I had a very similar setup to start with and upgraded the DAC Magic to a Schiit Bifrost.
The difference was amazing.
Still got the Bifrost, but also use a v-Link192 with spdif to into the Bifrost. Much better than using the Bifrost usb port.
Perhaps try a v-linkV-link192 with your DAC magic first to see how they coexist.
A +1 to Williewonka, I love my Bifrost multibit. Though I am using the USB, I have to say I have no complaints. When things slow down, I will also try to compare with Spdif.
The question is: To use Airplay or not to use Airplay.
Before buying anything, try your last idea: move the MacMini and see how you like the sound quality with it serving the DacMagic directly. My MacMini is dead quiet; the fan never comes on and I can't hear the hard drive spin up.
Then I would try the free 2week Roon trial. It runs on the Mini, uses your iTunes library without modifying it in any way, and - if you decide to keep Roon - will provide the core technology for you to add an inexpensive end point where your Apple TV is now.
Besides being a terrific music library interface, Roon has RAAT technology, a new and fast growing method of transporting digital audio from your server (in this case the MacMini) and the rest of the house when you move the Mini back to where it is now. This includes both standard resoluttion and hi-res audio. Remote control is available using later generations of Apple and Android devices running the Roon app. (Free w/ Roon)
At that point you might look at replacing the DacMagic with a device that is Roon Ready and/or offers other features like DSD processing.
Your system as it stands now is pretty good, IMO. ( And elegantly simple using the Apple remote app.) There's plenty of iTunes (music player) critics out there but I ain't one. Also, Roon will run your existing config. It is compatible with Airplay devices.
Well, 1st and foremost the ATV resamples everything to 16/48 before it even hits your DAC. Then the DAC Magic does it's thing (more oversampling). So, if you want to keep wifi in the mix you might be better off using an AirPort Express instead of the ATV or perhaps a streamer like the Bluesound Node 2 or the Auralic Aries Mini. Of course a new computer would be another choice as you mentioned. Good Luck.
Love my Bifrost Multibit too.
Yes, I've heard that - but is the resampling audibly bad? Up sampling is often touted as improving sound quality...
I thought Roon was a subscription service? I dislike paying monthly fees...
Roon costs $120.00/yr. (Not exactly free but a good value compared to the cost of a decent DAC)
When I installed Roon during my free trial, I had it playing over my Apple TVs within ten minutes of the download. It doesn’t modify your system or your iTunes library or metadata at all and, when you’re done, delete the app and you’re back at square one. Also, Roon reminds you when the trial is about to expire so you can cancel.
Upsampling can be beneficial in some cases but a chain of multiple upsampling/resampling seems like inviting opportunities for quantization errors. Whether I can actually hear/detect such errors I can’t say.
+1 to Airport Express. Has a Toslink out. Plays like Airplay. I am pretty sure it Airplay doesn’t upsample 44k samples to 48k when transmitting to Airport Express.
Yesterday, I purchased a Bluesound powernode 2, mainly so my wife can access our music library easily.
My streaming system often fails and the reasons vary, but most are related to iMac OS upgrades. Fixing problems can be tricky and way beyond my wife's skillset.
Bluesound has got it right...top marks for...
- easy setup - mine uses ethernet
- intuitive control interface, mine is android based
- excellent sound quality
- basic manual controls on top of case - very nice feature
- clean design
This unit has left me wanting a Node 2 for my audio system.
It's not prerfect, but by comparison to my imac, it's bloody marvelous
Instant access to tons of free radio stations and many popular streaming services
The Node 2 will replace my iMac and v-link192, but will still work with my Bifrost 😊
I'm a convert 😃
I've had my Node 2 for about three months. You are correct in your assessment of Bluesound. The Node 2 is the main source of my system. The whole family loves it. I use its DAC and it sounds fantastic. I've felt no need to use my external DAC (Arcam rDAC), although I'm sure down the line I will do a comparison, which is always interesting and sometimes fun to do.
The BluOS ap is very good and a pleasure to use, build quality is great and customer service is outstanding. I do hope you try the Node 2; I would love to hear your impressions of it in your system. If you have the time or inclination report your thoughts on a comparison of the Node 2 DAC and your Bifrost, please.
Scott, it may take a couple of months to get round to the purchase, since I'm moving house, but I'll post my findings here, stay tuned 😊
Scott - a question from a Bluesound neophyte - Yesterday everything was pretty straightforward, but today I went to the Bluesound interface and it would appear that the link was lost overnight and there is no bluesound player to select.on the network
I've verified the NAS library is online and accessible, however it did go to "sleep" overnight - but it canstill be viewed on the network from other computer(s) via a file manager
The Bluesound interface only displays the following items
- My Playlists
- My Presets
- My Favourites
- Add a player
I then selected the "house" icon (top right) and found the power node in the "My Players" list
After a while the list above has had a "Library" item added together with and on selecting it, a list of albums or songs or artists, etc can be displayed.
