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I have been thinking of adding an Anthem STR or McIntosh 2600 to my system....but music is always going to be third on my list: movies and gaming will always be first. I realized that's a lot of money to spend. I currently use a BS Node 2i, running RCA to a Marantz 8805, which is connected to a Krell amp. In the next month, I'll be switching to an ATI 7 channel, and might eventually go to Anthem for processing. But, I'm looking to make my 2 channel just sound "better." I like the BS, but I'm never wowed w/ the sound from music. It sounds really good, but I've heard friends w/ my same speakers (JTR 212RT) say music is jaw dropping for them. I'm just curious if there's some DACs I should look at? Ive been reading about Schitt, they seem to make some good stuff. Ideally, I'll connect the DAC to the BS and use the Node for its OS and streaming....and I'm assuming an upgraded/better DAC will make everything sound louder/cleaner/etc.

Please let me know your suggestions - and if I"m way off base!
 

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The DACs in your 8805 are very good and I doubt that you will notice any difference at all.

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The DACs in your 8805 are very good and I doubt that you will notice any difference at all.

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Do you think the DAC in the 8805 is better than the BS? I'm new to 2 channel so really don't know. I bought a coax digital cable to run from BS to 8805 this week, as I know that will bypass the DAC of the BS in favor of the 8805. I just haven't tested it yet.
 
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Just try it and see. I don't know What is in the BS nor how it is implemented

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What does the bluesound do that HEOS doesn't for you?

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What does the bluesound do that HEOS doesn't for you?

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To me, the music sounds much better through the BS than Heos. Just more clear for sure. But, I also like the OS from the BS controller. I find it super user friendly and easy to switch between music services
 

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Use what works best and sounds best to you.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Use what works best and sounds best to you.
Looking to improve my sound, not sure which DACs to look at. Considering Schiit, but this is all new to me.
 

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I would check out the Topping DACs. The 50,70 and 90. Each one has more features. Audio Science Review has in depth reviews of all these DACs plus plenty of feedback. I have a RME ADI2 DAC. May be out of your price range. But it's a great multi function DAC. I've had it for about 2-3 years.:)
 

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Isn't Benchmark the best? But like the other guy said you probably might not notice a difference.
 

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I'd suggest checking out some of the Schiit dacs. I'm a big fan of their Mutlibit dacs. Almost any of them would be a step up from the Bluesound node 2i. (which i also have)

I love my Yggdrasil, but i use the Gungnir MB for my floor standing setup. (i didn't have room for another yggy.)
If you don't want to jump into the MB, https://www.schiit.com/products/modius is their newest dac and pretty cheap. They deal with some of the problem that bug people with delta-sigma dacs.
Chord makes some nice stuff too. If you don't want to break the bank (in the context of chord :) ) the Qutest is nice.

i've always found topping dacs souless, but are still likely better than what is in the bluesound.

Also Heos isn't a dac, it is software. Heos will use the dac in his AVR. I had to get my gungnir repaired so i'm feeding my digital out from the bluesound to my Denon (which also uses Heos). I A/B testing the Denon dac vs the node 2i dac. (node 2i can dual output, but digital and analong. So i had coax to the AVR and RCA to the PrimaLuna. And the AVR RCA to the PrimaLuna.) I liked the Denon dac more (larger sound stand, better separation and more control on the bass. node 2i's bass sounded a little boomy on some songs.)

yes, as @Ratman above said, go with what you like. But if you don't test anything how do you know which one you like the best?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'd suggest checking out some of the Schiit dacs. I'm a big fan of their Mutlibit dacs. Almost any of them would be a step up from the Bluesound node 2i. (which i also have)

I love my Yggdrasil, but i use the Gungnir MB for my floor standing setup. (i didn't have room for another yggy.)
If you don't want to jump into the MB, https://www.schiit.com/products/modius is their newest dac and pretty cheap. They deal with some of the problem that bug people with delta-sigma dacs.
Chord makes some nice stuff too. If you don't want to break the bank (in the context of chord :) ) the Qutest is nice.

i've always found topping dacs souless, but are still likely better than what is in the bluesound.

