Streamer Upgrade Bluesound Node To Aurender N10


Just got into streaming via a Bluesound Node running Tidal and Qobuz, streaming from an iPad Air via wifi. Very impressed by the simplicity, convenience, incredible choice of music and sound quality. My question is; if I replace the Bluesound Node with an Aurender N10 will there be a noticeable difference in SQ?

Rest of the system is a McIntosh C52 pre amp, MC312 power amp and Magico A5 speakers. I feed the digital optical output from the Bluesound Node to the C52. A/D conversion is done in the C52. If I do upgrade to the Aurender N10, what is the best way to connect the system together? A/D in the Aurender N10 or C52, type of cable connection between the two units etc?

mgattmch

Have you considered Roon? I am a big fan and would not purchase a streamer that did not support Roon. I’m not sure Aurender supports Roon but those owners will certainly give you some advice. I connect my Weiss 501 with a combination ethernet and fiber optic cable.

Yes… an Aurender N10 will make a profound improvement in sound quality. I own two Aurender and auditioned the N10. These are audiophile components and perform at that level.

 

Optical connection would be the least preferred. Coax input to the Mac would probably sound the best. USB can sound better… but this tends to be when the DAC is better quality than the streamer. So, in this case I guess leaving the timing in the Aurender would be preferred. But try it. I would wait to get high end cables until after you have it in your system.

@mgattmch Agree with the others that the N10 is a big step up from the Node. I’ve owned Bluesound, even upgraded to NAD’s M50.2 dedicated streamer which was on BluOS. The N10 will blow them all away.

In full disclosure I am an Aurender dealer. I highly suggest you also look into the Aurender N200. The N10 is a legacy unit, and the N200 despite its lower price has been stated by many to outperform the N10. There is another thread on this forum that discusses this, but feel free to PM me and I’ll be happy to chat with you on the differences.

You'll have to lose the airplay.  Before you go aurender, confirm that you don't ever want to try roon. Aurender doesn't support roon.

I use an Innuous Zenith mk3 streamer, a Roon ROCK, all hard wired with quality cables.  Jerry

Last Friday I went from an iFi Zen Stream with upgraded power supply and fiber network adapters/NUC 10th gen i7 Roon Core to an N20 and it wasn’t a subtle upgrade. I believe that it will improve after AES/EBU cable burns in and if when I upgrade cable and upgrade my Shunyata Delta NR power cable.

I don’t know if this is relevant, but I previously moved from the internal DAC 2 of my McIntosh MA12000 to a Holo May DC KTE and this was even a greater improvement than the streamer change.

From an iPad? It don’ look that way.

More testimony that DACs usually make more SQ difference than most decent streamers per $$ upgrade.

The iPad is a way to control the Blusound. Streaming is over a LAN.

Getting the AC mains out of the Bluesound Node and adding a decent 5v supply is a worthwhile improvement.

Bluesound Node 2021 (gen.3) upgrade – low noise PSU interface

Power Supply Board

 

The Bluesound is handy and affordable but at the low end of the SQ spectrum in the HiFi world IMHO. The fact that power supply upgrades costing hundreds of dollars exist for the unit told me that it had no place in my 5 figure midfi system. I added a Cary Audio DMS650, which is a DAC/Streamer and it was a mind numbingly massive sonic upgrade to my system. Easily the most important upgrade that I did. It is Roon ready and supports Airplay but Qobuz and a direct connected hard drive with CD’s burned bit perfect by Jriver software sound so much better I doubt that I will ever listen to Airplay again. Results will vary based on your system. In mine the Airplay and Bluetooth is a massive downgrade. Still sounds good but no comparison to the best quality sources. There are a million options out there. The DAC is hugely important and you could likely get away with a cheaper streamer and a great DAC, as many people do. Keeping a DAC separate will allow you to upgrade in the future. But I spent a lot of money and don’t really plan on spending more. Cary Audio is made in the US and known to punch far above their weight so I am totally satisfied. Their products are also known to be a synergistic match with Klipsch heritage speakers so I am all set. Next step is my dedicated room with some room treatment’s and maybe correction. Happy hunting and listening. 

