Streamer upgrade recommendations


A recent DAC upgrade from a Schiit Modi Multibit to the Mojo Mystique v3 is having me consider an upgrade to my digital source.

I currently use a W4S modded Sonos Connect, streaming Deezer HIFI (16bit FLAC).  I'm committed to Deezer and pretty invested in Sonos - with Connects in two systems and a few Sonos speakers.  I'm not keen on the idea of adding a dedicated music server/player.  (keep it simple.  Roon doesn't support Deezer fully anyways, I don't have stored music files)

With the constraints above considered, it seems my choices are limited.   Here's what I'm considering:

  1. Bluesound Node 2i 
  2. Simaudio Moon Mind2
  3. Add SynchroMesh to Sonos Connect

I wonder if Node 2i would have better SQ than W4S Connect.

Moon Mind2 looks compelling - but zero reviews about it.

Would  Syncromesh SQ improvements be beyond a modded connect?

For options 1&2, I'd keep the Connect in the system for multi-room play as background music, parties, etc.

I know I should just demo all three, and will probably do so.  Was wondering if anyone has been in this situation or has recommendations.  Opinions welcome.   I wish the microrendu had deezer support...

-VeroGuy

System Details:

  • Kinki EX-M1 Integrated Amp
  • Bryston Mini-T speakers
  • Mojo Audio Mystique v3
  • W4S modded Sonos Connect
  • Signal Cable speaker cables and interconnects
  • Mojo Audio spdif cable
  • Pangea power cables


veroguy
After two years of tweaking, my streaming is now as good, if not better, than my CD transport/DAC combo. It all started with replacing the wall wart to the modem/router with a LPS. It was a startling instant improvement. I purchased this one. I’m thinking of replacing it with this one since it has better heatsinks. Of course, a good quality power cord to drive it helps even more.

Re: Empirical Audio Synchromesh. You can’t go wrong by trying it out. Steve Nugent knows what he’s doing. I have his EA Off-Ramp 5 - also powered by a LPS. Sounds amazing!
Thanks for the idea of putting LPS on modem/router, @steakster .  Hadn't considered that.
BlueSound is great. 
 
Going off measurements from ASR, the Synchro-Mesh does reduce jitter for cheaper DACs (he tested a Schiit Modi 2), but great DACs are gonna internally reclock anyway, so unless the incoming jitter is so high that the DAC loses lock, there really is no difference with the Synchro-Mesh added. 
  
Your DAC reclocks, so the S-M wont really change anything. I will note that I find it odd that your DAC is using a chip from the 90’s.
I have the node2i and love it! Best for the $
Steakster, what output voltage did you buy with that LPS? Or, how do I determine what output voltage I'd need to mate with my gear? I have a separate modem and a nighthawk router, both use wall warts. Did you put a LPS on both or just the router?
thanks,Larry
I find that if you don’t want to shell out $500 to power a router that the Ifi audio super low noise switch mode wall warts are fantastic and $50. They measure better than cheap LPSU’s too.
@tuberist Most modems & routers are 12vdc. The wall warts should have the info printed on them. I’ve had several LPS’s. This one provides a really solid presentation. The unit is extremely well built and very professional looking. It arrived within a week from China to CA. I actually own 3 of these units that power different dc components.

I also have a separate nighthawk modem & router. The umbilical cord that comes with the LPS will only serve one unit. Being comfortable with a soldering iron, I DIY’d a double run of OCC wire from one LPS - with each leg going to separate unit. The better quality wire for the umbilical cord makes a significant difference. Audiogon member, Grannyring, makes these LPS umbilical cords via his Acoustic BBQ line-up. Highly recommend!

For me, adding the LPS to the modem/router was just the start. My CD transport/DAC combo sounds pretty darn good. As soon as I began subscribing to Tidal, I knew that my new goal was to get streaming to match that combo. It took a lot of work. On a limited budget, it took about 2 years to get there.

Can only speak on the Node 2i, haven't heard the others. I have used it as streamer/dac and now streaming into my Auralic Vega G2 dac. I really like it, alot.
Three friends have heard it here and purchased it also.
I recently went through a similar situation.  I tried a Bluesound Node 2i, Project Prebox S2 Digital, HifiBerry DAC+DSP, ALLO UsBridge, etc.

I use Spotify and Roon/Tidal for digital.  Have a mix of stored music and streaming, but nothing too far outside the mainstream or crazy quality files.