When I try to access a track I get a message stating the track cannot be found - I assume because the index has old data?
So my questions
- do I have to re-index each time i start a listening session?
- can the index be saved somehow?
Moving onwards - I selected "Radio Paradise from the list and now the "Library" menu item has been removed
Thanks - I'm sure its just learning curve
I had something similar happen last week; I updated to the latest firmware (2.8.3) and latest BluOS (2.8.0) and lost my library. I tried reindex and rebuild but couldn’t get it back. I won’t begin to speculate about what happened but I sent a support request to Bluesound; which is easy to do from your tablet and when you send it a diagnostic report also goes to Bluesound.
Within a few hours I had corresponded with Bluesound and discussed the situation. When I couldn’t resolve the issue quickly they immediately set up a remote access appointment. I got a call from Canada and within a few minutes the Bluesound rep had me up and running. Fantastic customer service.
Ultimately it was found that a parameter in file sharing on my iMac had been disabled; I have know idea how. It could have been an auto update on the Mac, just don’t know.
If I were you I’d confirm your using the latest firmware and BluOS update (I’m sure you are since you just hooked up everything yesterday) then do a rebuild. If that doesn’t work send a support request Bluesound and they will have you up and running in no time. I really can’t overstate how responsive and great their support is.
If you have any other questions holler.
"So my questions
- do I have to re-index each time i start a listening session?"
Forgot to answer your question; no, you do not have to re-index each time you start a listening session.
One feature among many that I love about the Node 2 is when I retire for the evening I cue up what I want to listen to on my iPad and in the morning I just have to touch play on the Nodes control panel and begin listening; don't even need to use the ap. Nice.
@williewonka .. I've had my Node 2 since April and have experienced similar. My library is located on a USB hard drive attached to my AirPort Extreme router and on occasion the router needs to be restarted to fix this issue. Sometimes the Node 2 needs to be unplugged from the wall (to restart) as well. Once, I only needed to rebuild the index (which doesn't hurt to try 1st). In general, this only needs to be done after an update from Bluesound. It's kind of a PITA but it has happened infrequently and I love the platform. It's getting better with each update btw.
I find that with about every other Bluesound OS update, I have to reboot the whole system, which involve unplugging the Ethernet source from the router, unplugging my Vault 2, Node, and Pulse Mini and re starting them, occasionally more than once. One time I had to reindex collection. I cringe with every update
Guys - Thanks for the input - I’m getting there :-)
What I did find is that the Bluesound seems to be sensitive to routers used in the "network" pathways
For example my router/device path is was as follows
1. is a Wireless Router/Modem that connects to the internet - also has 4 ethernet ports and is the DCHP server fro my LAN
2. is an 8 port ethernet router switch connect to #1
3. is a 5 port ethernet router switch connects to #2
4. my NAS Drive connects to #3 via ethernet
5. my Bluesound connects to #3 via ethernet
A bit complex, but #3 is located with the TV and #1 and #2 are in the basement - I had needed more that the 4 ethernet ports provided on #1, hence the need for #2
I have tried many different configurations, but the above worked te best - until now.
I’ve since removed #2 from the network
#3 now connects directly to #1 and I can now at least see the PowerNode 2
Getting the PowerNode to see the drive can be trying at times and I have not figured out why - yet :-)
I did have issues with re-indexing - the process appeared to see only one song - I have 4000+++ in my library - but that seems to have resolved itself as of this morning
I hasten to add - this is not unique to the Bluesound - my existing setup suffers similar issues.
If anyone else has experienced similar issues please tell us how you resolved them - e.g. if a particular ethernet router switch caused the issues - which brand was it and which brand resolved it
Having said that - I just turned on my phone and the library was visible and active - go figure :-)
I am still very impressed by this little box and the comments from my wife - she likes the manual controls on the top of the unit - "it's so simple" - only time will tell :-)
Scott, after success with the Powernode 2 on my av system, today I purchased the Node 2 for my audio system .
It was easy to setup an A/B comparison between its built in DAC and analogue output stage to that of my Bifrost.
Verdict - I cannot discern any difference between the two units.
And that result is even before the Node 2 is burned in. it is also using a stock power cable, so it should start performing even better.
Needless to say I'm extremely impressed and a very happy camper indeed 😆
That's great, williewonka. You have a fantastic system; thanks for providing feedback on the comparison.
I know I enjoy my Node 2 a lot. I haven't had high dollar sources in my system but the it's the best source I've had.
Scott one further update - I have just completed installing the Node 2 into my system using an excellent cables ( power & IC's).
As I suspected the Node 2 up'd it's game and it was easily noticeable...
- improved clarity
- finer details
- more precise imaging and spacial accuracy.
Can't wait for it to burn in :-)
I've compared my DAC/Vlink192 setup to many other brands and configurations and most paled in comparison, so the Bluesound really is a very nice surprise and so affordable
If you have a Bluesound - Give it some TLC and get the best cables you can afford - it responds very well.
