Bluesound Vault 2i and a Qutest DAC

In trying to get rid of the thousand physical CDs i own so I demoed the Bluesound Vault 2i against my Theta Miles CD player (with a Krell integrated amp and Thiel speakers.) The Theta produced better sound so I sent back the vault. Someone suggested that I use an external DAC, like the Chord Electronics Qutest DAC, with the Vault 2i to produce the quality of my CD player. Has anyone any experience with this scenario?

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The only experience that I (and many around here) have is that the BluNode internal DAC is bested by much many DAC’s , starting with a Modi Multibit for $250.
If you didn’t try an external, then your comparison was totally flawed.

A rip is a rip (if it’s bit perfect)
Playback SQ is the variable.
Yep :-) amazing sound out of my 2I node into an Aesthetix Pandora Signature DAC
have fun, experiment, enjoy the music !!!!
Myself and many others on this forum have used Chord Qutest with Bluesound Node 2i with great success (In my case with Bryston Amp & Preamp driving Thiel CS 2.4 speakers, but in my case with Melco N1A functioning as the NAS).  November of last year a Roon Nucleus functioning as server/streamer took over as my principal streaming source in my main rig with my Node 2i moving over to my desktop system.  You can check out my current rig here:
Thanks all. I clearly have nothing to lose by buying both and testing them out. 
Been a long time since I’ve listened to a Theta Miles, modified Pioneer player but I’m not surprised it sounded better than a Bluesound Vault on its own. I do remember at the time when the Miles came out I along with the dealership that carried both, preferred the CAL Icon and Tercet over the Miles. Haven’t heard any of these players in years but I own a Vault and with a modern standalone DAC it will significantly be better over these older players in every area. Use a good coax and not the toslink and a better power cord on the Vault as it does make a difference. Also pick up a Supra CAT 8 cable as it is really good and very affordable... yes, better than the CAT 5 cable it comes with. Have not heard the Chord but based on its reputation I suspect it will walk all over your Miles.
Yes, in fact I did the exact same thing with the same DAC for some time and it does substantially improve on the dac inside the bluesound. If you use a top end coax cable to go into the qutest dac you will get great results.  Now looking at your current components you might want to get yourself something better than a vault.  I now have an Aurender N100H server/streamer and it is fantastic.  I use an MHDT Pagoda NOS DAC and wow...great sound.
I added a Chord Qutest DAC to my Bluesound Node for a significant improvement.  I also ripped my CDs (well, about 1,600 of them) and stored them on a Samsung SSD which is plugged into my Node.  Best of both worlds...Tidal MQA streaming and my private collection all from the Node into an amazing DAC! 
At my local hifi store one of the employees and myself decided to test some DACs with the blu node 2i. BTW the Blu node Vault lets you rip cds and store them. It went in this order, Teac, Cambridge-really good bottom end, then Blu node 2i-no bottom end but good top end. The Teac was amazing, great top and bottom end. Also, try the Lyman streamer/ DAC. Just proving the DAC needs to be upgraded. Mark Levenson has the 5101. SACD/CD player, Streamer, and DAC all in one. It’s so new to the store the streamer is not setup as of yet. Maybe that’s an option. The speakers are probably the first thing you should start with, but the DAC should the second. Even my Oppo 205 was bettered by plugging into a better DAC. Plus you can use some DACs as a preamp to start with. 
Well, contrary to most of the posts here, my experience has been quite different. I set up both this past weekend and I cannot discern any difference in sound quality between the Vault by itself or when connected to the Qutest DAC. If anyone out there can offer suggestions… Here are my setups:
> Krell KAV 300i Integrated amp
> Thiel CS 2.2 speakers
> AudioQuest Cinnamon Optical Cable between Vault and DAC
> LAT International’s Interconnect RCA audio cables (2 sets)

My Test setup:
On Input 2 of the Krell is the Vault by itself with a pair of LAT interconnects
On input 3 of the Krell is the DAC (connected to the Vault via the Optical cable) using a 2nd pair of LAT interconnects.
On the Qutest, I’m using the “optical input” for the input and i’ve tried all the “selectable” options.

When I switch between the Krell inputs (2 & 3) while playing the same album/song, I do not hear a difference. There is, to my ears, maybe a very slightly warmer sound using the DAC, but no game changer.

And, neither setup compares any where near the sound quality of my Theta Miles CD player.

So, anyone?

An update to my November 10 posting: Some very interesting findings!

> Comparing the sound of the vault alone against the vault thru the Qutest DAC and both against the Theta Miles cd player. I used eight different people in my test. I used 2 Jazz tracks from Dave Brubeck’s album “young lions and old tigers“ One track was just piano and voice, the other track was the full band.

I did blind testing of all 3 scenarios. No one knew which device they were listening to. The results: 2 of the 8 heard no difference In quality between the three. 3 of the 8 felt the Vault alone was just slightly better than both the DAC or the CD player. 2 of the 8 said the CD player was the best of all three options. Another 2 of the 8 chose the Vault with the DAC as the best sound of the 3 options when listening to the track of just the piano and voice but they chose the Vault alone when listening to the full band track. 

I do believe I set up the DAC correctly, there wasn’t much set up to do. Their various tone controls did little to change the outcome.

My conclusions: use the vault to replace the CD player and all the CDs. NO need whatsoever to spend $1000 on a DAC (at least the one I was using, the Chord electronics Qutest DAC.)  

So, for now, I’m returning the DAC and living with the Vault alone until such time, in the near future, I’ll try a different DAC. 

llary..  Great way to start and finish the post.  I have a Vault 2 and I am very pleased with it.  Your double-blind report is priceless to me.

The Vault 2 is 2GB mass storage device that integrates a CD drive.  The CD drive’s only purpose is to rip CDs to FLAC. No buttons to push.  Just insert the CD, then wait for a rip and the subsequent repeat.  Don’t forget to clean the CD first.
The write goes to an easily understood filing system. Because the Node is connected to the Internet, it can access names and cover art.  The best way to make revisions to files or filing is via a PC or Mac.
The Vault incorporates the guts of a Node 2 without Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.  When not ripping, it’s the equivalent of a Node with attached storage.  You can control the Vault in play mode with a $60 accessory remote, with Mac or PC software, or via an app for iOS or Android.  BluOS functionality is built into the Vault.

I may consider an off board DAC, but it’s now a low priority.
The Qutest is very good at rejecting jitter so it pairs really well with the Node2i. It's a pretty transparent setup.

Update to the update: after 2+ months of loading all my CDs into the vault (over 1,000), I finally finished. According to the vaults statistics, I have only used up 12% of the hard drive, which sounds a bit too incredible to me. It displayed a total of 10,100 “songs” occupying 245 GB of disc space.

Be that as it may, it has changed my listening life completely! I now listen to CDs in my collection a good 20 times more than I used to. The ability to lie on the couch (or anywhere around the house) and play any CD, or multiple CDs, I want, in an instant, is fantastic. The ease of which I can now search for a CD, a song, a title is simply amazing. Combining albums, songs, etc. is a piece of cake. And the clarity I get through my stereo system is superb; even when using the Internet streaming services, like Amazon HD, Spotify or Radio Paradise (which is a station I highly recommend to anyone.)

Now my biggest problem is what to do with my CD collection. I have put my Theta Miles CD player on eBay and I will keep my NAD CD player as a backup in case the Vault breaks down and I sell the Miles. 

And, The Bluesound Node 2 that I have on my bedroom stereo, talks seamlessly with the Vault, giving me the best of both worlds. I cannot be happier!