Streamer upgrade? follow up.

I posted the first part of this earlier in the week. There are a few other threads running concurrently here about this same subject.This is my personal experience with this situation.Ive been using a Aurender A100 streamer/dac which is they’re entry level unit, the SQ wasn’t horrible but I was pretty sure I could get it better.In a attempt to do that I purchased a Denafrips Pontus two and a DhLabs Mirage Usb cable to use with the A100 utilizing its Usb out.The two local hi fi dealers here in SO Cal both told me this would not produce much of an result and in my opinion after trying it they were both correct. So… as I stated in the first post I was coming from a “bit is bits” perspective which was I was convinced adding a better Dac would accomplish my goals, I just couldn’t believe that the zeros and ones  could possibly effect the quality of sound. But not being one to give up I decided in for penny in for a pound Id see for myself if there was anything to the other side of this conversation, I wanted a new toy for Xmas anyway.So I traded my A100 plus some cash to TMR ( nice people btw) for a shiny new Aurender N200 which arrived yesterday. Last night the moment of truth, I hooked up the new unit with the exact same everything as before in my system nothing different but the streamer.I let the tubes and everything else warm up for a few hours,picked a song I knew inside and out sat down and pressed play. Immediately within the first few notes of the Stones “ Wild Horses “ I knew I had made the right choice and that I was wrong believing  bits are bits “. I really don’t have adequate language to describe the difference in sound quality other than to say I feel like Im in someone else’s home listening to they’re far superior system, its that drastic.I can with complete confidence say this has got to be one of if not the most significant upgrades Ive made in my system, scouts honor!              PS. Grinin ear to ear here.                                                            



Congratulations! I believe N200 is now the new sweet spot (previously held by N10) in Aurender lineup. With an appropriate DAC, you’re treated with a sound that has plenty of low frequency extension and slam. The new improved line up retains the same level of transparency and coherency but it’s the much improved perceived details that simply seduces you with a relaxed flow of music.


Congratulations! I know how it feels. It’s an amazing experience when it happens.


And kudos for trying a superior DAC, regardless of the “bits are bits, zeroes and ones” prior beliefs. It takes guts to overcome them. Unlike some who replace their “competent” DAC with another “competent” DAC of the same grade, and arrive at the permanent conclusion that all “competent” DACs sound the same. And streamers. And Digital in general. Zeroes and ones

@designsfx Steaming Tidal. Beginning to think I created a problem rather than solved one though, now my digital sounds better than my analog. It was just the opposite previously. This’ll never end😀.

Enjoy !   I have had a N200 for a few months now and it is awesome.   Support is awesome too.    No regrets here other than not doing it sooner 

If you plan on storing music the Samsung EVO drives work great.     I put a 4 TB one in and am moving my music there as time allows.   You can move files there super easy with a PC / Mac.   


I join others here in congratulating you and your very satisfying outcome with the acquisition of a higher tier digital source component. In my opinion the entire “bits are bits “ and it’s just “ones and zeros “ is misguided and ill conceived. The front end components in a digital (Analog as well) audio system are vitally important.

When I read posts on audio forums advising that “any cheap/budget level source is fine, just focus (Over emphasis) on the DAC.” This represents bad counsel and more often than not leads  to unsatisfactory results. It can’t be stressed enough that both source and DAC matter significantly.

I am glad you decided to improve the quality of your streaming/music server digital source. Your outcome speaks unequivocally loud and clear. The Aurender N200 is very appealing and is definitely under my consideration.


@bikeboy52  First of all congrats on your Pontus II and N200. Coincidentally I am on the same quest as you. But, I already have the Venus II DAC as my foundation. I was pondering to either upgrade that to the Terminaor II or +, or to get the Aurender N200 first to upgrade my Cambridge CXN V2. Well your review has convinced me that the N200 is next man up! Thank you for this and enjoy your rig. Any power cords or cabling you can share as well that you are using with the Aurender? Coax or USB?


I was pondering to either upgrade that to the Terminaor II or +, or to get the Aurender N200 first to upgrade my Cambridge CXN V2. Well your review has convinced me that the N200 is next man up! Thank you

Good move!




Next move, optimizing the Ethernet signal if you haven’t already done so. Please share, how’s your N200 is connected to modem or router including cabling. Thank you!

