Moving up from a Node 2i

I want to keep it between 1K and 1500.00, closer to a grand if at all possible. I don't care about onboard DACs, since I have a keen liking for mine. What is out there for a streamer, new or used, that will sound better than the Node when outputting to an external DAC? I like the functionality of the Node, don't want something with a sketchy user interface. But honestly, I think my old Allo Digione (Raspberry Pi) might have sounded a little more organic and fleshed out than the Node.

What say ye, Audiogon?


I was disappointed with my Node 2i So I connected the optical out to my Schiit Gugnier DAC then through Audience Ohno cables to my amp. Sounds much much better. I used the optical out because the Coax input was occupied with the output from an Audiolab CDT transport. (On sale now for $500, $50 off. AA and Crutchfield) 
A cheap Monoprice Optical cable has turned out to be amazingly good. 
I have wondered if a Raspberry Pi coupled with a reasonably priced Schiit Modi Multibit ($350) would outperform a Node 2i for about the same money.
I have a Lumin U1 Mini and a Node 2i here used as a streamer into a Chord Qutest. I also used to own a Zen Mini MKIII. All three sound exactly the same used as a streamer. No difference. The DAC makes the difference much more than any transport/streamer IME. It's the interface above all else that makes the difference between these brands. I use Roon, and again, no sound (for me) difference between going from a Lumin U1 mini or Node 2i into my DAC. Amp used is a Pass Labs INT-25, Nordost cables. Oh and I also have a dedicated room for audio only. 
All three sound exactly the same used as a streamer. No difference.
You have earlier stated that there was a big difference between the streamers, especially when you tested the Zen Mini MKIII with the PhoenixUSB reclocker. Did you change your mind?