Please be gentle with me! 🙏


I am a vinyl diehard and know very little of the streaming world.

My son has just bought his 1st amp and speakers a Leak 230 integrated and some JBL 4312G speakers and is currently streaming his music using an Android phone via the USB C on his phone into the USB B input on the amp, using the built in DAC on the amp. So the question is would something like a Bluesound Node N130 as a straight streamer be an audible improvement to his phone?

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Bluesound Node 130 with an upgraded LPS is a very good entry level streamer, has a great OS and is very flexible. IMO it will definitely be an upgrade over streaming with a phone......suggest he sign up for Qobuz.

The DAC is the question mark, the one in the Node 130 is certainly better than the ones in the Node 2 and 2i. I started with the internal DAC in the Node 130 for a few months, but now run it with a Denafrips Iris DDC and Denafrips Pontus II DAC. I'd suggest he take the money he saved on the Leak purchase, and buy a Pontus II DAC (which performs WAY above it's price point).....used $1,300 and brand new at Vinshine Audio for $1,800. Read any of the thousands of positive reviews on the Pontus II

I think he will see a significant improvement using the N130 over his phone.  I  think adding a quality dac into the chain will yield even better quality. I'm using a Bluesound Node,  using the digital coax into a PS Audio Directstream DAC.  The  Bluesound has been moded with a TeddyPardo LPS, which made a huge improvement.  Why the Bluesound instead of a more expensive streamer? The OS! I listen to Amazon Music Premium and Idagio.  I  have yet to find any of the higher end streamers that support both of these streaming services.  Innuos says they are working on it,  but don’t yet support it. The other thing that could improve the sound quality significantly is to connect the Bluesound with a quality LAN cable,  and put a filter, like an English Electric EE1,  just before the streamer. 

I have two systems. One has varied front end source options. Vinyl, Cd, streaming,

music storage. I have a Bryston (BDP3) music player with a one TB  storage installed into a Bryston DAC. I can stream music (I have a few services but use mostly Tidal) or I can source a library of downloaded hi rez music residing in the player’s internal SSD storage.

I also have a system comprised of a Naim Unity Atom which is streaming only. A model of simplicity! The Naim has excellent streaming capabilities plus a very good 45w class A/B amplifier, a very good DAC, and drives Amphion One speakers via Kimber 8tc wire.

With Roon I can access the library of downloaded music via an iPad which I use as a controller for the Naim.

I have endless options and have come to prefer streaming which is the most flexible and convenient and best, in terms of sound quality, source.

Streaming requires good wi-fi or optimally, wifi delivered to a player/dac via a CAT wire directly in.

As others have mentioned, Bluesound makes a good product for one to dip their toe in to streaming. I too had started with a BT transceiver and using my phone or iPad as my source but I quickly learned that was a far from optimal solution.

So I got a BS Node2 and started learning. My first lesson was hard wiring from my wifi/Mesh node and making sure the node was far enough away from my rig to not be impacted by the wifi's RF. Then I stepped up to an external DAC, bypassing the internal DAC of the Node2. Eventually I also upgraded the power supply of the Node2, there are several products out there, as my final incremental change.

I've been very happy from the start with the Bluesound product and the beauty is that it can be improved with incremental, and affordable, changes. Someday I might make the leap to a better streamer as there are many out there, but for now this setup suffices.

Happy listening!