I optically isolated my digital gear cheaply and effectively by using TP Link' s 2210MP Jetstream switch and two MC220L Media Converters with SFP fiber optic Converters  One for my Vault 2i and one for my Aurender N200.    Cost around $250 for everything.  Under $200 if you isolate one device.  

I originally got a pair of the MC220L but needed a better switch so picked up the 2210MP switch and used a media converter for each networked music player .


Thanks for chiming in with your ethernet optimization. There are quite a ways to skin the cat, as long as one is open to trying. Personally I found fiber, while effective in lowering noise didn’t sound fuller and organic. To my ears, through fiber optic kit the sound became less engaging and musical when compared to all copper Ethernet cables plus ENO filter kit. I try to not clutter my space so other than ENO (at the time) delivering more immersive experience, I really appreciated the passive approach without the need for multiple PSU’s. Both ENO and Muon passive filters offers amazing sonic upgrades, albeit at higher cost but totally worth it in my opinion.

There is another upgrade, which is not talked about enough here. N200 comes with  Earth/Ground Terminal. Connecting this terminal to an external ground box like Entreq grounding box further lowers the noise floor yielding to more relaxed and organic flow of music. 

Great post...thanks for sharing.  I had a similar experience recently and was thinking about how to share the revelation. I believe you've described it pretty well.  Up until about two weeks ago I was feeding my Lampi Baltic 3 DAC from my iMac using Qobuz and ROON.   Connected via AQ coffee USB.  Using my iMac with quad processors, SSD (no fan), ROON enabled (upsampling on), solely purposed as my streamer. connected to my basic AT&T router via CAT 8..and listening to the music coming from my system...I'd pretty much convinced myself that it was probably as good as it was going to get.  And I mean that in a very good my ears there was nothing really lacking.  My personal test is 'do I want to hear just one more song' after doing 2+ hours of critical listening.  And does the music just make me sit back and smile.  And I did.  And it did. 

I'm not sure exactly what prompted me to pick up the phone one afternoon and make a call to my dealer to discuss streamers.  I guess it was partially reading other posts on well as some personal experience having thought 'this is as good as it can get' a few times previously and having been pleasantly surprised otherwise. 

First thing I told my advisor was that I wasn't sure exactly what problem I was trying to solve and that I was going into this somewhat skeptical having yet to read anything I could understand as to how moving a bit-perfect stream of 1's and 0's from one place to another was going to improve my SQ.  We discussed streamers in general and long story short he said he believed there was noticeable improvement to be gained by getting a dedicated streamer...and based on where I was at with my system it was a logical next step.  So I said...ok let's give it a try...but don't send me something that will be just slightly different/better.  Also, I'm ready to take the leap but I'm not ready to leap $20k into something that fits well within my system/budget and also gives me a real taste of what a streamer can do.

After a long discussion where I told him yes, I'm willing to give up ROON, and yes, I'm not intimidated by having to learn a new app....we had it narrowed down to either the N10 or the N200.  I chose the N200...primarily I guess because it had very strong reviews and was the latest/greatest from Aurender at that price point.

Which brings me back to your post.  The improvement I heard was not subtle.  After listening to the N200 in my system for a couple days the question I had in my mind was not 'should I send it back because it's not worth the money'.  The question I had...and to some extent still whether I should have bought the N20.  Wow.  I thought my soundstage was very good before...with the N200 it exploded.  I thought I was hearing detail that was reserved for only the highest resolution systems...with the N200 it's like taking my first step into hifi all over again.  Every single song sounds fresh and different.  New details...nuances...dynamics.  Just wow.  The honeymoon is back on.

I still don't understand the math...but I trust my ears.  I also had a buddy come over who tends to lean further towards 'bits are bits' and he was shocked.  He said he could hear the difference immediately and that it sounded less like I'd done a tweek to my existing system and more like I'd changed systems.  

What we discussed afterwards was 'how is it possible that audiophiles are still split on whether a dedicated streamer provides better performance than a re-purposed computer?'  I mean it's so obvious.  Does it mean that the people that are arguing it doesn't matter either haven't heard one...or can't hear well...or have a bottleneck somewhere in their systems that mask the improvement?   Possibly in some cases...but also I suspect that like everything else in this hobby there are so many moving parts that even though I got a great result it's not guaranteed everyone will see the same..or appreciate it in the same way.