My system is fairly simple...Marantz PM8006 with Revel F36s.  This is all tied in as fronts in my surround setup, but for Stereo, the PM8006 is all I use.

What i ended up settling on will sound a bit odd, but the sound is incredible for what I listen to...but it probably wont fit anyone else...

I ended up finding the combo of Marantz ND8006 from an Allo USBridge.  It gives me the flexibility to switch from Roon to Spotify to CD, quite easily.  I would imagine that your existing Connect is worth trying as a digital input.  My only wish with this setup is that Marantz and included SACD on the ND8006.  But for a standard CD player, it sounds top notch for non-reference level gear.

I really wanted to love the bluesound setup...it works great but was just a little to "clean" sounding for me.  But a lot of people like that sound.  Its just not my taste.  But it does sound incredibly clear and clean.  

Project Prebox S2 Digital is an incredibly useful and clear sounding DAC.  Paired with iFi LPS, it really was a clean setup.  Really the weakness were the somewhat loose USB Micro power input.  Never got comfortable that wouldnt get knocked out on accident.  Also, The raspberry pi/Sparky stuff is still just a little finicky for me.  The USBridge with DietPi does seem really stable with Roon so thats how I use it exclusively.  Not sure if this would be better than your current Connect though.

The Marantz was basically a product I felt had too many compromises for its price.  So, I tried all the other solutions first and finally found a deal on a refurb ND8006.  I wish I had just bought it first.  Ill probably sell all the Bluesound and Project Dac.  
Post removed 
Thanks, @tom_hankins 

Did you ever compare the streaming capabilities of your Auralic Vega V2 to the Node 2i?


@phidelt496 

I was looking at solutions like the Allo and Sonore Microrendu, bust as far as I can tell, I would have to use Airplay, and it doesn't support FLAC.  I think Airplay2 might, but not seeing any devices like this that support Airplay2 yet.
Veroguy 
I have only wifi option in my basement right now, so no I haven't compared. Plus I love the Bluos app.
I'm assuming once I have ethernet the vega will be better.
Hi,

I have the Antipodes cx and dx.  I like the system, I think they run around $1500 now so more expensive.  I like being able to install a Sony EVO SSD and place the streamer/server right behind my pre-amp.

Rob

https://antipodes.audio/
The Node2i  supports airplay 2.
Veroguy, I have both the W4S Modified Connect Box and Bluesound Node 2i and must say the Bluesound Node 2i sounds much better however my Antipodes DX3 Server is head over both units.
Thanks, @jonaiken very helpful.  The W4S upgrade costs the same amount as the BSN2i, so I was wondering if it could be much better.  I'll try it with optimism now.

I've done a bit of research on music players, and it appears to me that going that route with maybe a microrendu or other player would be the way to go for SQ.  But to get deezer hifi, I'd have to install something like LMS with ickstream.  Seems like too many components, and too much heavy lifting.  At the same time, life is compromise...

I'll demo a bluesound and the Moon Mind2 and go from there.
I picked up a SoTM SMS-200 a few months ago and with a quality linear power supply (I have one from Small Green Computer) it sounds seriously good - I’d recommend looking at one.  I compared it to the MicroRendu before going with SoTM.  It requires a bit of tinkering as it’s essentially a small computer but so far it’s an amazing Roon endpoint connected to my DAC.

I haven’t used it with Deezer but would be surprised if it isn’t supported.  

Hope me this helps,
Steve
Thanks, everyone.  I'm learning that my attachment to Deezer HIFI is really a limiting factor.    There appears to be a lot of compelling streamers out there, but they don't support Deezer HIFI (or they support Deezer, but not 16-bit FLAC).

Tidal doesn't appear to have as large of a selection of non-US artists.  For example:    European Jazz Trio - Deezer: 27 albums.  Tidal: 4 albums.

I'm now leaning towards a Node2i with wired connection until Deezer opens up their API so that HIFI is available with Roon or integrated in more streamers.   I'll then look at the higher end products.

NAD has deezer in their end streamer+dacs.  Maybe they'll release a streamer only with Deezer Hifi.   The only other option is the SimAudio Moon Mind2 ($1900).  I called them to get some details on SQ, techniques, architecture, but the rep wasn't too helpful.

Anyways, thanks again.  I'll report back on any products I try out.