Where/how to start?

My music source is CD, SACD, and LPs. I occasionally listen to streaming music through Spotify. I don't have a music server or I don't use DACs for any digital forms of music.

However, as I am growing older (almost 60), I've been thinking about making things simple and setting up digital systems. Also, even though it is not lossless, I feel that music from Spotify is getting better recently.

I have a dedicated HT and 2 channel system. I have OPPO 105D and Esoteric UZ1. (Also 5 turntables.) 

So, how would I start? I don't have a budget set yet so it would be tough for you to give any concrete advice, but I'd like to hear about basic and simple pathways to setup a decent digital systems.  


lyngdorf 112o or naim uniti atom, tidal connect (get rid of spotify, it sucks), speakers... superb sound, one box, done

My pathway was get a DAC to sincerely enjoy. Then get some sources. Currently I have 5 streamers, phono (via a Puffin) and a CDT all remotely selectable.

If you want to go with active speakers you usually have to use their DAC.

I am almost 70… I agree with your thinking.


First, you do have a DAC… the OPPO has a digital input… coax and USB (don’t use the optical). So you can start streaming.


Ultimately you want a high end streamer and DAC and good streaming provider. Qobuz is the best for streaming service audio. I would change to Qobuz… Tidal is pretty good as well, but Qobuz is better. At ony $14.99 / month with the first month free… it is a screaming deal.


Streaming sound quality can equal CD or SACD, streamed files or vinyl at multiple price points at this point in time. You can see my system under my ID… you do not have to go as high end as I have to get there.

To simplify how to look at the formula to get there… assuming you do your homework and get good sounding components… just looking at cost: $TT = Phono stage = streamer = DAC = Preamp = amp. All of my components are very roughly the same cost. My streamer is the most expensive by a bit. This simply communicates that all the pieces are critical and particularly those at the beginning of the signal path.

So, if I were you: I would look into a good streamer… a Bluesound if you want to go budget… Aurender if you want to put your foot on audiophile stuff. Any High end streamer: you plug it in (use your Oppo as DAC)… use your iPad to control it and to log on to your Qobuz account… and the world of nearly infinite music is available to you. You create a library of the stuff from albums you find on the service.


Then if you want to improve your sound further… get a high end DAC.


If you are retired and bored you can rip your CDs to files… but it is a complete waste of time. 



Many thanks for quick responses.

Anyway, I should have said that I am a complete idiot in digital audio.

I have two power amps (Plinius SA102 and Quicksilver monoblocks) and two preamps (Audible Illusions M3B and Plinius M16P). For the starter, I would still keep the amps and preamps for digital music, even though a streamer integrated amps like Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 look interesting.

I use Spotify with BluDento BLT-HD (Bluetooth receiver) from my iPhone.

Can I still use BluDento if I switch to Qobuz? If I can, how would be the sound quality? Bluesound streamer will be better?

Do people usually keep their digital files locally (in computer or usb storage)? Or, subscribe to Qobuz or Spotify? 

I mostly listen to music at home and I am not sure whether I will spend time to covert my CD collections (about 1000) to digital files. Maybe I will do for my LPs (around 3000) if there is an easy way to store to digital format.

Again, thanks for your input.

BRYSTON digital player/server/streamer


all OCC Cu patented CARDAS CLEAR interconnects. They bested my prior silver-coated copper NORDOST FREYs in taming that ad hoc “digital edge” 

All purchased pre-owned on CANUCKAUDIOMART and AUDIOGON, 

You do not want to do anything by Bluetooth. You want to use Qobuz service only. While you can rip your CDs to files and store them on a streamer, or network attached storage, or USB drive… this is all old tech.

You want a streamer… like an Aurender N10 (of Bluesound for a budget solution). If your router is not nearby… then just buy a cheap wall wart WiFi extender (~$59) at Best Buy or Amazon. And plug the streamer into this. That is it. You need not worry about files, storage, ripping files, or any of that stuff. PM me if you want to talk about more specifics. Or show phontos of your equipment and setup in your profile and we can be more specific.

