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Good Preamp DAC Streamer with network volume control

NiagaraPete

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I'm not sure I'd want a built in streamer, DAC with volume yes then maybe a PI with the features you need for streraming. The one combined I could recommend would be the Allo Boss2 but only if you're not using Apple for a source.
 

amper42

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Actually, you would control the Moode volume with the RME ADI-2 either at the unit or with the fabulous remote control. The ADI-2 offers an amazing DAC plus features you won't find on other devices like a loudness option and 5 band EQ. I use this setup for all my streaming and it works great.
 

Jim Matthews

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I actually don't like roon at all and prefer Volumio due to it's simplicity. But 90% of the time I'm using Spotify anyways and when Spotify Hifi gets released some day, I might go with Spotify 100% of the time since it has everything I listen to.
MiniDSP SHD (studio) covers most of your requirements.

 

0bs3rv3r

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Well, a preamp basically allows for input selection and volume control. A streamer preamp technically still has input selection, because you can select different sources like spotify or roon by just streaming to the unit.

A preamp also used to have gain and some eq (or tone controls), along with source switching and volume control.
 

MaxBuck

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Yeah, I don't need any analog inputs since I'm only streaming music. With 'preamp' I just mean a device that can control the output level.
Most DACs do it digitally which is often poorly implemented so a analog preamp stage would be optimal.
But those are hard to find in that price range so I would be fine with a well implemented digital volume control.
I've found my solution to your problem by pairing the Bluesound NODE with the Topping D30Pro DAC, which has volume-control capability. Works great, and the sound quality is terrific. Total cost for the two components was about $900.
 

NiagaraPete

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I've found my solution to your problem by pairing the Bluesound NODE with the Topping D30Pro DAC, which has volume-control capability. Works great, and the sound quality is terrific. Total cost for the two components was about $900.
Strange. The Bluenote does not test well and seems like a big over spend. But if you're happy.
 

MaxBuck

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Strange. The Bluenote does not test well and seems like a big over spend. But if you're happy.
What doesn't test well on the NODE is really the DAC, which I am bypassing (though frankly, the sound quality difference is inaudible to me). The convenience of the app, the multitude of supported streaming sources and the general plug-and-play simplicity of the thing are significant selling points IMO.
 

NiagaraPete

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I get that. My Airport Express for AirPlay2 and PI / Digi pro. Work seamlessly with Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music / DLNA music for about 150.00. Oh and my DAC switches sources automatically to make it really fun.
 
OP
juliangst

juliangst

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I've found my solution to your problem by pairing the Bluesound NODE with the Topping D30Pro DAC, which has volume-control capability. Works great, and the sound quality is terrific. Total cost for the two components was about $900.
Can you control the volume of the digital output of the Node? Otherwise I would have to use the topping’s remote which is exactly not what I was looking for.
 

Jim Matthews

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ZolaIII

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Meh I have complete power amp with built-in DAC (only optical inputs), streaming and preamp as a analog input stage that behaves good enough and it certainly is convenient enough which is now discontinued and costed around 500$ new. Check the Yamaha Musiccast lineup all DAC's are certainly old (Sabre 24 or Burr Ti's) and won't be as good as standalone Chinese ones but why would you need such for a power amp in a first place (with possible exception of AHB2)?
It's a same story regarding integrated DAC's (which at best got to early Sabre 32's and in a last year or two old products) with all major old school breands (regarding amplifiers and AVR's) and they are all far behind but it usually doesn't matter much (as they are good enough for the purpose). Unfortunately this won't change anytime soon and when it does it will come from China.
 

MarcosCh

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If it helps you i normally use bubbleupnp in my phone to communicate and control various moode, LMS streamers and servers and change the volume directly with the side buttons of my phone (no need to unlock). Not like a good volume knob but easy and convenient.
 

ZolaIII

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If it helps you i normally use bubbleupnp in my phone to communicate and control various moode, LMS streamers and servers and change the volume directly with the side buttons of my phone (no need to unlock). Not like a good volume knob but easy and convenient.
Well there are phone's with volume buttons which have tactile feel to it.
 

MaxBuck

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Can you control the volume of the digital output of the Node? Otherwise I would have to use the topping’s remote which is exactly not what I was looking for.
Yes, you control it via the app.
 

nstzya

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I consider (and personally use) the Bluesound NODE as a very elegant digital preamp with a nice form factor (important to me) and function. BluOS is a great and user friendly app (as opposed to some others). It does everything you want including a very nicely implemented digital volume control (and tone controls if so inclined). And has an analog subwoofer output with basic crossover functions that works in concert with the variable digital volume control (how I use it). And a 12 volt trigger for amp. Does all streaming services, Roon, and MQA - including doing the first unfold to the digital output. Oh, and WiFi (critical to my needs).

