Here are the best integrated digital audio/streaming playback solutions I have come across. This listing as yet is far from complete but will continuously be updated while I keep searching for better solutions.
I've used a computer for music replay since the nineties and in the meantime, a lot of equipment has traveled through my listening room, some of it very sophisticated and/or very expensive, but until recently, none of the integrated, user friendly solutions have managed to outperform my PC solution. This is why I started my quest at perfecting the separate component system. There is a separate article for separates streaming components and computer based audio. While investigating these matters, I also run across integrated systems every now and then. Below are the best solutions I've thus far come across. Please note that I haven't heard all popular systems yet, so this listing, as well as its ranking, are incomplete and preliminary.
Highly affordable but superb Music Server with very well thought-out iPad app that is reminiscent of the one that Aurender uses. Current HFA favorite. No internal DAC, but when combined with a good USB DAC this unit rivals the Meridian reference Sooloos system.
Music Server with iPad app that beats the Sooloos system for user control. No internal DAC, but when combined with a good USB DAC this unit comes close to what the Meridian reference Sooloos system achieves. The Aurender's sound I feel is less musical/emotional than that of the AAZ Ultra Flow, but technically impeccable. The main reason why the Aurender is still listed here is because its app is even better than that of the AAZ Ultra Flow and because its multi-use, informative front panel displays. This added comfort comes at a price though.
My experience shows that old reference DA converters can still sound better than very affordable modern DACs. But the differences don't lie in the field of detail retrieval, slam or dynamics. More often it is the soundstage depth and width, the extra airyness, silkyness and smoothness, in short: the "analog" feel, that reference DACs can achieve without sacrificing fine detailing.