Moving up from a Node 2i

I want to keep it between 1K and 1500.00, closer to a grand if at all possible. I don't care about onboard DACs, since I have a keen liking for mine. What is out there for a streamer, new or used, that will sound better than the Node when outputting to an external DAC? I like the functionality of the Node, don't want something with a sketchy user interface. But honestly, I think my old Allo Digione (Raspberry Pi) might have sounded a little more organic and fleshed out than the Node.

What say ye, Audiogon?


what we all are wanting to know is if the streamer itself, with the same DAC, can make a big difference.
Most streamers include a DAC by design.  As you yourself noted, the Lumin U1 Mini appears to be the only device in the $1K - $2K space that is a streamer only.  Let's wait and see what Ozzy has to say once he's had a chance to listen for a bit.  I'm willing to bet that the Lumin is going to sound better than the Node 2i using the same external DAC.

...but most of us are curious about a solution that is between $1,000 and $2,000 and if that will produce objectively better SQ.
True.  Outside of measurements it’s all subjective though; I’ll just quote myself from the first page of this thread:
FWIW, I don’t think the U1mini is an upgrade as much as a nice side-grade to get a great app and excellent support. Upgrades to DAC, amp, speakers/headphones would yield more significant improvements.
Some don’t like the Lumin app, but it was one of the selling points for me.
I don’t see any references to support for WiFi in some of these “better” streamers. If WiFi is a requirement, what would be a recommendation for an upgrade from the Node2/2i?
laserjock1963 said:
Different digital methods could make the difference.
Do it over using same methods of transfer.

It’s hard to compare with all the permutations we have for connecting our streamers and DACs. Finding the most synergistic digital path is key for me when testing, not necessarily comparing the same connections. The Lumin U1 Mini has 5 ways to output digital; the Node 2i has 2.

I’ve read many forum posts that say the Lumin U1 Mini’s AES/EBU output may be the best sounding. I couldn’t test that; I don’t have a DAC with an XLR input for AES.

I found the best synergy, and subsequent sound quality, for the U1 Mini to my RME ADI-2 DAC was USB. A DAC with a lesser USB implementation may do better with S/PDIF or AES.

The best sound quality out of the Node 2i for my setup was S/PDIF-Coax to the ADI-2 DAC.

Sound quality between the two connected this way, subjectively: I like the U1 Mini better than the Node 2i, but it isn’t a huge difference. They are both very good.

kalali said:
I don’t see any references to support for WiFi in some of these            “better” streamers. If WiFi is a requirement, what would be a  recommendation for an upgrade from the Node2/2i?

Don’t let WiFi, or lack there of, color your decision making process. Assuming that you DO have WiFi in your house, all you need is a simple WiFi extender. They can be had for as little as $30. If you go to Upscale Audio’s website, and look at their streamer selections, you’ll see that for any streamer that is Ethernet only they recommend a simple extender easily available on Amazon. I have a Bel Canto e.One Stream and I’m using an old Apple AirPort Express WiFi extender and it works like a champ.