Streamer/source

Timbola

Active member
Nov 2, 2022
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Hi All
I have a Sonos Connect which I connect via Optical to a Chord Mojo and onwards to ATC SIA2-150 & PMC Twenty5.24.

I’m wondering if I could improve my source .e the now quite old Sonos Connect?

I would either be keeping the Mojo or may upgrade to a Qutest as the off board DAC so only a new source suitable for streaming Qobuz is required.

Has anyone with a similar off board DAC found improvements in changing their source?

I’m aware the Connect is limited to 16/44 streaming so this could be one advantage in changing but most interested in 16/44 comparisons.

I only stream via Qobuz.

Thank you for any comments/advice.
 

Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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I’ve been down a bit of a rabbit hole researching this topic this afternoon.

My ‘problem’ is the ATC amp is very revealing of source input/quality which is why I think the upgrade is needed.

I think my next step will be to try out an Auralic Aries G1.1 streamer which by all accounts is an excellent digital source and has good synergy with Chord DACs (Aries has no integral DAC) and a good interface for use with Qobuz. I’ll stay with my existing Mojo for the moment which is pretty decent and consider an upgrade to the Qutest from there.
Ive also considered a bluesound Node but not sure how much this will give me over my existing Sonos Connect. I might consider getting a 2nd hand one to compare with the Aries and see what the extra cost of the Aries brings..
I’ll report back on here any findings in case anyone is interested.
 

Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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(y) yes might try and get one on eBay to compare. Quite a few 2i versions on eBay but seems like the latest model has a few improvements?
 

Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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Ordered a Chord Qutest and Bluesound Node 2021 version today.

Slightly different to what I mentioned as planned next steps above, but I found both at a discounted price new/open box so got the pair for slightly more than just the price of a Qutest which was too hard to turn down

I’m hoping the upgrade from Sonos Connect + Mojo to BSNode + Qutest will actually be greater than from just Sonos Connect to Aries with Mojo at the same price.

I’ll get to some comparisons later in the week, trying:

Sonos Connect vs BSNode into Chord Mojo

BSNode integral DAC vs BSNode via Chord Qutest DAC

BSNode integral DAC vs Mojo vs Qutest if I get time

My amp has a headphone stage so will try the above via both Senheisser HD600 and PMC speakers. Should be fun I’m hoping!
 

Dom

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Aug 6, 2011
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Ordered a Chord Qutest and Bluesound Node 2021 version today.
Wow, really hope it works out for you, good stuff mate. (y)

I were going to plump for the Qutest DAC with a Naim SUPERNAIT 3 amplifier, but you know, money doesn't grow on trees, in fact it's actually a polymer of thin, flexible plastic. I would make my own but well, it's criminal.:eek:
 

Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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Thanks Dom (y)

Very aware it’s a chunk of change but will hopefully give me a decent streaming front end for the next 5+ years.

I’m very happy with my amp & speakers so anything after this will be tinkering with power supplies, cables etc rather than big purchases.. that’s the plan anyway ;)
 
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Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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Well a quick update after a few nights of listening to the new BSNode & Qutest..

I’ll keep it quite brief because to be honest.. the Qutest is sublime :)

After approx 30 seconds of listening it was obvious that the Qutest is a significant step up from the Mojo. Timbre, tone, texture, soundstage and spacing of instruments/voices are all substantially improved. Dynamics, decay and attack all better. The Mojo is good, but the Qutest really moves things to the next level.

I’ve played around with a few comparisons but it’s quite an easy outcome: BSNode as a transport beats Sonos Connect for its ability to play at higher resolution (and surprisingly I’m finding the OS is better than Sonos S2 too).

Qutest > Mojo.
Qutest > BSNode integral DAC.

I’ve also been comparing between Optical vs Coax connections between the BSNode and Qutest. The Coax cable is QED, the optical just a cheapo one I had kicking around. The optical is a clear winner for me, providing crisper dynamics and a much taller soundstage - voices and instruments sound more holographic. Coax is a little too smooth for my taste and seems to flatten the soundstage. I’ll be ordering a better optical cable to see what difference that brings (if any) and may also try an improved power supply for the Qutest. In the meantime I’m chuffed with this new set-up and enjoying going back through lots of music just to experience the extra detail :)
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I’ve read that a number of folks reckon improving the power supply to the Node - or pimping it, as they call it - gives worthwhile results, especially where an external DAC is used. Fidelity Audio is one brand iirc. For some reason, a linear power supply brings better sound. And if you find the same you can upgrade the ps to the Qutest too!

