Tube DAC (Black Ice) Users - What Streamer Are You Using?

This question is primarily targeted at other Black Ice users but I would appreciate comments from other tube DAC users as well.

I have a newly acquired Black Ice DAC fed by a BS Node N130 w/LHY power supply upgrade.

Digital is not my primary source but since my upgrades from a stock Node, I'm listening to digital more frequently. 

I know the Node is entry level (and a great place to start IMO), but I'm guessing the Node is now the weak link.

So what dedicated streamers are you using with your Tube DAC?


I have used both the Bricasti M5 and the iFi Zen Stream with LPS and optical cable with FMC’s on my BIA Glass Dac. The Bricasti is a definite step up but both sound very good.  I ungraded my main system Dac to a Lab12 Reference so my BIA Dac is used on my second system with the iFi zen stream. The main concern/issue is the iFi zen stream’s set up is a pain, glitchy and not intuitive.  Help support is just worthless.  Bricasti M5 is the mirror opposite with no issues. Replacing the Zen is on my future list so I am interested in what becomes of this thread as well.




@tksteingraber Thanks for the insight. The Bricasti looks well built. I'm not interested in ROON and it was unclear on their website if it has native support for streaming services like Qobuz?

Does it have it's own controller app and if so, how is it? (Bluesound's is decent)

The M5 does not have it’s own controller app.  I use Roon now with a sonic transporter i5 as my network server to both my streamers instead of my Macbook Pro that I used prior.  When I first bought the M5 I was not interested in Roon as well and contacted Bricasti to see what options I had.  They said Roon, Audirvana and mConnect were the main choices for streaming Tidal/Qobuz.  I tried all three and mConnect was ruled out.  I subscribed to Audirvana for 5-6 months and really liked it but decided to switch to Roon lifetime membership when I added my sonic transporter.  Glad I did it integrates seamlessly  and I like all the interface features and SQ is great.

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Oops! The N130 supersedes the Node 2i. The U2 mini supersedes the U1 mini.


Not a Black Ice but I have the latest Audio Mirror IV, a tube DAC. I upgraded from an N130 with Sbooster LPS to a Lumin U2 mini. It’s certainly a different animal and it’s certainly a serious upgrade. Rather than repost my current thread here, please have a look.

My posts starting 3/3/23 are about the Lumin U2 mini. The optional IR remote wasn’t mentioned. It has all the functions you would expect plus an unusually fine lossless volume adjust.

@wlutke I've looked at your DAC before - looks really interesting. I thought the same about the stock Russian tubes but I ordered some NOS Mullards at the same time as the DAC so they weren't in long. Massive improvement and IMO the point of owning tube gear to a certain extent. 

My takeaway is the Lumin was a significant SQ upgrade to the Node but the app took some getting used to, correct?


Exactly.  The app is frustrating at first in that the manual is poorly written and there are no prompts from the software itself.  It’s very different than Bluos.  Once figured out it’s decent.  I found the Tidal play list not automatically on deck especially confounding.  I attempted to clarify, hope I was successful.  It’s so convenient having all play lists from multiple sources right there under one icon.  Lumin playlists can be edited too.  Update, add songs or remove duplicates.  

Innuos, Lumin, and Aurender are all a good step up from the Node.  I like Innuos because their Sense app is free, is frequently upgraded and user friendly, and by all accounts it sounds excellent.  Best of luck in your journey. 

@soix Thanks! I hear good things about the sense app and even the entry level Aurender is more than I'm will to spend atm.