Need tips to better my sound



I’m not computer savvy and enjoy the convenience of streaming.
Right now my router goes to my smart TV by ethernet cable. I stream Spotify app on TV through an optical cable to my dac (old parasound zdac) to yamaha integrated(a-s500) to Revel tower speakers.
Would the best Improvement be to get a dedicated streamer such as a blue sound? I heard blue sound doesn’t work with Spotify but maybe I could get Tidal? I have music stored on an external hard drive, but my computer is slow, old and crappy. I enjoy streaming and seeing my music choices on my TV screen. Do I need a computer to utilize a dedicated streamer? I don’t know how to go about improving this budget (ghetto) set up that I’ve got. The only brick-and-mortar store around me either wants to sell me tons of crap  I can’t afford, or Best Buy tells me "sonos".
suggestions? directions? thanks.
4342b7d3 d980 4bec aac0 282f8da1ee60labguy
Almost always the best upgrade is to make what you've got better before you go changing what you've got. In other words before buying another DAC get the most out of the one you have by upgrading its fuse, or power cord. Before upgrading computer upgrade the wires connecting it to your integrated. Before upgrading the integrated upgrade the fuse to Synergistic Orange, and add some ECT. The beauty of doing it this way, not only makes what you have now better but things like ECT are lifetime tweaks you keep and use on everything from now on. Same for things like BDR Cones. All these things, Cones, ECT, Orange Fuse, are $60-200 but will yield far more improvement than spending that same money on another streamer.
@labguy  Given where you are with your components, I recommend holding off on millercarbon's recommendations (for now).

Start with a streamer/DAC combo that allows you to run direct via Ethernet or WiFi from the router.

Not knowing your budget, I can't offer suggestions.
The blue sound node seems reasonably priced. Something like a Lumin would be pushing my budget. But I guess that all depends if I get a streamer with a DAC included that will better the parasound Z DAC, and if I need a computer to use a streamer. Mainly I just want to First address the weakest link in my system which I was guessing is using the smart TV's spotify app to stream. But maybe not? I'm pretty clueless. Thanks. 
Here's the best tip I have ever heard when someone asks how to get better sound from their system:

GET YOUR EARS CLEANED!!!

Hahahaha...;-)
The blue sound Node2i does support spotify if that’s what you want to use I use Tidal. You don't  need to use a computer with it and you can player your ripped music as long as it's  shared on your network. There are more than a dozen different streaming services on BluOS as well as internet radio.
I think your amp and speakers are pretty solid, so I highly suggest getting a Bluesound Node2i and get a Qobuz subscription that’s on special right now for $15/month and is a much better deal than hi-res Tidal IMO. The Node will solve several of your issues as you can ditch the computer while still being able to play your stored music, and the DAC in the Node is pretty decent and may well be an upgrade from your Zdac. Between significantly upgrading your source material, getting rid of the noisy computer, and quite possibly getting a better DAC you should realize a rather significant jump in sound quality and overall enjoyment I’d think. Hope this helps, and best of luck.
Go with the Bluesound Node 2i. Amazing performance for the price.
Wow, some rather cynical posts so far.

In any case, OP, I second (third) the Bluesound Node.

The onboard DAC is pretty good-especially for the price- and you can upgrade to a separate DAC should you find the need.
Given you current system, I think it will be a significant upgrade.
Bob
I fourth the Bluesound.  It works with Spotify and the DAC sounds pretty darn good.  If you haven't already, subscribe to Spotify Premium.  When you do, you can go into settings (from your computer or tablet) and set streaming to the highest quality they provide.  If you do nothing, it defaults to a lower quality
Get a Bluesound Node 2i and stream TIDAL.  This will allow you to listen to hi res and to also enjoy MQA.  I liked the Bluesound better played by itself rather than adding a DAC.
@labguy 
My advice is to take all advice given and then research, research, research. You don’t want to waste dollars so know what you want, analyse the advice, research the products and purchase wisely.
Without taking away any of the advice given so far, don’t buy because “they” said so. Understand what it is you want and use this, and other forums to get the feel of advice given, then check it out on the manufacturer’s web sites. :)
nobody mentioned Deezer or Tidal.. why not?   those with thereselves can Improve Sound 10 - 40 fold..
Given where you are with your components, I recommend holding off on millercarbon's recommendations (for now).