BACKGROUND INFO - My comments are based on streaming tracks from my NAS drive only, that is connected via ethernet cable (no wireless). I have not yet tried any streaming services
Resolution of tracks include MP3, 16/44, 24/96 and 24/192 and are mainly RAW and AIFF.
That's about it :-)
williewonka, thanks for the update. I’m running WireWorld Equinox interconnects on my Node 2. I’m using the Node via Ethernet connected to my router (the Ethernet cable run is 20 feet and I’m using Blue Jeans Belden cat6a cable). The Ethernet cable run is too long to consider higher end brands. I’m running iTunes AIFF files wirelessly to my router. Are you using a different power cord on your Node 2? Thanks.
The family and I love streaming. As I type I'm listening to WGUC out of Cincinnati. I believe they use a 192kbs stream and it sounds great. With a tap I can listen to KDFC out of San Fransisco or stream a station from Belgium or Wales or Antarctica or Asia. It's pretty cool. We don't us any premium services just the lower rez free streams from TuneIn, Spotify etc. I don't stream for serious listening but that could change if I ever pay for the higher Rez premium services.
Scott - I'm using no-name CAT6 from a local computer store and it works flawlessly - the run is 30+ ft long and it passes through a Ethernet Switch on the way from the NAS to the Node 2
I'm into DIY cables, so I make my own - but they are extremely good - I've compared them to cables costing thousands and I find mine offer better performance - believe it or not.
One other thing I've found with all my components, using my power cables will result in the components operating at lower temperatures and they provide improved clarity and spacial accuracy.
Here's a link if you are interested...http://image99.net/blog/files/be8de0c383c5434907610d6b55049e69-75.htmlhttp://image99.net/blog/files/4127b5fe2694586e383104364360373b-74.html
For the power cables - even if you don't use the conductors identified in the link, adopting the Helix geometry alone will provide significant improvements. I adapted an 18 gauge cable on my Yamaha mini system and the improvements amazed me.
If you are not into DIY, then I would suggest a power cable from Pangea or Anti Cables perhaps.
I like the braided architecture of Anticables and based on that I believe they would provide pretty good bang for the buck, but they are quite thick,
Unfortunately, when the component only costs $599, spending a lot on cables seems a little ridiculous and most of the power cables out there are on the expensive side. But I have found that the more "affordable components" benefit the most from great cables
For connecting the power cable to the Node 2, I use a Cryo'd adapter from Take Five Audio to connect the standard IEC connector to the smaller C7 socket.https://www.takefiveaudio.com/categories/82-ac-adapters-nema-uk-schuko-c7-c5
Hope that helps :-)
Thanks for the reply, williewonka.
I may have to get an adapter (didn't even consider an adapter until your reply, thanks) for the Node 2 and try a different power cord. I run a WireWorld Stratus on my amp and would like to upgrade that a bit in the future. When I do I'll try the Stratus on my Node 2.
Enjoy your Node 2. I think you'll like it more and more. I noticed the music refining as the days went by gaining in scale, fullness and resolution. It really is a great piece of gear.
Scott - those are very interesting power cables - how did they compare to other power cables you have used?
They are also pretty resonably priced - BONUS! :-)
I'm afraid I'm not much help with comparisons. It's the only after-market cord I have used. Compared to the stock PC it is more refined and more quiet which gives more detail and resolution. I don't believe it changed the character or tonality of my amp
I like it well enough that when I upgrade I'm going to try the WireWorld Electra 7, with the only change being that the Electra has OCC copper over the Stratus' OFC.
I like WireWorld's philosophy; in that the lower end stuff that fits my budget has the same technologies and build quality as the higher end pieces. As you move up you benefit from more/better material, such as OCC, silver and larger conductors. They're not the only company that does this but it is one the best at offering great cables for all budgets. My system consists of all WireWorld cabling.
Don't know if you knew this but the Bluesound gear will be "Roon Ready" by the end of the year. I enjoy BluOS and think it is excellent but it will be nice to have the option of using Roon if one so chooses.
Scott - I’m now in my new house and have the system up and running - finally.
The Node 2 has been playing for a few weeks and hopefully well broken in and it is the best sounding digital setup I have had to date.
But in the quest for "audio nirvana" I had one last tweak to apply - I purchased a C8 Figure 8 IEC connector from Ebay and installed it on the power cable. I was using a standard 3-pin connector with a C7 adapter.
The improvement was immediately noticeable with a much improved cavernous and enveloping image.
I’ve also added one to my sub on the A/V system and that improved also - I would recommend getting one for any component with a Figure 8 socket
There is now very little difference between my analogue and digital audio - apart from the pops and crackles. This is exactly where I wanted to be.
So for now, I’m willing to just sit back and enjoy the music.
Just looked at Wireworld and their Symmetricon power cables look very interesting. Have you thought of trying them? :Look at theri Fluxfield cables - similar to my Helix from the looks of things
How’s your system panning out?
Cheers - Steve