I have asked this question before. I have not taken any action on it but one line of thinking is that if you have a computer and good CD ripping software (dBpoweramp...free) you can rip them yourself onto an inexpensive hard drive, plug that HD into a Blue Sound Node 2i and save yourself about $500.
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If you go the route of the Node 2 and use whatever software you could potentially use with a cd ripper and hard drive make sure the file folders are set up for Bluessound to read, otherwise a lot of extra work is needed for each album file folder. (Cover.jpg is the default label for artwork. Look at the far bottom of the link.)
In other words, these are the music formats Bluesound will recognize and this is how each album art (metadata) has to be labeled in each music file folder.
Yeah if the OP tries the Vault 2, the ripping and labeling will be done by the Bluesound so no worries there at all. And BTW the Vault 2 does allow streaming just like the Node 2 does, of either your local network hard drive or such streaming services like Spotify, Tidal, Pandora and others. Try MQA on Tidal, I tend to explore those albums quite frequently.
My error on Pandora..
Radio stations supported; Calm radio, iHeart radio, Radio Paradise, Slacker radio, TuneIn radio.
Music services supported; Amazon music, Deezer HiFi, Groove, Juke, KK Box, Murfie, Napster, Qobuz, Spotify, Tidal and WiMP.
I think a lot of people are using Roon integrated with Bluesound with great success.
I ripped my CD's with dbpoweramp to wav file . I didn't change any settings other than rip to wav and where to store the files and my Node2i found them without any problem when I hooked it up and built the index. Maybe dbpoweramp stores in the format needed for the album art? I use an external dac which sound significatly better than the one in the node2i not sure about the vault 2i.
What I understand its the same DAC in node2, node2i, vault2 and vault2i. But the i-version includes other techniques taken from the NAD M51 which is said to have had a "big" positive effect on the sound.
Can I ask what DAC would sound so much better? Have you had the possibility to a/b test?
The Node 2i and Node 2 are akin to the Swiss Army knife of the audio world. Lots of choices for audio streamers, dacs, servers devices but not too many that do as many varied tasks, with as much versatility as the Nodes. With the Vault it’s like a Swiss Army Deluxe because you add the ripping of your CD collection and proper tagging and metadata. Heck one could even spend an entire year by going to the local library and borrowing CDs to rip! You might have a huge library over time. What I like even more about Bluesound is the commitment to customer service, which I have used many times and the guys are awesome and the budget prices, since both of these devices are under $1200. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.
For me it's my son with the golden ears. Wife's only interested when I put on some Mercury, Bowie or Boccelli.
Always tries to a/b test streamers, dacs, amps and speakers. So far my ears only recognized real differences with speakers.....Favourite amp at the moment is the Paradigm pw amp with inbuilt arc2 room correction because the RC makes wonders with my desk top SQ.
I have to give a vote for the Vault 2...
I use it for streaming and ripping CD's and find it to be remarkably good sounding... My only frustrations are that it has no XLR outputs and it does take approx 5 mins to rip a CD which seems like long time when I am loading in a batch of CDs all at once...
Other than those issues I love its ease of use and its overall functionality as well as sound quality. Yes, I like the Swiss Army knife analogy... Lots of useful functions.
The company does provide regular software/firmware updates for free and the Vault is connected to my router by a 20' generic cat 5 cable.
The Vault 2 is far better sounding than my previous Sonos set up which was convenient as a tuner and distribution field device for other rooms. In my opinion it did not have the sound quality I wanted as a source for my main listening room system which is all Audio Research gear and quite revealing of source material as well as cables and even fuses.
I do recommend Sonos gear to friends and neighbors who want something easy, inexpensive, even portable,fd and with a nice user interface.
My wife loves music, is not a gear head or audiophile but she recognized the Vault as better sound than the Sonos immediately.
I did upgrade the AC power cord to a moderately priced ($90?) AQ version and I am using Cardas Clear light RCA 1m interconnects... each which improved the imaging, tonality as well as clarity of the Vault 2... I have not experimented with the Cardas Clear cables with it since they cost more than the Vault and I am using them for my ARC CD player... might be interesting at some point.
I am not up on the newer Bluesound gear however Id like to get an extension speaker for another part of the house so I'll be looking into it. Enjoy the music !
I just got a Vault 2i and it has changed my life !!! I messed around with ripping to a HDD via PC and playing the files through my OPPO.... the OPPO did a great job at letting me access files but adding music was a pain...
I was real apprehensive about archiving my CDs to FLAC but the Vault to me sounds identical to the CD when playing through my DAC.
I have been ripping all day and the best part is I'm listening to files and Tidal while doing so.
The analog out sounds pretty good too... better than my DAC? Maybe just as good although different presentation. I think it's safe to say it souds better than most CD players I've owned. I was impressed with the MQA files played through it for the most part.
Im using an Android Tab for control but also havethe app on my phone. Another great feature is that I can control it through the OPPO player through the network if I want to see my library on the TV and use an IR remote.
Blutooth HD in both directions.... coax and toslink, it has everything that kept me from buying the original Vault and then some...
I am the original poster. Thank you all for your input. I did wind up with the Vault 2i and am really happy with my choice. Yes, ripping all those CDs is a bit of a pain, but I just leave a pile next to the Vault and whenever I pass by, I insert one. Also very surprised to hear that several of you find the sound to be better than Sonos. Nice bonus for me.
Once again, thank you all. My best wishes for a super 2019.
Why bother with all this ripping of CDs? ?? I have never seen the point in that.
So you spend days copying your pile of CDs, most you have not played in years, are you really going to be playing most of the copies anytime soon.
So now what are you going to do with the CDs? Sell them, give them away, dump them?
Besides, all those tunes are now easily streamable from many sources, that will sound just as good or better.
Just like all that music you put on tape years ago, how much have anyone gone back and played?