In any case I wanted to share my experience and perhaps encourage others that are considering moving to a dedicated streamer.  YMMV but IMHO it was one of the best upgrades I've ever done.


@lalitk Thanks everyone,I really appreciate the support and civility of this thread, sometimes Im not sure if I want to expose myself here, To answer your question though Lalitk Im coming straight off the Linksys router with Blue Jeans Cat 8. Exactly as bh123. Work on this is next and I was going to tap you and some of the others here on this if thats ok. I was just reading Oddiofyls tweak above, I,ll have to wait for my war chest to build back up for anything pricey but Id be game for a first move now if it were not to costy.Looks like bh123 experience mirrors my own, I consider my system mid fi Ive got a number of other similar components that I switch out from time to time I have complete solid state rig as well and a pair of esl,s I sometimes use , but nothing I’ve ever added or changed out has made this level of improvement. Thanks again everyone.


Terrific outcome for you. Congratulations and thanks for sharing your experience on this site.


@lalitk Grounding the chassis.You know I looked at that ground terminal and thought it unusual but was focused on everything else, thanks easy enough, I’ll get right on that.


Thanks for your post and kudos for keeping an open mind. General purpose laptop are just that, they are not optimized for high resolution audio.

Music is an emotional experience, the better the sound, the more you feel! The big question is what are you willing to do, to attain the sound that has the power to move and engage us. I am convinced that once you’ve had a taste of high quality sound, you’ll never want to go back. But if you still have doubts, all I can say is: Retune your ears!

@bikeboy52 Nice! enjoy the newfound sound in your digital front end.

Thank you for sharing. 


Thanks for outlining your Ethernet setup. I say, enjoy your time with N200 until you’re ready to ‘tinker’ with Ethernet. Don’t know how long is your Blue Jeans Cat 8 cable run is? If it’s a shorter run like under 2M, then I recommended trying the ENO or Muon streaming system which comes with their excellent LAN cables on both ends for most bang for your buck. If you’re using a longer run then keep the BJ Cat 8 and just get the ENO filter which comes standard with a captive pig tail LAN cable for streamer end. The market is flooded with inexpensive noise suppression alternatives so try and compare them at your will…IME, most serve as band aids and doesn’t quite measure up to a much superior noise filtering solution like ENO or Muon.

Bookmark the thread started by @ketchup, lots of alternative noise suppressing gadget recommendations.


Very interested to hear more about ethernet tinkering.  Not sure if that would be a new post or whether it makes sense to tag onto this discussion.  As you can see I don't post a lot...not that I'm not interested...simply that my experience is limited to 2 amps, 2 preamps, a handful of DAC's and 1 streamer. 

My situation is a pretty long run (maybe 30 ft) from my standard AT&T router to my streamer.  Using a no-name CAT 8 cable I bought from Amazon.  Runs under the house through the crawl space.  No fun down there..

Anyway, would be very interested in hearing yours and others experiences and recommendations as to what tweaks make the most sense/have the most bang for the buck and what sort of improvement each might bring.

Glad to initiate a new thread if that's the better way to go...

@fthompson251 Sorry I forgot you asked about ac cables. Ac cables on both dac and streamer are entry level Nordost. I read your post the other day about your deciding to go new dac or streamer first. My personal experience has led me to the conclusion that a lot of people are looking at this backwards, this is clearly a case of the new streamer making my old dac sound far better, best of luck on your endeavor either way. 


Consider high quality OCC copper cables from Zavfino for your streamer and DAC. 



I would keep the ‘No name’ 30FT CAT8 LAN cable from router as is and insert ENO filter ahead of N200. ENO comes with no questions asked 30days return policy.

The other ways to improve N200 performance is by using a high quality OCC power cable and grounding the Earth/Ground Terminal.

And lastly, try different USB cable between N200 and DAC for the nth degree of improvements. The ENO USB III or Kimber KSUSB-HB are the finest USB cables I’ve tried in my system that are truly exemplary. I recommend making these changes incrementally so you can properly access the effectiveness of each upgrade.

