Guys, I have tried to search and figure this out, because I know this topic has been well-covered. But I am still wandering in the dark, so plz forgive my redundant questions....
First, here's my current rig,: I built a Lenco table 15 yrs ago with a JMW 10 arm/London Super Gold that I run into a phono pre that I built from a pretty high end kit (can't see the name, have no idea what it is now!) thru a VTL tube IT-85 integrated amp and then thru some SF Electa Amator II, supported by a sub I built. So pretty mid-fi setup, but it really works for me. Sounds great, to my ears.
The Covid thing has me home (no golf in Los Angeles!), listening to music more.
Would love to stream something that approaches the vinyl sound quality with a music service, but being retired, budget is more a concern now...
I just subscribed to TIDAL with its premium level (MQA) that I was running straight from my iphone 6 to the VTL. Meh. Then my daughter ran same stuff through her iphone 11 and, hey, that sounded better. So, clearly, I am in need of a streaming DAC.
I know MQA gets mixed reviews. I have no way really to test this or to go listen to stuff. Everything is shut down here. So here's the criteria that matters most to me:
- A great UI app because now streaming is like going to the Smithsonian. There's a lot to organize.
- Great sound. (whatever that means!)
- One box. Cables get expensive & messy.
- I'd like to keep it under $2K. I'd really like to keep it under $1K, but that may be wishful thinking. I mean, is Bluesound Node 2 up to it? I am sure it would beat my daughters iphone 11, but ... what are reasonable streamers/DACS? Where's the killer solution that isn't $10K? I know it's out there....
I am not so far into TIDAL that I can't change. My system is in the same room as my router, so I can run an ethernet cable to the DAC. As I have looked at all of this, it has occurred to me to get an older, much higher quality used DAC that I can somehow mesh with TIDAL (or another service with high quality streaming) and forget the MQA. But this has to somehow hook into my internet directly and be able to be run by a remote UI. So now my head is spinning.
Thanks for your input. Chuck