Setup advice needed!

Hi everyone, great to be part of this community which I've followed for a long time now. This time though I need some advice from the experts. I just moved to the US, living in Seattle in a small apartment (700sqf). I didn't bring all my gear back from Europe, and to be honest I wanted to give an opportunity to streamed music this time. I'm looking at the following "simple" setup, please share your feedback, much appreciated! Amp: McIntosh MA5200. DAC: Schiit Bifrost (I just love Schiit and this model has balance outputs). Speakers: Either KEF R3s or R5s. My living room is small but would be willing to go for the R5s as I'll likely move into a larger place later this year. Streaming: Own FLAC files + Tidal (still figuring out how to best get Tidal's data into the DAC, any ideas welcome). Thanks all!

Feb 11, 2020
Wow, McIntosh is "simple"? :-) Sounds like a quality setup. If you're not averse to spending a little bit on the streaming solution, Roon is an outstanding option. It natively supports Tidal, so you can blend your own FLAC collection with your Tidal favorites and they all just show up in one library. You can control streaming from a phone or tablet running "Roon Remote" or from an endpoint like a laptop. And you can scale Roon to as many endpoints as you like. It's a powerful system that will easily grow and scale with your needs. You'll need a computer to act as the "Roon Core," which manages streaming and your library metadata. If you're computer-savvy you can build your own Roon ROCK system using these instructions: The ROCK setup uses an Intel NUC for the core hardware. The Core will cost ~$1000ish for hardware, and you'll need a license for Roon (I paid $500 for a lifetime license, and that's some of the best money I've ever invested in HiFi). To keep things simple you could store the FLACs directly on the Roon Core system (or an external HDD connected to it) and you can connect the core directly to your DAC via USB. -- An alternate approach could be to install Roon Core on a laptop or desktop computer and stream wired or wirelessly to an "endpoint" connected to your DAC. You could build a cheap and tiny endpoint out of a Google Chromecast Audio (yes, really) or a Raspberry Pi running Ropieee. I know the CCA probably sounds insane given the quality of your audio gear, but the optical out actually measures very clean (provided you are using Roon): I've tested CCA into my own loudspeaker setup and it performed just as well as my other reference chains. Roon is a critical part of the equation because it implements its own streaming protocol that avoids introducing problems into the TOSLINK feed. See the ASR article above for some details and measurements. The chain is Roon -> WiFi -> CCA -> TOSLINK -> DAC. That will give you a very clean wireless streaming path to your DAC. For reference, here's my setup: The Pi + Ropieee can connect to your network either wired or wirelessly and to your DAC via USB.