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Modern streamer pre-amp help

AllDigital

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Hello forum!

I'm finishing up my new project for a stereo system for my living room and I'm going crazy with the last piece of the puzzle: the streamer/DAC/pre-amp.

I have an amplifier and a pair of speakers and I am delighted with the set. I need a source to act as a streamer, DAC, and preamp.

In general I need:

- WiFi and Bluetooth. Double bluetooth would be a plus.
- Integration with TIdal, preferably with Tidal connect.
- Preamplifier.
- RJ Ethernet input.
- A good DAC.
- RCA + Digital optical outputs.
- Solid headphones would be a plus, but not essential.
- A software that works well.

I've heard good things about BluOS, which is why my list is topped by the BlueSound node N130 (2021). The truth is that it has practically everything I need.

https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM5242

The review of the previous model has not been very good in this forum: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...surements-of-bluesound-node-2i-streamer.6631/

My questions for the Forum:

Speaking of Software: What do you think of BluOS? How do you see it compared to HEOS? And Yamaha MusicCast?

How would you rate the BlueSound node N130 against the Yamaha WXC-50

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/wireless_streaming_amplifiers/wxc-50/
DAC (two): ESS Sabre ESS9006 and PCM Burr Brown PCM5101A.

In this forum the brother of the WXC-50 has been valued positively: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...urements-of-yamaha-wxa-50-streaming-amp.7964/

What do you think of the Denon or Marantz streamers compared to the BlueSound Node N130 or the Yamaha ? (I mean the Denon DNP-800NE and Marantz NA6006. I can get these at a very competitive price.

https://www.marantz.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/na6006
DAC: ESS Saber ESS9016

https://www.denon.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/dnp-800ne
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM1795

Thank you very much in advance for the help,
AD.
 
Last edited:

Westpalmbeach

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As I was about to create a post asking the very same question, I read yours.
I also require a unit with graphic display
I’m considering the NAD M10 or nias atom
 

0bs3rv3r

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Doesn't sound like you want something cheap, but really, a raspberry Pi running moOde (or one of many other choices) into an external USB dac (or internal hat) will do this for a small fraction of the cost. I use a Topping DAC with mine. Fantastic sound.
 

MaxBuck

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I love my Bluesound Node. Although its DAC is demonstrably mediocre, I doubt I'd hear the difference with a better outboard DAC; still considering several options there, though, including RME ADI-2 DAC and a few miniDSP options, perhaps in concert with a Topping D30Pro. These approaches would render my Adcom GFP-750 redundant, and I'd likely sell it. I think any of these DACs, all of which have volume control, would be suitable to drive my NAD C298 power amp without an intervening preamplifier.

In my opinion, the BluOS app on Android and Windows is a delight. That's a big selling point IMO. Very good integration with Qobuz, Tidal and Idagio.
 

amper42

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Here are a few quality streamer/DAC/Preamp ideas:

1. RPi4 (Moode) -> RME ADI-2 DAC -> your amp ( I use this setup with a Purifi amp and it sounds great)
Moode works well for UPnP, Airplay and Bluetooth. RME is a nice DAC/preamp option.

2. RPi4 (Moode) ->Topping D90SE -> your amp (If Bluetooth is enough you won't need RPi4)

3. Boss2 -> Topping PRE90 Preamplifier -> your amp

With these examples I stream Qobuz from my computer via UPnP to the RPi4. Obviously, you could use Bluetooth with your phone as well.
 

Phorize

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Here are a few quality streamer/DAC/Preamp ideas:

1. RPi4 (Moode) -> RME ADI-2 DAC -> your amp ( I use this setup with a Purifi amp and it sounds great)
Moode works well for UPnP, Airplay and Bluetooth. RME is a nice DAC/preamp option.

2. RPi4 (Moode) ->Topping D90SE -> your amp (If Bluetooth is enough you won't need RPi4)

3. Boss2 -> Topping PRE90 Preamplifier -> your amp

With these examples I stream Qobuz from my computer via UPnP to the RPi4. Obviously, you could use Bluetooth with your phone as well.

Some nice options there.
 
