Considering a Node2i, what else should I be looking at?
A while ago I got in on the crowd funding for the OliveOne. I ripped all my cds to it and bough some albums from HD Tracks. I ran it through my old and trusty NAD 7225 into some Totem Rainmakers. For the most part I was happy with the sound, though the Rainmakers really need a bigger amp. I also tried running it through an old Haffler 150 I have. It drove the speakers better, but the amp is a bit noisy, needs to be re-capped, etc. I think in the end, I just ran it with the OliveOne's amp as I needed the NAD back in my garage and the Haffler was too big to hide (system was in the LR and we don't have much space for equipment there).
But, Olive never delivered on native streaming capabilities for the OliveOne, so it really doesn't meet my needs and is about to relocated to my desk where I'll use it with headphones (I had a chance to listed to it with some Focal Utopias...Joni Mitchell's Blue (24/96) sounded amazing).
What I'm looking for (and why I'm considering the Node2i):Native streaming capabilities. At least CD quality. I'm not overly concerned with MQA here, I mostly want the convenience of streaming. Spotify is fine.Ability to play hi-res files from the OliveOne, which will serve as a NAS...I don't recall if it also works as a DNLA, but it probably does.Digital inputs and outputs for flexibility.Serves as a preamp.
Multi-room capability without Roon (I'm not interested in paying for it...though it does look cool).Run headless through a good Android App.Alexa control is a plus.
Over the course of the next 2 years, I"ll be upgrading my system(s) in general. Expanding to multiple rooms and adding some higher end speakers and amp in my family room where I can do some more critical listening. ideally, whatever I get now can continue to serve even if I add a higher end streamer/dac in the family room, though interoperability may be a concern there. For my main system, my budget will be about $4k for speakers and amp.
$500 for a Node2i won't break the bank. I could probably stretch to $800 for the right reasons. I'm also Ok with used equipment.
I've read a number of posts here and elsewhere and most of the other options seem to be over $1k, which is more than I want to spend right now.