Streamers: Lumin U2 vrs Aurender N200

Has anyone compared these two units? Do you have a sense of the tonal differences between them? Tone verses detail. The U2 has gobs of clean detail (gobs is a scientific measurement), but I think the detail is a bit hyped by boosting the tonality in the presence region. I have the U2. I have not heard the N200. Any help out there?


I have the U2 no experience with N200. I found that cables can really change the sound on it. Do some cable swapping if you haven't yet. 

Thanks @dolfan . Juan at Bliss suggested I try that as well. I had done previously with USB cables. Tried with power cords this morning, though due to a very limited selection of quality spares I had to swap from one unit to another. So robbing Peter to pay Paul. I was able to improve things a bit, but since it is a cumulative effect it is hard to say if I am hurting the performance of another piece of gear. By that I mean perhaps I am not getting as much as I could out of the system as a whole by (perhaps) not optimizing the performance of each individual piece. No way to know without having some quality spares so only one unit is changed at a time. Guess I better buy some. 

I use the network acoustic eno iii USB cable. LINKUP – [40Gbps Certified] Cat8 Ethernet Patch Cable Double Shielded Amazon. 

I’m feeding it fiber. Clean as a whistle. Cat 8 to converter, then fiber to the unit. All LPS. 


markmuse OP

224 posts


I’m feeding it fiber. Clean as a whistle. Cat 8 to converter, then fiber to the unit. All LPS. 

try copper. No converters. Run straight from router/access point into U2. Use a good usb cable and a power cord. You may be surprised. 

Thanks @audphile1 . I’ll give it a try. One thing I did try this evening is to use jriver instead of the Lumin app. Listening now. Not night and day, but so far it is a more robust presentation with better inner detail. Surprise! But I think there might be some trade offs in the HF. Not sure yet.

One other thing….not sure how it is in the U2 but with the U1 Mini that I had, enabling upconversion made it sound “processed”. So if you’re upgonverting may be try disabling it and do bit perfect. 
Also, Roon sounded slightly more natural than the Lumin app. 
But in your case, my money is on fiber conversion being the culprit. 

I don't care for upsampling within the U2. Roon does a far better job via Muse. The main reason is that Lumin only sends half of it's max supported bitrate for some reason. My Ayre QX-5 will accept 768/705.6 and send the signal directly to the DAC chip, thus bypassing Ayre's digital filters. And this sounds even better than sending it original sampling rates. I also use the optical input on the U2 and my LAN is all-fiber. Just a very short copper run out of my NUC running ROCK. The rest of the path (some 50') remains fiber all the way into the U2. 

@markmuse cool. Forgot to ask…

how many hours on U2?
what USB cable are you using?

what dac?

@audphile1 1 month on the U2, mostly running 24/7. Should be stable by now. 

Currently an Audio Envy USB and power cord on the U2. I was using a DH Labs USB. And I have an older USB that came with an Orchid DAC I had a few years ago, but haven't tried it yet. 

PS Audio DSD Mk2. I reloaded the original firmware but have reverted back to the current firmware. Synergistic Blue power cord.


@markmuse I’m familiar with DH Labs USB. It’s not bad but isn’t on the level of your front end. I’m using AQ Diamond and preciously had Audience AU24se+ and both are far superior to DH Labs. More refined and spacious sound with better bass and dynamics. Something to keep in back pocket for the next item to try of copper Ethernet doesn’t cure the issue. 

@audphile1 OK, switched to a straight copper feed. There is a difference. A little more apparent detail, but also more edge to the sound, particularly in the presence region. Precisely the opposite of what I want. I think with a less revealing system this would be a good thing. At this point I don't know what else to do beside replacing it with the Aurender. 

@markmuse let it run for few days. If the streamer is new and was never used with Ethernet cable, that part of the unit needs to settle/break in. I wouldn’t dismiss that right out of the gate. Feed it some music 24/7, re-evaluate after 100hrs. 
Few other things I can think of, USB cable - DH Labs is not bad but it isn’t very refined up top. Not sure about your power cord. That’s easy to eliminate as a culprit - swap back to stock cord and see what that does. Get a baseline then see what the next steps would potentially look like. Don’t give up on it. Lumin U2 is a very nice streamer. But if you’re ready to get the Aurender, by all means try it. I love my N200 it’s awesome. But also requires careful cable and system matching. 

I sold my Aurender N200 to partly finance a Lumin P1, the N200 is an excellent unit but I prefer the P1 fiber optic input's sonic results in my system. The difference between the LAN and fiber optic inputs was not subtle, fiber optic revealed another layer of music, and expanded soundstage and instrument separation. Some apparently seem to experience this unveiling as tonal drying or bleaching, another example of every set of ears and every system is different.






@markmuse try changing PCM bit depth to 24 and see what that does? settings/ options/ resampling/ pcm output bit depth. I'm testing it too......

@dolfan  Let me know what you think of the results. I have been sending native resolution to my DAC because the DAC uprezes to some ridiculous multiple of DSD then processes as a DSD file. 

I put it back to Native as well.

The U2 is finally breaking in now. 

I see a lot of complaints about the software from Lumin. I like it. It's really complex because it's a really complex machine. But to just start listening took me 5 minutes when I got it. Seemed easy. That's coming from using a Node previously.

Get a Puron and plug it in.


I switched back to my Lumin U2 Mini. While there is slightly less detail and spaciousness than the U2, it does not have that annoying and almost painful upper midrange sharpness that I would describe as a clanging that appears, for example, in the upper middle register of the piano. 

Can you get the stock power cables back on dac and U2? And use generic or DH Labs USB. Set the baseline. It’s very possible that your cables are influencing the annoyance in the presence region. Do you have silver or rhodium plated connectors somewhere in the chain?

A higher resolution component is usually not a drop and go or plug and play. Unfortunately making a major change like this may require additional changes elsewhere in the system. It’s voiced for the previous configuration. 

I’m sending the U2 back. No silver or rhodium. I did try a number of different usb and power cables.


I have the N200 with cardas USB. I have no glare at all. I’ve had several DACS and streamers and I have yet to find anything to replace the cardas, if you like warm and full sound. 

@dwest1023  Sounds like the old Cardas Golden Cross XLR cables. I had two pairs of them and sold them a couple of years ago for peanuts. Boy, that was dumb. 

Thanks for the heads up. Will check them out. 

Somewhere there’s an issue. I’m not sure the U2 was the root cause. It probably just highlighted it. 

@dwest1023 There is a Clear USB and a Clear High Speed USB. Which do you have? The HS has silver plated conductors so I would expect it to be brighter, more detailed. Everything else being the same. 

@audphile1 Maybe so. I admit to being surprised. I really enjoy the Mini. I was simply expecting more detail and depth. But instead the sonic picture is quite different. I put the Mini back in using the same cables, and there it is. I haven't winced yet. And more importantly I am enjoying the music.


I believe it. Well good that you could return the U2. 
It’s all about synergy. 


I have both cardas usb. I am using the Highspeed cardas on my May KTE Dac. It is more refined on the top end. The clear is darker in comparison. Good to tame any glare.