Need helpful recommendations for next two purchases
So I'm 73 just getting back into two-channel. So far I've purchased from Adrian ( great guy highly recommended) on Audiogon a pair of Canton 9k reference speakers with stands, and a Jamo c80 sub, and fancy speaker cables Wooo the hook has been set lol. Oh and thanks again for the Canton feedback. The Cantons are powered by my 30 yr old Adcom gfa555 250 watts per, Emotiva XDA-1 preamp/DAC (24 bit/192 kHz), And a new Marantz CD 6006. The Marantz has a USB port which is set up for an iPhone, it also has a headphone amp and a DAC that can drive the amp directly. I know jack about streaming but believe it should be my next component. My question given the level of my system and a budget of about $600 what should I be considering for a streamer or whatever it is called to listen to music through Roon or other similar sources from the WWW? It seems the one's I've looked at are all Preamp/DAC/Streamers such as CambridgeCXN V2 ( way over budget) Marantz NA6006 and Bluestone Node2i both in budget.The problem is all three seem to be duplicating what my Emotiva already brings in the way of a preamp/DAC so why should I spend $$ for stuff I have already except if one is better then the Emotiva at preamping and DACing OR are there just streamers I could buy please show me the way. Oh while I like detail the above system could use just a little warmth it is not bright or forward almost just right. Almost ... I see it coming lol it is always going to be almost.
An extra credit Help question I will post a bit down the road but you could get me researching now what to replace my Adcom GFA 555 ( quiet as a mouse nothing leaking or bulging inside but its 30 years old) and at 73 I know what age can do that you can't see. My budget is $2000+- I don't mind used but can't afford to by a Krell, McCormick, Bryston etc. and then get hammered with another couple of grand in repairs. Did I mention I'm retired on a fixed income, Scottish with a dear wife that I want her to remain so. Oh while I like tubes at some level I'm not a tube guy can't afford the upkeep or temptation to roll tubes. My shortlist to be researched beyond just their names include: a few pieces of Schiits, XTZ A 300 or 2 biamped, Emotiva base X a 300 or 2 bi amped or Emotiva stealth PA1 biamped. I worry that Emotiva amps will add to much brightness forward sound. Also looking into a built kit from Akitika, Rotel RB1552 mk2, Optoma NuForce STA200,Nu Prime st10. At this point, these are just names do you like any? Do you have any other amps I should consider given my set up noted above? The room 12x16 vaulted ceiling 8 ft to about 18 ft system out 2 ft from the 8 ft wall. WW carpet, 2 overstuffed chairs on either side of speakers. lots of hanging plants ( in corners) three big glass windows behind my system, one glass sliding door to deck comprises one short wall,the other short wall has 8 ft opening, behind my couch that faces the system is a wall with a big glass picture 2x3 ft. that long wall facing the system has plants in each corner and hanging baskets in each corner. Not a lot of echo despite all the glass life's a compromise. Thank you for reading all this stuff and for your kind recommendations. Be safe stay healthy listen to music.
buy a bluesound node 2i - you will treat its DAC section as a throwaway - you are buying it for its streaming ability (digital out to your emotiva) and its easy to use blu os interface.... the interface is important for streaming as it is the control panel you interact with
other option is buy a basic sonos streamer and a wyred for sound reclocker to clean its digital output - then use sonos app to control streaming
Your Emotiva is only a DAC, no streaming. So if you want to stream music services like Tidal, Qobuz, etc., you need a streaming device. I would also recommend the Bluesound Node 2i, it sounds good and will complement the level your system is currently at and has a great interface that is easy to use. If you're not familiar with streaming, realize that you will need to control the Bluesound from a phone or tablet using Bluesound's free app. I would avoid the Marantz streamer. It's harder to use, and unless they've made some updates, doesn't support as many music services as Blue OS. For amplification, I'd add Vincent to your short list, you might be able to find one of their SV-237 integrated amps used within your budget and you could ditch the Adcom and Emotiva pieces.
For my HT system I use Class D Audio amps that I built from kits. For a little over $300, you could have plenty of clean, cool power. They also sell complete amps, too. All well under your budget. They sound surprisingly good.
Look for a used Nuforce Reference 9 SE mono amps versions 2 or 3. I had a Bryston 8B, then a better sounding Edge M6, but the mentioned Nuforce was significantly better sounding than either of those amps. Later, I had TDSS do their level 3 upgrades to the Nuforce amps. Very good amps became a super amps and I'll keep them as long as they work. I bought the pair of mono amps used for $1400--list for $5200. You wouldn't need to worry about amp upgrades ever, unless you wanted to go the factory OK'd TDSS method. I've heard these amps with a variety of speakers that friends have. In every case, it was the best the system sounded. Clarity, dynamics, textural bass, and vocals that make you melt.
The volume control on the Emotiva XDA-1 is not loseless. In other words you degrade sound quality below maximum volume. So it is not a good choice as a preamp. Better to just use it as a DAC.
The Emotiva XDA-2 does have loseless volume control and can be used as a preamp and DAC. I highly recommend the XDA-2 if you can find one on the used market.
There are many good amps out there. I would recommend Parasound Halo A23+. As someone said earlier, Vincent also makes some good amps. If you want to keep your XDA-1 and just use it as a DAC, than you should get an integrated amp.
