Streamer/DAC combinations

Looking for opinions on Streamer/DAC combinations.  I am currently using a Node as my streamer and DAC.  Considering upgrading.  The options seem to be endless, so thought I'd solicit some of your opinions.  My node is currently running through a McIntosh C42 Preamp into a McIntosh MC352 Power amp.  Using Klipsh Forte IV's.  The node sounds good, but I think I may be leaving something on the table in SQ.  Not wanting to break the bank so to speak.  Maybe spend in the $2-3K area for budget.  Opinions???


Definitely,, upgrade the DAC!! Then,  mod the Node with a LPS ( I used a TeddyPardo,  but there are other brands out there too. ) I'm using a Node 2i,  feeding a PS Audio Directstream DAC Mk1.  I  have a great soundstage,  both wide and deep. Great imaging.  The lps made a significant difference.  The internal dac in the Node is just not the quality you need for your system; it was built to a price point!

You didn't state your budget,  but right now TMR is selling factory inspected PS Audio Directstream DAC Mk1 for $1799, which is a smoking deal!! These are units that people have traded in for the new Mk2 unit.  The Mk1 was $6000 when new,  and the Mk2 is $8000.

Another vote for adding the Teddy Pardo LPS to the node. Well worth the small cost. 

Try a Lümin D2 deals are out there on used. 
The D3 is the newer version. 

I have really enjoyed my D2

$3,200 range. 

I’m just getting into the streaming scene, and ended up with an IFi Stream connected to my Schiit Urd through a Schiit Bifrost 2/64. Still warming up to streaming in general, so didn’t go all out like I’m known to do. Time will tell.    Thanks to all in this forum with comments/recommendations getting me started off.

A good Dac will massively improve your overall sound and there are so many good choices these days. Will a good Dac improve soundstage/imaging? Perhaps to a small degree but it will help in a lot of other areas also. I'd say an external Dac is mandatory with a Node.