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post #1 of 48 Old 12-31-2016, 07:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Alternative to Bluesound Vault 2

I really like it, as it plays hi-Rez files and rips CDs. But it is too expensive. Any alternatives? Sonos Connect is one, but I am looking for something better in my two-channel audio system (already have Sonos Connect in my HT system).

Not a huge deal about cd ripping capabilities, as I have them ripped already in a PC via iTunes Apple Lossless

Thanks!
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post #2 of 48 Old 12-31-2016, 11:55 AM
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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
I really like it, as it plays hi-Rez files and rips CDs. But it is too expensive. Any alternatives? Sonos Connect is one, but I am looking for something better in my two-channel audio system (already have Sonos Connect in my HT system).

Not a huge deal about cd ripping capabilities, as I have them ripped already in a PC via iTunes Apple Lossless

Thanks!

The Bluesound Node 2 is $499 and gives you MQA.
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post #3 of 48 Old 12-31-2016, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
The Bluesound Node 2 is $499 and gives you MQA.
What is MQA?

Is the only difference between Bluesound Node 2 and Vault 2 the CD player (including ripping capabilities) and hard drive?
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post #4 of 48 Old 12-31-2016, 01:57 PM
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The Node 2 is a good alternative ($499). You might also consider the AURALiC Aries mini ($499) or Cocktail Audio X12 (rips CDs also, $695 on sale). MQA is an acronym for Master Quality Authenticated. It's supposed to be the new Holy Grail of digital but there's pretty much nothing out there at the moment.
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post #5 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 08:25 AM
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What is MQA?

Is the only difference between Bluesound Node 2 and Vault 2 the CD player (including ripping capabilities) and hard drive?


That is basically the difference.

MQA is going to change the majority of online streaming from low-quality audio to very high quality audio. It allows high-quality streaming without
the need for huge bandwidth as is now required.

I would advise you to find out all about MQA and make sure that any device you buy has an MQA decoding circuit.

IMO streamers without MQA will be obsolete and worthless in a few years.

Bluesound is one of the leaders in adopting MQA technology, but Onkyo, NAD, and several other companies have MQA-enabled devices on the market.
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post #6 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 09:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the help!

I decided to include amplification on what I would buy.

I have shortlisted the following:

1 - Bluesound Powernode 2

2 - Sonos Connect: Amp

3 - HEOS (Denon) AMP

BLUESOUND is the only one that is MQA compatible, but the most expensive of the three.

I am also looking for some bookshelf speakers, and a subwoofer.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/m2-bookshelf-speakers

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_772P4W/...-P4-White.html

Any recommendations? Anything I am missing that I should definitely consider?
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post #7 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 11:30 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post
IMO streamers without MQA will be obsolete and worthless in a few years.
thyname, IMO the above statement is a ridiculous overstatement. Normally I wouldn't have chimed in, but since you're a newbie looking for guidance, I didn't want to let this statement to pass without comment. I don't think there is any compelling evidence to warrant such an absolute and resolute point-of-view. It's as simple as that.
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post #8 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 11:42 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post
thyname, IMO the above statement is a ridiculous overstatement. Normally I wouldn't have chimed in, but since you're a newbie looking for guidance, I didn't want to let this statement to pass without comment. I don't think there is any compelling evidence to warrant such an absolute and resolute point-of-view. It's as simple as that.
I agree with you that using "obsolete " word is harsh. Although I am glad to learn about the MQA feature, and do like to have my new system as "future-proof" as possible by purchasing whatever the most advanced features for my budget at this time.

Any recommendations you may have for me is highly appreciated.

I am trying to complete my purchase by tomorrow (I have the day off tomorrow), as once Tuesday starts, I will certainly be swamped with work.
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post #9 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 11:57 AM
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Sorry, no recommendations at this time, but future-proofing is a reasonable goal though the best course isn't always clearly predictable, unfortunately. Still using a Squeezebox here, one of the earlier streamers. Don't feel a compelling enough reason to upgrade just yet, but I occasionally skim the related thread discussions with the thought of some eventual/possible system change. Good luck with your decision.