Also Heos isn't a dac, it is software. Heos will use the dac in his AVR. I had to get my gungnir repaired so i'm feeding my digital out from the bluesound to my Denon (which also uses Heos). I A/B testing the Denon dac vs the node 2i dac. (node 2i can dual output, but digital and analong. So i had coax to the AVR and RCA to the PrimaLuna. And the AVR RCA to the PrimaLuna.) I liked the Denon dac more (larger sound stand, better separation and more control on the bass. node 2i's bass sounded a little boomy on some songs.)

yes, as @Ratman above said, go with what you like. But if you don't test anything how do you know which one you like the best?
I actually ran coax and rca last night to compare the two dacs (bs and 8805) and the difference was very obvious. my buddy has the topping 90 and ive been looking at Schiit since they're her tin Cali. As I type this, another friend is trying out the Gold Note DS-10...which is like $3k haha

I think at some point you reach diminishing returns, but I also believe there are dedicated DACs that will sound superior to the Marantz and blue sound
 
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Checkout the audiosciencereview site. The BS Node2i DAC did not have good test data. A lot of people like the Benchmark DAC 3 HGC. Plus it is designed and assembled in the US. Besides the HRC, there are other DAC 3 models that have fewer options and are less expensive.
 

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Buy a Chord Qutest and stream to it from the Node 2i via digital coax.


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It sounds really good, but I've heard friends w/ my same speakers (JTR 212RT) say music is jaw dropping for them.
If your friends have a much better sound with the same speakers, I wouldn't expect a different DAC to compensate for that. Are you listening to the same recordings to compare?

What is different between the two rooms? Have you played with speaker positioning, or seat positioning, or sound absorbing materials (e.g., curtains)? I would start there, before spending big $ on equipment. Try moving the speakers away from the walls. Change the angle (toe-in). Move the seat away from the back wall.

Or maybe it could just be that you don't like the speakers as much as they do (because each one's hearing is different). Or your "jaw-dropping" has a higher standard than theirs.

Cheers,

VMat
 
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Discussion Starter #17
If your friends have a much better sound with the same speakers, I wouldn't expect a different DAC to compensate for that. Are you listening to the same recordings to compare?

What is different between the two rooms? Have you played with speaker positioning, or seat positioning, or sound absorbing materials (e.g., curtains)? I would start there, before spending big $ on equipment. Try moving the speakers away from the walls. Change the angle (toe-in). Move the seat away from the back wall.

Or maybe it could just be that you don't like the speakers as much as they do (because each one's hearing is different). Or your "jaw-dropping" has a higher standard than theirs.

Cheers,

VMat
well he's running music through a McIntosh C2600, so he's bypassing the DAC in the node. Its not even a fair comparison. I'm not looking to spend $5K though, so was looking for other options.
 

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but I've heard friends w/ my same speakers (JTR 212RT) say music is jaw dropping for them.
I can't really help you with DACs though I did order one recently that was modestly priced to see what the big deal is.

Did you try and go to one of your friends and hear if their setup sounds jaw dropping to you as well? I'm asking cause different people have different expectations as well as different levels of excitement. What might sound good but not amazing to you, might be jaw dropping to them (assuming most other things equal : speakers, amps, room treatments etc).
 

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I can't really help you with DACs though I did order one recently that was modestly priced to see what the big deal is.

Did you try and go to one of your friends and hear if their setup sounds jaw dropping to you as well? I'm asking cause different people have different expectations as well as different levels of excitement. What might sound good but not amazing to you, might be jaw dropping to them (assuming most other things equal : speakers, amps, room treatments etc).
I have heard his setup before, and yes it sounded much louder/clearer than mine. But again, I'm comparing a $500 BS to a $5K+ Mac piece...I think I am going to wait a bit and read up a bit more. He is using the Gold Note DS-10 right now and said its even better than the Mac I heard 6 months ago. I'm driving to his place this week to hear it maybe. Will be a different room/amps/etc, but he said this actually removes the slightest bit of harshness he had though the C2600. Its also half of what a Mac would be, so I'm def going to listen.
 

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I have heard his setup before, and yes it sounded much louder/clearer than mine. But again, I'm comparing a $500 BS to a $5K+ Mac piece...I think I am going to wait a bit and read up a bit more. He is using the Gold Note DS-10 right now and said its even better than the Mac I heard 6 months ago. I'm driving to his place this week to hear it maybe. Will be a different room/amps/etc, but he said this actually removes the slightest bit of harshness he had though the C2600. Its also half of what a Mac would be, so I'm def going to listen.
I'm a cheap f**k. My logic says that unless you are going to use ONLY lossless sources, then spending such big money to improve compressed streaming, is like buying a Ferrari chassis with a Ford Fiesta engine or to say it more bluntly, polishing a turd. OK, I'm being too harsh, there are decent quality streams, but I wouldn't spend top dollar to stream decent, only lossless.

The power of suggestion is huge in the audiophile world.
 
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