Educate me on music streamers, please.

I just recently started a trial of Roon, Audirvana, Tidal, Deezer, Qobuz and Spotify.  In the past, I just played FLACs on Foobar or streamed on Google Play.  

Roon and Audirvana are pretty cool and I like that you can add Tidal and Qobuz but you can't add Deezer (I really like Deezer's Flow).   I don't like that I can't stream Deezer to my Raspberry Pi with RopieeeXL.  

So, I was thinking that maybe a music streamer that has all of these services would be a good idea.  Anyone have one they like?  Do they have their own "sound"?  I have a DAC  - so would the DAC sound change whatever comes out of the streamer?

Sorry for the basic questions.  I appreciate any help.

All of the "major" streamer companies have Tidal and Qobuz but you will need to go to Deezer's website to see which companies license their service as it's not a lot and they don't make it easy to find out.
suggest u watch a series of john darko videos on youtube on music streaming basics

3 parts in total

will clarify quite a bit of the confusion on the subject your post implies
Tidal and Qobuz are pretty much universally available on any dedicated streamer, while Deezer is more of an outlier. In my opinion EVERYTHING has its own sound, streaming service, streamer, cables, DAC. If it’s in the audio chain it can affect the sound. 
There’s an old saying of you get what you pay for.

Got a budget in mind?

My budget allowed me a steamer with a DAC in 5he box. 

@jjss49 thanks will check out darko.

@crn3371 that's the thing I dislike- one more thing to worry about affecting the sound.  

@wsrrsw I'm thinking under a $1k if I get one.  I don't really need the DAC.  I have an Ayre Codex that works fine. 

If you use Roon you can assemble a fanless NUC and connect it to you ayre codex by USB or use a raspberry pi4 roon bridge to connect to the codex and put the NUC elsewhere. 
@djones51 - I am currently using a Raspberry Pi4 with RopieeeXL for Roon.  

I've watched the Darko videos and done a little more research.  Although I don't think a streamer is a must-have because I'm making do with the Pi and Chromecast presently, I do think I'd like to get one to make things easier.  I can definitely see the benefit of that! 

The key, and what would make it most valuable to me, is one that can handle everything from Roon and Audirvana to Amazon HD and Deezer.  Not sure how hard that will be to find.  

It seems like the Node 2i and the Cambridge Audio CXN are both very popular.  

I've used Deezer for many years.  I love the "Flow" feature, and for my tastes, they have a larger selection of artist that I like.

I've found these streamers that natively support Deezer:

  • DCS Network Bridge
  • NAD M50.2
  • SimAudio Moon Mind2

Less than $1000
  • Bluesound Node 2i - $549
  • Sonos Connect (discontinued - used, about $100)
  • Sonos Port - $449
  • Yamaha WXC-50 - $349
  • Audiolab 6000n Play - $649

I used a Sonos Connect, modded by Wyred for Sound for a few years.  It was good, and was certainly better than the stock Connect.  When the Node 2i came out, a number of people thought the modded Connect was a little better than the 2i - some thought the 2i was a little better.  Not a clear winner from my research.

The Sonos Port is their new streamer introduced this year.  Supposed to be much better than the Connect, but that doesn't say much.  It can be modded by Wyred4Sound as well for $450.  

The Audiolab 6000n looks interesting and gets decent reviews.

There are also products like the IFI Ipurifier SPDIF that you can try with the above <$1000 streamers to see if you get a boost in SQ.  I use one in my second system and it was an improvement.

Many people are very happy with the streaming capabilities of the Node2i and use it as a front end to exceptional dacs.   I'd probably start there.  You'll get all the major streaming services as well as the ability to be a Roon endpoint.

If you want to maximize your $1000 budget, consider a modded Node 2i from Fidelity Audio.  They have a couple offerings of internal and external power supply mods.

There are rumors on the Deezer and Roon forums that these companies are finally going to work together to get Deezer integrated with Roon.  We'll see...

I currently use the DCS Network Bridge.  I find in excellent in my system.

Good luck with your search!

@veroguy - that is some awesome information!  Very helpful.  

What made you go with the DCS Network Bridge?
Well, based on all of the great info and @veroguys comprehensive post, I took the plunge with the Node 2i.  I like all of its features and, especially, that it can be modded/upgraded.  

Should have it tomorrow!

DCS Network Bridge:  I was looking for the highest level of streaming quality with native Deezer support.   The NB gets almost universally good reviews and I got a really good price on a used unit that was local to me

I listen to 100% streaming, so I didn't need/want a server. 

I was really close to getting the Moon Mind2 - few owners out there, but the reviews I've seen, and owners I talked to, have been more than positive.

I considered dropping Deezer and going with Qobuz - and then getting a Lumin U1 mini with the external power supply mod.  But then the DCS came up for sale.  Very happy that I have what I consider excellent Deezer streaming in a single box.

Being wedded to Deezer limits the options available today.  There are many great servers, renderers, streamers, library software etc out there - you could spend months researching and demoing - but so few support Deezer.   Once Deezer is integrated with Rooon, those options will open up.

I suggest trying the Bluesound Node 2i.  Maybe that will meet your needs until Deezer is integrated in Roon.  If it doesn't meet your needs sonically, get the power supply upgrade, or demo the Moon Mind2.