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post #10 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 12:19 PM
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Thank you all for the help!

I decided to include amplification on what I would buy.

I have shortlisted the following:

1 - Bluesound Powernode 2

2 - Sonos Connect: Amp

3 - HEOS (Denon) AMP

BLUESOUND is the only one that is MQA compatible, but the most expensive of the three.

I am also looking for some bookshelf speakers, and a subwoofer.

http://www.axiomaudio.com/m2-bookshelf-speakers

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_772P4W/...-P4-White.html

Any recommendations? Anything I am missing that I should definitely consider?
Not sure what your total budget is but if it were me I would try and spend more on the speakers. The Bluesound PowerNode 2 is a nice all-in-one digital solution and it features an 80 Hz cross-over for use with a subwoofer. However, there aren't any additional digital or analog ins for connection of other devices if that's important for you.
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post #11 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 12:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by CruelInventions View Post
Sorry, no recommendations at this time, but future-proofing is a reasonable goal though the best course isn't always clearly predictable, unfortunately. Still using a Squeezebox here, one of the earlier streamers. Don't feel a compelling enough reason to upgrade just yet, but I occasionally skim the related thread discussions with the thought of some eventual/possible system change. Good luck with your decision.
Funny you mentioned Squeezebox

I used to have Squeezebox Touch. Great little device with awesome interface. Sold it and went with Sonos once the music streaming services became mainstream, as unfortunately Squeezebox was poorly supported from Logitech once acquired. I still have their little portable internet radio.
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post #12 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 12:28 PM - Thread Starter
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Not sure what your total budget is but if it were me I would try and spend more on the speakers. The Bluesound PowerNode 2 is a nice all-in-one digital solution and it features an 80 Hz cross-over for use with a subwoofer. However, there aren't any additional digital or analog ins for connection of other devices if that's important for you.
Thanks Liverpool fan! By the way, congratulations for beating Man City.

Powernode 2 does have a combination mini-optical/stereo minijack audio input.

It also has USB port for hooking up portable drive with hi-Rez music files.

I also noticed some similar devices that support DTS Play-Fi format. Such as the AMP device from Definitive Technologies:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_735WAMP...l#&gid=1&pid=2

All kind of inputs. Would that work better? It is cheaper than powernode and same price with Connect: AMP
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post #13 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 12:43 PM
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Thanks Liverpool fan! By the way, congratulations for beating Man City.

Powernode 2 does have a combination mini-optical/stereo minijack audio input.

It also has USB port for hooking up portable drive with hi-Rez music files.

I also noticed some similar devices that support DTS Play-Fi format. Such as the AMP device from Definitive Technologies:

http://www.crutchfield.com/p_735WAMP...l#&gid=1&pid=2

All kind of inputs. Would that work better? It is cheaper than powernode and same price with Connect: AMP
It was an important win. Still 6 points back from Chelsea though and they seem unstoppable at the moment.

I don't have experience with the DefTech device. If all you are looking for is a digital solution (no turntable, CD player, etc) the Powernode 2 would be a good option. I have the Node 2 and really like it. Still think you should look at some better speakers. The KEF Q300 are on sale (or Q100 with subwoofer). Might take a look at the Elac Debut B6, AA Monitors from Philharmonic Audio also depending on budget.

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post #14 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 01:42 PM - Thread Starter
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It was an important win. Still 6 points back from Chelsea though and they seem unstoppable at the moment.

I don't have experience with the DefTech device. If all you are looking for is a digital solution (no turntable, CD player, etc) the Powernode 2 would be a good option. I have the Node 2 and really like it. Still think you should look at some better speakers. The KEF Q300 are on sale (or Q100 with subwoofer). Might take a look at the Elac Debut B6, AA Monitors from Philharmonic Audio also depending on budget.
Thanks for the reply and speaker recommendations. I will take a look.

