Advice on improving system via upgrading digital source from a Win 10 device

So my system is now at a high level (for me anyway) and while a speaker upgrade is always an option, it’s pricey. My dealer talks up the Bartok but I have a Sr. and I really like it. And the Bartok is pricey as well.

So I’m getting in a ton of listening and recently added a sub and things are coming along nicely. However one thing that has never changed is my Win 10 desktop PC which is used for work (a lot of that at home lately!) , photography and general futzing around. It also has jRiver (hardly used anymore and I cancelled Roon) as I’m almost 100% streaming. I do stream Spotify (background) and Amazon HD when I’m having a “session”.

Is there a simple but effective upgrade I’m missing here? Dedicated (vs shared) PC or MAC running via USB to the SR (I don’t have a network card or Enet capability at this time). I hear of bubble up, aurender, apps etc etc. Just wondering if I may be missing a simple and effective “upgrade” that may be right in front of me but I can’t see it… Thank you.

I am biased - Aurender N100H

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Might want to look into this inexpensive option if you only want to use streaming services into the DS.

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You are going to have to have something to replace the Windows machine. You could look at a Sonore Rendu device or a Bridge II card, or others. Like @djstix1 stated an Aurender works also.

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If you are determined to stick with Amazon HD for “serious” listening then you are going to be limited to the devices listed on the Amazon HD webpage with the most well known being the Node 2i. They have shown no inclination to release their API to any of the other streamer manufacturers.


Thank you. Good point. I’m really not determined but I am familiar with it. Have multiple play lists etc. I’ll look into the device you mentioned. I could do a Qobuz trial as well …

I’ve never used the Nord streamer but I have owned Colin’s amps and he is an easy guy to deal with. There is a Nord Facebook group and there are a lot of the streamer owners there. For roughly $170 seems worth a try compared to the $500 Node if you can make Qobuz work for you. I have used it for three years and have no plans to change.

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This is true but I can’t tell the difference sonically between a 96 or 192 track on QoBuz or the same Hi Rez tracks on AmazonHD. I’d never gone past the 30 day promo period for QoBuz but kept AmazonHD during it’s roll out last summer (wanted to compare both without having to PAY for both).

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I don’t own a streamer that does Amazon HD and have no interest in owning anything on their current list as they would be a downgrade from what I have. Also not going to run a computer into my setups to have access. So until they open up access to more options Amazon HD doesn’t interest me.

Nowadays many routers have build-in NAS functionality, handling external usb-disks instantly as server (no need for pc/streamer/switch). Started streaming this way years ago via BridgeII with Bubble and a Netgear Nighthawk (2 usb-ports).

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Great point. I have not done a “vs” comparison. I definitely did not want to pay for Roon and Qobuz. Also I loved Roon, but was always streaming, my 80G collection was waning by comparison. Amazon seem like a great deal to try. At first it sucked a bit. They seemed to improve reliability…

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So a noob question here. So I get a device that is capable of streaming (wireless) Spotify and Amazon HD. That device connects to my network, I log in etc. Then I connect to my Sr via Optical correct? Then, how does one interface? I don’t see an HDMI to run to a TV/Monitor. I don’t want to use my phone but I could use an android tablet? Also I am improving sound quality here or at least have that potential eradicating the whole PC source? This spot is right down the street from me:

BTW- Thanks to everyone that chimed in… This is great stuff. Just not sure how best to proceed…

The 2i does seem to have it’s merits at first blush. Affordable as well

The Node 2I is prob your best bet - I used to have one and it sounded good for the money. Very broad range of streaming options and a decent controller app.

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The Node 2i app works with Android and IOS as well as desktop btw.

So this has been very helpful. Thanks everyone. One last thought. Would the 2i provide anything above an beyond just having a medium performance (SSD,8G RAM) dedicated laptop as a server? Similar pricing and then the interface (I hear the 2i is great and I would use my tablet) would be just on my TV and a typical mouse so no issue there I don’t think.

I don’t own one, haven’t listened to one only read up a bit on it. Personally, it doesn’t sound like it would/could best a decently tweaked standalone computer. They don’t tell you anything about the parts quality or any engineering/tech that goes into it, not even what particular DAC (which you probably wouldn’t use anyway). If you put any faith into the Audio Science reviews (which I usually don’t) it doesn’t test that well. I don’t know, I’d think about spending up if I was already willing to spend $550 on a mediocre streamer .

Interesting point. I am trying out a dedicated laptop now. One reason is I can just take it back if I am not pleased. Can’t do that with the 2i. I got a decent price on an overkill Laptop with SSD and 8G ram with good graphics and processor. My thought is this will be a good tool for travel/photography as well.

I have it working at the moment. I notice the Sr reports what ever bit rate I have the laptop set to. 352/24. But there are plenty of tweaks yet to do. I can play with it a month and see if a 2i comes up for sale at TMR. maybe do a comparison. Maybe the 2i has an advantage going optical vs USB? Not sure but the comments here have helped me and gave me two choices.

You can optimize the laptop for audio by running something like Fidelizer
They have a free version I believe.

He needs Amazon HD - choices are limited