Question/Help Needed: Boomer who is totally inexperienced with DACs and streamers.

Question/Help Needed: Totally inexperienced with DACs and streamers. The streaming I currently do is with an Alexa device connected to the AUX input of vintage receivers with RCA cables (I have several setups in the house).

I just bought a NAD C375BEE Integrated Amp that has a DAC module installed. It is driving Thiel CS 1.6 speakers. (I am slowly trying to go from low-fi to something a bit better)

I want to "stream" but have no idea what is needed in a streamer to deliver really solid quality music. Is it the source? The streamer? The DAC? I do like the "voice control" I get with the Alexa devices I have.

Any/all help or advice is much appreciated!! Thanks!!  John


Since your Alexa device has a digital out  then you should be able to connect directly to the built in DAC of the NAD. From the link you sent, it looks like the DAC accepts USB in. If it does not have COAX in, then you may need to convert COAX to USB to get going. That would be a quick start to hear how the new amp sounds.  From there you can upgrade to a better dedicated streamer if and when you are ready. Dedicated streamers will sound better. But they use different software to control the music, which will take some getting used to. Tablets are usually better than from your phone. BlueSound is a logical step up and you can spend more on a streamer than you have in you entire system. It never ends. The BluOS software is easy and intuitive. Innuos software is very good as well. IMO, the control software is important. If you are not too tech savvy, then the software can be the Achilles heel of streaming enjoyment. Streaming services like Amazon, Qobuz, Tidal are supported by the BluOS. Amazon music may be more difficult to stream with other devices.

It looks like the BlueSound has optical and USB would I connect one of them to the corresponding input in the amp/DAC?  I guess then I control what I play via a phone or tablet?  Thanks!!!

You need a streamer to hook to your internet/router and a DAC to be able to feed your NAD. The easiest solution, at least initially, would be to get a good combo streamer/DAC like this…

This offers very good streaming performance, and you can upgrade to a better DAC later for better performance. And, very importantly, it comes with the Innuos Sense app that gets top marks for both sound quality and usability, and their customer support is also top notch should you ever need it. This is what I’d do if I was you and was just getting started and wanted a minimum of hassle. Also, do a free trial of both Qobuz and Tidal and see which one works best for your needs and music tastes.  Hope this helps, and best of luck.


Yes, you can send a digital signal from the streamer (BlueSound or other) to the input in your built in DAC. And yes, control the streamer from a tablet or phone, and in the case of BlueSound, a PC as well.  And the BluSound Node has a built in DAC so you can try sending the signal from right and left RCA into the line inputs on your amp. Whichever DAC sounds better is your choice. As Soix stated, the Innuos line of steamers is very good and a step up or two from a stock Node. Music services like Qobuz will yield better sound on average since they offer high resolution files. What service(s) are you using for music now? If Amazon only, then the only streamer I know that is easy to play Amazon music is the Node. There are work arounds with other devices/software combinations, but more work and not necessarily plug and play like BluOS. I stream mostly from Qobuz for critical listening and then I have some internet radio favorites for background listening. I have Amazon as well and compared their HiRez and it was close to Qobuz but not quite there. But that was a while ago and it may be better now. Lots of "moving parts" to manage. My advice is take it slow, do one thing at a time, listen, enjoy, then consider upgrades. Too much at once can lead to frustration and diminish enjoyment. Upgrading the DAC down the road can improve the sound even further.

It looks like the BlueSound has optical and USB would I connect one of them to the corresponding input in the amp/DAC? 

Yes. but make sure the Blue Sound supports Amazon service.  Then find out the resolution of the stream (make sure its streaming at least 16/48).  More people here can chime in who have experience with Amazons service.   I see 2 digital inputs on that module (optical and USB). 

It looks like the BlueSound has optical and USB would I connect one of them to the corresponding input in the amp/DAC?


Connecting to your built in DAC with USB will support higher resolution files compared to Optical.

It looks like the BlueSound has optical and USB would I connect one of them to the corresponding input in the amp/DAC?  I guess then I control what I play via a phone or tablet?

Avoid using the optical out and use either its coax or USB, and then yes you’d use your phone or tablet with whatever streamer/app you’re using. 

Looking at this...and will check the other suggestions.  Thanks to all for taking the time to respond to my questions..... 


That Echo streamer doesn’t seem to support Wi-Fi if that’s important to you.


There is an alternative that costs less and features much of the same integration - the WiiM Pro - link. Normally it’s $149, but it looks like it’s on sale for $119. Like the Echo device, you’ll need to connect it to your NAD DAC module using an optical (TOSLINK) cable.


Here’s some more info - link

As  a fellow boomer I struggled mightily understanding streaming and bits and days. Go slow. I turned the corner with a dedicated streamer (innuos zen mini) connected directly to my router. Plus incorporating stand alone sacs progressively moving up the ladder.  And during times of trouble bluetooth can be a savior. 

your best bet is to upgrade your nad to a naim uniti star this is a far better amplifier then your nad and it has a fantastic dac and streamer built in



Dave and Troy

audio intellect NJ

streaming experts

As a boomer who wanted to do the same thing as you a few years back. I went with a Bluesound. It was easy to set-up and understand, the software is solid, their help desk is great, and the quality was well worth the price. This all helped me to get me started and to finally understand DAC's and Streaming. I kept it for two years or so, until I got upgrade fever. I was then able to sell/trade the bluesound easily for a good price also. 

