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New Streaming Set-Up From Scratch Advice - UK Novice

painter24

Active member
May 31, 2021
7
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Hi everyone,

My first time posting; I've been out of the HiFi loop for about 20yrs. Back in the day, I had a basic Naim set up, but sold it due to priorities at the time. I haven't really had a decent HiFi set-up since, and have definitely forgotten more than I currently know :) .

I have a vast CD collection, but I'm looking to start my new adventure with a streaming set-up initially, and add a CD transport/player a little further down the line, as apart from some obscure bands I was into in the 90's, and some Classical & Jazz, most of my music habits are satisfied via Spotify and Tidal.

After reading reviews, and watching Andrew Robinson's YouTube channel, I'm leaning towards the Cambridge Audio CXN v2 for my source. Andrew was quite enthusiastic about the DAC(s), and the unit's Pre-amp.

The rest of the system (amp & speakers) will be at the budget end, I'm never going to spend the money I did back in the day, on Naim etc :); so I would really appreciate some guidance/advice/recommendations for these 2 components.

I'm happy to spend around £250 to £300 on speakers, and around & £400 - £500 on the amp. (I will need speaker stands and a small equipment rack, but have factored that in). The trouble I have is, I'm unable to visit my local HiFi dealers to audition gear, due to being immunosuppressed, and combined with the pandemic, this is a definite "non-starter". I know HiFi/sound is highly subjective, and nothing beats actually auditioning yourself first before buying, but I'm stuck, hence my visit here.


Please could you knowledgeable people recommend some speakers and an amp in the price range above. I've been looking at the Cambridge Audio amps in this ball-park, and the Dali Spektor 2s. This is just a starting point; I'm not set on this pairing by any means, I just find it brain melting continually reading reviews etc, and end up less certain on choices than when I began.

Just for information, the set-up will be in room about 14 ft long, by about 10/11ft wide. Unfortunately, due to radiator placement and the bay window in the room, the speakers will need to be facing the breadth instead of the length of the room, so I would be listening from roughly 6 -7ft away from the speakers, which would be either side of a shallow fire/chimney breast (about 10 inches in depth, fire not used)

For an idea of what I listen to, I'll just list some stuff to give an overall idea:

60's/70's
Neil Young/CSN&Y
Tm Buckley
Joni Mitchell
Steely Dan
Jefferson Airplane
Nick Drake

Modern(ish)
Pixies
Pavement
Stereolab
Fleet Foxes
Low
Red House Painters

Also light classical - Debussy, Satie, Vaughn Williams and really mellow Jazz, Stanley Turrentine and the like.

I hope that gives a good idea of my listening habits; sonically, I'd like a nice clear, defined soundstage, tight and punchy bass (Pixies for example), and the top end to be restrained but not overly. I would like a touch of warmth, but not too much if that makes sense?

The gear I've mentioned is just a starting point, if anyone thinks I'd be better served with other options/choices, I'm very open minded and happy to listen to any advice/suggestions/recommendations. Or, as the case maybe, if I'm barking up the wrong tree altogether :)

Apologies for the long post; I just thought it better to be as detailed as possible.

Thanks very much for reading, and thanks in advance for any thoughts and guidance.

Regards

Lyndon
 

Florestander

Well-known member
May 8, 2021
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I recently bought my daughter a Denon network player with the with the Dali speakers you mention and she is very pleased with them. The player you mention has some good reviews and appears well received. Wharfedales may suit you, (diamond 220's) or even Q acoustic's 3020i's. Bowers & Wilkins seem to offer a little 'warmth'. There are plenty of these on well known websites and also 'vintage' models, which are often cheap relative to the quality of listening on offer.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
856
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I’d suggest thinking more of £800 on amp and speakers, without trying to guess the split. The CXN would be bit of a luxury with those ancillaries so I think the Bluesound suggestion above is worth considering seriously.
(There’s a new version out, replacing the 2i, so you might get a bargain on an ex-dem model).
What you’re really saying is c. £1600 on streamer, amp and speakers. Here are some at £700 if you’re quick www.richersounds.com/bluesound-powernode-2i-gen2-black.html plus, say a pair of Oberon 5 for £749, and you’re laughing. (Other finishes of Dali are available, these are just my favourite)
 
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Oxfordian

Well-known member
Mar 20, 2021
172
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My local dealer was happy to allow me to have demo kit at home, in fact they actually dropped gear off to me.

