is going to use my 18 month 8tb mini in a maxi LDMS to demo his unit in the USA.  If interested, call him to discuss.  I have no idea what he would sell mine for but it is in mint condition.  I have no skin in selling my unit so it does not matter to me.  



I've seen the thread over on WBF and am curious how you came to your conclusion on LDMS? I remember you were quite smitten with Laufer Teknik but now have Lucas Audio. Would you share some of your thoughts on the LDMS? Thanks


I really do not like to denigrate products on threads like these.  Let's just say the customer service of Lucas Audio is 100% better than I have had in the past.  I really had no intention of getting another music server as the Lumin X-1 combined with a 4tb Synology NAS ( which I still have but do not use) was simple to use and I liked the Lumin App.  

Like most of these threads, we are always looking for better sound.  That led me to purchase the Lampi Pacific DAC.  I needed a transport so I added the Lumin U-1 mini from my NAS.  I paid double for the Lampi Pacific and I thought it was only slightly better than the X-1.    That is not what I wanted to have happen.  I thought I might give a music server another chance.  I did a lot of research and to be honest I really value the opinions echoed on What's Best Forum.  I looked at Taiko, Aurender, Pink Faux, Antipodes, and many more.  I talked to a ton of people.  Through WBF, a few people were touting the LDMS.  I called Lucas Domansky and was super impressed with his knowledge and the time he spent with me.  We discussed what I was looking for and he came up with a proposal.  Never once did he hard sell me.  I was concerned about buying a boutique server from a guy in the UK / Poland.  He assured me there would never be a customer issue.  He is right.  He has called me at 3am his time to help me.  I am functionally blind and for the most part computer illiterate.  

I love being able to talk to the owner.  You will not get that with most other companies.  Taiko was way out of my price range.  I now have a Lampi Horizon DAC.  I can tell you for the rest of my life I will never invest in another Music server not named LDMS.  That is my story Pokey.

@dinov As markmuse pointed out, the U2 mini will rock your world. It is a huge upgrade over the previous Lumin models because of the new processing engine.

I run my U2 mini with a LPS and I would wager it's an end game for streamer for most people.

Choose your favorite DAC and you are done.

The brightness someone reported may be from the internal switching power supply. That's why I run it with a linear power supply.

One more thing...If you have the Nagra DAC, then a Lumin X-1 is not needed.  Lumin X-1 by itself would be good.  


Thanks for your recommendation on the Grimm MU1.

Wanted to thank everyone for taking time to provide input on my streaming question.  I really appreciate the thoughtful responses.  Yesterday, I received a Grimm MU1 to demo and if all goes well purchase.  I will be setting it up this weekend and will report back my findings.  After receiving feedback I also am upgrading my connection from the Grimm to my Nagra with a spdif by Front Row and eliminating the Shunyata USB connection.  I also upgraded my power cord from the factory one to Audioquest "source" power  cord 2M in the Thunder range.   

@macdude I finally went with an Esoteric N05 and it’s rocking my world like nothing I’ve ever heard! The DAC is excellent, DSD 11.2, MQA, ROON ready. Life is good..

“I also am upgrading my connection from the Grimm to my Nagra with a spdif by Front Row and eliminating the Shunyata USB connection”


Based on its design strengths and user feedback, AES/EBU output from MU1 will allow you to hear best possible performance with your Nagra DAC. I believe your Nagra DAC has AES input, right?

Small Green Computer i5 -> Bricasti M1 Series 2 w/ renderer / network card / DAC -> Cary SLP - 05

Roon - meta data management / search / music catalog access & management

4TB SSD installed in i5 - personal music collection

Qobuz - streaming service


No problem. With the Nagra, you might also want to look into the Playback Designs MPS-x streamer. Need to pair with a server as well if you’re running Roon. It’s from the designer of the Nagra digital piece and can connect to Nagra via a proprietary Plink included. Grimm is great…but I do have the Playback coming in on order.


I couldn’t tell if MPS-X uses Roon or has proprietary app to stream music from Qobuz natively….what is your understanding? Looking forward to your listening impressions of MPS-X. 


interested in hearing more about the DP MPS-X. They have an impressive looking array of products.  On your demo are you working with a dealer or direct with manufacturer?



No demo, I bought it outright through a dealer! Which I usually don't do, but I am fairly confident it is going to be very, very good.


Have you received the MPS-X yet? If yes, what are your thoughts?  I reached out to DP but did not get any reply. 

@lalitk who is DP? For folks interested in the Playback Designs streamer, suggest reaching out to a dealer — not many but they are excellent and that’s what they’re paid for.

Will have it next week but I am traveling 


Thanks for your reply. I did reached out to a dealer and learned couple of things about MPS-X. It’s a ROON end point only and there is a bit of wait to get one. On the upside, since it is UPnP/DLNA based; you can control and stream through Qobuz natively with a fabulous app like JPLAY. The other option is MConnect which sucks in my experience. I am not a fan of ROON :-)

Tonight, I setup my Playback Designs Stream-IF streamer. It cost me $2K and was sitting under my office desk for the past 3 months. The plan is to buy the DREAM DAC pretty soon and use the Plink on the streamer to the DREAM DAC.

Today I wanted to get my PeachTree GAN1 amp working with another COAX streamer instead of my Lumin X1. I opened up the Stream-IF shipping box and noticed that it also has a COAX output (along with Plink) like the Lumin X1.

I set it up and tried both a direct USB connection from my computer to the Stream-IF and also a Sonore OpticalRendu into the Stream-IF. The OpticalRendu was much better, which is not surprising.

The cost of this setup is about $3500, and it sounds as good as both my Sonore OpticalRendu and my Lumin X1 streamers. This gives me the option now of selling the Lumin X1.

All streaming is via ROON.

@chilli42 did you compare the Weiss+Lumin streamer to just using Weiss' own network renderer? The Weiss alone with a good app like jPlay iOS may be just as good (perhaps superior?) to using the Lumin in between.