Since I use the digital output with my DSP speakers (Meridian), the DAC becomes irrelevant. I agree with @MaxBuck however - I think the DAC issue is inaudible - particularly with your proposed use of Spotify. That said, I did trial it with a Purifi EVAL unit and Thiel passive speakers for the heck of it and it sounded excellent to my ears!

They have a trial period. As does Crutchfield. What do you have to lose? And the Node 2i's are a bargain on the used market. Could easily trial and resell. Not to sound like a shill - just satisfied user. I have the 2, 2i, and the new Node and the networking for house wide is excellent.
 
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Hagan66

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What I'm aiming for is a just more transparent and more precise signal chain.
My current setup has a Pi4 with a hifiberry Digi 2 Pro board, an SMSL Sanskrit 10th MK2 and a Denon PMA1500 RII which I got for about 300€ and this amp was TOTL in the denon lineup about 15 years ago.
I definietly want an upgrade that makes a noticible difference and adds convenience with direct control over streaming apps so I thought a streaming DAC+Purifi might be a good choice, but I'm open to other recommendations
Personally, I would just stick with your current setup unless you have a bulging wallet that simply must be emptied! And even then, I would spend that money on an upgrade on your current speakers....
 

Hagan66

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Agree. Node 2i, discounted now newer version NODE released, is a tremendous bargain. Bought one a few months ago (brand new) in UK for £389...
I consider (and personally use) the Bluesound NODE as a very elegant digital preamp with a nice form factor (important to me) and function. BluOS is a great and user friendly app (as opposed to some others). It does everything you want including a very nicely implemented digital volume control (and tone controls if so inclined). And has an analog subwoofer output with basic crossover functions that works in concert with the variable digital volume control (how I use it). And a 12 volt trigger for amp. Does all streaming services, Roon, and MQA - including doing the first unfold to the digital output. Oh, and WiFi (critical to my needs).

Since I use the digital output with my DSP speakers (Meridian), the DAC becomes irrelevant. I agree with @MaxBuck however - I think the DAC issue is inaudible - particularly with your proposed use of Spotify. That said, I did trial it with a Purifi EVAL unit and Thiel passive speakers for the heck of it and it sounded excellent to my ears!

They have a trial period. As does Crutchfield. What do you have to lose? And the Node 2i's are a bargain on the used market. Could easily trial and resell. Not to sound like a shill - just satisfied user. I have the 2, 2i, and the new Node and the networking for house wide is excellent.
 

tk21

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I've seen some reviews on Matrix stuff. They are fine as DACs but I wouldn't get them as a streamer. Volumio and Moode have way better features imho.
Not sure what features you mean, or exactly which Matrix v. Volumio products we're comparing. Take the Matrix Element X vs. the Volumio Primo. These are two somewhat different kinds of products, with overlapping but not identical feature sets. The Element X cannot be used as a music server, as the Primo evidently can. The Element X does not support direct access to Spotify or Pandora (although it does support it for Tidal or Qobuz). The Primo is much less expensive, uses the same (or same series) DAC chip, and seems to offer more options for people who'd like to tinker with a device that uses its own Linux-based OS and supports plug-ins.

I suspect the Element X works better than the Primo as a preamp. Unlike the Element X, the Primo has no balanced outputs and no physical volume control knob. Software volume control may be getting better but the consensus seems to be that it's a compromise favoring convenience over sound quality. FWIW Matrix brags about its implementation of a hybrid digital/analog volume control technology. Whether you'd hear a significant enough difference to justify the extra cost, at your preferred volume levels, is another question.
 

orchardaudio

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PecanPi Streamer

Or you can DIY and save some money:
 

Grotti

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Not sure what features you mean, or exactly which Matrix v. Volumio products we're comparing. Take the Matrix Element X vs. the Volumio Primo. These are two somewhat different kinds of products, with overlapping but not identical feature sets. The Element X cannot be used as a music server, as the Primo evidently can. The Element X does not support direct access to Spotify or Pandora (although it does support it for Tidal or Qobuz). The Primo is much less expensive, uses the same (or same series) DAC chip, and seems to offer more options for people who'd like to tinker with a device that uses its own Linux-based OS and supports plug-ins.

I suspect the Element X works better than the Primo as a preamp. Unlike the Element X, the Primo has no balanced outputs and no physical volume control knob. Software volume control may be getting better but the consensus seems to be that it's a compromise favoring convenience over sound quality. FWIW Matrix brags about its implementation of a hybrid digital/analog volume control technology. Whether you'd hear a significant enough difference to justify the extra cost, at your preferred volume levels, is another question.
I use the Volumio Primo as a streamer with SSD attached and the RME ADI-2 pro as a DAC/Preamp. For me it is all I can ask for.

Since the update to Volumio 3 the App is much more responsive and an update with PEQ is announced.

The Volumio Primo also sounds good to my ears (strictly subjective judgment of course) when connected directly to my poweramp: I ran this configuration for a while before I purchased the RME.
 
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