Digital music questions

I'm somewhat new to hi res digital audio and I'm looking for some tips. I have been building my system and have purchased McIntosh c2700, which has a DAC built in, a 462 amp, and B&W 802d4s. Using Apple Music, I have been streaming music through a Macbook Pro via a USB cable to the DAC of the c2700 preamp.

The McIntosh preamp states the streaming quality is 44.1 kHz, which seem to be the low end of high-res streaming. I currently have so many subscriptions, including Sirius XM for the cars and Apple Music for my family, and more recently Nugs for concerts, (not to mention video subscriptions...seems it never ends), so I was hoping not to add another paid subscription.

That being said, am I leaving a lot on the table? Would a dedicated streamer sound a lot better than the Macbook Pro? Are there streamers without DACs, so I can use the McIntosh DAC without purchasing redundant equipment? I understand I cannot use Apple Music to get high res audio to the preamp, as they only provide it through Apple equipment at this time. Can I get a streamer that uses the DAC of the c2700 preamp? Finally, do I then need to add another subscription, such as Tidal or Qobuz, to get high res audio?'s a lot of questions, but I'm sure someone here can help!


+1 for Bluesound, but get a decent coax and use the McIntosh DAC.  For well under your $1000 budget you will enjoy a significant improvement in SQ.  You could upgrade to an LHY lps and still be under budget.  Eventually you may feel it worthwhile to spend the $$ on an Aurender or Innuous streamer - but maybe not.

One additional point for the OP that has not been raised in this thread: the quality of the user interface (UI).  If the UI is poor no amount of technical superiority will compensate.   I had a MiniDSP SHD streamer, an excellent piece of hardware for the money, but the Volumio OS/UI drove me nuts.  So much so the my wife encouraged me to buy a new streamer, never mind the $$.  Now when was the last timer your wife encouraged you to spend more on your sound system?  The UI is one of Bluesound's competitive strengths.  Just something to keep in mind.

Enjoy the journey & best of luck.


Start off slow.  Get a used Bluesound Node N-130 and maybe a Denafrips Aries DAC and see what you think. I guarantee it is better than using a computer!

All the best.


Thanks - I appreciate the comment.



I can accept the fact that people hear differences when using different streamers in their setup. However, in most (if not virtually all) these cases, I don't think it's the streamer that's causing the difference. Since it's difficult to know how controlled the conditions were for these evaluations, it's hard to judge how reliable the outcome is given that people can be easily swayed by our own biases and other external factors. This video sums it up nicely -

@yage No problem at all.

I would like to mention that I do assume there are differences in the quality of the presentation of different streamers.  The only other streamer I have heard was in a very high dollar system.  That streamer was part of the top of the line MSB streamer, preamp, DAC unit included in a $200K+ system (McIntosh dual mono MC451s, Sonus Faber Lilium speakers, the MSB combo).  Simply divine, cannot recommend Fidelis Audio in Nashua, NH enough.

As I think I mentioned, I have a Bluesound node 2i that I use with an external DAC.  Although I could swing buying the above, I am happy with the Bluesound and my entire system.  I like its overall sound signature.