Spotify's high quality setting is still lossy compression (320 kbps) and is more than sufficient for walking and exercise, not so much otherwise. For higher quality streams you need a service like Qobuz or Tidal. Have you already upgraded your DAC with the network card? If yes, seems like you're all set in the hardware department. I'm sure you're aware PS Audio has their own forum with friendly and helpful folks. Best of luck.
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Sounds like with the optional network card you should be all set. For achieving the best SQ you may choose to try Qobuz or Tidal, remember Tidal utilizes MQA for hi-res playback, be sure your streamer supports it.
For myself, I tried Tidal for about 6 months and Qobuz for the same amount of time. In the end, I came back to Spotify's high quality streaming family plan. I found I much preferred Spotify's user interface, playlists and overall selection of music to be better for me.
You mentioned you have WiFi, will you have the ability to connect via Ethernet? I have my streamer connected directly to my Gateway by way of a CAT7 cable, no issues at all. I have heard, but not experienced problems with WiFi and 24/192 going through the air?? Maybe someone with more knowledge regarding streaming connectivity and WiFi could chime in?
honest opinion here, as someone who has paid subscriptions to all 3 services for various reasons, Qobuz > Tidal.
I don't know what it is, but Hi-Res on Q just sounds more "alive" than Masters on Tidal. May be an initial gain thing, but it just sounds superior to me ears. I will never get rid of Spotify just for the user experience (and all it has yielded in several l years of subscribership) though, by far my favorite way to discover and listen to new music of the 3 major platforms.
If you don't have the card you can get a Metrum any Ambre and a coax that will do everything it will do for about half price. Neither have USB. If you don't have any local files you don't need it.
I have the DirectStream with multiple external streamers and they all sound great on it. No card. I moved from Spotify to Qobuz. Recommended.
I have a similar setup as you with a DS Memory Player and DS DAC with the Ethernet Bridge II card. I could be wrong but I think it is a Roon endpoint and not a streamer. Someone can confirm. I have an Innuos Zenith MkIII and Phoenix routed via Ethernet to that Bridge II card. I have an Eero Pro nearby that is connected to an SOtM switch to which the Innuos is connected via its Ethernet LAN port. This is a pretty optimized system and not necessary for a beginning streamer. I think that if you have a router nearby and can either net from it to a streamer if needed and then from there to the Bridge II card you should be all set. If you need a streamer (I forget if you do) then you can get a good relatively inexpensive one and go from there. For high quality Ethernet cabling on a budget I highly recommend the Cat8 Supra cables from Sweden which you can get on eBay.
I agree with the sentiment toward Spotify vs. Tidal and Qobuz. I like MQA files but I wonder how much of the sound quality is from the remastering process rather than the file format. The system I am working toward is here. Hope this helps!
The Bridge II is a Roon endpoint, but if you dont go with Roon there is Mconnect and Bubbleupn. Any of these apps interface with Qobuz or Tidal, but Roon is by far the best of them, only it requires a server core and is more expensive.
AWOW once you go down the rabbit hole that is the streaming universe you will never go back to spinning records or CDs. Digital tech gets better every 6 months, resulting in sonic improvements at even entry level gear.
The other streaming option not mentioned so far is Amazon Music HD, which is cheaper than Tidal and Qobuz and is supposed to have higher resolution. I was scared off of Qobuz by reports of terrible customer service. It sounds like folks on here have had a better experience. I use Tidal but I compared it for 3 months with Amazon Music HD. As much as I wanted to like Amazon more than Tidal because of the price difference and higher resolution, Tidal sounded better to me. It might be my gear. If I weren't listening to one song on each, maybe I would have not noticed. But side by side, I did. Perhaps it's the way Amazon processes the sound files. I don't know. I've read online how others have compared the two and decide Amazon is better. I guess you go back to the old adage, trust your ears not someone else's. I keep my Pandora account because it provides better suggestions than Tidal. When listening during work, I find new songs on Pandora and add them to my Tidal playlist. Anyone here use Amazon Music HD?
