Later this year I plan on upgrading my DAC / AMP combo to the GCD / M700 set. I currently use a Bluesound Node2i for streaming. I definitely noticed a sound quality difference from the Sonos Connect I used to own so I am a not a believer in the bits are bits philosophy. That being said, I was wondering if anyone has had experience in upgrading from the Bluesound, or how the Bluesound synergizes with the GCD. The next step up would be something by the Auralic brand I guess? But I just wonder how much improvement there is for getting a $2,000 streamer vs a $500 one.
I was looking at Darko Audio’s list of recommended products for my next potential streamer upgrade.
Thanks for any input.
I have some experience with the Bluesound Node 2i and I have a SGCD and S300. The SGCD is pretty amazing and the feature set of the Bluesound is hard to beat.
I wouldn’t hesitate keeping the Bluesound (I’m considering getting one myself). You could easily A/B the digital out with the analog out of the Bluesound to decide which is best. Without having done so myself, I’d wager a good deal of money that the Bluesound as a transport, coax out into he SGCD is the best arrangement (letting the SGCD do the DA conversation, in other words). For the money, this would be hard to beat.
A number of customers run a Bluesound into their Gain Cell and love it. For the most part, people love the U.I. but mention it leaves a little to be desired as far as sound goes. I’ve also been receiving a lot of positive feedback regarding the Aurender N10.
I stopped by the Auralic room at AXPONA recently and was extremely pleased by the sound. I didn’t have much time to do a proper demo, but liked what I heard.
There’s also the MicroRendu/ UltraRendu route…
I have the GCD/M700 combo that I use with the Sonos connect. I have toyed with the idea of upgrading the streamer; probably to the Bluesound Node 2i. Curious to hear what your sense of the difference is between the two.
Best price-to-performance, best bang for buck–not the cheapest, but I’d say the best buy.
The Ultra version, with all its reclocking blah blah is probably not necessary.
I use a Salk Stream. I’ve used it with multiple DACs including the GCD. It’s worked flawlessly. Linux based so I don’t need any drivers. If you use Roon like I do, it’s Roon ready.
Its since been replaced by the Neo…
That is true. In fact, I have the Neo.
Pro-Ject now has one as well
Without using too many audiophile adjectives, the Connect just kinda sounded flat and lifeless to me. I used to think it was all BS as how could 1s and 0s possibly be different from one device to another. But I started to notice that sound I had coming from my Bluerays like a few Operas from Mozart I have just sounded so stunning whereas the music from my Sonos never got me feeling anything. I read a bunch of articles about the role jitter can play in streaming and decided to try the Bluesound. It just sounds better, more lively and detailed than the Sonos. Plus the Node can do bluetooth and hi-res if youre into that.
Thanks. May have to give it a try as it is not terribly expensive.
Personally I get satisfied with the Allo DigiOne Player. Even cheaper and still decent is the August WR320.
I have the SGCD/S300 combo and bought an AURALiC Aries G1 for streaming. I’ve been pretty happy with that combination so far. It was a definite step up from a laptop connected to the SGCD. I can’t comment on the Bluesound Node though as I haven’t heard one. The G1 was well worth the money to me as it acts as a streaming endpoint for Tidal, Qobuz, and Spotify as well as my local digital library and is wireless. The software is pretty user friendly though limited to Apple iOS devices (though I can interact with the G1 using BubbleUPNP on an android device). It also allows me to connect with Bluetooth and is a ROON endpoint as well (don’t use ROON so can’t comment on the SQ using it).
Thanks for sharing. Do you notice a difference between Tidal and Qobuz?
The SQ of Qobuz sounds better to my untrained ears though it would be difficult for me to quantify how much better. I enjoy the Qobuz ‘experience’ a little better even with the truncated US catalog.
I’m in the same boat. I notice myself getting more engaged while listening to Qobuz, but I swear the catalog gets smaller every day.
I prefer Qobuz so much I canceled my Tidal subscription. I find that searches via Roon take a lot longer than it did with Tidal though.
Seems to be nearly universal preference for Qobuz, over Tidal. I have both, Qobuz is better on many levels, especially SQ!
I use the Elac Discovery, coax out into my GCD. Very happy with the sound on ripped files as well as Tidal.