Streamer/DAC recommendation


I am moving my Bluesound Node 2 to another system and am looking for something to replace it in my main system.  I have been very pleased with the Node 2  but am curious to see what kind of improvement I can get from upgraded components.  I kind of like the idea of an all in one box but am not opposed to separating the DAC and streamer if there is clear advantage in doing so.  At the very top end of my budget I have considered the Aurender A10 but am realistically looking for something less than the A10 price wise. I am considering the Lumin D2 or T1 as well as the Auralic Altair.  MQA would be a nice option but is not a deal breaker.  I stream files from a NAS and Tidal.  I like the idea of a built in hard drive (included in the A10 and an option on the Altair)...but not a deal breaker.  I have also just recently added to my list the PS Audio Jr DAC and the upcoming Ifi DSD Pro DAC.  If I understand correctly both of these have both DAC and streaming capability.  Having said that, the quality and simplicity of the control app is important.  I like the BlueOS and from what I've seen of the Auralic Lightening app, Lumin and Aurender apps, these are very appealing as well.  Not sure exactly what app I would use with PS Jr or Ifi Pro.  Just interested in hearing some recommendations from anyone who has knowledge of or experience with any of these other products.
randyhat

Are you looking for new features like Roon or just interested in getting better sound quality?

How are you driving your DAC from the Bluesound?

Just interested in better sound.  I don't really need all the bells and whistles of Roon.  Just looking to keep it simple.  I am currently using the built in DAC in  Bluesound with RCA outs to my line stage. Also, I don't necessarily need a streamer/DAC that has preamp or headphone capability.   Thanks

To get significantly better sound, you don’t need to replace the Bluesound if you like it. It is not optimum to use the server as a DAC as well IME. Just get a good DAC and connect to the Bluesound with a good S/PDIF coax cable like this one:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=154425.0

If that does not deliver what you are looking for, then add a Synchro-Mesh reclocker for $599 to reduce jitter from the Bluesound to 20psec:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=154918.0

As for DAC’s, I don’t know what your budget is, but the Border Patrol is very popular, particularly if you don’t care about DSD or 192 PCM.

Other options from Ressonessence and Chord are good choices that support higher sample-rates.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

I would be more inclined to do as you suggest and just get a better DAC for the Bluesound.  However, I am removing it altogether.   I guess I could just get another one but since I will be having to replace the Bluesound anyway I just thought I would consider something different.  Thank you for your recommendations.

Then I can recommend Antipodes and Aurender.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

randyhat,

It’s subjective to give recommendations.
IMO you should consider the sistem altogether.
I have Auralic Altair and the sound with a Class A amp + Good Speakers + Room
upgrade made an excellent RESULT.
Try to listen this combo, if you can, before decide.
Auralic is good brand.

sacresta


If you want to stick with BluOS, the NAD M50.2 is a very good streamer with a CD drive and RAID HDD setup as well. 

It will do the first unfold of MQA for you. No DAC though.
I have an Altair, use it as a preamp to my Rogue amp. 1GB SSD installed, I load up the SSD thru a wireless network connection. iPad mini to control the Lightning DS software. The Altair handles Tidal MQA with Aurulic’s own processing. It all works very well and sounds delightful.
which Nordorst Power cord would you recommend for the Bluesound Node2?

Two things will limit your ultimate SQ:

1) FLAC files streamed from Tidal

2) Player that supports streaming

FLAC files can probably be transcoded to WAV using HQPlayer if you can figure out how to use it.

If you were to change to a non-streaming solution like Linn Kinsky and Minimserver on a Mac, this will outperform any streaming software out there. I have tested many of them. This is the most live of any sound I have ever heard. You can also take your favorite tracks and make them WAV and not FLAC. This will make a much more live presentation. Kinsky works with UPnP renderers.


Steve N.

Empirical Audio