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

@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.

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.


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 :-)

@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 


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

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.


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?




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. 

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.

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


“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?

@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..


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.   

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.  

@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.


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.


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

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 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 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.


@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.

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

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.

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¢.

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.

@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.

I have recently switched to an Innuos Pulse.  I do not need Roon or have ripped/stored files. Combined with the Sense2 app, a superb experience. I would ditch Roon, buy an Innuos Pulsar - reclocked USB into you DAC. Qobuz and native Radio Paradise Lossless = Nirvana. 

@woots, first let me say that I’m extremely jealous of the difficulties that you find yourself having. The Nagra Tube DAC is a great piece of kit to build a system around. And I would assume that you actually want to hear how good it is without adding too much unnecessary noise in front of it. To that end I’d say keep it simple stupid(KISS) as you possibly can by not throwing a $15K streamer/server into your listening chain without first investigating easier and less expensive alternatives. 

 I use a Roon Nucleus with a 15-16v Sbooster LPS plugged into an AQ Niagara power conditioner, while using an Audiowise SRC.DX USB to BNC converter as my Roon endpoint, which is between my Nucleus and my Chord M Scaler. So I’m suggesting putting a better PSU on the Nucleus, and then plugging it right into your Nagra DAC and see what you think. As long as you’re just using the Nucleus as a means to pick your music or explore new stuff, without engaging any of the Roon software filters and DSP functions, then the Nucleus is just a pass through that will let you hear what your DAC can really do. Maybe try an Innous Phoenix USB between the Nucleus and your DAC using the Phoenix as your Roon endpoint. You’ve got lots of options. 



I should add that switching from roon nucleus to the same dac I was using with the roon nucleus to the wadax atlantis streamer changed the whole sound completely. That is when I was hooked. Huge dynamic range difference, so much smoother in all the right ways. So much more natural. You have a great Dac now with the Nadra, get a top top streamer and u won’t believe the difference:)


Hi. Source in my experience is everything. Meaning dedicated line, followed by my best cable from wall to a q base or conditioner or whatever you like. So I spent more on the devices from the ethernet port, to and SOTM switch powered by a great power supply then using a great cable to my streamer. Yes I bought an Atlantis Wadax demo streamer from a dealer and used it was 16.5k but man oh man you could put a decent DAC (i have tried super simple to very good) and it all sounds great. Just sayin, the source the source, don’t get cheap on that part. Just my 2 cents. Of course I just listened to my friends system with the Wadax reference streamer 60k and Wadax reference dac 180k and well yeah, that crap  was pure music. Nothing digital there. I think you could find an atlantis streamer used maybe, not a lot on the market, but Wadax is the crap.


Here is another use for ROON if you are a headphone listener.

Store - Accurate Sound

Those Headphone FilterSets are Convolution filters that can be run on ROON. I used to use the RAAL SR1a Convolution filter with my Benchmark DAC3B and LA4 preamp. It was an awful combo without the filter. Strangely enough, I now use the DAC3B and fibre streaming, with my RAAL tube VM-1a headphone amp (no LA4 needed), without any convolution filters. This is the best sound I have in my house.


was able to A/B test the MSB with the Lumin X1 for a couple of weeks and found the MSB to be more analog sounding than the Lumin X1.

This what I also posted about the X1 vs the Musetec 005. Though for my ears the X1 is slightly favored over the tiny bit warmer and smoother 005.


@designsfx i think I will look into Lumin options. Liked the suggestion of the U1x. Also, liked options shown on analog audio. They showed some items with great specs.  Most of music has been ripped or comes from Hi Res files. Tomorrow will have to be a day of digesting all but 1 good idea. 

You are kidding right? Under 15k? How about under $150? Maybe the Grace Digital Link if and when it goes on is typically $179 on Amazon....wait one minute! It is on sale! Now, for a limited time...$ is all you way does anyone have to spend near 15k for a streamer....hook up the Grace to a good dac like the Musical Fidelity v90 dac, $ happy. 😁



That sounds great! I was just wondering if the tracks you store on your drives were only from a disk collection, digital downloads or a combination of both.

I understand the attraction of the AI when it comes to the exposure to new music, it’s been an ongoing thing and has only gotten better. I also wasn’t sure if you were relying on digital signal processing (as yyzsantabarbara shared).

Still- with your Dac I would think that any streaming transport/endpoint would sound great in your system as you’ve alluded to when bringing the T2 back into the mix.
Have you tried the X1 with separate power supply? Another thought, the person that recommended the U2 Mini for me to test just purchased a Mytek Empire. He typically uses Audio Note gear but always had positive things to say about streaming through his Manhattan. I haven’t heard his impressions yet but as that is their new flagship I would imagine/hope it would improve upon the previous model.


