For me the usability/user friendliness of a DAC's streaming software is as important as the sound. I'd be curious to hear people's experiences with various manufacturer's apps to see which are the most user friendly, bug free, etc...
Thank you Hans, exactly the kind of feedback i'm looking for.Here is my lockdown activity on this. Tried out various mix-ups.
Chromecast Audio with external DAC's - Topping E30 & Loxjie D30 ( optical)
Fantastic all round. No need to use 3rd party apps. Simply hit the 'Cast' button from the Tidal/Qobuz apps. Can stream bit perfect up to 24/96. One downside - no gapless playback
NVIDIA Shield TV with external DAC (USB cable)
As above, just use the 'cast feature' so great experience but the NVIDIA resamples all USB audio to 192 so not bit-perfect. Still sounded great, but I'd need to use a 3rd party app on the SHIELD to bypass the 'android re-sample' so gave up on that.
Bluesound Node2i - no external DAC
Great experience, the BluOS app is fantastic. No issues and if you are a Tidal user, then 'Tidal Connect' feature is great and works perfectly from the native Tidal app. Was hassle free in the month or so I ran this.
Arylic S50 Pro+ (no external DAC)
Cheapest way to add Hi-Res streaming up to 24/192 to your system
You must use the 4STREAM app through. No cast feature. The app is fine, but can freeze, lag from time to time. Will get better no doubt as regular updates are pushed out. Also has a decent Sabre DAC & supports APT-X HD codec for Bluetooth. No gapless and if looking to use external DAC - outputs are limited/fixed to 16/44 CD quality only
I really liked this streamer. Sounded better than you'd expect for £140.
In the end, I settled on the first option - CCA with external D30 DAC to my M2si amp and Dali Oberon 5 speakers.
I think the bluesound at £500 would be a good fit. Good looking unit, well made, Very good app and all round experience.Okay, thank you tech-heads for the clarification. The question is still the same. I'm interested in the apps used by the streamers- not wanting to build an overly complex system. I prefer to use an ipad or phone to control the 'streamer'. So i'm interested in learning which ones have the most user friendly, and reliable apps. I've seen Naim and Gold Note's offerings.
Ahh - So you need MQAI think I need an education on this. I thought I understood it but perhaps not. I want to stream Tidal tracks at the highest quality w/ MQA unfold but don't want the phone/ipad/laptop to be the source of a degrade in quality.
Thanks for the recommend. Do they have a streamer such as this with a really good DAC? Trying to avoid too many boxes: Streamer, DAC, Amp, Headphone Amp... Ideally i'd have a really good DAC + amp (w/ good built-in headphone amp)I think the bluesound at £500 would be a good fit. Good looking unit, well made, Very good app and all round experience.
You also have the option to bypass the internal Burr Brown DAC ( I thought this was just 'ok') and add a killer external DAC down the line. The digital outputs on the node2i will do Hi-Res to your chosen DAC.
I don't know what your budget is, but this may also be of interest - all in one, DAC and streamer. Needs a 3rd party app that is not as polished as BlueOS but worth a closer look maybe?
You don't mention what you are looking to spend......but if I had the cash this would be my goto choice for a one box solution - MyTek Brooklyn Bridge. (£2K+) This ticks all the boxes you are afterThanks for the recommend. Do they have a streamer such as this with a really good DAC? Trying to avoid too many boxes: Streamer, DAC, Amp, Headphone Amp... Ideally i'd have a really good DAC + amp (w/ good built-in headphone amp)
This one - Been out for about 18 months I think. Worth a look with your budget.Doesn't ship til June. Did you see the Empire?! $20,000!
I like those. I wonder how the sound quality is on that Brooklyn?This one - Been out for about 18 months I think. Worth a look with your budget.
Brooklyn Bridge is identical to Brooklyn DAC+ in terms of audio circuits and performance but has the addition of a built-in Network Streamer. The AES/EBU digital input is replaced with an Ethernet network connector, a WiFi antenna and a USB port for external music hard drive. Music Streaming...www.audioaffair.co.uk
For bookshelf speakers - are the Buchardt S400 on your shortlist ?
S400 Loudspeakers 2-5 DAYS DELIVERY WORLDWIDE SHIPPING, TAX & IMPORT COSTS INCLUDED Huge passive radiator for deep and controlled bass response . Works perfect in all types of rooms and placements due to its special CDC waveguide design. Neutral, transparent sound withwww.buchardtaudio.com
If you use Tidal connect the music goes directly from the cloud to your streamer. Your mobile/tablet is just the interface not the channel. It's better explained here:I think I need an education on this. I thought I understood it but perhaps not. I want to stream Tidal tracks at the highest quality w/ MQA unfold but don't want the phone/ipad/laptop to be the source of a degrade in quality.