Easiest way is a simple Bluetooth receiver plugged into a spare set of RCA input on pre-amp...Stream from the Bluetooth in your phone...You can get a decent sounding unit from Amazon for $30.00....
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Lumin D2 is your answer, particularly if you don’t plan to run it into an outboard DAC... New price is within your budget and you can find it it used for under $2K.
I own both the Lumin D2 and a Bluesound Node2 and the analog output from the Lumin is much superior, to the point where I’m perfectly happy using it by itself. And it does DSD too if you’re into that.
For that sort of budget, I think you’re better off dividing it between a streamer and an outboard DAC with most of it on the DAC. I can tell you first hand that the sound quality out of a Node2 fed through a Schiit Modi Multibit is very good. I also tried running a Chromecast Audio ($35) through the same Modi and the sound quality was still quite good which makes me think that the DAC makes the biggest difference in this audio chain and not the streamer.
I had the Modi, and it was pretty good. But, I think it is comparable to the internal DAC of the Node. You need to go to a Gungnir or Yggy to really get the best out of the music, and at under $2K used, I think it is a great value.
I do agree that outputting to an external DAC with the Node will make a huge difference.
I went to Audioconnection and John had the BS Node set up using the internal DAC and switching to an Ayre Codex. The difference was like night and day.
Bob, did you have a Multibit or a regular Modi/Uber? I looked at the Codex while back but the option of coax input was a limitation for me to use it with my CD player. I also have no need for a headphone amp or volume control. Otherwise it is a great DAC. Anyone using a Node2 with a Benchmark DAC? It looks like a great option.
I have compared the two outputs. In my system, the optical output was the winner. I use the new Wireworld Super Nova 7 optical cable. Has over 300 glass fibre strands. This was a vast improvement over thick plastic cable toslink. The coax I compared it to was from Canare, called DigiFlex Gold. An older design of cable but was highly rated at the time.
@dcaudio - I am assuming you have the Node 2 ?
Have you considered adding top notch cables and cone feet to the Node 2?
I’ve alway used high quality cables on the Node 2 with amazing results and recently, I tried Brass Cone feet under the unit.
The improvement in imaging was the icing on the cake.
The cables I use cost significantly more than the Node 2 itself, but it stepped up its game to the point where I have stopped looking for any further improvements in sound quality - perhaps I’m not a true audiophile (LOL).
It’s an amazing source and maybe an upgrade well worth considiering?
Hope you find your nirvana - Steve