OP
A

AllDigital

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I love my Bluesound Node. Although its DAC is demonstrably mediocre, I doubt I'd hear the difference with a better outboard DAC; still considering several options there, though, including RME ADI-2 DAC and a few miniDSP options, perhaps in concert with a Topping D30Pro. These approaches would render my Adcom GFP-750 redundant, and I'd likely sell it. I think any of these DACs, all of which have volume control, would be suitable to drive my NAD C298 power amp without an intervening preamplifier.

In my opinion, the BluOS app on Android and Windows is a delight. That's a big selling point IMO. Very good integration with Qobuz, Tidal and Idagio.

Well, I think you got my point.

I also doubt I will hear a difference.

One question... When we setup a dac connected to the Streamer (let´s say it is the node), What happens with the Pre-Amp function of the Node?

So, Streamer --> DAC --> AMP (Bluesound Node --> DAC --> AMP). Where is the volume control in this configuration, does it remain in the Node?

Thanks!
 

MaxBuck

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Well, I think you got my point.

I also doubt I will hear a difference.

One question... When we setup a dac connected to the Streamer (let´s say it is the node), What happens with the Pre-Amp function of the Node?

So, Streamer --> DAC --> AMP (Bluesound Node --> DAC --> AMP). Where is the volume control in this configuration, does it remain in the Node?

Thanks!
In that scenario, you conceivably could control volume at all three locations, assuming the amp has a volume control function. If not, two locations. And you can experiment with volume control location to see which provides the best sound.
 
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A

AllDigital

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In that scenario, you conceivably could control volume at all three locations, assuming the amp has a volume control function. If not, two locations. And you can experiment with volume control location to see which provides the best sound.
The amp is a power amp. It has manual gain adjustment but not a volume knob.

I would expect the volume to be controlled by the pre-amp... The Node.

But I am unsure.
 

MaxBuck

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The amp is a power amp. It has manual gain adjustment but not a volume knob.

I would expect the volume to be controlled by the pre-amp... The Node.

But I am unsure.
If you're placing a DAC after the Node, the Node isn't serving a preamp function. And from a practical perspective, adjusting power amp gain will affect volume to the speakers.
 

MarcosCh

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Here are a few quality streamer/DAC/Preamp ideas:

1. RPi4 (Moode) -> RME ADI-2 DAC -> your amp ( I use this setup with a Purifi amp and it sounds great)
Moode works well for UPnP, Airplay and Bluetooth. RME is a nice DAC/preamp option.

2. RPi4 (Moode) ->Topping D90SE -> your amp (If Bluetooth is enough you won't need RPi4)

3. Boss2 -> Topping PRE90 Preamplifier -> your amp

With these examples I stream Qobuz from my computer via UPnP to the RPi4. Obviously, you could use Bluetooth with your phone as well.
The problem with bluetooth via Moode is that it is a bit unconvenient to switch wifi/BT. Probably not an issue if you don't switch often but...
 

Tangband

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Hello forum!

I'm finishing up my new project for a stereo system for my living room and I'm going crazy with the last piece of the puzzle: the streamer/DAC/pre-amp.

I have an amplifier and a pair of speakers and I am delighted with the set. I need a source to act as a streamer, DAC, and preamp.

In general I need:

- WiFi and Bluetooth. Double bluetooth would be a plus.
- Integration with TIdal, preferably with Tidal connect.
- Preamplifier.
- RJ Ethernet input.
- A good DAC.
- RCA + Digital optical outputs.
- Solid headphones would be a plus, but not essential.
- A software that works well.

I've heard good things about BluOS, which is why my list is topped by the BlueSound node N130 (2021). The truth is that it has practically everything I need.

https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM5242

The review of the previous model has not been very good in this forum: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...surements-of-bluesound-node-2i-streamer.6631/

My questions for the Forum:

Speaking of Software: What do you think of BluOS? How do you see it compared to HEOS? And Yamaha MusicCast?

How would you rate the BlueSound node N130 against the Yamaha WXC-50

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/wireless_streaming_amplifiers/wxc-50/
DAC (two): ESS Sabre ESS9006 and PCM Burr Brown PCM5101A.

In this forum the brother of the WXC-50 has been valued positively: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...urements-of-yamaha-wxa-50-streaming-amp.7964/

What do you think of the Denon or Marantz streamers compared to the BlueSound Node N130 or the Yamaha ? (I mean the Denon DNP-800NE and Marantz NA6006. I can get these at a very competitive price.

https://www.marantz.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/na6006
DAC: ESS Saber ESS9016

https://www.denon.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/dnp-800ne
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM1795

Thank you very much in advance for the help,
AD.

