Ha, knew that would get your attention!
I was using my UQ1 for streaming only purposes to the DAC V1 via a good s/pdif cable, but was never entirely happy with the set up, esp as the UQ was mostly going to waste. My budget wasn't much, and I didn't want to just move over to another streamer, esp as the asynch USB on the V1 is one of its main features, and supposedly better sounding than coax. I considered a Mac Mini, but then started reading over on the Computer Audiophile forum raves about the forthcoming Sonore microRendu. So last week I got in on the second batch and have had one up and running since Friday with an iFi power supply until I get a proper linear power supply for it (probably the upcoming Uptone LPS based on charging ultracapacitors).
For those not in the know, the microRendu is about the size of a small flip phone, only connects ethernet in and USB out, and runs a small custom linux OS on an sd card that is accessed headless with a really simple and easy GUI. It was built with low noise hardware and the best sound throughput as the top priority. Took all of under five minutes to set up. It has several modes: Squeezelite, DLNA (regular and open home), NAA Roon/HQ player mode, airshare and I think maybe one other. I have mine running in upnp mode from my Vortexbox using the Lumin app as a controller. Currently also running Roon as a trial, but for what it costs and the hardware requirements its not for me at the moment. Cool app though, esp if you have a big collection.
From the moment I plugged the microRendu in I knew that it was game over. And it just keeps getting better as it burns in; I also added an Atlas Element USB cable that sounds really nice for the price. I think the likes of already fringe companies like Aurender and Auralic have got to be more than bit worried about what these even more fringe upstarts are doing. I'm not really the best person to be doing comparisons because I've never had the $ to change out gear like some do, or work my way up a heirarchy like Naim. But it really is extraordinarily impressive, made my old set up sound "broken" even (and I thought it sounded pretty damn good). I never thought I would have a hifi this good due to $. Lots of talk in hifi about "inky blackness" which I've never really experienced until now. Reverb esp - its like it just floats out into an empty void. A bit disconcerting at first actually! Also the balance is perfect - voices are right where they should be, piano sounds totally natural (the true test imo), nothing recesses or comes forward in any strange way. I was experiencing some fatigue before and now that's history. The only fatigue now is from staying up to late listening to music nonstop!!
So, if you're looking at streaming options and have a dac (or plan on getting one), then you should check out the mR. Imo its' this years Hugo - a serious game changer, at least as far as where USB audio is at. For me it's all I'll ever need in that regard. And the UQ is now happy and wonderful sounding where it should be, in my basement office, utilizing all of its functions.