If you haven’t picked up yet, I subscribe to ‘everything matters’ philosophy. My ‘Digital’ system is listed here for your reference.


Appreciate the advice.  Incremental changes sound like a sound path forward.  Since I got a nice bump recently with my N200 I'll wait a couple months and then start experimenting with ethernet and power.  Will definitely give the ENO a try and report back...may be a few months before that happens but it's on my list now.

So far in my limited experience I'd agree that everything matters.  Some things are pretty easy to understand...gear upgrades, speaker cables, interconnects...while others take more of a leap of faith.  I still haven't taken the leap when it comes to things outside the signal path (power cords, fuses, etc...).  But perhaps at some point I will...

Congratulations on your new Christmas present! I’m currently looking to up grade my streamer and am very happy to hear your report on the N200.

All the best.

The OP is on well worn path, streamer, network and dac upgrades, and then you upgrade the upgrades, welcome to streaming!

i borrowed a Denafrips Pontus from a my dealer yesterday.  i hooked up to my Bluesound Node 2i via coax and streamed via Roon.  not impressed.  the unit i was told had less than 20 hours on it.  ok.  i than connected the Pontus via coax to my Oppo player and played some flac. files.  holy C.  could be the Node is not up to par with the Deneafrips Pontus 2.  or that i may have to upgrade to the newer Node that has USB output?  i have heard also that it takes hours for the caps in the Pontus to fully charge?  doubt if i will find a streamer under a grand that will do the Pontus justice.  the Ares 2 was just find with the Node 2i

ok. I admit I "KIND OF" skimmed the responses.    Isnt the N200 a network player???     what DAC are you using? (again I admit it might be noted there and I missed it)

Ahem….the OP has had his new toy for 24 hrs….the infatuation phase. Y’all are lapping up a giddy reaction like it was some new Stereophile Class A Recommended product. 

$6K for just a streamer head? You effing kidding me? 

FWIW, I took a 5V Teddy Pardo LPS into a Bluesound Node and then went USB into a Pontus II and it is about $1,000 and can’t imagine a much cleaner result. 

then it goes to a new Linear Tube Audio Z40 int amp and some Dynaudio Heritage Specials and I am in heaven.


and can’t imagine a much cleaner result.

I think that's a common reaction to new upgrades, but the fact of the matter is that there's always something better.

I considered an LPS for my Node but ended up getting a different streamer and I still can't believe how much better it is than the Node. 

I always find it amusing when someone so confidently proclaims they can't imagine anything better than what they have right now :)

I always find it amusing when someone so confidently proclaims they can't imagine anything better than what they have right now :)



It’s OK. Human nature. Totally explainable 


@ianrmack $6K for just a streamer head? You effing kidding me?

FWIW, I took a 5V Teddy Pardo LPS into a Bluesound Node and then went USB into a Pontus II and it is about $1,000 and can’t imagine a much cleaner result

I can believe this is a nice sounding and cost effective choice. I’d find it hard to imagine that it approaches the sound quality of an Aurender N200 model.Two different tiers of performance it seems.


I upgraded my TP modified Node to the Aurender N150 (one step down from the N200 that I also own) into my Pontus II.  Teddy Pardo is a nice improvement to the Node but the Aurender eats it for lunch.  Haven't tried the N200 with the Pontus yet, but imagine it will be better yet.


Teddy Pardo is a nice improvement to the Node but the Aurender eats it for lunch

Not surprising 


"Last night the moment of truth, I hooked up the new unit ..."

Seems like you spent more time writing your review than listening. Can we all atleast agree that these first impressions would carry more weight after a few days of listening, maybe. It's kind of like a new groom in his honeymoon suite writing about his impressions of married life. Happy you're blown away.

I know you can’t imagine what you have not experienced…..but, I’m waiting for any professional, reviewer, hobbyist or other to objectively define just how and why a $6k streamer only can yield better results other than other the mantra: Trust us, we are better.


two many side by side tests with Nodes and others vs. Lumin and others where groups of listeners can’t tell the difference.


tons of experiences of customers with extra $ to burn on a gorgeous streamer who justify their emotional purchases with reviews exactly like the OPs. Aurender admits on tHeir web site that the power supply is the key. That makes sense.


but to think that for an additional $5k they can make Tidal Connect sound better is just not sound logic u less they offer a tangible defense other than consumer enth


I certainly WOULD give it a try but I need WiFi connection and have a perfect 800mb connection. Lumin, aurender, auralic all require direct Ethernet and that would be a pain as I have a 120 yo home with thick brick walls. 

can aurender do wifi?

certainly WOULD give it a try but I need WiFi connection and have a perfect 800mb connection. Lumin, aurender, auralic all require direct Ethernet and that would be a pain as I have a 120 yo home with thick brick walls.