The Yamaha wxc50 is good, but the SRC chip in pre amp mode ( makes everything 48 KHz ) is not top class . The bluesound Node 2 isn’t topclass with a mediocre dac , but the digital output is a bit better . You can better both of those players with more expensive alternatives like Linn Akurate DSM and such.

All of those ” cheap” streamers like bluesound , Denon and Yamaha suffers from ” good enough ” clocks and components thats not the best . SINAD is about 85-95 dB .
So the differences between them soundwise is small.
 

Chazz6

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A Denon HEOS Link HS2 just arrived. It receives wifi, Bluetooth and some wired inputs. It has optical and line outputs. I feed the Toslink output into a mid-level DAC. I feed the DAC output to an integrated amplifier.

A HEOS app on your Android or iOS device is required to set it all up. Went through typical snags getting it all to work. Things got all messed up, and the app led me in circles. Fortunately, you can press two buttons on the box to reset it, and that plus reinstalling the HEOS app got me out of the trap. Not yet completely sure the setup is stable, but it is for now.

The app has icons to click for all the usual stream services, but I only use locally stored files or Internet radio streams, aall sent over wifi.

However, the box is a DLNA/UPnP box, too. So once all is set, I close the HEOS app and use a Minimserver and BubbleUPnP combination to select and play the music.
 

amper42

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A Denon HEOS Link HS2 just arrived. It receives wifi, Bluetooth and some wired inputs. It has optical and line outputs. I feed the Toslink output into a mid-level DAC. I feed the DAC output to an integrated amplifier.

A HEOS app on your Android or iOS device is required to set it all up. Went through typical snags getting it all to work. Things got all messed up, and the app led me in circles. Fortunately, you can press two buttons on the box to reset it, and that plus reinstalling the HEOS app got me out of the trap. Not yet completely sure the setup is stable, but it is for now.

The app has icons to click for all the usual stream services, but I only use locally stored files or Internet radio streams, aall sent over wifi.

However, the box is a DLNA/UPnP box, too. So once all is set, I close the HEOS app and use a Minimserver and BubbleUPnP combination to select and play the music.


The HEOS Link HS2 is just like connecting to HEOS with a Denon AVR. HEOS app is limited and rarely updated. If you are going to use the app I would recommend placing your music on a USB drive and plugging it into the HS2. Otherwise, HEOS won't support HighRes music with the HEOS app from a phone/tablet (Bluetooth/Airplay).

A better way is to use UPnP with HS2 and a good player like Audirvana, JRiver or Roon. This way music is supported up to 24-bit/192kHz while streaming FLAC/PCM/ALAC files wirelessly. UPnP also allows you to stream Qobuz music even though HEOS app doesn't support Qobuz. Lots of fun tricks to get around the limitations of HEOS app. :D
 

Tangband

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Hello forum!

I'm finishing up my new project for a stereo system for my living room and I'm going crazy with the last piece of the puzzle: the streamer/DAC/pre-amp.

I have an amplifier and a pair of speakers and I am delighted with the set. I need a source to act as a streamer, DAC, and preamp.

In general I need:

- WiFi and Bluetooth. Double bluetooth would be a plus.
- Integration with TIdal, preferably with Tidal connect.
- Preamplifier.
- RJ Ethernet input.
- A good DAC.
- RCA + Digital optical outputs.
- Solid headphones would be a plus, but not essential.
- A software that works well.

I've heard good things about BluOS, which is why my list is topped by the BlueSound node N130 (2021). The truth is that it has practically everything I need.

https://www.bluesound.com/products/node/
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM5242

The review of the previous model has not been very good in this forum: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...surements-of-bluesound-node-2i-streamer.6631/

My questions for the Forum:

Speaking of Software: What do you think of BluOS? How do you see it compared to HEOS? And Yamaha MusicCast?

How would you rate the BlueSound node N130 against the Yamaha WXC-50

https://usa.yamaha.com/products/audio_visual/wireless_streaming_amplifiers/wxc-50/
DAC (two): ESS Sabre ESS9006 and PCM Burr Brown PCM5101A.

