Going from computer audio to dedicated streamer

A few days ago I purchased a Bluesound Node 2. Immediately after hooking it up I noticed a more relaxed less digital sound than I was getting from my Mac mini into my Wyred 4 Sound Dac-2. My hookup for the Mac was via a good usb cable into a Musical Fidelity Vlink192 coax into the Wyred 4 Sound. It is every bit as detailed as streaming Tidal through the Mac but is more "musical" and relaxed. An example would be on high dynamic contrasts the Mac could sound harsh and a little piercing in the highs. This was with every speaker I have owned. Not that it sounded bad overall, actually sounded quite good but I am loving this upgrade so far. No more messing with Amarra or Audirvana for me and dealing with the associated crashes etc.   
I am curious of others experiences good or bad moving away from computer audio to something else.
Also is anyone running an external hard drive with their music collection and running though the Bluesound or similar device and how is that working out?   
The ’little piercing in the highs’ is digital noise. This noise is found only in playback. A professional recording engineer would never allow that distortion to be laid down on a master track. With playback, a digital source pollutes not only the signal but the power of the entire playback system.  It injects artifacts both upstream and downstream. The cure is to clean up the power supply at the digital source. It appears that Bluesound has developed a good filtration system to handle the digital noise. I’m still using an older Windows 7 laptop for my source. Zero digititus.
@mofojo .. congrats on your purchase. 

I moved from a Mac mini to a Bluesound Node 2 just over a year ago and never looked back. I don't miss any of it. I think the sound quality of the Node 2 is every bit as good, if not better, than the mini. (I have licenses for Amarra Symphony, Audirvava +, Bit Perfect, Fidelia, HQPlayer, JRMC, and Pure Music.) I'm really happy with the Bluesound platform and purchased a Pulse Flex also.

My music (flac) is located on an Oyen Digital MiniPro USB hard drive attached to my AirPort Extreme router for the most simple NAS imaginable .. works great. 

Best of luck with the Node 2. 

Hello mofojo - 
Curious if you have tried running digital out from the BlueSound Node into the V-Link and then to the W4S vs BlueSound going right to your W4S DAC. 

I went from a MacBook Air >> V-Link >> Gungnir, then switched to an Aries Mini.  Wasn't too impressed with the Aries direct to the Gungnir but when I put the V-Link back in the path, the sound improved greatly.  

My CDP hardly gets any use these days.  Listening mostly to ripped ALAC, Tidal or Spotify via the Aries>>V-Link>>Gungnir.  
The Vlink 192 only has a USB input. I definitely would try this if possible but the Node 2 does not have a USB output. I am considering a wyred4sound remedy for this. The digital out from the Bluesound seems pretty clean but I'm sure could be improved with convertor. Since you are hearing an improvement makes me more curious to try one.
Why do you need the Vlink? Can't you run the Node directly into the W4S with coax or toslink? I'm also curious of the result, too.
Yes I am currently running the node directly into the w4s via coax. The Vlink or similar reclocking device is to improve the jitter before entering the DAC. Sounds very good as is but I am curious if any improvement could be made with a device like this.
Gosh, don’t be spending any more money on my say so ! :-)

I was just curious if you might have tried the V-Link in the path and to find out if I was alone in thinking it made a difference.

It has been a good while since I first hooked up the Aries. Things are getting a little fuzzy. I’m pretty sure I first tried it with coax out direct to the Gungnir. While the Aries Mini DOES have a USB out, my Gungnir does not have USB in. (Hence the V-Link) Thinking a simpler more direct path would be better, I went with coax out from the Aries when I first got it.

What is NOT getting fuzzy is that I was initially disappointed with the Aries>>Gungnir sound compared to the MacBook>>V-Link>>Gungnir. The sound was kind of thin (best I know how to describe it). For whatever reason it occurred to me to try the V-Link in the path using the USB out from the Aries. What a relief ! The sound really came alive...much more fleshed out and (dynamic?). Maybe it’s due to jitter (lack thereof) but I was thinking something else at play. It wasn’t a subtle improvement.

Anyway , if you can get that W4S Remedy with an in-home trial period, would be an interesting experiment. I’d be very curious what you think.

I'm running a synology NAS as my music drive. Just point the Node to the folder on the NAS and it indexes the music and plays just fine. the only problem is album art. My collection is a mess that I made in iTunes and doesn't  transfer well. I'd say half of my collection need to be fixed.

project for a rainy day.


I've had my Bluesound Node 2 for nearly a year. Like you I heard an immediate improvement; more musical, refined and easy to listen to. I'm very glad to have the computer out of the way and I can't see ever going back to USB.

I believe I'll also try the W4S Remedy soon. Too many good reviews and user comments not to give it a try.


