CDP/DAC/NA Player Recommendations

Hi everyone,

I am new to the forum & this is my first post.  I am slowly putting together my mid-fi setup and needed your help.  

I recently bought a pair of Dali Opticon 2 & Marantz PM 8006 to go with it.

Due to budget constraints, I went for the Topping D50s DAC.  While the system is still breaking-in and sounds quite good, I am beginning to question whether the Topping DAC does justice to the speakers & amp.  

Given the rave reviews, I ordered the BlueSound Node 2i to see if there is a substantial improvement or difference in SQ.  Besides, it also gives me the ability to stream from a ton of different sources.  While I am still waiting for the Node 2i, I am also preparing myself to increase the budget & perhaps go for a Marantz ND 8006 (get to use my old CDs as well).  I can get a open box or refurbished Marantz ND8006 for about $1,000.

So I wanted to hear your thoughts.  Any other options that I should consider in the price range that will have good chemistry with the Dalis and Marantz Amp?

Also, any forum members that use the Marantz/Dali combination? Would love to hear about your experience.  

Thanks in advance for all your help.  Cheers!
Sorry to say I don't have any experience with the equipment you list, but it sounds like you're giving up on the Node 2i before you've heard it. I'm not sure if you have a trial period with that piece, but maybe give it a fair shot before moving up in price point? Since the Topping is a fairly budget piece, the Node should be an improvement.

That said, the Marantz unit offers a lot of features and flexibility for the price so long as you don't rely on wireless features long into the future. Wireless = eventually obsolete. For the roughly $500 additional dollars, ask yourself if you're buying features or sound quality. If features, ask if any are those you can live without when the next tech wave hits.

Best of luck with your journey. The Dali speakers looks like a great start.
Hey Yakbob,

Thanks for taking the time to respond, really appreciate your advise.  The reason is definitely not the features but sounds quality.  If anything Node 2i has an upper hand with its ability to stream Todal MQA.

as for sound quality, I found the node to be too forward sounding And bright (at least with my speakers and amp).  It was to a point that I could barely turn up the volume before I’d get a headache. I love how the vocals take the Center stage but along with comes forward both highs and lows. 
Maybe it’s just a bad match with marantz and Dali, I am not sure.

And I know marantz sound signature leans to to the warmer side. Hence the idea to go for it. Nd8006 only for the added CD player. Actually now I am getting NA6006 which doesn’t have CD player but costs much less $590.  
Do you think there is a break in period for streamers? Will the node sound different if I gave it a few more weeks?
I found the node to be too forward sounding And bright (at least with my speakers and amp).  It was to a point that I could barely turn up the volume before I’d get a headache. I love how the vocals take the Center stage but along with comes forward both highs and lows.
I've never heard the Node's performance described this way, nor have I experienced anything like it. My Node 2i performed wonderfully with a very short breakin period.

Can you explain how yours is hooked up? And maybe you should start by connecting to the network again if using wifi.
Also, what service are you streaming?
We're here to help.

Hello there,

You could be right it may just be poor chemistry with the rest of the setup because I didn’t experience the fatigue with the Topping D50s.

i have to admit, when I listen at low volume it sounds simply amazing. The level of detail is great (when you hear things you never heard before in some of your music) and vocals are lively. It’s only when I play it a bit loud it loses the composure and becomes bright. Maybe the room?

Anyway, I have the node connected via Ethernet. Using the bluos app to stream via Tidal Hi-Fi and AmazonMusic.

Budget Cables: KabelDirekt RCA Stereo Cable and Silverback 12 AWG 259 Strand Speaker Wire.

the speakers are about 2 ft from the rear wall, about 5 ft apart and 2 ft from the side wall. But room acoustics are far from ideal. No treatments done. Bought a music system but yet a put a rug on the floor.. my priorities are laughable lolz

Anything else that might help? Thanks again for taking the time and interest. I’m glad I joined the forum.
It sounds like you are overdriving the dac or the amp. At low volume the music sounds fine. When you turn up the volume does it sound harsh and distorted? Are you only using the volume on the Marantz?
Can you adjust the gain on the input to the amp? Check the manual.

As long as you leave the volume set on the Bluesound Node, the problem lies elsewhere, most likely the Marantz.
You could try using the Node's
analogue outputs plugged directly into L R analogue inputs on the amp. Leave the Topping out of the system for this experiment.

Yes, it does sound distorted and harsh and bass too gets a bit boomy. That's only when I turn up the volume. 

I was doing an A/B comparison between Topping (connected via optical to my smart tv tidal app) and BlueSound using bluos app to stream tidal.  Both systems were hooked to the amp directly through the analogue outs.

I tried to look up gain on input but couldn't find anything on the user manual or online.  I don't see any settings to that effect either on the amp.  

Also, a quick update.. The dealer I bought the node from has been kind enough to send me a Marantz NA6006 to try it out.  I'm hoping to receive it today.  Kind of excited but also nervous of being disappointed again. 
Hey, just an update.  The Marantz NA6006 arrived this morning.  Boy, am I satisfied.  Its almost the perfect balance between the topping and node.  

Great amount of details, very natural vocals but doesn't lose comosure when the volume is pushed up.  its $50 more than the node.. so at this stage, I guess I am gonna stick to the marantz and return the topping & node.

Maybe I didn't give node a fair chance but i'm just so happy with the marantz. the new ESS9016 chip has been implemented beautifully.  Only downside, it can't process tidal MQA but i am ok with dsd & tidal flac. 

Thanks again for your help.. For now, I think I am set.  I recommend the NA6006's dac.  Not to mention, setting up to stream was a breeze too.  Will post a detailed review after a few weeks of using it.  Adios!
That's great news. TBO, I think the Node was defective, either the hardware or a software issue.
In the end, I think you made a good choice. 

Hey.. I think you’re right. I totally forgot to mention that the node 2i was factory refurbished.

i always assumed that Refurbished units would be at least as good as new and in most cases better because it goes through several rounds of inspection.

but now that you think it could have been defective, I wonder if it really was. Esp given all the rave reviews, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Anyway, I am just glad that the marantz worked out. I’m happy with my setup. Thanks for all the help