In this forum the brother of the WXC-50 has been valued positively: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...urements-of-yamaha-wxa-50-streaming-amp.7964/

What do you think of the Denon or Marantz streamers compared to the BlueSound Node N130 or the Yamaha ? (I mean the Denon DNP-800NE and Marantz NA6006. I can get these at a very competitive price.

https://www.marantz.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/na6006
DAC: ESS Saber ESS9016

https://www.denon.com/nl-nl/product/network-audio-players/dnp-800ne
DAC: Texas Instruments PCM1795

Thank you very much in advance for the help,
AD.

I gonna give you a hint: Something that your local dealer never would promote because of less profit:

If you already have an iPhone or iPad you dont need a streamer, just get Apple Music high resoultion for 9 dollar/month and a camera connection kit for the ios unit. You can then connect the iOS unit to a USB dac.

With a Topping d10s connected ( 99 dollars) you get a SINAD about 112 dB and the library in Apple Music high resolution is much bigger than TIDALs. And they sound the same.
If you dont want a dac, Use the Apple dongle for 9 bucks and get a SINAD at about 99 dB. Goodbye NAS and flac-files , you dont need them . This summer I put away my NAS for good and I dont miss it. Before, I have had streamers from Naim, squeezebox and Yamaha. We have tested the digital output from iPhone lightning with a USB bridge with 0,1 ppm clocks and the sound is then on pair with the Linn Akurate DSM.

This option is soundwise probably better than Denon, Yamaha and bluesound.:) I have the Yamaha wxc50, but Apple Music from my iPhone sounds a bit better. I only use the Yamaha for TV sound now.

And yes, you can control the volume on the topping d10s digitaly from the iOS unit when using Apple Music.
It uses 24 bit resolution In the volume function, digitaly. You can then connect topping d10s directly to your power amp.

https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/ap...to-benchmark-dac1?_pos=1&_sid=55f9308e7&_ss=r
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pple-vs-google-usb-c-headphone-adapters.5541/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...topping-d10s-usb-dac-and-bridge-review.14859/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/iphone-10-as-a-high-end-streamer.25833/
 
Last edited:

pjug

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One question... When we setup a dac connected to the Streamer (let´s say it is the node), What happens with the Pre-Amp function of the Node?
The Node can be set to have volume control or fixed volume. I use mine into a preamp that has volume with IR remote control. However, I don't like using that remote so I just set and forget the preamp volume and then control the volume with the streamer.
 

Westpalmbeach

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I gonna give you a hint: Something that your local dealer never would promote because of less profit:

If you already have an iPhone or iPad you dont need a streamer, just get Apple Music high resoultion for 9 dollar/month and a camera connection kit for the ios unit. You can then connect the iOS unit to a USB dac.

With a Topping d10s connected ( 99 dollars) you get a SINAD about 112 dB and the library in Apple Music high resolution is much bigger than TIDALs. And they sound the same.
If you dont want a dac, Use the Apple dongle for 9 bucks and get a SINAD at about 99 dB. Goodbye NAS and flac-files , you dont need them . This summer I put away my NAS for good and I dont miss it. Before, I have had streamers from Naim, squeezebox and Yamaha. We have tested the digital output from iPhone lightning with a USB bridge with 0,1 ppm clocks and the sound is then on pair with the Linn Akurate DSM.

This option is soundwise probably better than Denon, Yamaha and bluesound.:) I have the Yamaha wxc50, but Apple Music from my iPhone sounds a bit better. I only use the Yamaha for TV sound now.

And yes, you can control the volume on the topping d10s digitaly from the iOS unit when using Apple Music.
It uses 24 bit resolution In the volume function, digitaly. You can then connect topping d10s directly to your power amp.

https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/ap...to-benchmark-dac1?_pos=1&_sid=55f9308e7&_ss=r
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...pple-vs-google-usb-c-headphone-adapters.5541/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...topping-d10s-usb-dac-and-bridge-review.14859/
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/iphone-10-as-a-high-end-streamer.25833/
I don’t want to use my iPhone because I want
Guest to also use the system
 

JHC

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Cambridge Audio CXN V2? seems to fit your wish list well, too bad CA product did not get too many review here...
 
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