Right, only David_ten forgot to add, "and forever". Because for guys who never experienced or don't understand the value of these things the sad fact is the right time is never. They always want you to do something else first.

But hey, don't take my word for it. Ask him. Ask him if not now, when? I recommend Orville Redenbacher.

So here you are, not a lot of stuff, none of it anywhere near the top of its class, and not a lot of money. So what do "they" recommend? Spend what you can afford. On what? Something hardly any better than what you have. Worse, most of what they're recommending is stuff that however good they think it is now within 6 months, a year tops, something better will be out and their hot pick will be stone cold, long forgotten. That's just the way it is with digital, and solid state. Sooner you get used to it, sooner you start actually making progress instead of running on a treadmill going nowhere.

So what's the alternative? Trick your system out to the max with Cones, fuses like Synergistic Orange, contact enhancement like Total Contact. Read Mahgister, and me, and Frank and Pritchard, and learn to understand that big box components aren't even half the battle. 

Oh sure, you will tend to feel a little funny sticking little Synergistic Research ECT on your laptop, HFT on your walls and speakers. Your friends will think you weird, and you will never get the approval of the wanna bees of which there are so darn many around here. 

This funny feeling won't last long however. First you will notice all the same guys now pushing Bluesound are saying Red is the new blue get Redsound. Or Black. Whatever. Same Schiit, different day. One day when you are moving your BDR Cones to go under your new component it will occur to you this is like 5 years they've been killing it, and still are, and oh yeah same for those ECT, and the HFT work just as good in my new home as they did in my apartment.

Try imagining any of that happening with any of the stuff these other guys are recommending. 

The Japanese have a saying: The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is today.

Choose wisely.
@millercarbon 
I have tweaks all over my system, it’s fun and I enjoy the results. Other than power cord, what tweaks do you recommend for a node2i

andrew 
Do not listen to these people who shill for tweak companies. First there’s the black fuse then the blue then the orange you’ll go through the whole freaking rainbow. Look for a streamer you can afford then research it, you mentioned Bluesound it might not be the end all in streamers but it will make a bigger difference than changing fuses or playing with paste and magic mats.
I like my Bluesound Node2i, does a great job with a good amp and speakers, I’m not sure spending four times the price for a Lumin etc would deliver four times the improvement or an improvement to justify the spend, order direct and get an home trial. 
You guys rock! Thanks to everybody that responded. I see a recurring theme of suggestions for the next best step to take. High quality streaming with a dedicated streamer. I'm still not sure how or why that dedicated streamer makes a difference (wish I understood that) but I trust that it will. As far as Millercarbon suggestions, I'm sure in a well-established system, tweaks can customize and benefit an individual, but I'm looking to eliminate the weakest link in the chain right now, and as little as I know, I can say with relative confidence that it's not a fuse or power cord. The power cord for my integrated is built in, I don't see any fuse on it externally. My DAC is old enough that technology has probably advanced more than a power cord would change the sound, etc.  So I'll hold off on tweeks till a later time. The only other question that I have at this point would be other streamers to consider besides the bluesound node 2i. My Revel speaker dips down to 4 Ohms so don't need an amp built into the streamer because I'll require a dedicated integrated or amp. And if the streamer I purchase has a DAC, it needs to be better than the parasound Z DAC or I'm paying for a feature I won't use. If it is better than the Parasound ZDAC then I can at least sell my Zdac for a few bucks to offset the cost of upgrading the streamer / DAC combo. Thoughts?
First let’s clearly call out the fuse recommendation as totally baseless other than that there are some obsessed with fuses here for whatever reason.

