A streamer like N200 now or later will set you up good for a long while. How long it will be before you would look to upgrade your DAC? You may get N150 now and save towards DAC but very likely once you have your DAC squared away; you will be itching for N200 or something equivalent.
Building a good system, takes time and patience if you are on a limited budget. Those who says DAC is more important than the streamer; clearly not heard a high quality streamer. In the end, you wanna end up with a DAC and streamer combo that are like two peas in a pod.
I am finally there with my digital front end. Take a look at pic 9, this is what’s been in making for last 5 plus years.
Gee, I just found out the N200 is in black (looked silver in the picture). Like to keep things matched up!
How about the EVO 432 that Audiotroy constantly promotes. Is it competitive with the N200? They say so.
IMHO you’ve got a very nice DAC that’ll convey the benefits of a great streamer, so I’d go for the Aurender, EVO, etc. and upgrade the DAC later as funds permit. Just my $0.02 FWIW.
I'll take your 2 cents any time, thanks @soix !
I stretched for the Aurender N-200 in April, it was a great decision, I am very happy with it. System in my profile. I have the Black one. I suggest you contact Juan at @Blisshifi for pricing on a unit. He sold me mine.
@navyachts Yep,upgraded to an Aurender N200 from their entry level unit, transformed my system using the same dac I was running.
The sound you get out of the speakers is the result of all the components. Taking an old adage from the vinyl world… if it isn’t captured at the beginning of the chain, it is not coming out the other end. Also, if you don’t start with a quiet and none distorted signal… it isn’t going to get cleaned up on the way. So, a great streamer is an absolute requirement.
If you have an opportunity to get a great steamer at this price, you are going to get a great upgrade in sound. Your DAC is important as well. But you can wait a couple years and upgrade it, and you will get another great improvement in sound qua;it’s.
I would not split your budget between a streamer and DAC… you get two mediocre components. This streamer will put you in a whole new category of components, more in line with your amp.
My streamer is more expensive than my DAC and is very synergistic.
I’ll throw out one more thought because I like to complicate things. Depending on the quality of your Gustard’s inputs it might be worth considering adding a DDC to take advantage of its i2S input. I’ve got a Musician Pegasus R2R DAC and bought a used Denafrips Iris DDC for $400 to take advantage of its i2S input and it was like upgrading to a better DAC versus USB from my streamer. All depends on how the USB input on the R26 compares to i2S, but if Gustard says i2S is superior you might be able to get a nice DAC upgrade on the cheap while still upgrading your streamer. Peace out.
@ghdprentice always appreciate your input, thank you!
@soix yes, I have read about the DDC option, once I find that N200 in silver, I will go with the DDC and i2s, Thanks again!
Nothing like trying and vetting devices like DDC in your system. But with N200, you may not hear any difference vs going direct. Just ask @soix what streamer being used before DDC.
I recently upgrade to an Aurender A15, which is basically an N200 with a DAC. I was going to get the N200, but stumbled upon the Aurender for $4900.00 which I thought was a good deal. No regrets at all.
@little_skippy Awesome, that's what I need is a whole bunch of stumblin'
On the hunt!!!
But with N200, you may not hear any difference vs going direct. Just ask @soix what streamer being used before DDC.
That’s why I asked which input is best on the Gustard because everything depends on that. If Gustard says their i2S input is superior then you’re probably looking at a nice improvement with a DDC and i2S versus going direct even if you’ve got the Aurender, but if USB is equally as good then absolutely going direct from Aurender, etc. may be perfectly fine. I’m using an iFi Zen Stream, but in this case it really comes down to which input on the Gustard is superior, and I’m sure they can tell you that. My point was that IF the i2S input is better on your DAC as it is on mine, then an extra $400 or so is like a DAC upgrade on the cheap that can work in concert with the better streamer.
@navyachts What part of the world are you in? There is a dealer here in Southern California that is aggressive with pricing on some products.
@bikeboy52 just north of Seattle, so just up the road! Can you share the dealer’s name? How about your bike too?
@soix it's a general consensus (over at head-fi) LAN is the best connection on the Gustard, but that's using the DAC as a renderer, which I won't be doing. So, not sure if USB or i2s is the way to go at this point. Although, it sounds like USB is the Aurenders preference for connecting to a DAC. Thanks!
@navyachts Indeed ,right up the road, quite a beautiful road too if you’ve got the time.I’ll PM you his number, communication is tough over the phone but I think it could be worth it for you. He,s sold me both Aurender and Prima luna. I purchased my Focal Kanto speakers from Hawthorne stereo up in your neck of the woods and they beat everyone by a long shot down here even with shipping.Best !
@bikeboy52 very familiar with Hawthorne, quite a few demos there but unfortunately no purchases yet. Great prices and a great spot regardless. Thanks for the CA info as well!
The audio shop you’re referencing, is it owned by Myron Hawthorne?
@lalitk I don’t know who owns the store Lalitk , my dealings were with a few different people,the internet sales manager mostly then the shipping manager. They knocked $2000.00 off the list of the Kantas and picked up the shipping also and this was when the speakers were still relatively new to market. Top notch sales and service. Fun to look at their site,they always have interesting sales and demo items.
😬 So who is it? The suspense is killing me!
Oh- I know who those guys are! Just across town.
Feels more along the lines of a little beat down. Darn pythons ...
I have been using my N200 with the new Conductor 4 software and it is great. It was a little like getting a new toy because the user interface is much improved
I think it will only get better as it is refined
The new beta V Tuner internet radio is much improved too.
