Looking for a steamer/music server keeper

Hi All,

I would like some advise if possible to get a new / used good quality Streamer for my main 2 channel system.

I've heard names like:

  • Bluesound

I can spend about 2k (more or less)

What streamer would be best for my budget?

I was streaming via SONOS (wireless) all around the house and then decided to try better SQ streaming for my main system. I purchased an Uptone EtherRegen, and set up separate Ethernet & Fiber Lan connections (fiber -appears to be promising) but I don’t have a good streamer right now and Sonos blows up when trying to connect it via Ethernet (not sure why).

Anyway, the device I need should mainly be a Streamer (mostly to stream music from the internet).  Details:

  • Inputs - Ethernet
  • Outputs - USB or Coax
  • DAC - No incorporated DAC please! - I like my Esoteric DAC, prefer not to change
  • Wireless - capability not needed
  • Music Server - I am open to get a streamer/music server (in one) but that is not my first priority unless its more cost effective. I have like 300 CDs woth of FLAC media which may benefit from a music server, but I mostly stream from the web
  • Formats / Resolution - Not sure if I need MQA or super High Res. If I can get the sound as close to CD quality, I’ll be happy

I would really appreciated some pertinent recommendations from folks who have already tried the specific products that you suggest and are not vested in the line.  Please let me know if I can provide more details.

Assuming I have good analog components, for example - would a Bluesound Node 2 be good enough or will there be an improvement in SQ with the more expensive names mentioned above  (again using Ethernet input only and not the onboard DACs)?

Thank you in advance for any advice.


Ag insider logo xs@2xjmarshak
If you decide to use roon I wouldn’t bother with a music streamer. Set up a NUC running ROCK get a raspberry pi4 install Ropiee as a roon bridge connect that to your DAC by USB. Install roon app on a tabet. If your DAC has ethernet and is a roon endpoint you won't need the raspberry pi4. Roon will make a library of your ripped Flac files and you can stream Tidal or Qobuz as well as radio stations etc..

My DAC does not have Ethernet input.  I guess I could do a flavor of that you mention.  Problem is my vast Spotify library.  I'd like to use listen to that also even though Spotify is not all that resolving. 

Also, got the Sonos to work.  Amazing still how many digital problem can be fixed by pulling out and sticking back in the AC cable.  Funny thing about Sonos is that it creates its own very strong wifi net and sounds pretty good wirelessly compared to how it sounds with LAN.
If it works and sounds good that's what counts. The ones you mentioned I know the Bluesound Node2i has Spotify as well as Tidal, Quboz and a host of others.
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‘Problem is my vast Spotify library. I’d like to use listen to that also even though Spotify is not all that resolving.’

If you don’t have any plans to switch to Tidal or Qobuz, then Bluesound Node 2i offers a simple and economical plug n play solution. Use its Coax output to your Esoteric DAC. It will also afford you the opportunity to try out the Qobuz or Tidal high resolution streaming.

IME, buying a better streamer (Lumin, Aurender or Innuos) would only make sense if you plan to switch to Tidal or Qobuz. Their SQ in CD resolution is superior than Spotify. I have owned Sonos Connect, Bluesound Vault 2, Aurender N100H. Both Connect and Vault 2 are pretty good streamers but their limitations were glaringly evident when compared with a high quality streamer like N100H.

If you chose to step up to Node 2i, stick with Spotify. Once you experience the Tidal or Qobuz streaming through your Esoteric DAC, chances are you be itching to try a better streamer 😊