Is it worth reaching out to a local dealer, explaining your situation and see if they will loan you some kit that you could try. I would also add that we had a number of good discussions on the phone where I was able to explain what I was trying to do and what I wanted from a new system.

I appreciate that you cannot have direct contact with anyone but if you explain this from the outset I am sure that someone will be willing to help you out. After all, the itch to upgrade may come back once you start some serious listening so building a relationship with a dealer could be beneficial to all parties.
 
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painter24

Active member
May 31, 2021
7
4
25
Thanks very much for all your thoughts.

The Bluesound Powernode 2i makes good sense; am I correct in thinking I could connect a CD transport to it later down the line, through the Digital/Analogue "In"?

I like the the idea of being able to spend more on higher tier speakers by way of using the Bluesound's built-in amp. Nopiano, I love the look of the Dali Oberon 5s, especially the version you linked. They also seem to have good reviews, If however, further down the line I decided to go for an integrated amp, would I be able to use the Bluesound as an input to it via its "outs"?

Thanks again, and thanks Oxfordian, that's certainly worth looking in to.
 
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millennia_one

Well-known member
Sep 1, 2014
849
406
11,270
Thanks very much for all your thoughts.

The Bluesound Powernode 2i makes good sense; am I correct in thinking I could connect a CD transport to it later down the line, through the Digital/Analogue "In"?

I like the the idea of being able to spend more on higher tier speakers by way of using the Bluesound's built-in amp. Nopiano, I love the look of the Dali Oberon 5s, especially the version you linked. They also seem to have good reviews, If however, further down the line I decided to go for an integrated amp, would I be able to use the Bluesound as an input to it via its "outs"?

Thanks again, and thanks Oxfordian, that's certainly worth looking in to.
Another similar product is the Sonos amp which you can purchase with a 30 day return no questions asked if you don’t like it from Sonos themselves . Just add speakers of your choice as with the blue sound.
 

nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
856
532
19,770
Thanks very much for all your thoughts.

The Bluesound Powernode 2i makes good sense; am I correct in thinking I could connect a CD transport to it later down the line, through the Digital/Analogue "In"?

I like the the idea of being able to spend more on higher tier speakers by way of using the Bluesound's built-in amp. Nopiano, I love the look of the Dali Oberon 5s, especially the version you linked. They also seem to have good reviews, If however, further down the line I decided to go for an integrated amp, would I be able to use the Bluesound as an input to it via its "outs"?

Thanks again, and thanks Oxfordian, that's certainly worth looking in to.
I’m not sure that the Powernode has outputs apart from for speakers. Obviously the unpowered Node does, and you can use an external DAC with that too, as well as analogue outputs as a source.

I guess you’d have to px it towards whatever you upgraded to, but please check with a dealer as I don’t own one so cannot be sure.

Otherwise I think it’s a great combination.
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
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Hi Lyndon and welcome. I have couple of thoughts regarding your post. And please bear with me as I like to take a holistic view. First off, nice choice of music, covers lots of ground. Secondly, considering your budget I'd really be tempted not to go with CXN V2.

Here's why spending the same money on an amp with integrated streaming facilities will give you a) a better amp b) fewer boxes c) simpler operation. If at all possible Hegel Rost is a beast of an amp for that. You'd need to go second hand but we'll within budget if you consider what you budgeted for CXN and an amp.

This approach would also allow you to spend a little bit more on speakers. I appreciate demos might be difficult in any circumstances but that's the best I could suggest from personal experience.
 

muljao

Well-known member
Jul 18, 2016
332
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4,970
You can plug cd transport to powernode. It doesn't have preout to use different amp.

There's nothing wrong with any setups that you mentioned. Whatever systems people agree or disagree on most will likely agree amp and speakers are more critical than dac for good sound (obviously any half respected dac)

For a more conventional setup look at adding a yamaha wxad 10 to an existing setup at least than 150 pounds
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
664
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19,270
Second hand Naim Uniti. Built in CD player as well as streamer.
Consider this option indeed. Or a Unitiqute 2 if you wanna add a CD transport at a later date. The Powernode 2i is also a good suggestion, and it has the upper hand in the software department, but the Naims sound way better.
 

painter24

Active member
May 31, 2021
7
4
25
Thanks for all your suggestions and thoughts and of course your time; I genuinely appreciate it!

