Streamer Advice: Bluesound Node 2 vs Aries Mini vs Oppo


I know a lot of these advice threads already exist, and plenty of useful info from those. I’m looking for a network streamer with a budget of $500 ($600 is my absolute max). I’ll be playing my own redbook quality FLAC files, and streaming via Tidal. The Bluesound Node 2 and Auralic Aries Mini each check a lot of boxes for me, but I’m having a hard time finding an Aries Mini for sale.

My questions are...

Is there a significant benefit to the Aries Mini over the Bluesound Node 2? If folks think I’m better off with the Aries Mini I don’t mind waiting, and continuing the search for one.

And would an Oppo BDP-103 or BDP-105 be a better choice compared to either the Bluesound or Auralic?

I can’t afford the prices that Oppo UDP models are fetching, but I’m finding a lot of BDP-103s between $300-$500 and even some BDP-105s around $500-$600.

Having a Blu-Ray, CD, SACD player coupled with streaming is very enticing. Since Oppo’s digital components are no longer in production my hesitation is software support potentially going away.

Thanks, and cheers!
- MD


Showing 1 response by ajlm

I have both an Aries Mini and a Cambridge CXN. Personally I find that the Aries Mini is a much more flexible streamer ... also I expect this is so compared to the Node 2.
Aries Mini supports Qobuz, the CXN doesn't.In addition, I installed a 1TB SSD in my Aries Mini with all my music. The Aries Mini also acts as network media server for a.o. the CXN.Furthermore, the Aries Mini also has a USB output to an amp/preamp/DAC with USB input.So net net the Aries Mini is great price/performance value (unless you're looking for multi-room capability/integration a la Sonos/Heos/BluOS). I suspect, it's price/performance value is too good, as Auralic stopped selling it ... instead to get similar streaming/server functionality (incl option to install SSD) you have to buy the Auralic Aries G2 which costs 5x as much.As to the Node 2i, the only pro (from my perspective) vs the Aries Mini is the 2way bluetooth headphone capability and multi-room capabilities.
The CXN does have a couple plus points: it has a remote with presets (for ex for internet radio, etc) and better integration with Logitech/Harmony remote controls.It you only use a phone/tablet as control point, then Aries Mini is great ...
One last interesting (?) point is that Aries is compliant with OpenHome software platform. So this means that even the Esoteric and Lumin apps (also OpenHome based) work with the Aries Mini.My recommendation is buy an Aries Mini if you can still find one.
Good luck.