Just my boomer experience, there are many good products out there, many are better/more complicated then Bluesound, as others have started, but Bluesound made it easy to get started and does it all in one box. 

Hope this helps.

Brother Boomer here...

I started my streamer journey during the Covid shutdown with the Wiim Pro. I find it very easy to use with Amazon, Tidal, or Spotify. Good sound quality as well. Under $150 it is a steal. Have fun.

Fellow boomer here as well.  The advice of @arize84 is, in my experience, sound.  When I needed to move into the streaming world, I went back to the dealer who had sold me my kit in the late 1990's, and he hooked me up.  I am currently using a Linn Akurate System Hub to stream on my main system, and a Blue Sound Node 2i to stream on my secondary system.  I use Roon on a Roon Nucleus media server to run both systems from my iPad and from my iPhone.  I use the Qobuz subscription service to source my music.  I am very happy with all of the above kit and services, which my dealer tailored to my particular needs, budget, existing kit, and tastes.


I hope your experience of streaming turns out to be as pleasant as mine has been.



There are many options as you can see.
IMO, for someone just starting out Bluesound Node is your best bet. They’re easy to use, have been around for a while and support a wide variety of streaming services, including Amazon. Use USB to connect to your dac and you’re good to go.

Another boomer here who also recently got into audio streaming. I went with the Cambridge Audio CXN-V2 network streamer for the simple reason that most of the reviewers stated that it was an excellent first unit with surprisingly good sound. I will vouch for both. It has an internal DAC with analog outputs, and also digital outs for use with an external DAC. I have been using the internal DAC and have no complaints with the sound. It was easy to set up, and Cambridge's StreamMagic operating system makes using the available streaming services very easy. I have been using it on a trial with Qobuz and have been very happy with it's performance, along with Qobuz's selection and Hi Res offerings. It has a nice full color display that shows the album cover and other pertinent information about the track playing, and putting the StreamMagic app on your smart phone gives you full control as well. It also comes with a full featured remote, but I prefer to use my smart phone. A pleasant surprise is that the CXN-V2 also recognizes my Sony HAP-Z1ES server as a music source since it is on the same network. I run both units on an ethernet connection rather than WiFi.

Boomer here also.  Using your Alexa to stream will give you a very compromised sound quality.  The Alexa receives the streaming files via MP3 protocol,  which is a very lossy compression codec. As suggested by several previous posters,  I  would recommend either the Wiim Pro Plus, or the Bluesound Node, and take the digital output into your DAC. I have a Bluesound Node and use both Amazon and Idagio for streaming services. The Node supports Amazon streaming in Ultra HD  (24/192). I'm not sure what the Wiim supports. You won't have voice control,  but the Bluesound app control from a phone or tablet is very intuitive and user friendly.  I  have a very resolving system,  but have stuck with the Node just because of the app and the streaming services that it supports.  I did modify the Node with a TeddyPardo Linear Power Supply, which really improved the SQ.  I now use streaming for about 90% of my listening. Good luck with your audio experience!!

Thanks, from my reading the Wiim Pro Plus supports 24/194 as well. In looking at that vs the Node, aside from the price (Node is twice as much) the Wiim digital outs are coaxial and optical, while the node has USB as well. Some past posts suggest the optical is not optimum, but the specs for the optical on the Wiim and my NAD internal DAC suggest they fully support 24/192 as well. So if I go for the lesser priced one (Wiim) with optical, am I losing sound quality vs a USB connection? Hope that question makes sense....

Also, to everyone that has responded - THANKS!!!! I am learning a lot......and to be fair to all, I am limited by budget where the Node would be a stretch and the Wiim would be cool. Buying the NAD amp took a big chunk out of my "things you want but don’t really need" budget.....LOL...

I use the coaxial out on my Node, into a PS Audio Directstream DAC.  The optical will provide the same resolution,  but perhaps a bit more jitter (some may debate this). If the Wiim Pro Plus is what fits your budget,  I think you will probably be very happy with it.  It will be significantly better than streaming from an Alexa device!

The Wiim offers a coaxial out, but my amp/internal DAC do not have a coaxial in, so I would need a coaxial/USB adapter or something similar.  Seems at least for now, should go Wiim/optical and take it from there......thanks again!

All, I ended up buying, as a starter, the Wiim Pro Plus.  So is it fair to conclude that once set up/connected to the internet, the Streamer pulls the files from the source, such as Amazon Music/Tidal and sends it to the DAC for conversion from digital to analog and out it goes. 

Basically, I use my phone/tabled and the Wiim app as a "remote?"

Thanks again to all that took the time to help me out, it is really appreciated!!

You will be very happy with the performance of the Wiim Pro Plus and yes, you use the excellent Wiim app on your phone, or tablet, as your 'remote'.  I added an Allo Nirvana external power supply to the Wiim, and it greatly enhanced its performance, but for now you will enjoy the baseline performance of the Wiim and you have saved a great deal of money in doing so.