I recently had the good fortune to spend a week listening to a pre-release demo unit of Orchard Audio's PecanPi Streamer that owner, Leo Ayzenshtat, made available on request. Details on his website or earlier in this thread. Most of my music listening over the last couple years has been via Roon (love it!), which is what attracted me to the PecanPi Streamer. In a single small box, it functions as a Roon endpoint, a very high quality DAC, a headphone amp and can operate via ethernet or wireless.
To say the least, I was quite impressed! Based on the excellent PecanPi specs, I was certain it would sound far better than just using my iPhone/iPad as a Roon endpoint and likely a good bit better than using my Squeezebox Touch as DAC and Roon endpoint. No contest on either. Throughout my listening, the PecanPi presentation was laden with immense detail, clarity and depth of soundstage. It's also nice to know that there is a top-quality Squeezebox replacement in a single box. (For me, Roon replaced LMS over 3 years ago when Roon started supporting Squeezeboxes as endpoints).
I've also used a couple more upscale approaches to streaming Roon via their RAAT protocol to improve sound quality whether it be to headphones or speakers in my office. To do so included a Roon endpoint - a Sonore microRendu - along with either an iFi Micro iDSD DAC/Amp or a Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC . The PecanPi Streamer stood up to these amazingly well, and offered a bit more in certain areas. (caveat: my music, my gear, my 66+ year-old ears
But being able to do so at this pricepoint all within a single box makes the PecanPi a uniquely compelling product.
A bit of background: the Sonore microRendu/iFi iDSD combo has been my go-to kit for headphone listening over the last couple years. Certainly not top-of-the-line, but to these ears, it provides an immersive soundstage with dead quiet background and excellent separation between voices and instruments - a sound quality I've come to know and love. The PecanPi proved to be equally engaging yet with a few significant differences... Foremost, the PecanPi conveyed greater detail & clarity with a highly neutral tonal presentation whereas the microRendu/iDSD leaned to the warmer, richer side. This worked to the benefit of the microRendu/iDSD combo when listening via my Tin Audio T3 IEMs (IEMs known for their neutrality), but the PecanPi was a great match for my Senn HD650 headphones - not surprising given that the HD650s leans slightly toward the warmer side while enabling all the detail and clarity provided by the PecanPi to shine through. Often, the PecanPi seemed to be revealing more of what was going on in the music - fingers on bass strings, piano note decay, hall ambience, etc... Bass notes, in particular, were deep yet well defined. With good recordings, this proved quite mesmerizing, but on lesser quality recordings, not surprisingly, that could turn a bit edgy.
Comparing the Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC was a bit of apples to oranges since I used an external headphone amp as well when not listening via powered speakers. I also did some of my listening with the Bifrost fed via USB from my computer as well as via the microRendu. But in all cases, the results were similar - the Schiit, like the iFi, seemed to present a more relaxed yet engaging presentation whereas the PecanPi conveyed a more neutral, highly detailed soundstage that, with well recorded music, offered an engaging and immersive musical treat.
Bottom line, I was very impressed with the PecanPi Streamer. The exceptional sound quality is all about the high quality of the PecanPi DAC, no doubt. If you love clarity and detail, this is a no-brainer. The ability to have a top-quality DAC, headphone amp and Roon endpoint in one small box, the ability to use wired or wireless, and a high-quality volume control all make the Streamer a pretty awesome bang-for-the-buck product.