Chelsea are indeed unstoppable for now, but there are so many games left in the season. Plenty of time. Hopefully Liverpool get Coutinho back as soon as possible
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post #15 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 03:28 PM
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thyname, IMO the above statement is a ridiculous overstatement. Normally I wouldn't have chimed in, but since you're a newbie looking for guidance, I didn't want to let this statement to pass without comment. I don't think there is any compelling evidence to warrant such an absolute and resolute point-of-view. It's as simple as that.

Newbie???....ROFL.

I have over 30 years of experience in audio circuit design, a MSEE, and designed and built my first tube amplifier in 1960, when I was still in high school. I have had high-quality audio systems in my home for more than 50 years.

You have your opinion, and I have mine; it's as simple as that. Whether you have any idea what you are talking about is open to question.

You should read the articles describing MQA in detail that appeared in The Absolute Sound in 2016. Once you have done so, you might have a different opinion; you will certainly be better informed.

I have studied the technical aspects of MQA thoroughly, and I think it will become the de facto standard for nearly all streaming within a couple of years. It is a win-win technology; significantly improved streaming audio quality with a relatively small bandwidth requirement; it should be a real winner in every way; hard to resist.

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post #16 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 03:42 PM
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everyone is entitled to their opinion: no need for the barbs

I have experience with MQA too, I just don't see it getting much traction in the marketplace

just my opinion

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post #17 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 03:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have experience with the DefTech device. If all you are looking for is a digital solution (no turntable, CD player, etc) the Powernode 2 would be a good option. I have the Node 2 and really like it. Still think you should look at some better speakers. The KEF Q300 are on sale (or Q100 with subwoofer). Might take a look at the Elac Debut B6, AA Monitors from Philharmonic Audio also depending on budget.
Those ELAC speakers look great for the price, especially since they are designed by Andrew Johnson.

Would I need a subwoofer if I bought them?
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post #18 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 04:26 PM
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Those ELAC speakers look great for the price, especially since they are designed by Andrew Johnson.

Would I need a subwoofer if I bought them?
They have decent low end (44 Hz +/- 3dB) but a subwoofer is needed for many types of music-like most book shelf speakers.

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post #19 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 04:33 PM - Thread Starter
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a subwoofer is needed for many types of music-like most book shelf speakers.
Including rock / metal?
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post #20 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 04:40 PM
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Not so much for rock but if you want the full impact of double bass pedal drumming a subwoofer would get you there. There are some book shelf speakers out there that perform better in the bass department but not in this price range.
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post #21 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 04:58 PM - Thread Starter
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There are some book shelf speakers out there that perform better in the bass department but not in this price range.
Such as ?

I can pay up to $600 for a pair of bookshelf speakers, as long as I am not going to buy a subwoofer.

Floorstanders on that price range?

Thank you so much for your help!
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post #22 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 05:05 PM
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I own a couple of Bluesound Nodes. Instead of a Vault, I have all of my ripped CDs and digital music on a 1TB hard drive plugged into the USB port my home router. It took a little bit of fussing around and some trial-and-error to get it all to work flawlessly, but it works great.
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post #23 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 05:10 PM
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You could move up the F5 or F6 floorstander but that will only get you to 39-40 Hz. If you upped the budget the PSB X1T or Monitor Audio Bronze 6 (on sale for $850) would be decent options. In this price range you could also consider the Monitor Audio Silver 2 or Ascend Acoustics Sierra-1.
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post #24 of 48 Old 01-01-2017, 07:22 PM
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IMO dedicated media streamers are becoming rather rip off especially if you don't have "exotic" size files like DSD or DXD. Playing back CD rips or even 24/96-192 should not cost much these days. I use my Chromecast and streaming media directly from my desktop on Plex server using an Android app HIFI cast [$1.99].
Of course if you are building a separate 2ch system and don't want any computer in the mix will bring you to dedicated streamers mentioned earlier. I would investigate the Popcorn Hour A500 which is primarily a video streamer but it supports pretty much all audio types, in both 2ch and MCH from attached HDs or network. It costs less than $250 right now I believe. I myself looking into it, as I'm tired of the inflated high priced streamers out there.[and they don't even do MCH.] YMMV.



