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I may be wrong about this, but I believe that the Audiolab 6000N with the DTS Play-Fi platform requires that music be streamed via another device such as a phone, tablet, or PC. Most streamers are able to get the music files on their own. (i.e., not via another device) and the other device is only used for control purposes. Apparently, this is a bit troublesome if you want to use that other device for any purpose other than delivering music to the 6000N streamer. Something to check out in any case. Try doing a search for reviews on either the 6000N or DTS Play-Fi.
With Covid, I also built up a digital streaming front end, having been mostly a vinyl listener for the past 32 years. I considered the Node 2i and the Cambridge CXN, but got a Pro-ject Stream Box S2 Ultra. The Node 2i interface is supposed to be excellent, but the Pro-ject was reported in some reviews to have better sound quality than the Node 2i. I might get a used Node 2i at some point to try this out for myself.
You also mentioned Naim. I did hear a Naim NDX 2 in the following system at a dealer: Naim NDX 2 network music player > Naim Supernait 3 integrated amplifier > LS3/5A speakers (local speaker maker). I left thinking that though it sounded good from an audiophile perspective with the traditional Naim virtues (PRaT in spades, transparency), there was something not so satisfying about the tonal quality of the sound. It seemed to lack ease and naturalness. To be fair, it could have been the Supernait 3 amplifier.
I mention the following since I see that you have a nice turntable setup & I have a decent idea of how it sounds based on your choice of the LP12, Audible Illusions pre-amp, Belles amp, and especially the Vandersteen 2Ce speakers. I would guess that you like a warmer, fuller sound. So these are some thoughts to getting the same type of sound as I think you like from your turntable.
You might be able to get better sound quality than the Naim streamers for far less cost. My impressions are that my current digital front end sounds better than what I remember of the Naim NDX 2 especially from the perspective of having a warmer, more analog like sound. It certainly sounds more engaging to me. My current setup is TP-Link RE230 Wi-Fi router (to create an ethernet access point) > Supra Cat 8 Ethernet cable > Pro-ject Stream Box S2 Ultra > Phasure Lush 1 USB cable > Denafrips Pontus II DAC. I was trying out a Qutest DAC and the Pontus II DAC. From a perspective of sounding natural, full and warm, the Pontus was so much better than the Qutest (which itself was no slouch in musicality) as well as surprisingly providing more detail than the Qutest as well. Perhaps this is more information that you are looking for, but sharing to help you on your digital journey. A Denafrips Ares II DAC might be a good stepping stone to a Pontus II. It was pretty warm and full in sound, but the Pontus is still a significant step up in analog-like attributes. You might consider a used Node 2i or Pro-ject Stream Box for about $300-500 to be able to get a better external DAC. The Pro-ject doesn’t seem to be in particularly high demand so you can definitely negotiate on a used one.
Also, FWIW, streaming is GREAT. The ability to hear about new music from someone and immediately be able to hear that music is an amazing new experience. I’ve been able to discover more new music in a week than I used to discover in a year.
Just know that digital is just as finicky as a turntable in setup and components to sound good.
All of this was a bit of work, BUT happily listening to great sounding music while working all day...PRICELESS.
I hope this was helpful to you, though I know went far beyond your original question about streamers.
I think this is a good time to jump into streaming. I jumped in on my headphone system 15 years ago and in and out on my main system, until the last couple years when it has equaled my analog side. .
I have done laptops / DAC. But a real streamer is far superior and much quieter. I recommend looking seriously at Aurender... a used one may bring it down into your price range... or wait until you can. The real trick is to get a good enough streamer and DAC such that it is as satisfying as your vinyl. I have an LP12 as well, so it is a fairly high bar. But well worth the investment. For the cost of buying one LP or one CD you can have access to a nearly infinite amount of music (Qubuz is best streaming service)... much of it of higher resolution than Red Book CD. Aurender A100? They have many... used would be a good way to go. These are solid audiophile pieces of equipment.
My streaming ‘ digital end is as satisfying to listen to as my LP12...which is pretty high end. Well worth the investment.
My experience is with the Node. The built in DAC is decent, but I use a MDHT Orchid with excellent results.
This is exactly what I did and the sound is glorious. A separate DAC is necessary, and I like the R2R approach a lot. In your price range, another DAC like this that people favor is the Border Patrol and the Audio G-D. Also popular is the Black Ice DAC. These are things I've gathered by reading about them -- I have not heard them. So, FWIW.
@tgilb No, the only dealer is Vinshine in Singapore. They have contracted two people to do US service though:
Thanks for the info on Denafrips. I’m not sure about ordering from Singapore so would have to give thst one some thought.
back to the main subject on streaming devises I use the Node 2i with Amazon HD and am very happy with the streaming capabilities and the BluOs app also. I find the onboard DAC to be very nice and would be ok if that was all I had but I do switch back and forth with a PS Audio DAC also. I do my serious listening to vinyl but as others have stated streaming opens a whole new world to discovering new music. It’s great if you don’t want to flip an album every 20 minutes or so and I find both the CD quality and HD quality songs to sound really good. Try it you’ll like it!
I third the Node 2i into the MHDT Orchid DAC. My Orchid was modified/upgraded by Grannyring and I use a tube adapter with a nice 7308 D-getter tube, glorious analog sound. If you add a hardline from your router, use a good quality PC to the node, it is a great option for digital play. (also give Qobuz a listen)
Im new to streaming and non CD music. Im more confused more than before. Adding a streamer and a DAC is a little out of my capability. I don't live next to a big city/ stereo stores to visit and get educated. I guess I will have to keep reading and posting questions. Thanks for suggestions. keep them coming.
Lobinero...if you want to keep it simple at first just start out with the Bluesound Node 2i and a decent set of RCA interconnects at a price that you would normally budget for cables and connect it to your nice Preamplifier and see if you are satisfied with the sound.
if you are into upgrading your power cables Shunyata makes some nice 2 pin cables that will fit the Node starting at $135 and up.
The Node 2i and cables all can be had from Music Direct or a number of other reputable on line sites.
I also have Vandersteen speakers and the Node 2i sounds great.
if you want more from it after you put some hours in on the Nose 2i you have been given a number of great suggestions for DAC’s.
+1 jjss49's suggestions.
-1 on the idea that you just plug a computer in to stream. If you consider how much else is happening inside a computer to pollute the stream, you'll know why.
Multiple people will educate you quickly on this. Here are just two good sources.
lobinero... I have Audio set to fixed in the BluOS settings and control volume through my Preamp no different than when using the Turntable or CD player. It keeps it simple but you do have to have your Preamp remote nearby if you want to adjust volume while you are navigating your music through the BluOS app on your phone or pad.
It's just a preference for me. You may find it more convenient to control audio in BluOS. It's just a simple switch in settings to turn the audio control on and off.