I think the Naim Uniti is out my range, at the moment, as is the Hegel.

I do like the Dali Oberon 5s for my speakers after reading reviews. As for the streamer/amp, I think ill wait for the Bluesound Powernode 2i Gen 3 to hit the market this month; apparently the DAC configuration has been altered, as from reviews I've seen, the Gen 2 was accused of being a little clinical/sterile or words to that effect. I think what was said from memory was that the dynamics and sound stage were there, but lacked real character overall.

Also the Gen3 has a bigger amp, which leads to me ask; here are the output specs for the amp section:

Rated Power Output
80W x 2 (8 Ohms)
IHF Dynamic Power
220W (4 Ohms) / 130W (8 Ohms)

Would the Gen3 be sufficient/comfortable in range to run the Oberon 5s? (this is my blind spot; ohms/impedence and the correlation with the wattage of the amp. I'm absolutely clueless when it comes to this aspect ☹)

Thanks again everyone, much appreciated

Regards

Lyndon
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
139
74
170
Thanks for all your suggestions and thoughts and of course your time; I genuinely appreciate it!

I think the Naim Uniti is out my range, at the moment, as is the Hegel.

I do like the Dali Oberon 5s for my speakers after reading reviews. As for the streamer/amp, I think ill wait for the Bluesound Powernode 2i Gen 3 to hit the market this month; apparently the DAC configuration has been altered, as from reviews I've seen, the Gen 2 was accused of being a little clinical/sterile or words to that effect. I think what was said from memory was that the dynamics and sound stage were there, but lacked real character overall.

Also the Gen3 has a bigger amp, which leads to me ask; here are the output specs for the amp section:

Rated Power Output
80W x 2 (8 Ohms)
IHF Dynamic Power
220W (4 Ohms) / 130W (8 Ohms)

Would the Gen3 be sufficient/comfortable in range to run the Oberon 5s? (this is my blind spot; ohms/impedence and the correlation with the wattage of the amp. I'm absolutely clueless when it comes to this aspect ☹)

Thanks again everyone, much appreciated

Regards

Lyndon
I would not get too hung up on power ratings for your set up. The power node will be more than capable of driving those speakers…and remember in ’normal’ rooms at ‘normal’ listening levels you will only be drawing about one watt from the amp!
 
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Oxfordian

Well-known member
Mar 20, 2021
172
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[

Also the Gen3 has a bigger amp, which leads to me ask; here are the output specs for the amp section:

Rated Power Output
80W x 2 (8 Ohms)
IHF Dynamic Power
220W (4 Ohms) / 130W (8 Ohms)

Would the Gen3 be sufficient/comfortable in range to run the Oberon 5s? (this is my blind spot; ohms/impedence and the correlation with the wattage of the amp. I'm absolutely clueless when it comes to this aspect ☹)

Thanks again everyone, much appreciated

Regards

Lyndon
[/QUOTE]

All this power stuff makes my head spin so you’re not the only one, I found a channel on YT from ‘The British Audiophile’, he is pretty good at explaining this type of stuff, have a look at his channel if you get chance.
 
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amormusic

Well-known member
Feb 24, 2016
222
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I would not get too hung up on power ratings for your set up. The power node will be more than capable of driving those speakers…and remember in ’normal’ rooms at ‘normal’ listening levels you will only be drawing about one watt from the amp!
Just to reiterate this point. My current amp (Sugden with 23w) is reviewed by The British Audiophile (mentioned above) in comparison with a much more powerful Hegel. If you can be bothered to watch it you'll realise you don't need much high quality power to sound plenty loud and amazing.

Re the CXN, I've had one. They're great, but there are some better suggestions which have already been made which would suit the budget you have.

Make friends with your dealer. They can guide you and let you try stuff. They want to be your friend as there's a good chance you'll go back in future if they give you a great service.
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
664
289
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Thanks for all your suggestions and thoughts and of course your time; I genuinely appreciate it!

