Streamer recommendations for dummies.


I’m new at this.
I need an e-net streaming device for AirPlay that can be set to a specific gain to prevent iTunes users from overwhelming my amp with the preset volume on their device. Anything above 60% is too much.
It would be nice to be able to EQ at the streamer as well, but the big problem is volume; when an iOS or OSX device sends a song to my amp at high volume (ear bud volume) it basically blows my bookshelf speakers off the stand.
Equipment:
amp: Hegel H160 -150 W RMS X2,   32-bit AKM DAC @ 24/192 except USB at 24/96 on 1 GB e-net.
speakers: SF Concerto on stands.Ben
casteeb
The Node2i has four gain levels, disabled, track, album and smart, treble and bass tone controls and volume limits. It is also Airplay 2  though I have never used it.
Thanks, I was looking at Node2i, very nice... so I guess the volume limit control would allow me to set a max gain into the Hegel?
Wonder how much better it would sound over the built in DAC...
Node 2i is what you need.
I am not sure if it's any better but it is a pretty good DAC in the Node but  I don't use the DAC in the Node2i.  I run the digital out from the Node  to a Benchmark DAC 3B and connect the analog from that to my amp. You could either use the DAC in the Node with analog out or use your Hegel's DAC by connecting through digital. You can adjust the gain, and volume limits in the streamer and do a little EQ with treble and bass. 
Sounds perfect, like you, I’m not sure I’m getting a better DAC with node2i. As I am not an audiophile I don’t follow this stuff very closely but it appears the node2i DAC has about the same specs as the Hegel built in 32-bit AKM DAC @ 24/192. I’m told I missed the "oppo udp 205" option... but that’s normal for me, if there is a "great deal" you can be assured I missed it :)Thanks for all the feedback, it’s nice to get opinions from other folks experience. So maybe selling out ARPANET  wasn’t such a bad idea after all.Ben



Casteeb,
If I am not mistaken the Hegel H160 can steam directly over ethernet.
If that is correct all you would need would be either a laptop or a desktop computer or a dedicated server on the same wifi/ethernet network as what you would plug the H160 into.
You can then use Roon and stream directly to the Hegel. Roon has a built in dsp for room correction and a digital eq. as well.

An Innuous server would be our recommendation as a dedicated server will sound even better than a conventional computer sending data over the network.

Dave and TroyAudio Doctor NJ
The digital volume control in LUMIN products is independent of the AirPlay source volume setting. So that means even if a guest has their iTunes/iPhone volume set to max, but the LUMIN is set at 50%, the music will come out pretty quiet. It'll actually be lower than if you had selected 50% in iTunes (I just tried this to confirm).
Why would this gentleman need a Dac based streamer sucn a Node when the Hegel has a good dac built in?

He can go with:

1:  Wired steaming via any computer in the Network
2:  Dedicated server Innuous or Lumin or Auralic for high quality digital output direct particularly via USB for upsampling and or upconversion via Roon.
3: A dac based server and go analog out if that dac sounds better or use a digital out ie a Node. 

We love the Node and sell and endorse them however, an amplifier with USB can often accept an upconverted data stream via USB which usally sounds better than running an SPDIF or AES input.

Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ




I guess because  the gentleman  asked for a streamer he could control the volume to keep people  that are using itunes and Airplay from blowing his speakers off the stands and in the Hegel manual it states Warning check itunes volume because the H160 will set it's volume to match iTunes when iTunes  starts playing to the H160 and certain family members aren't complying so he wanted a streamer to put between all of the iphones and ipads to limit the volume. That's the  only reason I can think of. 
Linn do v g streamers that take Spotify or airplay streams and send into other sources - standalone DS or the ones with amp in DSM. The volume controlled by LINN not people’s own devices ..... also lets you hookup Ethernet to NAS drive with all your digital files and rips on.
Thanks guys, I appreciate all the ideas. I've read up on node2i, I will review the LUMIN option as well.Ben
Post removed 
Wow, LUMIN  is $2 - $10K, I don't think I have the money to play the LUMIN game, they do however have some amazing hardware.
Ben
Actually, it seems if you are in England you can still buy Auralic ARIES MINI at strictlystereo, be fun to have 2 DACs to compare...
But you can't EQ with the ARIS mini - "The ARIES MINI, as we have advertised at the product launch, will not support EQ and placement compensation" For the additional money it would be nice to have EQ capability.
My bad. I missed ( brain fart) your desire for eq tweaking capability.
No, all the options are valuable to be reviewed.
The H160 does have direct streaming, like we said though, Hegel  bound the iTunes airplay volume to the amp volume and that turned out to be a really bad idea in practice.Also it's Airplay connection can disappear on some devices, no more software updates available for it, etc.Just needs a good front-end streamer that the vendor will be maintaining with current software updates as Apple will do everything it can to make it's stuff propitiatory. I'd like the the system to still work after the next iOS OSX update ....