Why not buy a subscription to Tidal and stream lossless through your Oppo?  You already have everything you need to get started except the Tidal subscription. Then as you get the urge you can upgrade the streamer, DAC, etc. til your heart's content :-}

The standard "starter" answer is get a Bluesound Node and Tidal Subscription $~600). I prefer Qobuz but note sure if Node supports that. Node got all you need to come out of the gate for your first experience. Just run RCA into one of your Pre or use one of the Optical in on the Oppo, DAC proly better in that unit than the Node. Stream with that while you acclimate to the digital landscape. 

Got wired ethernet at your 2 channel set up or Wifi?

I agree , get a Node .   Its great for the money.  If you have a large CD collection maybe look at the Bluesound Vault 2i and you can easily archive all of your CDs.  Put a CD in and it rips it to an internal HD.   I love mine, it and the Node can be controlled from your phone. PC , Tablet.   Easy to use .   

You definitely want to ditch the Bluetooth and use a service like Qobuz.   


It appears that Bluesound Node (N130?) + Tidal subscription using OPPO’s DAC is one of the best (simplest and cheapest) options. Once I get used to the streaming music, I’ll think about upgrading to a more high end streamer.

[edit] I came across Cambridge Audio CXN V2. Would it be better in sound than Bluesound Node? Having a display feature seems to be very convenient.

My Ethernet router is far away from my components. Then, I can use a wall wart WiFi extender?


I am not sure about the Node model number.  Its the basic unit with no disk storage.  I am purdy sure the Node is Wifi capable so you can start with just setting up the node on you existing network.   If that is flakey and you are getting drops then you can augment your network.  Many people on this forum have success with extenders and wal warts but I personally think that technology sucks.  At least it has for me and people I know.   I would suggest exploring going to a mesh network topology.  Little extra $$ but worth it if you are going to stream, easy setup as well. Have one of the network-nodes at your rig and hardwire ethernet to the Blue Sound-Node. 

The Cambridge unit is also nice but its double the $$.   But also a good choice. 

Test the waters with the Node.  If streaming is for you (hooked on the crack pipe)  then you can start to explore whether you want separates or all in one streamer/DAC from high end manufactures like Bryston, Lumin and Moon.

Another option for 'testing the waters' on a budget using the DAC in your Oppo is the iFi Zen stream. $400. A streamer only, no internal DAC. 

Thanks for the recommendation of iFi Zen. This is also new to me.

Can somebody comment on Node's DAC? Would it be better than the DAC on Oppo? If Oppo's DAC is better I will go for iFi Zen. If Node's DAC is better, I would go for Node. Well, if they are about the same I will go for the one that is easier and more flexible to use.

That would be my start even though I may spend more later on better streaming device + DAC. I don't know too much about networking issue. Once I gain more knowledge I will take a look on better network setup.

Thanks again.

OP… “Then, I can use a wall wart WiFi extender?”


Yes. I have a $100K+ system streaming off a $59 NETGEAR wall wart. Simple and cheap.

I would recommend investing in a high quality standalone DAC which would greatly improve the SQ of any digital system. I have a Denafrips Pontus II DAC and use it with both my Bluesound Node 2i and Audiolab CDT 6000 transport.  Denafrips DACS are extremely popular and there are numerous reviews available and postings on this forum.  Good luck with your digital quest!





Essentially you need a streamer/DAC combination.  You probably want one that allows you to rip CDs, but experiment with a streaming service such as Tidal or Qobuz.  If the sound quality is adequate then don’t bother to digitalize your lps; if not then do so.  You can either get storage built into the streamer or if you feel competent enough to handle a NAS, then you can stream music to all the systems you use.

