Help with upgrading my streaming system

adamwillan

Well-known member
Oct 10, 2012
9
0
18,520
Hi I am a bit out of the game when it comes to stereo systems compared to a few years ago...

I currently use a chromecast audio to play Spotify/Radio from my phone. It is connected via optical to the DAC on my Rotel RA 12 amplifier.

I am looking to upgrade my streaming option so that it is easier for my missus to use, better sound, and also use of foreign radio stations (which you cant do on Tune in).

I had been considering the bluesound node 2i as a cheap upgrade (now at £400). Would this give a vastly improved sound over the current setup?

The other options that I have are a 2nd hand Azur 851n for around £650, or make the investment in something better such as the soon to be released Arcam ST60 for £1,200.

If I was to invest in something better like the Arcam would my 7 year old mid range amplifier negate any extra sound quality. I will probably look to get Amazon HD or other to improve on spotify if investing in a better system.

Thanks in advance!
 

shadders

Well-known member
Nov 19, 2009
307
188
19,070
Hi I am a bit out of the game when it comes to stereo systems compared to a few years ago...

I currently use a chromecast audio to play Spotify/Radio from my phone. It is connected via optical to the DAC on my Rotel RA 12 amplifier.

I am looking to upgrade my streaming option so that it is easier for my missus to use, better sound, and also use of foreign radio stations (which you cant do on Tune in).

I had been considering the bluesound node 2i as a cheap upgrade (now at £400). Would this give a vastly improved sound over the current setup?

The other options that I have are a 2nd hand Azur 851n for around £650, or make the investment in something better such as the soon to be released Arcam ST60 for £1,200.

If I was to invest in something better like the Arcam would my 7 year old mid range amplifier negate any extra sound quality. I will probably look to get Amazon HD or other to improve on spotify if investing in a better system.

Thanks in advance!
Hi,
The Arcam ST60 is a streamer, and has no power amplifier, so £1,200 for a streamer as opposed to £400 for the Bluesound - there is quite a difference.

The ST60 has an ESS DAC, and the Rotel has the Wolfson WM8740 DAC. So it will depend on whether you prefer the Wolfson in the Rotel, or the ESS DAC from the ST60 feeding the analogue inputs of the Rotel amplifier.

For the Azur 851N, again, this has Analog Device AD1955 DAC's, so it will be which sound do you prefer - the Rotel DAC or the Azur 851N with the AD1955 feeding through to the analogue inputs of the Rotel amplifier.

I seem to recall that the Cambridge Audio Azur 851N is no longer in support - so you may not be able to obtain the latest internet sources etc.

Regards,
Shadders.
 
D

Deleted member 116933

Guest
Hi I am a bit out of the game when it comes to stereo systems compared to a few years ago...

I currently use a chromecast audio to play Spotify/Radio from my phone. It is connected via optical to the DAC on my Rotel RA 12 amplifier.

I am looking to upgrade my streaming option so that it is easier for my missus to use, better sound, and also use of foreign radio stations (which you cant do on Tune in).

I had been considering the bluesound node 2i as a cheap upgrade (now at £400). Would this give a vastly improved sound over the current setup?

The other options that I have are a 2nd hand Azur 851n for around £650, or make the investment in something better such as the soon to be released Arcam ST60 for £1,200.

If I was to invest in something better like the Arcam would my 7 year old mid range amplifier negate any extra sound quality. I will probably look to get Amazon HD or other to improve on spotify if investing in a better system.

Thanks in advance!

TBH it doesn't get much easier than the Chromecast audio, download your streaming app of choice and pick it in the options before/while playing the music. and can be used as a Roon endpoint.

Its would be much the same for the other streamers TBH. if using Spotify connect

Sound quality, and can it be improved upon? for a price! I truthfully I can't hear a difference between a blue sound node and the Chromecast. your better off actually upgrading your dac if anything.

Not to mention you're using Spotify anyhow so any possible improvement just isn't going to be noticeable.

Id say stick with what you have and sit with the other half till she understands how to use it, the experience is the same through them all with Spotify

If you want to see if you can hear the difference get a months trial of tidal. and go from there and audition a few streamers taking your chrome cast with you.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
784
362
19,270
Imo, the DAC in the Bluesound is pretty crappy, but you could keep using the DAC in your Rotel. A sh Cambridge Audio CXN v2 (which sounds way better, imo) would be affordable, but the user interface is worse than the Bluesound one - which is pretty good, and at this budget (and even high end), interfaces are what plague good gear. The CA is Roon compatible, but now the costs are really starting to add up.
 

oxymoronracing

Active member
Jul 28, 2020
11
8
25
Don't know if it helps but just bought an Audiolab 6000n. Like you I was out of of the hi-fi game for ages. Did a vivid project and got rid of cd player and DAC. Worked first time with play fi and sounds fab.
 
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matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
494
330
19,270
I've had my Audiolab 6000N for about 4 months now and I'm very pleased with it. I use it with Qobuz, Spotify and internet radio and I find it easy to use and enjoyable to listen to. My main use is to try new releases before committing funds to purchasing the CD or LP.
 

Simon 13th note

Well-known member
BANNED
Jul 27, 2020
183
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I wouldn't be buying based on the DAC make, as intimated, as lots do. It's about many factors than just the make of DAC chip.

I agree with millenia one in the sense streamers give the least big change between budget or mid-fi hifi (I dont use those words disparagingly) so you definitely wont be getting massive changes. In fact even with an auralic Aries G1 versus a node 2i the difference is tiny, and Im using much more expensive amps.

The DAC in the Node 2i isn't crappy at its price I dont think, but decent. But where you get value at these prices is in the amplification and speakers, so I wouldn't just look at amps, I would look at speakers too if you aren't happy.
 

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