Of yeah, MQA will be a forgotten in a few years. Stuart might just sell the license to others who just wanna use it as a more efficient compression scheme to internet music providers, which is where it's true benefits lies anyway.

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post #25 of 48 Old 01-02-2017, 10:27 AM
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Newbie???....ROFL.

I have over 30 years of experience in audio circuit design, a MSEE, and designed and built my first tube amplifier in 1960, when I was still in high school. I have had high-quality audio systems in my home for more than 50 years.
Clearly from the context of my post, I never called you a newbie. This should have been so obvious that I suspect you skimmed my post without full comprehension but instead with an anticipation of previous slights at the hands of others on this board. So you immediately went into defensive-posture mode. But that's neither here nor there. I have a solution that may satisfy us both. Or, at least one of us. eventually.

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You have your opinion, and I have mine; it's as simple as that. Whether you have any idea what you are talking about is open to question.
Time will tell, of course. Frankly, the only possible way I see MQA gaining the type of traction that you're anticipating is if Stuart ends up being forced to license it for cheap or give it away for free.

But I am going to do something I've never done before which may give you the satisfaction of vindication. I will create a future calendar reminder of our post exchange here, say, 3 to 5 years down the line. If you've nailed it with your prediction I will return here with a sincere compliment to you with respect to your analysis and to the prescience of your prediction certainty. If on the other hand you turn out to be wrong, hopefully you'll be able to acknowledge that your position here was highly optimistic at best (if MQA is incorporated within less than half of all streamers), or rather absurd at worst (if MQA is incorporated within less than 25% of the streamer marketplace), should either turn out to be the case. Fair deal, no?
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post #26 of 48 Old 01-02-2017, 06:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Update (from the original poster):

I think I am all set for now.

This is what I bought:

1 - Bluesound Node 2

$499 on BestBuy Magnolia (this never goes on sale)

2 - Rotel RSX-1065

Bought it locally via Craigslist. For an amazing price of $175! I know it is surround sound, but I am going to use only 2-channel (at 100 watts per channel!) via analog audio connection from Bluesound to CD ports (to use the DAC of Bluesound, which is highly rated). Put it on and works great. This one is a monster!

I am very familiar with Rotel, as I had a very nice system before (all Rotel separates and dedicated Rotel CD player). I am amazed to go back to the familiar aggressive sound with lots of punch and crystal clear. To the face.

3 - ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers. From Andrew Jones. I bought them from a very nice gentleman locally, who just retired as an authorized ELAC dealer. I auditioned these in his house. With some very nice tubes and cD player. Very nice guy! Best part: I bought them for $350. His demo pair in immaculate condition.

I am setting them all up now. So far so good.

I don't know if I need a sub. So far, I don't think I do. But I will have to listen to this for a few weeks to know for sure.

Thank you all for your help! Special thanks to Postrokfan (otherwise known as Liverpool fan for introducing me to those great speakers ( for the money)
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post #27 of 48 Old 01-02-2017, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by thyname View Post
Update (from the original poster):

I think I am all set for now.

This is what I bought:

1 - Bluesound Node 2

$499 on BestBuy Magnolia (this never goes on sale)

2 - Rotel RSX-1065

Bought it locally via Craigslist. For an amazing price of $175! I know it is surround sound, but I am going to use only 2-channel (at 100 watts per channel!) via analog audio connection from Bluesound to CD ports (to use the DAC of Bluesound, which is highly rated). Put it on and works great. This one is a monster!

I am very familiar with Rotel, as I had a very nice system before (all Rotel separates and dedicated Rotel CD player). I am amazed to go back to the familiar aggressive sound with lots of punch and crystal clear. To the face.

3 - ELAC Uni-fi UB5 bookshelf speakers. From Andrew Jones. I bought them from a very nice gentleman locally, who just retired as an authorized ELAC dealer. I auditioned these in his house. With some very nice tubes and cD player. Very nice guy! Best part: I bought them for $350. His demo pair in immaculate condition.