  For the vinyl end of things, I guess I would sell off a couple turntables…

If you get a Bluesound Node/ Vault streaming device, I strongly recommend  running a hard wire Cat cable to your router/modem. Using the Bluesound wireless has often caused many frustrations for people. Bluesound is a great solution but works best WIRED to your network.

Can somebody comment on Node’s DAC? Would it be better than the DAC on Oppo?


Node DAC is a Burr Brown PCM 5242 and the Oppo is a ESS Sabre. It really comes down to the implementation of the DAC chip. You would have to really dig deep to find the implementation details. If I was venturing a guess/bet I would go with the Oppo as it is 2x the cost of the node so it might have a little bit more engineering $ spent on the DAC.


Excerpt from Oppo review regarding the DAC:



Oppo have of course put extra effort in the sound of the 105 model. It has two ESS Sabre32 Reference Audio-digital converters, 7.1 outputs and a stereo output. Both use a 32-bit Hyper Stream DAC topology that is said to provide a wider dynamic range and minimize both jitter and distortion. There is both balanced and unbalanced dedicated analog stereo output and digital outputs in the form of RCA and Toslink.

​Had I made a pure CD player in the same price range and a bit upwards, I would be nervous - Oppo BDP-105D certainly sounds compelling with music. Sure, you can find CD players that sound better, but probably not at this price. And it can play all discs and can handle both two- and multi-channel, even a HDCD filter is built in. Considering all the things the Oppo 105D can do picture-wise in addition, it is simply brilliant value for the money.

​I have heard many significantly more expensive CD players that gets beaten by the Oppo 105. You get a sound with the calm, the detail and the super quiet background that I really only expect from dedicated CD players of high class. The DAC has a slightly different, slightly warmer character than the Burr-Brown type I’m used to, but it’s just another side of the same coin. It’s still a good DAC."


It appears that I would not be able to tell the difference between DACs on OPPO and Node.

I will most likely go for Bluesound Node with Qobuz subscription. To get a wired network connection I need to rearrange my current setup - swap the HT and 2 channel setups to avoid a long running network wire.

I based my decision on the budget, sound quality, flexibility, and ease of use. Once I gain more experience on digital streaming, I will get rid of at least one turntable to fund for a higher end streamer and DAC.

My iPad is about 4 years old and I have iPhone 11.

So, I can use either iPad or iPhone to control the music? Then, the connection between iPhone and Node is through WiFi, right?  

If I use a direct network connection, do I still use iPhone to control the music? Well, things will get cleared once I get a Node.

My iPad is about 4 years old and I have iPhone 11.

So, I can use either iPad or iPhone to control the music? Then, the connection between iPhone and Node is through WiFi, right?

If I use a direct network connection, do I still use iPhone to control the music? Well, things will get cleared once I get a Node.

Once you get the Node you will control it/music via phone and yes over network. Music will stream directly to Node over your wifi and you control what it streams via an app on the ipad/phone.

If you have an ipad with with a USB C connector you could use the Qobuz app on the ipad to stream directly to the USB B input on the Oppo. Dont even need a node.

On the iphone 11 or iPad with a lighting port you can use an apple usb lighting to digital camera adapter. This adapter has a usb c port on it. You then connect a USB cable that has USB C to USB B. The USB B plugs into oppo.

This effectively sends a digital signal from you phone/iPAD to the Oppo allowing you to stream up to 24/196 Khz (high rez) Directly to the Oppo from the Qobuz app on your phone. You can even download the physical files from Qobuz to your device and play them from there. I have actually done this.

Maybe not a long term solution but for less than a $75 you can do a free Qobuz trial and I think you be surprised how good it can sound.

If you interested you can contact me directly and I can walk you though it.


Camer adapter for iphone/iPAD


Here is what mine looks like.  This adapter only has the lighting to USB A connector.  Then the USB A to USB B cord.


Here is a little movie of the Qobuz app on my ipad connected directly to my DAC via the adapter and USB.  you can see the 96K on the DAC display.