The N200 was easily one of my best audio purchases ever
The N-200 is a fine server, it's well worth consideration. Your current DAC should be just fine, but an upgrade to a higher class DAC, down the road, will pay nice dividends....Good Luck.
I am considering an Aurender N 200 as well but I see it doesn’t have balanced outputs. My amp is fully balanced. Will I be sacrificing sound quality with the N 200 because of this? Is the N 20 with the OXCO clock and balanced outputs worth the price ? Thanks
The N200 is a Network Streamer only. It has USB and Coax SPDIF only, as is the N20. You need an external DAC to use them. I'm not sure if the Aurender A200 has XLR analog out but I think it does. Something like that may be what you are looking for if you don't want a separate streamer and DAC.
The N20 has an AES/EBU digital out that can be used with a DAC that has same type digital input
If you would like to bypass external preamp and prefer a one box streamer/DAC with OCXO clocks then you need to step up to Aurender A20. While TCXO clock is quite good in lower end models like A200, A15, OCXO clock performance and precision is definitively next level.
Thanks for your responses everyone. I have a Boulder 866 that I am very happy with so I am looking for a streamer only. I have the latest node with an external lps which seems pretty good but would like to give a better streamer a try.
In that case, N200 with USB or SPDiF output would make an amazing pairing. No need to sweat about balanced outputs from a streamer as your B866 will decode digital signal (bits) internally from N200.
And, if I may suggest trying a better Ethernet switch for your incredible system,
Thank you for your kind words and advice. I will look into a switch upgrade as well. Happy listening!
@navyachts my 2 cents only because I own both the N150 and N200. The N150 is a very good streamer and will serve you very well with your current DAC and something 2x3 times it’s cost. Remember what’s entry level for Aurender is a step up for other manufacturers. Just to put things into perspective concerning my systems, I use Denafrips DAC’s. I hear no meaningful difference between the 150 and 200 until I pair it with my Terminator DAC. I’ve also tried the streamers with a Terminator Plus that I will be purchasing and the difference between the two streamers becomes even more significant. The upshot, imo, unless you are eventually planning a rather significant DAC upgrade stick with the 150 and put the difference into your DAC. Also remember streamer technology is changing rapidly. By the time you’re ready to upgrade your DAC, there very likely could be a N200, Version 2 available. I also have a name if you’d like a nice discount on Aurender products. PM me.
So, not sure if USB or i2s is the way to go at this point. Although, it sounds like USB is the Aurenders preference for connecting to a DAC.
Well, I’d think it’s actually more important which input is superior on the DAC, but that’s me.
From ones view point, constricted sorta feeling.
@marco1 "The N150 is a very good streamer and will serve you very well with your current DAC and something 2x3 times it’s cost. Remember what’s entry level for Aurender is a step up for other manufacturers. Just to put things into perspective concerning my systems, I use Denafrips DAC’s. I hear no meaningful difference between the 150 and 200 until I pair it with my Terminator DAC. I’ve also tried the streamers with a Terminator Plus that I will be purchasing and the difference between the two streamers becomes even more significant. The upshot, imo, unless you are eventually planning a rather significant DAC upgrade stick with the 150 and put the difference into your DAC"
It sounds like what you're saying is the N150 is good enough for my current DAC then take the money saved from purchasing the N200 and purchase a better DAC. In the same breath you say with a better DAC the N200 sounds better with the better DAC. If that's the case, I think I should just go for the N200 upfront and save up for a better DAC down the road. Or did I read into this wrong? Thanks.
@navyachts sorry if I wasn’t clear. In my case, I really don’t hear a meaningful difference between the 150 and 200 until I use them with a DAC in the $5k -$7k range. If that’s where you’re going to be soon, go for the 200. If not, imo you’re probably not going to hear much difference between the 150 and 200 until you are in that range of DAC’s. What order you do things in it a personal decision. My preference would be to use the difference in cost for a better DAC NOW and realize the benefit of both upgrades NOW. YMMV but who knows what you might be doing or thinking in a year or two or three.
@marco1 ok, thanks for the clarification. I think I am building out my last system and with the demo N200 only $700 more than a new N150 I thought I'd go for it now. As far as a better DAC, I can always dream!
Oh, didn’t realize there was only a $700 difference. Carry on :-)
Went with the Aurender N200 for now and will look at upgrading the DAC (or at least adding a DDC) at a later date. Thanks to all for your input!
Kinda thought that’s the direction you were headed. Congrats.
Congrats on the n200 purchase!
Curious how the n150 and n200 are different …
wasn’t able to quickly glean that from the aurender site…
is it power supply? Clock?
I actually like the form factor and black and white display of the n150 much better than the n200.
Is the consensus that the n150 and n200 are essentially indistinguishable until a top tier dac is in place as @marco1 intimated?
Im currently deciding between a Aurender n150 and an Innuos Pulse to replace my Ifi Zen stream and lps.
I won’t be making the purchase until mid November when I’m starting a new job.
plenty of time to obsess over the decision .
I suggest you look at the N200 on Canuck Audio Mart. Look up the exchange rate and you’ll be smilin’!
No dig on Bluesound products, they are great but going from a Vault 2i to my N200 was a step up.
I still use the Vault in my second system. It's been great. But Aurender machines are next level
@j_andrews Thx for the congrats. The only differences I can see is about $2800 LOL! @ghdprentice recommended it, so I just bought it!
@falconquest ha ha yes, I saw this ad, I work in Canada (live in the US). This guy is about 25 minutes away from my office. His price works out to $70 less that what I paid, but shipping international or crossing the border and paying duty on it would have taking the price way over what I paid. On top of that, I purchased it through a dealer with the full 2-year warranty in place. But, thanks for lookin’