Upgrading from my Bluesound Node 2 streamer


Ignorance is bliss.
I didn't think streamers ( using external DAC) had any influence on the sound. It was just a passway, a bridge,  between the internet and my dac but the more I read the more I'm finding that to be incorrect. Especially from previous Node owners.

So I'm looking to upgrade from the Node ( stream to external dac). Budget less than 2k
I've read may good review on the Lumin U1 Mini and was about to make the purchase when I can came across
these reviews of the Lumin app. Ouch!
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.luminmusic.lumincontroller&hl=en_US&gl=US.

Any Lumin users here? Thoughts?

Other streamer recommendations appreciated

 
emil
One can make decent improvements with a couple of tweaks to the Node 2i that I believe can make a component level upgrade to the sound of the Node 2i.
The analog output is good but the coaxial digital output is better. I enjoy the solid copper Blue Jeans 1694a digital coax over much more expensive cables of both all silver and silver/copper hybrids.
Also changing the power cable can be effective though I found you have to be careful with this one; I tried 4 different a/c cables before I settled on the best one.

I own a Lumin A1 that I use in another system so I use its analog outputs but without direct comparison I can't characterize differences from the Bluesound. I'm happy the sound quality but dislike the Lumin app. The Bluesound app is much easier to use on a phone or tablet in my opinion. 
I do think the original generation power supply of the Lumin is a weak point - in comparisons of disc playback on an Oppo 205 versus the same mastering streamed to the Lumin, I found greater clarity on the Oppo 205. 

I have compared the the Marantz SA-10 disc playback versus the Node 2i connected via coax to the same player's dac and sound quality is comparable.

My next upgrade is probably going to be an Aurender with hard disk space for ripped discs and downloads I own.
But for streaming sound quality on it's own, I still find the Bluesound compelling, and don't have any particular expectations for major improvements in that area. It'll be nice to be pleasantly surprised at an improvement if there is one, though.
I had a Bluesound Node 2i and upgraded to a Lumin U1-mini. It was a very noticeable step up in sound quality. The node is a good value and does a lot of things right, but sounds mechanical and less involving than the Lumin when using the same outboard DAC.

Oz


The latest Android Lumin v3.0.x should have addressed a lot of the issues reported.
emil, The Lumin app and also the roon app do not work well with Android devices.  You have to use an Apple phone or tablet with both to get decent performance. 

I don't understand why these big players in the streaming world can't develop or buy a decent Android app, but they haven't.  They are not upfront about telling potential buyers that either.
Thanks Tomycy61 for that.

Guess Lumin is out. Too bad

any other recommendations with a 2K budget?
nekoaudio

when was that update released?
The Lumin app works best on apple devices. I have used it on a Samsung Tab A and it was ok, but far better on an ipad. I wouldn't even attempt to use it on ANY phone.

Oz


I can recommend 3 under $1K.  2 can be further improved with power suppies under $500. It really depends on what you stream, what output you desire and extras like headphone amp and DSP.  I have Android and all 3 control apps are better and they sound better than the BluOs I also have.
I should say I have a $200 Android phone. That’s all I use and it’s great. There is a Tab A and an iPod around here. I have no need to fire them up.  My wife's iPhone works fine too.
Thoughts on Aurender?
Looking at some used units but they are USB only. Another expense since I’m using SPDIF at the moment.

Thoughts on Aurender and sub $500 USB cable?

I appreciate everybody’s help. Thanks
I use the Aurender N100H into an Ayre Codex and it sounds great. I have a few friends using the BlueSound Vault with the Codex as well. I do not know if the DAC in the vault is any different than the one in the Node but the Bluesound units work really well with the Codex.

The Bluesound app is a bit better than the Conductor app for the Aurender but that may be personal preference. The Aurender used to require an Apple iPad to use the app but they have come out with an Android app that works on android phones. Plus Aurender support is really good.

You might want to contact John Rutan at the Audio Connection to discuss. He's is a Bluesound and Aurender dealer. Good Luck!
emil
Thoughts on Aurender?
Looking at some used units ...
I bought an Aurender N100H in January as my first real streamer. It sounded great and looked slick, but that’s all I can say in favor of it. I just shipped it off just this week to The Music Room at a sharp loss, but it was worth it to get it out of my life.

Many people praise Aurender support, but I found the responses to my few issues were sluggish and disinterested. It was sometimes apparent that they didn’t even bother to read my inquiry - the suggested remedies were ones I’d told them I’d already tried.

The software that runs the streamer is frequently updated but always remained buggy - the company doesn’t seem much interested in improving it. When I asked about importing and exporting playlists, I got a pendantic response explaining how that would be nearly impossible to achieve. Oddly, Winamp was capable of this decades ago and JRiver and others have figured it out as well.

And heaven forbid you have a even a momentary loss of power - you’ll be in for a world of hurt trying to get the OS up again.

The reason I sold the Aurender to TMR was that I couldn’t sell it directly to a user in good conscience. It’s not that the unit was actually "defective" - it functioned as designed. But beneath its slick exterior resides a computer and software that is not ready for prime time, imo.

I replaced the Aurender with a Bryston BDP-3 and couldn’t be happier.
Thank you Joey and Cleeds

Joey
I hope you have better luck than Cleeds

Cleeds
Thanks for the warning.
Is this a known problem or is this just your personal experience?

I may give the Lumin a shot if I can find a dealer with a return policy








 
emil
Cleeds
Thanks for the warning.
Is this a known problem or is this just your personal experience?
The issue with the OS freezing after a power loss is a known problem. Some users employ a small UPS as a workaround. That's something I would have done if I was otherwise pleased with the N100H, but I wasn't. It's a second-rate product with second-rate support, imo.
I have had my Aurender for over two years and have not experienced anything like Cleeds describes. I lose power here all the time and the unit starts back up easily for me. Maybe I’m just lucky.

I have not heard the Bryston BDA-3.14 DAC/Streamer though my dealer, John Rutan, speaks highly of it. I don’t think he has gotten his demo yet. The list price is $4200. There is a very good review of the BDA-3.14 by TAS here:

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/bryston-bda-314-dacpreampstreamer/?mc_cid=4750314291&mc...

Again, good luck.
@emil The latest Lumin Android app was released on October 12, if I remember correctly. Lumin has a dedicated Android developer working hard to quash a bunch of issues with the Android app because of the problems people were running into.

With respect to your question about Aurender, a lot of people really like the product and it works well, but their philosophy is slightly different. Lumin's approach is more of an open standards-based one, where you can use it with lots of different types of music library setups, backend music server software, and front-end UI software. With Aurender you need to use their software and their architecture is optimized for having the music files on the Aurender unit itself.

I would recommend at least trying the Lumin app (you can download it and use it, but not play anything, without buying any Lumin hardware). Aurender has some video tutorials for their app. If you don't like the Lumin app, you can use any other UPnP control app instead.
Thanks Neko
So I did try to download the Lumin app like Neko suggested and ya know what?You can only download to a phone or tablet. Not a desktop or laptop like the one I'm using currently with the Node app.
maybe it's a sign :^)


@emil on a desktop computer, you can use Linn Kazoo which is an OpenHome client for Windows or Mac, and JRiver also works.
I have a less than one year old U1 in the den and a D2 in a patio system. I replaced a Bluesound Node 2i and an Auralic Vega and Aries. All are great pieces but the Lumin are better sounding and the software better.