For best quality streaming, yes to Qobuz, yes to wired Ethernet, but the network implementation is important. Cheap 4-way or 8-way network switches by D-Link etc. act as buffers to induced network noise. Change the included wallwart PSU to an IFi iPower unit If possible.Always place one of these directly by your rack and use a short very high quality Ethernet cable. Use it for audio only. To further improve the quality to surpass CD you must filter out the RFI in the Ethernet cable, otherwise this enters the streamer‘s circuits and upsets the timing of everything and will smear dynamics and detail/ambience in music. The Network Acoustics ENO filter is the business for doing this.
you are there already as far as the tech goes. If you wanted to convert a CD collection to hard drive and stream it then you would be adding a fat layer of complexity .
Spotify vs TIdal or Qobuz? I switched from Spotify to Qobuz and I hear a difference, but I know many musicians that I respect that are perfectly happy with Spotify. Since these services offer free trial periods experiment yourself
I set up my system for streaming from the get go since my CD player was old, etc. I subscribed to Amazon HD music. They have 60;MM songs available. Tidal has about the same amount of songs. All my music plays at 16/44.1 or higher. I have seen 24/192 on some content. I immediately found the streaming sounded better than my old CD player, even before I bought a separate DAC. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the sound quality.
I really think the Bluesound Node 2i sounds great. I tried adding a DAC, but lost Tidal MQA and the Bluesound playing MQA sounded better. When adding the DAC the bass frequencies fell off and it sounded thin. I wonder if Bluesound increased the price to $3,000 if more audiophiles would buy more of them. Spending more doesn't necessarily sound better. Wonder how many have done a blind test. I can see it if the system is priced out at $100,000.
I used Spotify on my Directstream Dac w/Bridge without issue.
As far as sounding good, Spotify sounds find when I don't already own it. We have a family Spotify membership.
I also have a Peachtree nova 300 which is designed to remove any device noise.
So Spotify is good mobile or selected to play on the PS Audio DSD.
I also have a Roon server I built to stream to the PS Audio DSD as it an endpoint for Roon, Spotify and... if you have the Bridge card. You can pick a used one up and save money.
Added a PS Audio DMP disc player because it connects to DSD. Mainly listen to files on the server. I store music on a USB drive and built a silent server for $300.
There are many ways to stream, you have a great start with your system.
It is easy to talk about spending money on this or that, it is harder to pick a path and add the pieces one by one. You have a great DAC and CD Transport.
The Node2i with an outboard DAC is a unbeatable combo for the $$$. I have a Node2i with
a Musical Paradise tubed DAC and it’s wonderful. I also have the Node running direct via RCA into the AUX2 on my preamp, so I can directly A/B Tidal MQA files. even though my DAC doesn’t process MQA it still sounds way better than the Node playing MQA.
My question: assume my goal is to stream for convenience, simplicity, and achieve audio quality that equals or surpasses that of redbook cd’s. I am not looking to purchase music or download it for storage. What am I missing? I also have a dedicated iPad that can serve as the interface to the DAC/Streamer. Spotify also claims that streaming in high resolution is available on my account. Do I need anything else? Am I oversimplifying this?
I think the piece you are missing is Roon. This piece of friendly software will make the experience of using a streaming service and finding / keeping track of your music much simpler, much more pleasurable.
Roon plus a music collection plus a streaming service is a real eye opener.
Yes its a bit of a hassle, because you will need a computer to run the "core" (the main roon software" on - this could be anything in your house that is connected via wires to your network, or you can buy a box specifically for running the core software on. Yes its not cheap. But boy will it improve your enjoyment of music. It might even end up making it sound nicer to.
