• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). Come here to have fun, be ready to be teased and not take online life too seriously. We now measure and review equipment for free! Click here for details.

DAC Upgrade - What can I expect?

Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
11
Location
KCMO
#1
Hello!

So, here's my situation - I have a Bluesound Node 2i that I am running through a Topping E30. I am still in my return period for both. I have tried using Volumio and Moode player on Pi 4's, but I really prefer the overall experience of BluOS. I did try out the Cambridge CXN v2, but hated it. I like Roon, but my wife is pretty anti-subscription (although I know there's the Lifetime deal) - BUT the extra complication here is that i HAVE to be able to cast FROM a Nest Hub device to the audio system with as little trouble and as automatic as possible. These are hard requirements from the wife. The BluOS device handles this with Bluetooth very seamlessly, where the other solutions I tried did not, and Roon does not support Chromecast Built-in (as a receiver) today. Anyway, my current topology is Node 2i Coax out -> Topping E30 -> McIntosh C22 MK V tube pre -> McIntosh MC752 Solid State poweramp. I have been seriously considering picking up a Topping D90 or a Soncoz SGD1. My overall question is would I actually gain anything from this upgrade with my current situation? I am mainly considering this so I can move to balanced output to the preamp, but this really could just be overthinking it. Or, is there a better streaming/DAC situation that would meet the chromecast audio as a sink situation?
 
Last edited:

Jimbob54

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 25, 2019
Messages
5,553
Likes
5,983
#2
Hello!

So, here's my situation - I have a Bluesound Node 2i that I am running through a Topping E30. I am still in my return period for both. I have tried using Volumio and Moode player on Pi 4's, but I really prefer the overall experience of BluOS. I did try out the Cambridge CXN v2, but hated it. I like Roon, but my wife is pretty anti-subscription (although I know there's the Lifetime deal) - BUT the extra complication here is that i HAVE to be able to cast FROM a Nest Hub device to the audio system with as little trouble and as automatic as possible. These are hard requirements from the wife. The BluOS device handles this with Bluetooth very seamlessly, where the other solutions I tried did not, and Roon does not support Chromecast Built-in (as a receiver) today. Anyway, my current topology is Node 2i -> Topping E20 -> McIntosh C22 MK V tube pre -> McIntosh MC752 Solid State poweramp. I have been seriously considering picking up a Topping D90 or a Soncoz SGD1. My overall question is would I actually gain anything from this upgrade with my current situation? I am mainly considering this so I can move to balanced output to the preamp, but this really could just be overthinking it. Or, is there a better streaming/DAC situation that would meet the chromecast audio as a sink situation?
If you have no ground loop noise going on then its hard to see what changing DAC/ going balanced would bring other than higher levels into the Pre. Stick with what works if you have no issues.
 

Boerd

Active Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Dec 3, 2018
Messages
138
Likes
154
Location
California
#3
Difference between decent DACS are not audible. Topping E3 is in the top class of the DACs. Spend your money somewhere else - my 2c :)
 

curiouspeter

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
441
Likes
260
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
#4
DAC upgrades tend to be underwhelming.

Just get the Roon lifetime deal. $699 is still a great price if you hate subscriptions. The gain from usability alone is greater than any possible DAC upgrade. Just return the Node 2i and keep the E30 to use with Pi/RoPieee. Or return both and get a Roon Ready DAC like the Matrix Mini-i Pro.

Disclosure: I love subscriptions and I am on the monthly plan.
 
OP
D
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
11
Location
KCMO
Thread Starter #5
DAC upgrades tend to be underwhelming.

Just get the Roon lifetime deal. $699 is still a great price if you hate subscriptions. The gain from usability alone is greater than any possible DAC upgrade. Just return the Node 2i and keep the E30 to use with Pi/RoPieee. Or return both and get a Roon Ready DAC like the Matrix Mini-i Pro.

Disclosure: I love subscriptions and I am on the monthly plan.
Thanks. I’ve definitely considered this, and had tested it already, but it doesn’t meet the above requirement for casting from a nest hub to the endpoint without involving other devices and complicating the process. If Roon ever incorporates that feature, I’d seriously look in that direction. Bluetooth on ropieee could have been an option, but seems it’s a new feature and I’m having issues getting it to work.
 

curiouspeter

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 30, 2020
Messages
441
Likes
260
Location
San Francisco Bay Area
#6
Thanks. I’ve definitely considered this, and had tested it already, but it doesn’t meet the above requirement for casting from a nest hub to the endpoint without involving other devices and complicating the process. If Roon ever incorporates that feature, I’d seriously look in that direction. Bluetooth on ropieee could have been an option, but seems it’s a new feature and I’m having issues getting it to work.
You can also get a Chromecast Audio and plug it into the Optical input of the E30.
 
OP
D
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
11
Location
KCMO
Thread Starter #8
Maybe the answer is just to ONLY use a chromecast as the endpoint - best of both worlds potentially - I'd just be limited in features for supporting higher-res audio without conversion
 

Beershaun

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
689
Likes
605
#9
Yep. Focus on the convenience factor. That is what is worth spending money on. What does she want to use to choose and play music and works backwards from that. Does she use a smart speaker and voice command today or an app like spotify?
 
OP
D
Joined
Feb 25, 2021
Messages
11
Likes
11
Location
KCMO
Thread Starter #10
She uses simply the Google nest, and expects it to just "work" whenever she wants it to. The only subscription we have is Google Music and Apple Music. Meanwhile I use Vinyl, streaming, FLAC from the network, etc - I don;t mind the extra work - she does. The BluOS device actually works well in this regard, as Bluetooth can be set to an automatic switch - so, if I have it set on the streaming input (line 3 on my McIntosh c22 mk v), even if I am already streaming something it will switch over to bluetooth once the the Nest starts playing. We just set the default "speaker" for the device to the bluetooth connection to the Node. At least with the node I can do MQA and 24/192 - I think I am much more limited with the Chromecast Audio? Also - I am somewhat concerned about the long term viability of this since the Chromecast Audio was depricated.
 

Beershaun

Addicted to Fun and Learning
Forum Donor
Joined
Oct 3, 2019
Messages
689
Likes
605
#11
Then stick with BlueOS devices or other devices that work with the Nest hub as a hard requirement.
 
Top Bottom