Looking for intermediate-step Streamer: better than BS Node and not @ Bartok level pricing


I have a BS Node.  Yggy DAC.  BAT electronics, Shunayata PCs, AQ SC, and Vienna Acoustic Beethoven Grand Reference Speakers in a wonderful room. I also have a Linn, Shelter 901 MKII and top of the line BAT phono preamp. It all sounds lovely.  I borrowed a Bartok.  AMAZING!!!  And then I returned it, as I cannot afford that level of playback.  I am interested in upgrading my STREAMER -- I think.  (Yes, I know I could upgrade my fuses, room treatment, and everything else I own....)

I am curious to learn if there is a MID-POINT step that others suggest before I spend $25K on the ultimate STREAMER/DAC setup when I retire in a zillion years.  It seems absurd that my system is dependent upon a $550. piece of equipment.  


I am looking for natural sound.  3-D.  I listen to jazz, classical, and rock from the 60s-90s.  No club music/ insane bass.  When the Bartok was in my system, I felt like I was listening to vinyl.  What might be a good landing place for the next DECADE or so??

Thanks in advance.



I have a Bartok w/o Apex.  It was excellent when I bought it and still is.  You can find the non Apex used.  The Apex improvement is in the analog output.  Some say it's nice but not critical.  I read some great things about the Mola-Mola Tambaqui.  Also available used now.

Seems like you have the big names for your price range covered.  Since you like the Bluesound app I think a very natural progression would be the Aurender Conductor app.  At least it was for me.  But I’ll also tell you from experience, I think you maybe disappointed keeping the Yiggy and upgrading the streamer first.  Again, I was.  Yes there was a nice improvement when I upgraded my Node, but It wasn’t until I upgraded my DAC, which btw I did very quickly afterwards that I really heard the improvement I was hoping for.  YMMV, but I doubt it :-)

Hello Joe, my name is Stu and I’m a roonaholic. Roon is my absolute control app of choice.  Given that you don’t require support for a streaming service other than either Qobuz and/or Tidal, then I don’t think Roon can be beat. It’s not cheap, but I believe it is worth it. Although you can run Roon on a Mac or PC, I strongly suggest investing in a dedicated Roon server like Roon’s Nucleus or from Small Green Computer (or if you are tech savvy enough building your own based on an Intel Nuc). The combo of something like a Nucleus or SGC Sonic Transporter paired with something like a Bricasti M5 fits nicely within your budget. Moreover, if you ever do move onward and upward to something else like a DCS Bartok, Roon could still remain as part of your desired infrastructure. Just my 2 or 3 cents.

@dz13 there seems to be quite a few people here on A’gon that use the t+a 200 and N200 combo at  least according to a dealer that participates quite frequently here and sells them both lol.  I have an N200 paired with a Terminator Plus which is on the same level as the t+a.  Imo they go very nicely together so it seems your match up would be very nice as well.