A big thanks to everyone who provided very good info here. I am learning a lot. I am finding here some very consistent answers re QoBuz, for example. So there are pieces of this puzzle that convinced me I should do. But one early post above suggested I research PS Audio forums as well. Unfortunately I did. And I found some disturbing mixed reviews on the Bridge II network card. Consistently owners found the DS dac to be less musical with the card than without. Many DS owners have moved to an Aurelic Aries G1 or G2 as a dedicated streamer and away from the Bridge II. This option is a lot more $$$ than I had anticipated spending on just the network card. I don’t mind the $$$, but I also don’t want to waste money. PS Audio has a 30 day trial period which I can certainly take advantage of. But I wouldn’t have the option to compare to a dedicated streamer like the Aurelic. Decisions, decisions.
I wouldn't worry too much over the mixed reviews. Always good to keep in mind one person's bright and forward is another's neutral. It's your ears that matter. It's the same with every component/speaker/software out there. Enjoy the 30 day trial, you may find the network card is the perfect solution for you.
Don't believe all this nonsense about how easy this streaming is .
Dropping a pick up onto a record was easy - digital streaming requires a significant amount of effort to get an equivalent SQ.
OK so you jump in with either TIDAL or QOBUZ
Now you really should consider ROON- Infinite number of options in the DSP settings which will keep you busy for months
I choose to have a dedicated laptop -lots of RAM and windows 10 cut back to bare bones configuration + dedicated LPS
Lets look at our router , need to hard wire to laptop with Cat8 ethernet cable as a minimum + dedicated LPS
Now special USB cable to ensure integrity of digital signal is not corrupted before converted to analogue in the DAC -of course make sure DAC is MQA compliant if opting for TIDAL and of course own dedicated LPS
At last we have an analogue signal to be amplified via a power conditioner like a AQ Niagra 1200 and AQ power and interconnects.
Get those cables off the floor and room correct with DIRAC
Phew now lets listen to some music.
“Dropping a pick up onto a record was easy”
You probably own one of these turntables 😂
Can't agree with @bobby1945
"Don't believe all this nonsense about how easy this streaming is .
Dropping a pick up onto a record was easy - digital streaming requires a significant amount of effort to get an equivalent SQ."
You can just start with Node 2i or even Fiio M11, Qobuz free trial, and off you go -- browsing through 200,000+ CD and HiRes albums; let's see how bobby1945 catches up with his SQ and ease of use :-) You need nothing else from his post.
As I write this I am listening to today's new albums (some 30 new albums are released each Friday) from Qobuz app on my Fiio M11 connected with $30 coax cable to RME ADI-2 DAC powering beyerdynamic Amiron Home headphones. Trust me -- I couldn't be happier. In fact, I could listen to just the Fiio w/o external DAC and I did in the past for a long time.
When I purchased my BlueSound Node 2i I purchased a ProJect S2 DAC to connect to the BlueSound. When I added the external DAC the bass sounded thinner. I wonder why that was the case? Of course the ProJect DAC is an inexpensive DAC and perhaps that is why the BlueSound sounded better without adding an external DAC. I also for some reason sensed better sound quality when I played MQA songs on Tidal. Wonder why that is the case or is this just my imagination? Seems to me like so many things are smoke and mirrors.
Many posters here seem to be ignoring the fact that the OP has purchased a DAC and disc player that each cost several thousand dollars (used) and that he wants sound quality as good as CD’s played through his current equipment. I think this requires more than an entry level streamer. I have no personal experience with the PS Audio Bridge that can plug right in to the Directstream DAC, but I’ve spent enough time on the PS Audio forum to learn that many users think it is a step down in sound quality from what they get playing CD’s with an excellent transport into that DAC. I think the OP would be happier with something like an Innuos Zen or a Lumin U1 mini or an Auralic Aries G1, if not one of the more expensive offerings from such manufacturers.
Curious as to why you are using a CAT 7 cable? Do you have a GB Ethernet Network switch in your home? Besides having a restrictive bend radius which may or may not apply, CAT 7 cabling will not enhance your datastream speed. No harm, but no benefit either. But if you had a GB network and with a substantial amount of video traffic at once, then you could see some benefit if there's a lot of traffic on your network, Also, is your cable run long? Are you an IT pro? Just curious, not meant as criticism, DOB