I have one pal who uses a Node into a Hugo + M Scaler, so it has headroom as a streamer. I personally prefer the gubbins all in one box, a la Linn in my case.

Lovely system btw. I chose my ATC speakers auditioning on your amp. It’s a cracker.
 
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Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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I’ve read that a number of folks reckon improving the power supply to the Node - or pimping it, as they call it - gives worthwhile results, especially where an external DAC is used. Fidelity Audio is one brand iirc. For some reason, a linear power supply brings better sound. And if you find the same you can upgrade the ps to the Qutest too!

I have one pal who uses a Node into a Hugo + M Scaler, so it has headroom as a streamer. I personally prefer the gubbins all in one box, a la Linn in my case.

Lovely system btw. I chose my ATC speakers auditioning on your amp. It’s a cracker.
I think for the relatively (in hifi terms!) low outlay it’ll be worth experimenting with an upgraded power supply. Like you say seems others have had good results and I can try it on both the Node and Qutest.

I’m really impressed by the ATC amp, it replaced a pretty decent Roksan Pre/Power separates system and outperforms it in most areas. I’ve got a hankering for trying some SCM40s at home to compare with my current PMCs. Having bought the little SCM7 (purchased to temporarily replace the PMCs whilst our little one is learning to walk) I’ve been really impressed by their sound and understand moving up the range generally means more of same but bigger and better..
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I think for the relatively (in hifi terms!) low outlay it’ll be worth experimenting with an upgraded power supply. Like you say seems others have had good results and I can try it on both the Node and Qutest.

I’m really impressed by the ATC amp, it replaced a pretty decent Roksan Pre/Power separates system and outperforms it in most areas. I’ve got a hankering for trying some SCM40s at home to compare with my current PMCs. Having bought the little SCM7 (purchased to temporarily replace the PMCs whilst our little one is learning to walk) I’ve been really impressed by their sound and understand moving up the range generally means more of same but bigger and better..
Personally, I don’t think you can go wrong with ATC. I bought the SCM40 which I still have. ( I just took a detour when some rare Sonus Fabers came up, per my signature below). All the so-called Entry series from ATC share the tweeter - hence, just as you say, the SCM7 has the same in-house tweeter as the SCM40, and the models 11 and 19 in between.

In my view, everything ATC make has real engineering integrity, and an unrivalled six year warranty that’s transferable. (Contrast PMCs twenty years that resides only with the first buyer.)
 

robdmarsh

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Jun 28, 2015
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I don't get the popularity of the Bluesound Node. Ok it's a streamer with a very average DAC which has very meh sound quality. It has hdmi (who cares when it's two channel) , two-way bluetooth (anyone caring?) and can do MQA, which has no proven sound benefits over normal hi-res. To make it sound decent you need another DAC like the OP, though not sure if you need to drop £1000 on a Chord qutest.
 

Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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I don't get the popularity of the Bluesound Node. Ok it's a streamer with a very average DAC which has very meh sound quality. It has hdmi (who cares when it's two channel) , two-way bluetooth (anyone caring?) and can do MQA, which has no proven sound benefits over normal hi-res. To make it sound decent you need another DAC like the OP, though not sure if you need to drop £1000 on a Chord qutest.
What would you go for instead of the BSNode and Qutest?
 

nopiano

Well-known member
I don't get the popularity of the Bluesound Node. Ok it's a streamer with a very average DAC which has very meh sound quality. It has hdmi (who cares when it's two channel) , two-way bluetooth (anyone caring?) and can do MQA, which has no proven sound benefits over normal hi-res. To make it sound decent you need another DAC like the OP, though not sure if you need to drop £1000 on a Chord qutest.
I gather that the app is very easy to use, and there’s nothing worse than a bad user interface in a streamer. Several acquaintances with otherwise quite lavish systems swear by them.
 
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Timbola

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Nov 2, 2022
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The BSNode OS is up there with (and quite possibly better than) Sonos who have dominated this space for years. Plus the ability to stream in hi-res. I’m not sure what better alternative there is with this functionality and ease of use.. certainly interested in hearing any suggestions.
 

nickcornwall

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Nov 24, 2022
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I bought a Primare NP5 which I’m happy with. But I really chose it as it didn’t have an onboard DAC and I already had a Chord 2Cute - seemed silly to pay for circuitry I wasn’t going to use!
 

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