Then realize Spotify sound quality is not bad but is not even CD resolution so that is a clear compromise. Tidal Amazon HD or Qobuz is better.

Having been streaming now for many years I find differences in streamers to be minimal in general however DACs make a big difference similar in magnitude to cartridges playing records.  If you have an older DAC in particular I would look to upgrade there first. 


Radio Paradise has a CD quality FLAC stream available. Try that to get a feel for how Spotify compares to CD resolution and if that is something that matters for you.
@labguy,

As many of us suggested above, buy the Blusound Node 2i which comes with at least 15-30 days return policy from quite a few online retailers. Once you have node 2i in-house, do an A/B comparison with Node 2i internal DAC vs. ZDac. Also sign up for free trial with Tidal to compare SQ with Spotify. Many finds Spotify SQ acceptable but without a doubt Tidal and Qobuz offers much better streaming sound quality.

In the end, Trust your ears and make an informed decision.
Sweet!!
 Problem solved thanks guys🙂
mapman
First let’s clearly call out the fuse recommendation as totally baseless other than that there are some obsessed with fuses here for whatever reason.

Aw, geez, another person who’s all thumbs. 👍
Join the Navy. Then you can make a uniformed decision. 
What soix said.

At the $150/yr special you will not find better SQ for the buck than Qobuz.
You can blow $360/yr on Tidal+Roon and get NO better SQ.
Not intersested in proprietary MQA.  Either is Linn, Schiit, etc.
It "does not solve any problem that the world currently has."
I can barely listen to Spotify any more, even to a BT speaker in a motel room. At $120/yr it sounds to me like it's worth $1/week. AND Spotify is digging in against upgrading to even lossless. You can effortlessly transfer your personally made playlists via the Soundiz page. (One p/l at a time for free.)
With a spdif cable from Blunode 2 or 2i to your z you can compare the SQ of both DACs to give a sense of direction on you HiFi journey.
OR
You can grab a closeout Blunode N100 ($300 Amazon) before they are gone, hook to ethernet (its WiFi sux) and toslink it to your z (the N100 internal DAC also sux.) Just resist swapping any cables on the N100 because you need the proverbial dick tweezers to access the jacks.
Also know that all Blunodes will play local lossless+ tracks via flash drive or SSD. (The N100 only suppies enough current for up to a 500 Gb Silicon Power external.) This is easier and quicker than adding music to my Synology NAS, no foldersort.exe needed on SSDs. And it reduces the need to make playlists for easy folder play.
Just be aware that all streamers that I have tried here require sporadic (~monthly) rebooting along with the router (node) to renew the handshake. (This is most likely ComCrap's fault.)
OR
You can put a $160 orange fuse into your yamamama.
Please report on SQ improvements if you go that route.
I really mean it.
Don’t waste money on upgraded fuses.  Worst audio advice you can act on. 
Post removed 
sfseay"Don’t waste money on upgraded fuses. Worst audio advice you can act on."

Will you please advice us what upgraded fuses you have acquired, what Music Reproduction System components you have installed them in and the nature of you’re listening tests that have leaded you to this unqualified, unilateral, and absolute pronouncement?
Update:  I just purchased the node 2i, and will order a year of qobuz for $150 within the week.
Can't wait to integrate these two things and see if I still need the Zdac. Next steps of possible improvements will be room treatments (or better yet, improved integrated with room correction like Anthem STR?) Anyway, I get ahead of myself and I'm pretty broke now so that's it for this month's improvements. I'm working overtime in hopes of slowly gaining improvements. I sincerely appreciate all the wonderful input and experience shared on this post (minimal trolls and jackholes). I really hope you same guys are around to help me with the next step.
Thanks go out to soix, fuzztone, gdnrbob, lalitk, highpeakrider, mr_m, larry5729, and the other contributors that shared experience and knowledge.