Went from a nice Mac/audirvana setup to the auralic Aries and a big jump in performance. The Aries was hooked up to my w4s dac 2 dsd using a aq diamond USB. Since the Aries had a Fenton clock in it, I didn't need to use the w4s recovery USB reclocker. The GUI interface iPad app is fantastic, I could use the ds lightning app or the lumin app to control the Aries. 
If you want to try an external DAC, keep in mind if the external DAC is not MQA compatible you'll not be able to take full advantage of the MQA processing which Node2 delivers.
Does your DAC-2 have the femto clock in it? I am sending mine in to get converted to 110v from 220v and adding the femto clock. Not sure I'll hear any difference or not. I was thinking about going the V.2 route but decided to wait and see if they add mqa support. 
Imac , apple loss less, emotiva pre amp dac, via fiber optic, so far works very good for me
I've been using bluesound vault for 2 years now and I love it. .I have the first model. Try putting some nordost sort cones under it that will improve your experience even more. 
Using the internal DAC of the Bluesound. Very listenable actually. Not as detailed or deep as the DAC-2 but more listenable on less than stellar recordings. MQA tracks sound very good as well. 
I’m using a iMac with Roon/Tidal to the PSAudio Directstream with the bridge11 and cant imagine it getting better than this. PS Audio is looking into MQA but seriously doubt they will go for it unless MQA lessens their demands.
Then send all through the Parasound JC2 preamp to Parasound JC 1's then my Thiel CS3.7’s with their SS2 sub.. On some extremely brassy music the 3.7’s tend to be a little sharp so I switch to the Kef 207/2’s
I went from Sonos to computer audio to Aries mini - it was immediately apparent that the Aries was more spacious and relaxed, and upgrading its stock power supply to the Aries LPS brought it up yet another significant step.  Currently running to a Gungnir multibit via USB.   
I got my first V-Link ~10 yrs ago (a 24/96 model). The DAC I had at the time, a Stello unit, ran on USB straight in from Windows XP desktop. As soon as I put the V-Link in the system and ran signal to the Stello via toslink, the sound became slightly less digital.

I upgraded the Stello DAC to the inexpensive but quite good Peachtree Audio DAC iTx. I tried USB straight in vs toslink, then coax from the V-Link, Again, it sounded better. Soon I upgraded to a V-Link 24/192 model + a significantly better coax cable (Oyaide DR-510), and there was a noticeable jump in quality: smoother, more organic, less edgy.

Then I upgraded the DAC to an Audio GD NOS 19 (a non-oversampling R 2R design considered "endgame" by some in the desktop audio/headphone community). That took forever to burn in, but once it did, I again compared USB straight in vs coax from the V-Link. Contest wasn't even close. V-Link + coax wins, as it always does.

And now I'm hearing some of the least "digital" digital of my life. No, it's not analog--rather, it's like some middle ground, digital that sounds unforced, organic, relaxed. I'm very happy with it--so much so that I picked up a new Audio GD DAC-19, the non-NOS version of the same DAC. It's burning in on my other computer, and it already sounds terrific...
Went from W4S modded Sonos to an Auralic player, with Synology Nas, then to a  Aurrender with music files stored locally on the Aurrender. That was by far the best, used both a PS Audio Direct Stream Dac, then switched to Devialet 😀
I also struggled with computer audio and all of it's associated issues.  I won't recite the whole litany of problems that I had but I went the Bluesound whole home route 2 years ago and have been much happier.  The latest update to the OS makes it easier still to play the music on my Mac which is nice because I had disposed of several CDs that I ripped before the switch to Bluesound.
  I still use my CDP as I just haven't had time to rip most of my collection.  I don't notice any profound difference between the Bluesound or the Oppo 105 as a source into my DAC.
  I struggle with IT issues at work and when I want to relax at home the last thing I want is a computer issue while listening to music.  A dedicated player/server or whatever these things are called makes so much more sense and the Bluesound stuff is imo reasonably priced
how can a streamer affect sound quality?  I thought the purpose of a streamer is functionality and features/options for the user and also to deliver a bit-perfect digital stream to a DAC?  We all hate digital glare, brightness, hardness etc.. so a getting a DAC that lessons that would be paramount.  Of course something like the Bluesound has it's own internal DAC and in that case the yes that type of device would affect sound quality.   
i could be wrong but I think the differences between streamers only outputing the digital signal to an external DAC would be the amount of jitter they produce. 
I am using a Western Digital MyCloud 3TB HDD which contains some 14K songs ripped with Itunes from my own CDs. I have a Western Digital Passport HDD as a backup. The Bluesound Node 2 finds the MyCloud database just fine. This setup works much better than I thought it would, but it took some time to tweak.

I have a Schiit Bifrost Uber as an external DAC for the Node 2. I might try the internal Node 2 DAC for comparison to the Bifrost Uber. As it stands now, it sounds great with AIFF files.
RPi dacs are getting very good these days.  I use RPi with Hifiberry Digi+ as a media player connected to my MF V90 dac.  Software is the latest Moode player release.  It just beats everything I have tried so far, Node 2, Sony UHP-H1 and a bunch of USB dacs connected to my laptop.  Highly recommend Moode.