"Need" Roon, Bluesound Node, or or other streamer?

I am thinking about adding a streamer, and have hopelessly confused myself, and hoping you all can straighten me out with some advice/options here.

All I want to do is stream my Tidal with MQA quality, Quboz, new Apple tier, Amazon, and my ripped CDs, all with as much sound quality as possible (with a budget of $1200 maxish).   Integrated playlist capability, and ideally with full MQA for the Tidal (but low priority in the scheme of things).   I do not need wireless, multizone, etc. 

Currently my Macbook Pro is the "streamer" using Tidal, Quboz & Apple supplied apps.  I USB out to my DAC.

-- If I buy the Bluesound Node, I lose full MQA if I connect my external DAC.  They tell me I have to use their internal DAC.  Otherwise I can connect my external at a lower "quality".  Yet, many people here trash their DAC...
-- Trial of Audirvana Studio is a train wreck so far... 

 Questions: For my situation, in you all's opinion:

  • Buy the Node, and call it a day? I could switch between Internal Node Dac for MQA and external DAC...
  • Buy a Cambridge or other streamer and call it a day? Are they worth the extra $$ especially if I would ideally like to stick with my external DAC?
  • Buy into Roon solution and either build a NUC server or go Little Green or Nucleus?  OR use one of my old Mac laptops maybe?
  • What the hell is the difference between Roon and the Bluesound Node anyway?

Sorry, all over the place here, but evidence of my frustration...

Any advice is greatly appreciated!

There are two different approaches.  Streamers and Servers/Renderers.  

A streamer (Node 2i, Naim ND5 XS 2, etc...) will allow you to control local files and streaming services.  I have used a variety of these devices and like the Naim units the very best.  You can just use them as "renderers/players" if you have Roon and a separate server or without a separate server and typically rely on their control app.

A Roon Nucleus, Antipodes servers, Rockna Servers, etc... have a powerful computer that runs software like Roon server.  This manages your local files and manages will handle Tidal and/or Qobuz.  

They can serve a dual mode and also function as a renderer or you can add a second computer to serve as a renderer.  This is the approach I take in my systems. The renderer requires a lot less power compared to the server.  taking data from the volatile web and making it placid is what the server does very well.  The player optimally will take a placid signal and simply get it ready to be decoded by the DAC.  

IMO, the best solution is a server (Roon Nucleus is awesome for the money) and an external DAC.  If you can get a DAC that is Roon ready, that is better. 

Bluesound and Roon are essentially competing software platforms.  Roon is pricier but has a very pelasant user experience.  

In the end, budget plays a huge role. Separate server, renderer and DAC costs a whole lot more than a streamer.  

In order, I would look at the following - 

Bluesound Node 2i and a simple external DAC like a Musical Fidelity V90.  This would be $850 list and be excellent for the money.

A Cambridge, NAD or Marantz streamer.  $1000 to $2000 depending on the model.   I am a big fan of the NAD C 658 in this price range at $1650.  It's internal DAC is a big step up from the Bluesound Node 2i.

From here, there are a million combos of DACs and servers or units from brands like Antipodes, Naim, etc...  I would need to know what sound profile you like and the rest of your equipment to make a good recco along with budget.

Good luck and let me know if I can help.

FYI...I am a dealer for a bunch of brands including Bluesound, NAD, Naim, Roon, Antipodes, etc...  I have no affiliation with a bunch of these brands like Marantz and Cambridge which are great products.  

Wow! Thank you for all very much for this amazing advice. I have learned so much, and you've all given me a lot to think about.

By way of update:  I have installed the ROON suite (14 day trial) on my MacBook Pro, integrated my Tidal, Qobuz, and my external HD with my ripped CDs.

So far, I am really liking the Roon user interface.  The MBPro is handling everything just fine, even while I am surfing or doing some work, etc.  

I will continue to trial Roon and see how that works out while I digest everything above and figure out which hardware direction to pursue given my budget constraints.  

Thanks again.  Loving the  journey!

Instead of a component streamer, can one achieve comparable results using a Windows laptop computer or home theater PC for streaming? Any disadvantages to this approach with regard to sound quality, available music sources or ease of use? This is my first post, appreciate your input!
Not easily. PCs, especially in the same room and connected to the audio system generate noise. There are many ways to try to overcome it, like external linear power supplies, dual-headed cables that separate signal from power, etc. All the background processes supporting other stuff your computer does are something to overcome. Low power dedicated devices with more of the parts cost dedicated to what affects audio has generally proven a more cost-effective approach. 
Let alone the UX impact of OS updates messing with music software on PC or Mac. 
Many of us had PC or Mac based rigs and moved away from them as better alternatives became available. the majority of posts on computerlifestyle (formerly computeraudiophile) address many subtopics that apply. Cheers,
@sbank.  +1

Generic PCs do not make good streamers. They just sound good on paper. My streaming systems did not start getting into High quality sound until I got a dedicated streamer. They are highly shielded with quiet power supplies. There are many high quality streamers available. I am very partial to Aurender. They have offerings at many price points with different functions.