Re: streaming recommendations for newbie


I'd like to finally enter the streaming world with my hifi system and am looking for recommendations.  I have streaming music in my car and on my computer, but I can't currently access any streaming services on my hifi system because I have tube gear and neither it nor my old backup gear have streaming capacity or a DAC (other than the CD player).  

 I guess that I need to buy both a streamer and a DAC?  I now have a pretty decent hifi system, but I want start out with modest priced streaming gear.    

Can anyone recommend a streamer & DAC, or unit that does both?  Does it make sense to put more $$ in a DAC or in a steamer?  Not sure about budget, but I'm thinking $500-1000 used for both as a starting point. Thank you.



What do I need to be able to stream hi-res music files?

@aheydorn All you need is a streamer (preferably wired directly to your router) that you connect to your DAC along with a Qobuz or Tidal subscription (both offer free trials). Something like a Bluesound Node is a great and relatively inexpensive way to get started. Hope this helps.



Just register for a free trial of Tidal and Qobuz.  Install the app on your computer and stream out to your DAC.  Make sure you set it up to stream the highest resolution you can configure.   I think it also possible to get Jriver to stream Tidal but somebody else will have to chime in for that. 

@tlh28 - I too decided to try streaming a few years ago. I started with a Bluetooth receiver connected to one of the tape inputs on my then ARC SP-9 and simply used my phone to get Pandora. I loved the convenience and the ability to also stream from the Amazon Music app. 

My next step was to a Bluesound Node2i via wifi. Another step up in sound quality though the wifi was a bit fiddly. Eventually I went hardwire from a Mesh router extension and solved that issue as well as improved the SQ even further. Taking BT out of the signal path will be a great improvement!

Next step was an external DAC, which the 2i allows you to use. I went with a Border Patrol DAC (tube rectified power supply) but there are many excellent DACs out there to listen to and choose from. 

My final step with this rig was to upgrade from the switching power supply in the 2i to a PD Creative setup which cleaned up the grunge. So far I'm pretty pleased with this arrangement and don't see the need to upgrade considering the rest of my vintage system.

Two things (among many!) to consider: The first is whatever streamer you choose should have an easy to use, feature rich app to go with it. The BlueOS is okay but I'd consider it a starting point. The second is that whatever app you get also be able to access a variety of streaming services such as Qobuz, Tidal, Amazon, etc.

Happy listening.


@soix , so your saying I should get better sound from an external DAC than using my Onkyo RZ 50 to my Oppo 203 via bluetooth (phone), into my (tube) analog system?


@danmar123 First, your AVR should not be involved in the signal path at all for critical 2-channel listening, and there are easy ways around that depending on what’s in your 2-channel setup.. Second, if you’re interested in streaming and better sound quality ditch the Bluetooth and subscribe to Qobuz or Tidal, and you’ll also want a separate streamer that will likewise up your streaming performance significantly. Depending on how good the DAC is in the Oppo you may also want to add a separate/better DAC. All of these things are important and if addressed will give you much higher-level streaming performance and enjoyment and just depends on how far you want to go with this. Hope this helps.