Bluesound Vault 2i vs. Meridian Media Core 200 for first music server


Looking to add a music server to the dedicated 2ch system to make it more user friendly for my better half and to have the whole cd library at my fingertips.  I'm curious to hear any opinions on the pros/cons of a NEW Bluesound Vault 2i vs. a USED Meridian Media Core 200.    What I care most about is the sound quality and reliability. 

In my system i'd be using the internal dac of each unit and output via the RCAs to a JRDG concentra integrated.  

Appreciate the feedback as I try to become a bit less of a luddite....
wrtickle
I wouldn’t even consider a clunky old dinosaur like the Meridian.  Just look at the size difference and appearance.  Bluesound is the way to go.  I have the Vault 2 in my modest summer home system.  It functions flawlessly and sounds great.  The BluOS interface is easy for anyone to use via iPad or iPhone instead of a separate dedicated screen like the Meridian.

 I have a new Node 2i setup in my big system at my winter home.  I stream Tidal, well recorded albums in the MQA format are superb.  I am amazed that an inexpensive product can sound the way it does in a very accomplished system.  The wireless connection is completely stable and sound quality has far exceeded my expectations.

With either the Vault or Node, you have easy setup for any of the streaming services, Radio Paradise, hundreds of radio stations already there, and MQA decoding.  There is also the Bluetooth connectivity so a guest can play music from their phone.  You can also play you tube music through your system.  If you have a 4K TV you can use the optical input of the Bluesound to play the TV through the stereo without changing any connections all through the BluOS app and your TV remote.

I think the Bluesound Vault is very good. I have the Node 2 and like it a lot. Keep in mind, the more CDs you have the longer it takes to rip them into the Vault. That can be a time consuming task. I don’t know if anyone has uploaded a HDD of music or a NAS into the Vault or if the Vault can access that external source of music. That would be the easy route.
My surprise came from the fact that I setup my NAS to work with the Node 2 and spent much time loading artwork into file folders from my old ITunes library. After all this work and contacting Bluesound support, who are very helpful I began to listen to MQA streaming music and was floored by how good it sounded! That is a plus for Bluesound, that all the MQA unfolding is done in the unit itself.
I have approximately 700 CD’s loaded to my Vault 2 and never noticed any appreciable difference in loading time between the first and last.  My guesstimate is around 10 minutes per CD.  Of course, put your favorites in first.

Tidal is fantastic.  I’ve listened to a lot of albums that I had considered buying but after hearing some of them I’m glad I didn’t.  Tidal saved me from a lot of clinkers.  By the same token, I’ve been able to listen and enjoy other works that I would not have considered.  A big win for me.
thanks for all the input!  I'm looking at a monumental task on the ripping...1300 redbooks...but there is no rush so 3/day and I'll be done in a little over a year...sounds like the bluesound is the way to go and deal with the internal dac until I can upgrade my sacd/cd player to something with a digital input...

how hard is it to back up the files once they are on the bluesound?  does the bluesound rip to flac or wav and what are do you think of each?  
Backup is easy.  There is a function in the BluOS app for that.  Just connect an external hard drive and press the button in the app.  I recall the backup took around 6-7 hours.
Bluesound will rip to wav or flac.  I went with flac.  Couldn’t say one is better than the other since I never compared.  I am satisfied with the sound of the flac files.
If the new Vault 2i sounds like my Node2i, I seriously doubt you will find any reason to add an external dac.  It’s that good.
For anyone who has digital music files and wishes to play those files through the Vault (not ripping).
https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/articles/200387457-Accessing-the-Bluesound-Vault-s-Internal-...
Been using a vault 2 for near 2 years.

Few more things to add to the already fine points and comments made.

It really is near enough an all in one digital source. You can stream any number of internet radio stations, Tidal, Quboz, Deezer etc.
You can access your NAS at any time as long as you set it up to point in the right direction, all info easily found on Google.
You can attach a USB drive that contains music and access all of that too.
You can stream another device to it via Bluetooth so having that library of music too.
And of course the CDs you ripped to its own internal drive.

Backup is as simple as plugging in a compatible 2tb USB drive and selecting full file backup in the settings. You can continue playing music while it is doing this.

Continuous updates to both the player and the Bluos app over the net all automatic.

Good customer support, usually reply to emails in under 12 hours.
It’s internal DAC is ok but you can do much better with an external one but has to support full MQA unfolding if you intend to stream Tidal MQA( you have to!). I use a Mytek Brooklyn DAC and the SQ floors me at times!

The Bluos app is available on both Apple and Android products and works flawlessly imho.

You really do need to spend 3 times as much to better it imho.

Oh, yes i do like it a lot.... Lol.
Hi just purchased the vault 2i ,you must have yours by now.It is a great bit of kit and everything all have said .I had a Logitech squeezebox before which was dated and discontinued not enough apps. But in defence of the squeezebox it sounded just as good.which shows how good the dac inside was.
@rhljazz Do you see a significant improvement in sound with your 2i over the Vault? I have a Node 2 and am wondering if I should move to a 2i? I don’t use an external DAC and realize the DACs are the same but have read there is a noticeable sound improvement from adjusting some circuitry locations.

Thanks.
From what I understand the sq increase on the node2i is due to improved wireless networking circuitry so yes it is feasible you would hear a difference.

As the vault has always been hardwired internet only I do not think the vault2i will have as much of an sq improvement.
I just got a node2i today but never owned the previous model. I can only use wifi so wanted something with wifi5. Haven’t tried the built in dac probably will at some point for comparison. I think the main difference between the 2 and 2i is wifi5 and the trickle down circuit design from the NAD masters 50.2 but the 2i and 2 use the same dac..
asahitoro, I can’t say how much better the 2i would be over your 2.  The cost to find out isn’t exorbitant especially if you sell the 2.

What I can tell you is the 2i sounds really good in my big system.  It is musically satisfying and fun to listen to.  My cd playback is through a Chord Hugo.  Analog via Origin Live with Quintet Black into my VAC phono.  All three sources obviously don’t sound exactly the same.  Each of the three are a good listen.  IME if one source is markedly inferior to another, you find yourself gravitating towards the better sounding options.  That said, while listening via the 2i I don’t experience the urge to listen to another source because of sound quality or engagement. 

I really can’t find anything to fault with the 2i.