Looking for a streamer/DAC

an old dog trying to catch a new stick. Looking for a streamer/DAC that includes Wi-Fi and would be best to run through my McIntosh MA352. 
I’m confused about the preamp section in many products. Can the preamp be bypassed so I can continue to enjoy the warmth of the tubes?

I have B&W 803 D4 speakers and max budget of $4-5K. 


I would suggest getting a Bluesound NODE 130 directly from Fidelity Audio with their better PSU module preinstalled, and, if you trust me this far, the C4 clock board. The price from them is quite reasonable, especially if you don’t live in the UK as you won’t pay VAT ($700 w PSU module, $1050 with PSU and clock board). You would then need an external PSU. Fidelity Audio will bundle any of their linear PSUs or you can pick one up elsewhere. If you get a FA PSU, you will also need to buy a decent power cord (if you live in the US). If you just want to get the NODE 130 and see how you like it, you can always change out the PSU module yourself (I did with an earlier Node, the 2i, and I am not a DIY guy), but you would have to know what you are doing to add the clock board.You can use the analogue out into your preamp or export digital bypassing the NODE DAC into a DAC of your choice. This unit will also decode MQA encoded Tidal files, which may or may not be important to you (once you get into streaming you will note that whether or not this is snake oil or actually sound better is hotly debated; I prefer it to Qobuz, the main high resolution streaming competitor, but you may not. I was extremely happy with this unit and when I was auditioning speakers found that the Tannoy Cheviots sounded as good through my system with this unit as they had in the showroom where the system I was using to audition speakers on contained a DAC retailing for $3000.

The NODE has its detractors, mainly for folks who think the stock one is too cheap to be any good. However, most people will admit that it’s interface/operating system is superior, and if you are new to high resolution streaming, that is really important to most people. Also, Bluesound makes a series of streaming speakers that can be networked with the NODE, so you can have your main rig playing and still enjoy the music if you have to check on something in the kitchen.


If the NODE doesn’t do it for you, you can then use the unit as an excellent streamer into the DAC of your choice. You could spend quite a lot on the DAC before needing a better streamer. I later decided to get an external DAC to get an additional increment in SQ and added a Chinese Gustard X26 Pro ($1500) which was well reviewed as punching way above it’s weight. IMO, you have to pay a lot more for a better DAC that will completely decode MQA. 

In pricing things, it may sound like BS, but a good cable from streamer to DAC does make a difference if connecting the two via USB.


I use Linn product. their of very good quality. I currently use the linn Majik DSM. This unit has a amp.a preamp capability or as a line source. I have used this product in all 3 modes and am very pleased with its performance

So many choices. Being new to streaming and after evaluating so many helpful responses I’m leaning towards starting with Bluesound Node only and evaluating. 
it has a very good and easy to use operating system and I can continue to evaluate adding a high quality DAC to the system later. 
thanks so much for all the guidance. 

I have had the following DAC/Streamer combo's


Aurender A10.  

Lumin T2

Cary 600

Cary 700

Currently have a Bricasti M3 w/ network card.  Please Pm if I can help. Too many variables to discuss all these machines.



Very sound decision starting out with the Bluesound Node to get yourself acquainted with streaming music. They make a solid product and are well established. 

I used a Node 2i for a number of years and was never dissatisfied with its sound quality and streaming ability just using the original power supply. I did move to an outboard DAC in time but the onboard DAC was decent and enjoyable. You can also disable the volume control in the Node as you suggested. 

Be sure to go with the newest version of the Node as I believe they have upgraded the DAC design and possibly some other features.

Enjoy the music! That’s what it is all about!