I think the Naim Uniti is out my range, at the moment, as is the Hegel.

I do like the Dali Oberon 5s for my speakers after reading reviews. As for the streamer/amp, I think ill wait for the Bluesound Powernode 2i Gen 3 to hit the market this month; apparently the DAC configuration has been altered, as from reviews I've seen, the Gen 2 was accused of being a little clinical/sterile or words to that effect. I think what was said from memory was that the dynamics and sound stage were there, but lacked real character overall.

Also the Gen3 has a bigger amp, which leads to me ask; here are the output specs for the amp section:

Rated Power Output
80W x 2 (8 Ohms)
IHF Dynamic Power
220W (4 Ohms) / 130W (8 Ohms)

Would the Gen3 be sufficient/comfortable in range to run the Oberon 5s? (this is my blind spot; ohms/impedence and the correlation with the wattage of the amp. I'm absolutely clueless when it comes to this aspect ☹)

Thanks again everyone, much appreciated

Regards

Lyndon
We're talking about the older gen, which sounds fantastic, but of course lacks the latest and greatest software features, like Roon readiness and stuff. A Unitiqute 2 goes for something like 800 quid on the used market

On the other points, yes, the Oberons are great, and I have the same feeling about the sterility of the DAC in the Node 2i. And yes, a Powernode will have enough power to drive the Oberons. No, wattage isn't everything, quite far from it. Whether you'll like the Bluesound Dali pairing is only for you to decide. I would, however, audition more stuff before commiting (like Rega Brio + Yamaha WXAD 10, for instance).
 

insider9

Well-known member
Sep 20, 2016
1,060
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I would not get too hung up on power ratings for your set up. The power node will be more than capable of driving those speakers…and remember in ’normal’ rooms at ‘normal’ listening levels you will only be drawing about one watt from the amp!
That's all well and good but 1 good Watt from a decent amp and same 1 Watt from a crap one are not the same. I've not heard Powernode but if Sonos equivalent is anything to go by I would not suggest it for the money. Similar class D amps can be had from Amazon with BT included for circa £50. Granted, they won't come with software.
 

Tinman1952

Well-known member
May 19, 2021
139
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170
That's all well and good but 1 good Watt from a decent amp and same 1 Watt from a crap one are not the same. I've not heard Powernode but if Sonos equivalent is anything to go by I would not suggest it for the money. Similar class D amps can be had from Amazon with BT included for circa £50. Granted, they won't come with software.
I would hesitate to compare Bluesound technology (similar to that used in NAD equipment..also part of Lenbrook) to a Sonos product!
As you said ..you haven’t heard it …🤔
A class D amp for £50 is no comparison with this streaming DAC/amplifier.
which costs £850!
 

painter24

Active member
May 31, 2021
7
4
25
Thanks for your thoughts guys.

I've been doing a bit more digging around, and seen a few comments that allude to the idea that the Dali Oberon 5s maybe too much speaker for a room I have. I have since been looking at the B&W 606 S2 Anniversary Edition. Apparently the B&Ws pair quite well with the Rega Brio rainsoothe mentioned above.
Since my original post I've been able to increase my budget to £2k. So at the moment, I'm considering:

Rega Brio
B&W 606 S2 AE
Bluesound Node Gen 3

Theres a local dealer not that far from me who stocks all 3 items. When the new Bluesound comes out this month, I'll enquire if, due to my condition, they'd be willing to come to an arrangement to let me home audition.

In theory, do the listed items/set up sound workable, or is there anything not right I'm not aware of; compatibility, amp/power pairing eg.

Thanks guys
 

painter24

Active member
May 31, 2021
7
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Second hand Naim Uniti now well within budget!
I've had a look around, there are some good bargains to be had, I'm just not too sure of spending large amounts of money on auction sites. Would I be covered if an item I bought was not in working order after I'd received it?
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
664
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I've had a look around, there are some good bargains to be had, I'm just not too sure of spending large amounts of money on auction sites. Would I be covered if an item I bought was not in working order after I'd received it?
Usually, if it's via EBay or PayPal, yes. There's also some dealerships that use EBay (or not) that even offer some type of warranty, and their second hand items are checked. That's a good place to start, if you're not sure - I think Nintronics is one, but there are others
 

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