... Why do you think Google discontinued the Chromecast Audio? Great for the price, although not as good as the $300-$500 endpoints we discussed
I have one, bought it as soon as it became available in the Netherlands, which was actually before I got more serious about high-end audio.
It never worked well for me and as a result, I haven't made much use of it.
I've kept updating it, I've kept trying it, but still, it just doesn't work reliable for me. Not from Android phones and not from iPhones.
It loses connection, the app playing audio gets out of sync with what's playing, the app cannot properly pause or skip anymore, doesn't show what's playing, etc... All the time, with different music play apps including Google's own.
Often had to reboot it just to get it playing again.
Cheap, invisible, sound was OK in my otherwise not-so-good system, but overall not an experience to keep coming back to.
Yesterday I tried seting up a Kodi media-centre on a Raspberry Pi. The basic software is Ok, but the plugins for streaming Tidal or Qobuz give a very poor experience and poor integration with the main interface (in my opinion...) and I could never get the remote control apps to work (they can find the Kodi sw running on the Pi but cannot connect, despite me verifying all settings over and over, restarting the Pi, etc). Web based interface works, but klunky.
Conclusion: that's a no-go.
The Raspberry Pi itself will be powerful enough for a cheap network streamer, but the software that I've found so far just isn't there. (There's some other s/w available that I'll give a go but I don't know if these options have remote-control apps for iOS and Android, or Qobuz / Tidal streaming).
I can buy an Intel mini-PC for about €500 which will be sufficient to run Roon, which will feed into my DAC. That will probably give me a great streaming experience but the hardware alone will cost more than what people here say is "much".
For a bit less I have a Sonos Connect and for a bit more I have a Bluesound Node 2i (although again, many people say that the Blu app is quite bad to use and right now very unreliable on iOS13). The Sonos app is not great but OK to use for me.
I'm beginning to think that around $400 for a network streamer, that has the features I want, ain't so bad at all...
If Schiit is indeed working on some form of streamer, and if it can do the things I want (streaming files from local disk, USB disk or network, and also well-integrated streaming of Qobuz / Tidal), for the same price or less, well I'm very interested except they might release it too late for my needs.