DAC Pairings for Aurender: Drew's Picks

Drew's Top DAC Picks

Aurender's music servers are top of the line. When you pair an Aurender server with a high-end DAC, you get a home audio setup that is unrivaled. Drew has combed through his collection of home audio DACs and has picked his favorites to pair with the Aurender models that don't include a built-in DAC, including the:

Drew recommends the DACs below for their great sound and reliability. You can, of course, pair your Aurender with only a DAC if you are connecting to a pair of speakers for a home audio setup. When you want to listen to the music stored on your Aurender through headphones, you need to add a headphone amp. Two of the models below are DAC/headphone amp combinations.

Chord Hugo TT 2 DAC & Headphone Amplifier


The TT 2 is simply an amazing headphone amp/DAC. Put it in DAC mode and use it with your own preamp, or put it into amp mode and it becomes a digital preamp as well as a headphone amp that will drive any headphone on the market to peak performance, including hard-to-drive cans such as a the Sennheiser HD800S, and most planar magnetic headphones such as the Audeze LCD-4. The TT 2 can even be used to drive smaller, high-sensitivity speakers. The is a highly resolving, warm, and musical-sounding DAC. Add the Chord Hugo M Scaler for upsampling to an even higher resolution rate. Combined with an Aurender, you will have a truly reference system.

Chord Hugo TT 2 Tabletop DAC and Amplifier - Silver

Please make sure javascript is enabled in your browser.

Chord Qutest DAC


The Chord Qutest is one of the best "bang for the buck" DACs that Moon Audio sells. In terms of price-performance per dollar, it's way up there. This small and simple DAC is a great match for the N series Aurender servers in terms of price, and is a great choice if you don't need a headphone amp like the Hugo TT2.

Bryston BDA 3 DAC


The Bryston BDA-3 is great for the user who has lots of digital sources (not just the Aurender). It's got just multiples of just about every connection you could think of. It's great for the customer who has a larger system, with more digital sources, and who wants a bit of a step up from, say, the Chord Qutest and also provides balanced analog outputs. It also has control integration -- perfect for if you're integrating a whole house.


Bricasti M3h Amp/DAC with Network Card and free iPad

Bricasti Design M3 DAC or M3H DAC/headphone amp

$5,500 - $7,000

The higher-level Aurenders such as the N10, N20, and W20SE have the ability to output not only PCM audio streams but also DSD audio streams via AES and SPDIF. Thus, you need a DAC that can process DSD. The Bricasti M3 not only offers the option of utilizing the AES input, but the AES sound characteristics in this unit are quite spectacular. Typically you can only do DSD over USB, but the Bricasti is a DAC that accepts DSD via its AES and SPDIF connections