I am setting them all up now. So far so good.

I don't know if I need a sub. So far, I don't think I do. But I will have to listen to this for a few weeks to know for sure.

Thank you all for your help! Special thanks to Postrokfan (otherwise known as Liverpool fan for introducing me to those great speakers ( for the money)
Nice score on the used gear. The UB5s are a significant step up from the Debut series. Audio Advisor sometimes offers deals on the Node 2 (demos-$50 or so off). Glad I could help out. Enjoy!
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2-channel: PSB Imagine T, Music Fidelity M2si, B&W ASW610, Rega RP1, Pro-Ject Phono Box, Marantz CD5004, Lenovo Ideapad, AQ DF Red, Zen Blue
Living Room: Deftech Demand D9, Deftech CS9040, SVS SB-1000, Yamaha Aventage RX-A2030
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BR: MA Silver 2 (5th Gen), NAD 326BEE, B&W ASW608
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post #28 of 48 Old 01-02-2017, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Nice score on the used gear. The UB5s are a significant step up from the Debut series. Audio Advisor sometimes offers deals on the Node 2 (demos-$50 or so off). Glad I could help out. Enjoy!
Thanks again!

I initially audiotioned the Debuts B5. He was gonna sell them to me for $179 for the demo speakers, or $199 unopened.

I liked them, but they sounded a bit "thin" and not too much bass.

Then he put the Uni-if B5s, and I was immediately sold. Much better soundstage and deeper bass.

I also tried the floor standing Uni-fi F5. Better, but too expensive for me, even at the discounted price of $798 for the pair.

I am happy with the purchase.

P.S. That Rotel was indeed a steal! A/B amps are great, even when old. Rotel is Rotel, and that much power is great!

Now I am exploring Bluesound. Picked up my ripped CDs in Apple Lossless in my network with no issues. I have to explore the high resolution music services they have. Several of them. Any recommendations you may have as Node 2 user on those?
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post #29 of 48 Old 01-02-2017, 08:52 PM
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Thanks again!

I initially audiotioned the Debuts B5. He was gonna sell them to me for $179 for the demo speakers, or $199 unopened.

I liked them, but they sounded a bit "thin" and not too much bass.

Then he put the Uni-if B5s, and I was immediately sold. Much better soundstage and deeper bass.

I also tried the floor standing Uni-fi F5. Better, but too expensive for me, even at the discounted price of $798 for the pair.

I am happy with the purchase.

P.S. That Rotel was indeed a steal! A/B amps are great, even when old. Rotel is Rotel, and that much power is great!

Now I am exploring Bluesound. Picked up my ripped CDs in Apple Lossless in my network with no issues. I have to explore the high resolution music services they have. Several of them. Any recommendations you may have as Node 2 user on those?
I'm partial to Tidal but it's not cheap by any means. They do offer a trial which is worth it to decide if you like it. Great selection of most genres.

2-channel: PSB Imagine T, Music Fidelity M2si, B&W ASW610, Rega RP1, Pro-Ject Phono Box, Marantz CD5004, Lenovo Ideapad, AQ DF Red, Zen Blue
Living Room: Deftech Demand D9, Deftech CS9040, SVS SB-1000, Yamaha Aventage RX-A2030
Desktop: KEF Q150, Nuforce DDA-120, Lenovo Ultrabook
BR: MA Silver 2 (5th Gen), NAD 326BEE, B&W ASW608
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post #30 of 48 Old 01-02-2017, 09:08 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm partial to Tidal but it's not cheap by any means. They do offer a trial which is worth it to decide if you like it. Great selection of most genres.
I was thinking Tidal too. I am paying now $10 for Google Play Music, so paying $20 for their HiFi tier is only $10 more.

They have a three month trial for new subscribers via Beyoncé Tidal site, but not sure if available for the HiFi tier. I sent them an email.

Any of the other services on BS offers high resolution streaming similar to Tidal HiFi tier?
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