I guess my h160 did have the streaming, I just never could get it to work correctly, maybe the h190 is better.
Oh and do not start with Apple and iOS!
With one fell swoop earlier this year they made the vast majority of older Apple devices obsolete with the iOS11 update which the vast majority of older devices CANNOT be updated to!
Say what Apple! Thanks a bunch !
So I had to buy a newer iPad just to update the Lightning DS app for Auralic which now needed iOS11!
GRRRRRRR!!!!!!!
Why would this gentleman need a Dac based streamer sucn a Node when the Hegel has a good dac built in?
The digital volume control applies to the digital outputs of the LUMIN products, and the LUMIN U1 and U1 Mini do not have analog outputs. What I confirmed last night was a LUMIN feeding S/PDIF out to an external DAC, with the digital volume control engaged.

In other words, if OP's guests AirPlay to a LUMIN, it will volume limit playback via digital out to any DAC (i.e. the Hegel H160).

For EQ, the new miniDSP SHD devices also accept AirPlay and have built-in DSP options. I don't recall if there is a preset volume setting you can control though, for when AirPlay would kick in. However the UX is less polished than some other devices which might create some annoyances for you in exchange.

Unfortunately I can't think of any other AirPlay-compatible devices at the moment that will override the source's volume setting.
I like LUMIN specs a lot, but the price tells me they are targeting folks with pro audio equipment. Appreciate all the info, this has become a more interesting hunt then I had anticipated.My limited experience and testing has shown me that one thing really did make a difference in my setup and that is EQ functionality.It may be worth throwing some extra money at this problem to gain better control over the input. I've done a bit of digital recording of acoustic  guitar with Apogee, Neumann and Apple recording products, so I shouldn't be surprised by that...but somehow I never really connected the two...  we'll get this dialed in before it's over.

Ben
I'm a strong proponent for Dirac Live room correction, over standard PEQ of frequency response. The time-domain correction is an incredible improvement, that pretty much everyone loves once they hear it.

miniDSP's boxes are the most convenient way to add Dirac to a speaker setup, although you can find Dirac integrated into other products from brands like NAD, Bryston, Emotiva, Arcam, and AudioControl.

There are other products besides Dirac that offer similar functionality, but none that are as easy to use and integrate into an existing system in terms of hardware or software in my experience.
Comparing the options Node2i, Yamaha WXC-50, LUMIN, AURALIC,
miniDSP SHD ... Unless I'm missing something, I'm thinking node2i is probably the best bang for the buck and least risk. Have to give up the EQ option but ...we can figure that out later.....
Thanks guys, really appreciate all the ideas.Ben
Bel Canto’s e.One Stream - $1599
Nice!
Node-2 arrived today and integrated immediately with the Hegel H160, I think the DAC sounds equal and the issue of managing volume is resolved. Thanks to all who voiced opinions, I appreciate that others with  experience are willing to share.Ben
There is however one thing I don't like with node2, streaming under Hegel H160 network interface I need about 47 on volume for max gain with my speakers (SF Concerto).
To match that volume on node2 you have to go up to about 76 on the volume. Same results under Coax, RCA and Toslink. 
Don't like having to set the Hegel at 76 volume to use the Node2.Ugh ....
Ben
Does changing the gain settings in the Node 2i make a difference ?
That's with the node2 at max output.Apparently the gain on the Hegel network interface (AirPlay) is way higher than the other digital and analog inputs.So now I have the opposite problem, yes iTunes users will not be able to crank the volume to 100% and blow out a speaker, but if any source other  than node2i connects the volume will be set to 75% (it changes the volume on all inputs if you change any 1 input).This machine is full of surprises....I'm going to mess with it a while and see if I justify the $500...After more testing I believe the Hegel DAC is better then Node2i.
After more testing I believe the Hegel DAC is better then Node2i.
That is not a surprise as I owned both the H300 and the H160 and found the DAC to be a lot better than my Vault.

Even though the 2i versions are supposed to be better DAC than previous it would have to be a major increase to best the Hegel DAC which are actually very good for an integrated amp.
Well, after toying a little more with the node2i it seems the audio gain when streaming from sources "other than" iPhone is really quite good. Streaming from Synology NAS, and online content has me locking the Hegel H160 at about 65% volume and running everything through BluOS app, that stuff works. Very happy with Hegel DAC and amount of gain.
Checked with my Hegel rep and verified running a steady 65% 24x7 on H160 is a non-issue so ....it seems the node2i is a keeper.All good.

Any thoughts on the Pro-Ject box series?  I think there are low priced streaming models.  I like the idea of the Node, but I have a good 96/24 DAC, and I wish there was an affordable streaming DAC with a better DAC section and good user interface (Android app; I can't afford Room right now).  My best thought on this now is Node 2i to iFi Black Label DAC, but I would also want a tablet, so the package is around $1200.  I might have grabbed that Oppo DAC if it did gapless.  Where is the new Squeezebox Touch when you need it?!?