@ designsfx Roon has been my one constant.  I have a 16 TB Sinology DS918+ also attached to my network.  Currently I have about 50,000 tracks, mostly Hi Res that the Roon accesses.  What I love about the Roon software is that goes out and grabs the best resolution available of music tracks and plays it.  I also love how it has enabled me to discover new music based on music I like or am currently playing.  It has helped me discover new genres I have wouldn't have probably listened to on my own.  For example, I have discovered Jazz music from the 50's and 60's that I love.  Has introduced me to the trumpet and how much I love listening to great Jazz trumpet players.  Yes, I do subscribe to Qobuz and Tidal but it plays music based on music I like so I am constantly being introduced new music globally.  I have had many downfalls and issues with Roon but overall it has provided me many hours of music.  Hope that helps.

Have tried only 2 dedicated streamers prior to Baetis

They were the Stack Audio Link II

And Bryston BDA 3


With Baetis there is no comparison it is night and day.

It might be also that I am using the R2R TotalDac d1 core DAC from TotalDac.

I use Roon streaming Tidal.

I have heard issues concerning roon quality. Haven't tried anything other than Roon.


@ecpninja The Baetis line very interesting to me, they've gone in different direction using Windows platforms in their streamers. Can't get more versatile  streamer than Windows platform, with JCAT, Pink Faun boards, one can optimize for ALL the popular rendering schemes. Extremely high quality ethernet clocking and filter also available via  JCAT and Pink Faun boards. The problem is very difficult to implement Windows motherboards in high end streamers due to complex power supply needs. JCAT can cover you on this with Optimo S ATX, Farad SuperATX coming soon for another top notch ps from well regarded company. A number of different OS available for these servers as well, both Roon and a number of proprietary./independent  music player apps can be bundled with these OS.


What other streamers have you compared to the Baetis?

And I am the guy who bought the X1 from @gelfdaddy, upgrading from a T2 with a SBooster power supply. My X1 is paired with an ARC Ref 6SE, and Pass XA60.8s. I connect my X1 via fiber. I too am very content. I have thought of trying an external DAC, using the Lumin as a streamer only. Still curious.

@woots I have a very similar set up to you and have recently changed my DAC/streamer. I own the ARC Ref 160S amp, ARC Ref 6SE preamp and Roon Nucleus. Roon is my only source and I have now stopped using my CD player. I previously had those components hooked up to a Lumin T2 that I upgraded to a X1 a couple of years ago. The X1 was definitely an upgrade which included an outboard power supply. By recommendation, I added an Uptone EtherRegen but I honestly can’t tell if it made much of a difference. A few months ago I got an itch to explore a MSB DAC/Streamer. I found a dealer that offered me a demo of a MSB Discrete DAC/Streamer with 2 recommended power supplies.  I was able to A/B test the MSB with the Lumin X1 for a couple of weeks and found the MSB to be more analog sounding than the Lumin X1. Both are excellent DAC/Streamers and you can’t go wrong with either. I chose to buy the MSB and sold my Lumin X1 and am very content. For the time being…. Best wishes on your HiFi journey. 

@designsfx My fav is the Lumin transport into the Lumin DAC. The Lumin gets a fibre stream from an FMC, in my case the EtherRegen (B > A).

Some people may prefer the Musetec 005 streamed with a Sonore OpticalRendu which also gets the stream via the fibre of the EtherRegen. This is just a tad warmer and smoother than the Lumin. I know a lot of people like that extra bit of warmth.

At the moment my fav streamer is the Sonore OpticalRendu over the Lumin X1. This is splitting hairs like the comparison with Lumin X1 vs the Mustete 005.


  • ROON is a great interface for music discovery.
  • You can run 2 types of DSP, the easy to setup DSP on the GUI or the very complicated Convolution Engine DSP. I paid $700 to a pro Engineer to setup Convolution filters for my small office when it had the large Theil CS3.7. I no longer have those speakers and no longer use the Convolution engine. However, when I needed it, it worked amazingly.
    • For my Livingroom I will be buying a KEF Blade 2 Meta. I have to keep the speaker about 1 foot from the front wall. Not ideal but those are the breaks. My safety net is that I can call the audio Engineer and he can remotely setup the Convolution filter for ROON. I doubt I will have to do this, but I know this will resolve any room issues I cannot solve myself.
  • I tested my DACs using the same duplicate steams to each DAC. I was able to either flip back and forth on my preamp or the source inputs of my DACs to compare. This is the multi-room GROUPED features.

There are more but I have to run.



Oh @designsfx, you said the U2 mini is not broken in yet, hear they take some play time, Lumins overall are rather warm sounding, just a thought. 

@designsfx Thanks for your impressions. Im really leaning towards the mini for several reasons. First I am having a hard time justifying three times the price for the U1….including the salesman. Second, I hear the new processors are great. Third I am hearing great things about the sound and performance. I too am moving up from the line from a node that I have nursed and upgraded with the pd creative linear power supply , adding a fiber connection, and using a new NAS for a number of years. I’ve improved the sound 100% in my opinion but know that a step up to a Lumin will best that as well. With the way technology is now and all the years I had with the node I can get into a U2 mini and not get sick to my stomach by having to suck up such a huge $ loss if I want to upgrade again in several years. The U2 is a lot of money and it would take me many years to break even in my mind. That’s where I’m at. I wish you luck and wish I could see and hear your U2 mini and talk more about your experience. It’s a dicey decision!