I went from the Node2i to a Aurender N100SC, the overall improvement was tremendous. Then I played with coax vs USB connection. The USB was another nice bump up. although I should note finding the right cable is what gave USB the win. In some instances I didn’t notice any difference between USB/Coax.

Just moved up from a Node to a Lumin D2. System is all Mc tube (c2500/mc275/MR71/MVP851) with Harbeth SHL5+ speakers. Even though the internal DAC in the c2500 is good, I got a great deal on the used Lumin and I think its DAC is better. Incredible difference in SQ IMO. The Node is a nice piece of equipment and a great entry into streaming but it sounded a little lifeless to me. Tried Quobuz for a couple of years and just switched back to Tidal. They’re both very good.

Use optical cable for node to dac for the audiophile Sq. Then try compare again

Have had the N200 about a month or so and love it.  Much better sounding than the Vault 2i it replaced 

Which Node do you have? The NODE 130 is noticeably better sounding (though not profoundly so) than the 2i. An upgraded PSU in 2i or 130 makes a big improvement. Pedroeb’s post had a photo of the Polish Creative module. I myself liked the British Fidelity Module with one of their LPSUs. That also allows use of good power cords, which is not an option with the standard bluesound units.

“I previously moved from the internal DAC 2 of my McIntosh MA12000 to a Holo May DC KTE and this was even a greater improvement than the streamer change.

+1, @vonhelmholtz

@mgattmch

In your current setup, your weakest link is Digital to Analog Converter (DAC) in C52. You won’t realize the full potential of Aurender N10 or N200 unless you switch to a better DAC. I would first invest in a better DAC before upgrading the streamer. Secondly, use a high quality COAX cable from Node to a DAC (SPDIF).

I would only consider upgrading the power supply in Node as suggested by @pedroeb if you plan on keeping the Node otherwise you’re better off moving to better streamer like Aurender N200 or N10 once you have upgraded the DAC.

I would only consider upgrading the power supply in Node as suggested by @pedroeb if you plan on keeping the Node otherwise you’re better off moving to better streamer like Aurender N200 or N10 once you have upgraded the DAC.

I upgraded the power on my Node for $214 -- that includes the board from PD Creative plus an excellent deal on an Acopian LPS from eBay.

I see the Aurender N200 new out there for around $6000 and I'm seeing the N10 out there, used, around $4000 and up.

If your Node was $600 to start, you're only at about, say, $850 with the power supply upgrade. That's still a far, far way from $4000 and $6000.

 

“If your Node was $600 to start, you’re only at about, say, $850 with the power supply upgrade. That’s still a far, far way from $4000 and $6000.”

@hilde45

I am not sure what you’re trying to convey? Are you saying Node with PSU upgrade is just as good as N10 or N200? Or is it worth spending $4K on N10?

Getting AC out of the Node is a no brainer and could well satisfy your needs. There's unlikely to be many who can compare the two. In any case, considering the cost it'd be better to try it out for yourself.

@lalitk suggested DAC first. I would suggest that you form a core group of members that you can trust. Go back and review lalitk’s post in other threads and you will find responses based upon a long history of listening to top gear. There are others with a depth of experience like ghdprentice, blisshifi, atmasphere and others. Many give advice based on their perception of having a great sounding system, but like myself , have limited experience.  The problem is that top sound cost a lot of money and the only way to counter this is to buy used. With limited funds, I had to decide where to put the money. For four, or five thousand dollars you can purchase a nice streamer, or DAC, but don’t ignore power, or quality interconnects.

@lalitk

Thought I was being pretty clear. Looking back at my post, I see that I didn't say that the Node with PSU upgrade was just as good as N10 or N200, because I don’t know how much better the Aurender(s) would sound. 

My point is that it would be about 6x more expensive, and given that a DAC is not even part of the equation, that’s a significant upgrade. Maybe that extra expenditure -- on just the streamer -- would be worth it over or against other upgrades.

