Can’t speak for the CA CXN, but using my Vault 2, going through the DAC in my CA 851C is far better then the DAC in the Vault. The Bluesound DAC isn’t bad but I wouldn’t be surprise if the CXN better. I’m sure some are going to throw in the Node does MQA but even so a superior DAC w/o MQA is still going to be better. I love my Vault though. If you decide on the CXN, spend a little extra to upgrade the power cord.
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I own both the CA 851n and the CXN 1. Both are good but prefer my PS Audio Directstream with Bridge II overall. CA has no Roon or direct Qobuz connection. I use Airplay for Qobuz. I have not heard the Bluesound. Purchased both as opened box/clearance from CA with warranty. Very good units for the price, especially when connected via wired internet as opposed to WiFi.
I have seen numerous posts from people who have and love either unit. My guess is, very few have listened carefully to both, so it's going to be difficult to get this specific feedback.
For streaming, the CXN is controlled by Cambridge's app or a DLNA control-point app; the Bluesound, by a BluOS app. They are mutually exclusive ecosystems. That will affect user experience, not the sound. You might prefer one or the other, but which? Generally speaking, I think BluOS is considered easier to use and better for multiroom playback, while DLNA could be considered more flexible. (When I tried the CXN2 with a generic DLNA control point, it did not work well -- it was fine with its own app.)
If you have a long run of interconnect going to an amp with balanced inputs, balanced outs are worth having. If all your equipment is in one rack, maybe not so much (though still nice).
As to sound, you might have to get the units on trial and find out which one suits your ears better.
Node app is way superior over the CXN and for me is the best music app after Roon.
Cxn has a very slightly better analog output sounding cleaner but not that much. It is similarly only slight better than an LG V20 connected to an amp.
CXN has a physical remote control.
If I were you, I'd go for the Node and then get a better DAC in the future. You won't miss much and you will get the BluOS.
Thanks everyone, So I presently just use an Audioengine D2 wireless out of my MacBook and connect via Audioquest Cinnamon Toslink into my Krell Digital Vanguard.
While the quality is okay I wondered what would be a better solution to playing back my digital files. I purchased the CXN and still have it new in the box but someone mentioned the Bluesound to me as a competitive solution. Those of you using the CXN, do you connect to your LAN and then connect to your MACBook via usb or upload all your music onto a LACie HD and plug in that way. I do add music to my itunes (3000+ songs) and wondered also about if Audirvana makes a difference?
audirvana does make a difference. you get some phase and time alignment voodoo as well as some system optimization benefits. i have mentioned before, i had an all JBL LSR 3XX system with subwoofer and I could not get the pacing nor timing right until I added Audirvana... that was the missing link. And it sounds great.
iTunes ( my Windows computer) rips my CD’s directly to my NAS Ethernet drives. All my music servers play it from the NAS drive over Ethernet. I use a dedicated Roon Rock server for my Roon to PS Audio DAC endpoint. Use Tidal either directly to CA servers or along Qobuz via Roon to PS Audio. Use Airplay for Qobuz to CA servers.
From above post on 6/2 by adg101:
If you decide on the CXN, spend a little extra to upgrade the power cord.
I'm bit of a newbie to audiophile gear, tho I've had NAD equipment for 20 years. I just got a Node 2i and was surfing and seeing comments about SQ improvements achieved with after-market power cables - well, being a bit of a skeptic I found this a bit hard to swallow - who can clarify this power cable business for me?