I agree with Greg. Get a Node 2i and a good integrated from Vincent, Yamaha or Marantz. Ditch the preamp and amp. Get some nice cables from Cullen or Audio Envy. The Bluos app on the Node is intuitive, easy to use.
If all you need is an "endpoint" for playng online music using Roon or Tidal or Spotify etc etc, and you are not hung up on mega high res files, the simplest and cheapest route could be a ChromeCast Audio (or Apple TV 3rd gen if you are an Apple person) connecting using optical to your XDA-1.
The DAC in the Emotiva is one reason why you have glare/brightness, and as mentioned by someone else, another reason is its preamp section is lossy. Simplify your system by selling the Emotiva and your amp and getting an all in one integrated amp/streamer like the PS Audio Strata, NAD M32 or M33, or Hegel H190.
I recently jumped into streaming with a Node 2i and a Tidal prescription. Got my wife on board when we figured out the Node can 'tune' (stream) local radio stations as well. The learning curve was pretty easy - I'm controlling with a computer, or my android phone, she uses her I-pad. We're also very close to retirement...Keep the fun going!
I would look at a portable WiFi enabled digital music player from FiiO and others. These have capable DACs, some can be a Roon endpoint, and you can run them on their rechargable batteries, removing them from the grid. Just add a good 1/8th inch to RCA breakout cable, and you are good to go. Plus, you have a player that you can use on the go as well.
You have a lot of good recommendations and it can be confusing for someone just getting into streaming. For simplicity I would recommend the Bluesound Node2i. It has a built-in DAC that is ok but most stand alone DACs will outperform it. The Node2I can be used with its internal DAC or you can use your own stand alone DAC.
I would go with an integrated amp to replace your Adcom and Emotiva. There are many good integrated amps out there from Yamaha, Marantz, Denon and others. It depends on how much you want to spend. Many have built-in DACs that may be better than the one in the Node2i. You might want to check out the Yamaha A-S801 or A-S701. They both have a nice built-in DAC and you could compare it with the one in the Node2i to see which sounds better in your system.
I would recommend purchasing from a retailer with a liberal return policy in case you are not happy with the component.
Again thanks for all the advice I have not listened to many systems so my frame of reference is severely limited.From what I've heard from youtube videos of audio shows Woo my gear is like 10% of what I hear but also 1/100 the cost. My budget is $5,000. I've spent $2500 on speakers and CD player the node2i would extend my listening range so thats $500.Therefore
I've got $2,000 to use for an amp and later a better preamp/dac.I'm using cox cables for interconnects and speaker cable is from Maker Audio I'm fine with that. Currently, my system sounds very good to my hearing (wish I could upgrade my old ears), from where it was prior to the Canton, Jamo sub purchase. It does not sound etched or bright to me. Piano, sax, sound real to me Chet Bakers' early voice still sounds silky but certainly not tubeish nor would I want it to be. Tubes do not sound natural nice for sure natural not to me. I would say currently my room is the biggest obstacle and the only way to improve that is by a divorce no way that's going to happen.
I would use most of the $2000 for an integrated amplifier. Save whatever is left over, and slowly add to it over time for a possible DAC upgrade. You don't need a "preamp DAC". Your speakers deserve a nice integrated. Note sure what Cox cables are?
Do you own a current or fairy new laptop or iPhone? I use both run through a Schiit dac and they work great. I stream Quobuz and internet radio and all my cd’s that I uploaded to the cloud. Put the money in the dac and not the streamer. You most likely have the streamer and don’t know it.
ericsch connections. A number of folks mentioned an integrated amp Why not separates like the XTZ edge a 300 or someone brought up Odyssey Kharrtagn.or Stratos could even bi amp them would that not sound much better then an integrated amp? I could do that for between 1 and 2 thousand depending on which one I would purchase. then save and move to replace the Emotiva DAC.All the while useing the lap top or my iphone ( just got my first one ) to stream as sgreg suggested until ready to upgrade that to the Node2i. Have integrated matched the performance of these cheaper amps?I know you would get a pre /DAC/ and power amp all rolled into one but would it sound better you think?
For a streamer I purchased from a company seldom mentioned on here. Its the Nord Acoustics Easy Stream Connect DAC ES9038. These are a small streamer/DAC combo that, at the flip of a switch, will allow it to be used as a combo or run a digital out to an external DAC. It accesses more sources than I knew were available. The internal DAC is pretty good on its own actually. I went this route for three reasons, 1, It sounded better to me than the Bluesound Node 2i does in my system. 2, Its small. 3, Delivered to me, including VAT (over seas company), I spent $325.
twoch if I'm dead what do I care. Thanks again everyone for your time and expert and experiential advice very much appreciated. Will take a fresh look at integrated amps and preamp/DAC like a Mytech Brooklyn bridge or the Elac Alchemy while over my budget they do have streaming along with better DACS and preamps. Combine one of them with my Adcom 555 until I can afford to maybe bi-amp the Edge xtz a 300,or just one Odyssey Kahartago. And overspend my budget by a grand and by $2,000 in the long run. Do you think there is an equal or better combination mentioned above for less as far as bang for the buck given my current system?