For me, that extra money would be better spent on other things to improve the sound, but I’m someone for whom money is not unlimited. Perhaps the OP would not suffer any opportunity costs by spending that much extra on just a streamer and could then go on and improve other things, too. I plead ignorance on that one! Cheers!

“My point is that it would be about 6x more expensive, and given that a DAC is not even part of the equation, that’s a significant upgrade. Maybe that extra expenditure -- on just the streamer -- would be worth it over or against other upgrades.”

@hilde45

Thanks for clarifying your take on streamer upgrade. That’s what I thought as well :-)

Regardless of whether one have unlimited funds or not, I wouldn’t spend my money on an upgrade like N10 knowing that money can be put to better use elsewhere. As I pointed out in my first post, upgrading DAC should be the priority to realized full potential from a high end streamers like N10 / N200. I believe in whole system approach over simply tossing an equipment upgrade or tweak.

The other point of argument was upgrading PSU in Node. Again, I see that upgrade as marginal improvement at best considering the weak link (DAC) ahead in digital chain. Just my two cents from experimenting with streamers and DAC’s in last 10 plus years.

If @mgattmch don’t want to pursue separate DAC and Streamer, then Lumin T3 ($5K) should provide substantial upgrade over Node 2 and C52 DAC. T3 features an excellent DAC and streamer with pretty decent app with Qobuz / Tidal integration. 

I failed to mention one thing the power supply upgrade to the NODE won't help is the average performance of its DAC. My NODE is connected to a Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro MQA DAC and the improvement is unbelievable. No matter what people think of MQA, MQA Radio Paradise sounds mighty impressive with the right DAC.

As someone who did something similar to what you are doing…..

I moved from the bluesound to an outboard DAC with the bluesound, to an Aurender and each time there was a worthwhile improvement. I also agree with @ghdprentice and @oddiofyl . I know how much people like Roon, but I did not like the price, and the software for Aurender is great and is included. It’s better then the bluesound software, which was very good. Just be aware either way you go, you’ll have to get used to the new software. 

Aurender seems to really be on top of fixing issues.   They made a few tweaks recently.   My Android Tab stays connected , seems like they took care of that problem.    I emailed them through the device for another issue and they were super responsive.    
 

Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Vault and I still do.  I can back up the Vault and then move those files over to the Aurender.    The PC interface with the drives is great.    Easy to add content.  Awesome machine.  What’s not to like?   

Many thanks for everyones advice/input. Based on reviews, and your input, I have decided the Aurender N10 has the potential to offer a big upgrade over my Bluesound Node. I am going to look for a used N10.

 

Marcus

The OP seems to indicate that he is using AirPlay with the Node.  Does he intend to continue using AirPlay with the Aurender?  If so I suspect he is wasting his money.  If he intends to ditch AirPlay and use the Aurender either with WiFi or Ethernet then I suggest he try doing this with the Node first

@mahler123 

Good point, not only wired Ethernet improves sound; the Aurender won’t work with Wi-Fi. It need a wired Ethernet connection either directly from router or mesh network. 

@lalitk Aurender will work with wifi using any wifi dongle with a Realtek chip inside. That said, I agree that this is not the optimal approach for the investment as the signal integrity can get compromised over the air leading to poor clocking and additional jitter introduced into the chain. 

@blisshifi

Good to know there is a work around albeit not an ideal solution! That’s probably why Aurender don’t recommend Wi-Fi as an option :-)

To avoid the wifi issue. Get a cheap wall wart wifi extender and plug next to Aurrender. Connect extender to Aurender via Ethernet. Works wonderfully and sounds great with high quality streamers like the Aurender. Both my systems work that way, I know of a number of $100K+ systems working like this.

 

Solving this problem was what originally drew me to buy an Aurlic Aries G2. The wifi extender solved the problem allowing me to use Aurender streamers and improve audio performance. My streamer performance is at the level of my analog system.

Post removed 

Will be interested hear your impressions of the Aurender UI vs BluOS.  I tried the Aurender and returned to the Node 130 (with the PDCreative/SBooster upgrade) to Qutest.  Just didn't love the Aurender UI for the $$ delta...and no option to eventually incorporate Roon.  I'm waiting for the new Innuos streamer and will also upgrade my DAC at that time.  Good luck!!

