Choice Paralysis

Hi, I’m looking for ideas on on system design and how to adapt to all this new hardware and software technology which keeps appearing (and I don’t mean MQA). There is so much choice: streamers, network players, network servers and software, PCs, Macs, Raspberry Pi, phones, tablets
portable players etc. and that’s before you even start on DACS, amps, headphones etc. What is the best direction to take? I have tried to navigate this sea but have ended up with an overloaded ship.

I’ve recently started listening to my headphones more than I used to as I’m stuck in the house a lot of the time. I listen to music mainly but also films and TV. I had an old-fashioned amplifier CD and DAC system and stereo speakers and a head phone amplifier. I had a multichannel system at one point but didn’t like the sound of it with music so I gave it away.

Anyway I wanted to add extra functionality, I started off using an Apple TV via Airplay to feed my DAC from my phone. Then I got a Roku DVB Now Tv player and a PS4 which all lived on the same HDMI switch to the DAC and a projector.

So that is already a bit of a mess and I’ve just made it worse by buying a cheap second hand Intel i3 NUC (tiny box PC) so that I can play around with a bit of DSP on the music and video playback mainly for 3-D headphone surround sound effects. There is a USB to SPDIF converter so that the i3 NUC can feed the DAC live streamed virtual 3D audio at 96/24 from its own audio and video apps. I was hoping to replace all the other media boxes with this.

I use my phone and tablet to control the NUC via a VIrtual Network Computer server on the NUC but still sometimes Bluetooth to PC or airplay to the apple TV as well as using some remote controls for the amp and switch and remote controls for the media players and a PSVR as well.

So now I find I have about five different ways of doing everything and it has really become unnecessarily complicated rather than simpler. The trouble is I’m now reluctant to let any of this go - functionality like airplay, terrestrial digital video broadcasting, 3D DSP and being able to remote into the i3 NUC for example which summons the PC to your phone when needed.

I’ve got some rough ideas about how I might be able to simplify/improve on this setup but I wondered if anyone had any suggestions about how best to achieve the functionality in the smallest number of boxes without spending very much and maintaining a high quality data stream to the DAC with 3D DSP, EQ and remote control via phones and tablets?

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