Bingo! Now you have a good reason why you cannot do anything else. It sounds to me you are convincing yourself that there is no benefit of using anything more expensive than a Bluesound Node as a streamer. Confirmation bias works both ways. You are not immune.

@thyname : No, not at all. I'm just looking for objecticity and your resposnse only confirms my main objection: You cant describe the sonic benefits and instead collapse under the weight of your own convictions in your more expensive choice.


THAT, thyname, happens all the time and I have been guilty of it for sure. Plus, instead of adopting some sort of confrontational tone, please expand your opinions into digestable and usable info. I am happy to try an Aurender and am not afraid of spending $ for value. I kjust did that on my LTA Z40+ amp.THAT was a mind-bending experince that can be immediately quatified!!!


DACS...? Yup, i get that.

Streamer heads...?...just like CD transports 10 years ago, the law of diminishing returns may well have been written to address this issue....!...;-)

@1extreme “Last night the moment of truth” Yes what Im trying to get across here is that its instantly apparent that sound quality has improved. The concern here seems to be my six grand ( paid five btw), the notion that I rushed to judgment or that Im not qualified to know what Im hearing. So to that ,been listening to it for four hours a day since it,s been in my system,the money, not a problem, as a life long musician and music fan I feel pretty confident of what I hear also. But nothing I can say will convince you ,I posted my experience here because I felt that it was an honestly conducted experiment that I myself wanted to know the answer to, but you gotta be open to that and your minds already made up.Why would I lie? Aurender,s not a publicly traded company I dont have any interest in it. Audio is just a hobby of mine I’ve got a few , Enjoy!

@ianrmack :

I'm just looking for objecticity and your resposnse only confirms my main objection: You cant describe the sonic benefits and instead collapse under the weight of your own convictions in your more expensive choice.

So you expect other people to convince you? Breaking news!!! They owe you nothing. Figure it out for yourself.


There are literally hundreds of threads here on streamers. But you fail to read or search for them. Why? Confirmation bias. You only seek information that confirms your preconceived beliefs, and ignore those who don’t. The very definition of confirmation bias.


Or you can try for yourself. Oh wait! You can’t! Due to the lack of Ethernet. Then you choose to agonize in the internet about why people who do try are likely hallucinating, and these things do nothing. All evidence points you are firmly entrenched in your bunker. Me thinks. Trying to reason with you by showing you “objective evidence “ is a complete utter waste of time.


I certainly WOULD give it a try but I need WiFi connection and have a perfect 800mb connection. Lumin, aurender, auralic all require direct Ethernet and that would be a pain as I have a 120 yo home with thick brick walls. 

can aurender do wifi?

You sound scared to try something that might trounce your Node.  You have two options. 

1) Mesh Router

2) Break out the hammer drill.  It is not hard to run cables.  I just ran one from my router to my new streamer because it was worth it.

Also, your argument about justifying expensive purchases is silly.  I bought an Aurender used for a very good price.  I can easily sell it for a profit, but I will never go back to the Node.  It's just that much better.  I do not mean to talk bad about the Node.  It's a great way to get into streaming and the software, I thought, was great.  There is just so much more out there in the streaming world to be had, though.

And you don't have to spend 6K to beat the Node.  A second hand Aurender under 2K will do the job just fine.  I'm sure there are other options, too, but since I don't have experience with them, I can only speak of Aurender.

“I am happy to try an Aurender and am not afraid of spending $ for value”

If that’s the case, why not borrow N200 or N150 from your local dealer and listen, compare in your own system. Wouldn’t an audition in your system be easier way to settle this matter rather than few of us trying to convince you. You’ve already read few posters reporting their direct experience with N200 over Node. How many more posters will it take to convince you, do you have a number in mind?