I recently purchased a Bluesound Node 130. It sounded good out of the box, however after I upgraded it using the PDCreative/SBooster power supply, there was a noticeable improvement in sound quality in my system. I haven't compared this setup to a mega buck unit, but I pretty happy for now. Currently streaming from Amazon Music Hi Res, Lana Del Rey, Norman Fu*king Rockwell. Good stuff. My rig parts are Pass Int60, Spatial Audio M3 Turbo, SVS sub, DH Labs cables, others...

Are you really comparing a $600 streamer with a $6,800 Aurender N10? I would hope to shout there is an improvement.

A better comparison is the Node2i to the Cambridge Audio CXN V2. Even though it is almost twice the price, it is not 11 times!

I upgraded to the CXN V2 and although not in the vinyl range, the dynamics and harmonics are amazing.

@rbyington711 I am an Aurender dealer so take this into consideration. I haven’t demoed Aurender and Hifi Rose side by side, though I have used the Hifi Rose RS250 and the two Aurender units you mention at different intervals.

Despite the impressive sized display on the Hifi Rose, the built quality and sonics I think are not at the high standards of Aurender. The RS250 has a lighter weight chassis, and none of the componentry inside is really shielded from each other. The linear power supplies are also not as robust as what you would find in yhe N10 or N200. 

From my time with the RS250, I also had the NAD N50.2 master class streamer which retailed $5K at the time. This was last year before I became an Aurender dealer this spring. There was little difference between the sonics, and once I got Aurender into the system, the N200 and A15 (using digital output) sounded identical to each other and both were significantly better than the RS250. The N10 is close to the performance of the RS250. Aurender delivered more clarity, better tonal density and texture, and overall was less shrill and less fatiguing.

The one benefit I recall of the RS250 is that it can run Roon, and it also had the ability to manage more types of media including photo and video libraries. But performance-wise, if one is only focused on two-channel stereo, I would choose Aurender in a heartbeat. 

Thanks ghdprentice and others, you are absolutely correct, the Aurender N10 is a big improvement over the Bluesound Node. Finally installed the N10 last night and the improvement in SQ is immediately very noticeable; clearer/sharper sound and very dynamic. My wife also immediately noticed the difference. Now I need to get used to using the Aurender Conductor app, by comparison the Bluesound Node app was very easy to use.

@mgattmch 

Is your Node the Node 130?  Do you prefer more analytic sound?  I don't find live music to be "sharp" sounding.  That may explain my preference for the R2R DAC I have now (Denafrips Ares II)--it has the smoothness that I hear in live music, and I don't think it lacks natural detail.  It helps that my electronics and speakers are very transparent, so I don't need any extra detail from a source.

I'll be interested to hear your impressions of the Aurender app after you've gotten used to it.  One thing I appreciate about the BluOS app is it seems to provide more info on albums streamed via Qobuz or Tidal than those separate streaming apps do.  Tidal especially often lacks info on more obscure or older albums. 

Does the Conductor app allow you to fast forward/rewind in the middle of a song like the BluOS app does?

drmuso, from what I can remember, it was an N130. Re the Aurender app, once I got used to it, easy to use and worked well, no issues for me,

we would recommend looking at a 432 evo for a number of reasons

 

one we easily better a node:

 

https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/upgraded-from-node-to-432-evo-aeon-music-server-and-its-another-world-s#:~:text=I%20recently%20upgraded%20from%20a,background%2C%20bass%20articulation%20and%20impact.

 

second we are very well received by the press:

We better the aurender n20 there is a post here of a n20 user who brought over his n20band preferred the 432evo.

 

we did a shoot out against a $25k Innous statement and the Aeon sounded just as good.

 

We are modular and upgradable. platform we allow upgrading from model to model and can be improved when new parts become available..

 

 

 

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Dave and Troy

audio Intellect NJ

US importers 432evo Music servers