I would love some advice from the experts here on the following - it is time to upgrade my current system (B&W CDM1 speakers, Luxman A383 reference amp, Luxman CD player) as my CD player is at then end of its life. I have a preference to go to a fully digital system and have read some of the reviews on this website around the Sonos and alternative systems. I really like the operational flexibility of the Sonos system and was wondering wheter that box is good enough to drive a decent DAC, which I could feed into my current amp+speakers. Obviously the CD's would be converted to lossless format on a seperate HDD. Can you recommend a DAC that would be suitable for this? Or does it not make sense to do this without upgrading the amp as well?
No reason I'm aware of why the Sonos system won't sound as good as whatever DAC you connect to. We have some Sonos users here so hopefully they will chime in.
It would seem $1,000.00 will buy you a state of the art DAC, not that something less expensive could float your boat.
Here's a few popular one's, all with slighty different character and presentation, though I'm not sure all of that is attributed to the specific DAC as it is the synergy between it and your system.
PS Audio DAC III
About your amp, I don't see any connection.
In my view (and JA's as expressed in his review) the Sonos is absolutely good enough to form the heart of an audiophile 2-channel music system.
I am not an expert on standalone DACs but a decent one will certainly improve on the SQ of the ZonePlayer's built in jobbie. FWIW I use a Boulder 1012 Pre/DAC in my bigrig and a Grace m902 headphone amp/DAC in my study and the sound from both makes me very happy. I am sure all of rgibran's recommendations are also excellent although I have never auditioned any of them personally.
However I have to say that the system I (and the family) listen to most, hands down, is the ZP-100 all-in-one in the kitchen. Driving a pair of bookshelf speakers this unit is virtually never switched off, either playing internet radio or music from our server. In hours of use it is probably rapidly approaching all the high-end systems I have ever owned put together!
I am extremely happy with the Sonos system and even THE BOSS agrees, often citing it as my best home entertainment investment I ever made. Once you've got used to the sheer convenience of the thing I can assure you you'll never go back. I predict that CD transports will very, very soon become a thing of the past and we will all laugh at the notion that we ever thought "spinning plates" was the best way to reproduce music.
For me at least, this has rejuvenated my interest in music and in high-end audio. I hope it does the same for you. Good luck!
I have the sonos and love it. I previously tried to use a pc as a music server and
used the video out to a tv monitor with rf mouse.
Now I have my music stored in flac files on an external hardrive. I also subscribe to rhapsody. When i buy a new cd, I rip it losslessly to my hd. The sound is very good and everyone can use it even visitors and elderly parents.
I did eventually buy the ps audio dac III. It definitely added some warmth and roundness to already excellent sound.
There is a sonos forum worth checking out.
I really think you will enjoy it.