Good luck!  Let us know what path you take and the results.

Doh!  We just cross-posted. 

Congrats on the Node 2i, @soundchaser.  I think it's a very low risk approach. 

Let us know your thoughts.
There are many streamers that will act as Roon endpoints. Realistically, Audirvana is computer only in my opinion, they say it’s DNLA compatible but that doesn’t seem to be the case in the real world. Plus, I can’t see why anyone would want to use both Roon and Audirvana since they both essentially do the same thing. The consensus seems to be that Audirvana sounds better than Roon, but Roon is way more compatible with external streamers. 
@crn3371 - I have been able to stream Audirvana to the Raspberry Pi without issue (DLNA).  

With regard to Audirvana vs. Roon, I like the sound much better with Audirvana.  I just don't like Roon's sound at all.  I will, however, use Roon because the UI is so much better and more entertaining.  Then I'll go to listen on Audirvana......
@soundchasr congrats on your Node purchase. Looking forward to hearing about it.

I don't if my experience will be helpful to you, but here goes...

I used Audirvana for a while. Tried Roon and found myself going back to Audirvana a bunch. Roon's interface was more friendly than Audirvana at the time, but the latter sounded better. 

Anyway, I ended up getting a Moon ACE and found the MiND2 to be really convenient and user friendly. After a few months of breaking in the ACE, I did some A/B tests with Audirvana and found streaming with the ACE/MiND2 much more lively and enthralling. I've been a subscriber to Tidal for a while. I've tried Qobuz a bunch of times, but always end up cancelling and sticking with Tidal. The sound difference to me is negligible. The main reason I've kept Tidal is for the catalog (sometimes I find some really out of left field 90's indie releases on it). If I was into classical, I'd have stuck with Qobuz. 

I do have a bunch of hi-res audio files on an external. When I want to listen I just plug it into my MacBook and connect to the amp via UPnP. It works great and sounds great. 

Hope this was helpful.
Thanks for that info!  The only thing I don't like about Tidal and Qobuz is that neither (as far as I can tell) has a good way of making a custom channel based on several artists or a playlist.  Deezer seems to be the best at this...
@soundchasr I agree with you. That was a nice feature with Deezer. Tidal does a thing called "Mixes for You". It automatically generates them based on what you're listening to. Unfortunately, you can't make one yourself.

That's the big thing with the digital side. There's no one solution that will grant you everything. Roon came close for me, but it just didn't sound right.  
veroguy did you try any of the mods from Fidelity Audio on a Node 2i?

If so how much of an improvement is there?

soundchasr I just tried Deezer on my Node 2i and find the SQ about the same as Spotify that is to say both are a step below Tidal and Qobuz imo.


I use the bridge II with my ps audio ds sr dac. Usb is flawed, use either Ethernet or i2s to a dac for best sound. Using Ethernet, your dac becomes an endpoint.
You also don’t need a server/streamer in your audio room, keep the server in a different room.
I used Audirvana for years, then went to Roon the last couple of years. I have heard the new audirvana MIGHT be a little bit better sounding than roon, but I have 6 Roon endpoints in my house, and the last I saw of audirvana’s interface, Roon is far superior
Just received and set up the Node 2i.  So far, love it!  It's great having everything in one place, the interface isn't bad and it sounds pretty good to me.  

Especially happy that it streams Deezer since I couldn't send their stream to my Raspberry Pi.

Look forward to researching some of the upgrades available for the Node 2i.  

soundchasr OP

Congratulations!  I just switched over from analog to digital streaming a few months ago (good timing, that).   I dipped my toes in the water with a Bluesound Node 2i, using only Qobuz, and enjoyed it immensely.  I upgraded to the PowerNode 2i because we planned to have the streamer in the living room of our new place and my wife was happier with the smaller footprint.  For such a small unit, and a low price point, both the Node 2i and PowerNode 2i are a phenomenal value and a great intro to streaming.  BTW, if you are into home theater, the PowerNode 2i has HDMI inputs.
I communicated with the international service supervisor of Innuos and he said they can add Deezer to be available on my device.  I did a demo of a mini mk III and loved it!  Its sound is outstanding . I have Deezer which I want to keep.  If you want a roon core server it will do that too along with burning up to 1TB of CD's.  I was sold once he said I could have my Dezzer.
@veroguy -

I ended up returning the Node 2i.  Even though it could play Deezer I wasn't able to get all the functionality that I could get from the app on my laptop.  

I'm starting to look at the options you mentioned before (and my willingness to spend more has increased a bit)

  • DCS Network Bridge
  • NAD M50.2
  • SimAudio Moon Mind2
Still want Deezer support so beginning the research again.  Someone mentioned Innuos too. 

Why can't there be something that supports all the services?!

Still searching for the perfect streamer.....

@soundchasr   I have the Moon ACE with MiND2. It does not support Deezer, but it does support Roon. Good luck with your search for a perfect streamer!
In the world, the most popular music streaming is Spotify, Deezer, tidal, and pandora. In these music streaming app, I will suggest you use Spotify or Deezer. To choose best in both. You can check Spotify and Deezer Comparison. It will help to choose best between Deezer and Spotify.