Streamer and Dac ~$4.5k for Vinnie Rossi, Dynaudio system

Hello! I’m seeking input on a streamer and dac (separates or combined) to complement my Vinnie Rossi L2i integrated and Dynaudio Heritage speakers. My Naim Nova, which was replaced by the Vinnie Rossi, is currently serving as a streamer/dac through its pre-outs. 

I’m hoping to complement the tonal balance of my system: warm yet detailed, a dense midrange, a touch sweet/romantic, and a bit of heft/body. I’m also looking to keep this digital front end in place for a few years, with minimal upgrading except perhaps power supplies or maybe upgrading the streamer one rung up (eg pulse mini to pulse etc).

I’m likely looking to the used market or demo deals for the purchase(s). Through reading reviews and forum posts, I’ve come up with the following potential candidates as I’m unable to demo anything except rose streamers nearby:

  • Weiss 204 + Innuos Pulse Mini (or other entry-level streamer): this Dac seems to provide a dense and detailed sound with some lushness for good measure. 
  • Merason Dac1 MkI (not MkII) + Pulse Mini: I see merason paired with Vinnie Rossi in show reports, but not sure if this may be too rounded off on the high end based on what I’ve read. 
  • Lumin T3: likely the best value and seems to have a smooth and detailed sound.

Does anyone have any experience with the above or recommended alternatives that might mesh well with my current system? Thanks!

Post removed 

I think the Denafrips Pontus would be a great sonic fit for what you’re looking for, and paired with their Iris DDC you get a significant and very cost-effective performance bump along with the ability to take advantage of the i2S connection. Here are some nice used units available now that’ll save you some $$$.

Pair this with a Pulse Mini and add something like a Teddy Pardo LPS to it and you’d have an excellent setup for about $3500. That’s what I’d do, but alternatively you could substitute this Audio Mirror Tubadour for the Pontus (but still keeping the Iris for i2S) if you’re looking for maybe more tube goodness and still be under your budget.

Just some ideas, and best of luck.

@cold_pillow - I also have the Dynaudio Heritage speakers. I rotate them with QLN Prestige 3 speakers, which I also love. I don’t have any desire to explore other speakers at this point… The Dynaudio Heritage speakers are wonderful, but need to be driven with a higher watt amp in my opinion. I drive them with a Conrad Johnson Classic 120 tube amp with EL34 tubes and the results are wonderful. 

For streaming, I have an Innuos Zenith Mkiii. 

I also have the Merason Dac1 mki. Admittedly, I have not experienced a ton of other dacs. That said, I’ve been extremely satisfied with it. I feel the reviews on it align with my impressions. It’s somewhat relaxed, musical and delivers on the details of the music.  I’ve been intrigued with the Mola Mola Dac, but it’s a little out outside of my current budget. Instead, I plan on upgrading to the Merason mkii in the future. 

FWIW, I visited the AXPONA room featuring the Vinnie Rossi, Merason, QLN system, twice. I had to go back the next day to hear it again. It was my favorite room at the show. I can’t tell you if t was rolled off, but it just sounded right to me. I have a friend with a Merason, and after that demo at the show, it will be my next DAC. 

I have the Lumin T2. It's a great all in one that has a slight touch of warmth. It's very rhythmic,  musical,  and has a lot of detail.  The T3 is supposed to bring improvements. 


The only negative is the app isn't the best. Especially w using Qobuz. I'm not not sure if it's a Roon end point because I don't use  it. 

The Vinni Rossi room at Axpona was amazingly good as noted above. He used a Mola Mola Tambacqui Dac and the Innuos Statement streamer for his digital front end, to approximate that package sound I agree with Sioux recommendation above. I’m using a Zen MK 3 with a Denafrips Terminator 2 12, sounds very much in line with the VR room sound from Axpona. The Innuos/Denafrips combination is in line with the sound you are looking for, warm, full bodied, dense midrange, big soundstage, just sounds right, and Innuos has a fantastic OS. Good luck, so many options out there.

Thanks for putting the Pontus II and Iris DDC on the radar, @soix . For some reason I had overlooked Denafrips. It seems like the Pontus is a good place to start in their lineup. I read that the Venus offers a different presentation that is more detailed with less of a midrange emphasis. Do you know if there’s much difference between the Pontus II and 12th anniversary? I can’t find anything too definitive, so it makes me think the differences are marginal.

@bluethinker I had similar concerns about wattage and the heritage specials, so I tried a few different amps, including a Rogue Stereo 100 Dark and Bel Canto e1x. Both offered different presentations and improvements in some areas over the Nova, but not enough to justify the cost. Upon the recommendation of a friend, I picked up the L2i. The amp is a monster and grips the speakers with tons of authority, while still excelling in other areas. 

@primetime74 thanks for sharing your experience with the Lumin app. That’s my biggest hesitation as I only use Qobuz and am not sure about jumping into Roon or switching to Tidal in order to use Tidal connect. Part of me really wants the simplicity of a combined unit, so I’ll have to think it over a bit more. 

@toneranger58 , @zlone thanks for sharing your show experience. I didn’t know that Vinnie Rossi had two rooms: one with Merason and QLN and another with Mola Mola and YG. 

I didn’t know that Vinnie Rossi had two rooms: one with Merason and QLN and another with Mola Mola and YG. 

The one with Merason/QLN was not specifically a Vinnie Rossi room, it was Well Pleased Audio Vida, the distributor for the brands.



@cold_pillow have you considered the Moon 390? It  has a full pre amp section, plus a steamer.  It has a beautiful,  transparent sound w an amazing 10 year warranty. Very musical and smooth sounding. 

I have a VR L2 preamp with the big Harbeth speakers. In my system and room the more neutral DAC the better. I tried a Merason DAC1 MKII and found it to warm for me and there are other DACs with higher resolution/lower noisefloor. The Weiss 501 mkII was more like it to bring everything even and balanced. And the Lampizator sound works great too, IMO, and may for you as well, with the Dynaudio’s, as Lampi brings a nice vividness and right forwardness for speakers like ours, even as different as they are.