Looking for advice

I’m looking at adding a streamer, Dac, and possibly a transport to utilize with an older integrated - Krell 400xi. I’m looking at starting with the bluesound node and a Cambridge audio transport. My speakers are Totem model 1 Signatures, with a Rel B1 sub. When I have more cash, looking to upgrade and get the Chord Qutest dac. Is this a good use of $$’s or am I better off getting a used Naim Uniti Atom and go with one box, plus a transport or eventually the Unitcore?



I’d keep everything separate.  If it’s in budget, I’d recommend the Innuos Zen Mk3 as it’s a streamer but you can also load all your CDs into it so no need for a transport and you have access to all your music from your chair in any order or playlist you wish.  A transport seems kinda silly with what’s available today.  Then choose a DAC that meets with your sound requirements.  Read the review of the new Gustard R26 on soundnews.net that you may find interesting, then in the future you can add a DDC so you can make use of the Gustard’s i2S connection.  Hope this helps, and best of luck. 

Hard to beat Qutest for the $.  (Dave user here).  DAC before streamer.  


Look at the Rose rs150 or rose rs250 if you can. It has an internal DAC and you can load Music on an internal SSD {you have to buy what you want) or use a USB stick. It comes with many streaming stations all over the world. I think it is worth looking at and you can get an idea of what it is about on youtube.

I have no problem with your approach to streaming given your plan for future upgrades. Given you are looking for a transport I assume you listen to CDs.  One question,  what DAC would you be using for the transport?



If I go the separate route, I would be looking at the Chord qutest or a combo DAC/streamer and than when I have more dollars, upgrade the DAC. If I go one box solution, I would buy a used Uniti Atom. 

The transport is the easiest to replace.  I ripped all CDs to NAS, or you could use a streamer/server's internal, or USB drive.  I went with separate DAC and streamer and put money into the DAC and went with a relatively good price/performance option of Ifi Zen Streamer with upgraded power supply.  When money comes my way I will upgrade the streamer, but I'm happy with the ripped CDs and will not buy a transport.  Any time you use separates, the problem is that you can spend a fortune on power cables and USB/I2s interconnects.  So, I have an integrated amp, but I am settling for a bit less performance than going with separates.

Since today’s streaming can exceed or at least equal the sound quality of CDs… or ripped files, I would recommend putting all your money into a streamer and DAC,  This should allow getting off to a better start in streaming and ultimately a better sounding system. Blue sound is a good place to start… put more money into a separate DAC. You want a separate Streamer and DAC to allow independent upgrading. And single solutions are isolated and can be quieter and of higher quality. 

I’ve been at digital for forty years in about every combination possible. 

Does anyone have any experience or can comment on the zen mini mkiii?  This may be a good option for me to rip cd’s, and it’s a streamer DAC. In future, it allows me to upgrade the power supply and upgrade the DAC…keep as a streamer/ripper. I can forget about a credit transport. Blue sound vault another option…if I go towards separates, keeping the older Krell. 

@jengelmann is close. Played CDs are marginally better on a quality transport but I rarely use mine. All CDs are immediately ripped and the convenience outweighs any SQ differences. Just rip them on a PC, it makes it easier to tag them anyway. Start with a DAC you like (separate) and an integrated amp is fine if it has the I/O you need.

@fuzztone What do you mean “close?”  It’s perfect!!!


Actually, I only agreed with @soix. Guess you could have checked my system on my profile. I do have an Innuos Zenith MKII connected to a PS Audio Directstream via USB. I also have the Zenith running Roon as an endpoint. This slowed me to configure the squeezelite player to be configured to upsample playback to DSD64. I’m sure others will differ since what we don’t all hear or desire the same sounds. This configuration gave, for me, the desired sound. Sometimes recordings on CDs seem a little “sterile” sounding. The upsampling seemed to provide a little more warmth. I stream Tidal through Roon and some MQA playbacks sound a little muddy in my system. I just choose the flac versions of those albums. 


I spent $30 on a usb cd drive and used dBpoweramp software which will make sure that your stored cd is bit perfect and it will pull down artwork.  No fancy all in one will do better.

@ghdprentice  brings experience whereas I offer my build based on searching out those with expertise.   Go back and look at the profiles of those offerng their opinion and then look at some of their other posts and you can determine who to trust.. By all means don't trust me.

Does the Bluesound node have digital input to use with the Cambridge transport?

I may be wrong but don't believe it does. Do you currently use a CD player? 

I had an old Naim 3.5 CD player with flat cap power supply.  It stopped working and is thrashed.  

I think your Zen Mini strategy makes a lot of sense, especially if you have to do this in stages.  There’s a Darko review from a couple years back where I think he compares the Zen Mini to the Node (both older models I think) and I believe he preferred the Zen Mini.  In any event, I’d take the Zen Mini over the Vault as it’s likely a better streamer, and the Innuos Sense software is apparently one of the better sounding out there.  FWIW. 

i would suggest buy the best Dac you can afford, many devices can be used to stream until you have the additional money to then buy a streamer that is sonicly compatible witht he dac producing  the sound you are after. in the digital world in my opinion the dac is the core piece.

I agree get the best DAC you can afford. The Zen Mini is a okay but the DAC is not very good. Fine for ripping and streaming. 

I have a Bluesound Node 2i going onto an AudioGd NFS-1 DAC and Audiolab 6000CDT transport.  I was strongly considering a Cambridge Audio transport since I previously had the Azur 840C CD player but the reviews on the Audiolab seemed better.  Very happy with this setup although I find myself not listening to cds all that much ever since I got rid of the jewel cases and put them into notebooks.