Streamers! NAD blueOS vs Denon HEOS? TI vs ESS DACs?

R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
Hello forum!

I'm finishing up my new project for a stereo system for my living room and I'm going crazy with the last piece of the puzzle: the streamer.

I have an amplifier and a pair of speakers and I am delighted with the set. I need a source to act as a streamer, DAC, and preamp.

In general I need:

- WiFi and Bluetooth. Double bluetooth would be a plus.
- Integration with TIdal, preferably with Tidal connect.
- Preamplifier.
- RJ Ethernet input.
- A good DAC.
- RCA + Digital optical outputs.
- Solid headphones would be a plus, but not essential.
- A software that works well.

I've heard good things about BluOS, which is why my list is topped by the BlueSound node N130 (2021). The truth is that it has practically everything I need.

DAC: Texas Instruments PCM5242

My questions for the Forum:

Speaking of Software: What do you think of BluOS? How do you see it compared to HEOS?

What do you think of the Denon or Marantz streamers compared to the BlueSound Node N130? (I mean the Denon DNP-800NE and Marantz NA6006. I can get these at a very competitive price.

DAC: ESS Saber ESS9016

DAC: Texas Instruments PCM1795

Does Arylic S50 Pro + seem like an alternative?
DAC: ESS Saber ESS9023

Thank you very much in advance for the help,
RS.
 
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AcuDefTechGuy

AcuDefTechGuy

Audioholic Jedi
Also look at the Yamaha WXC-50 MusicCast Pre-amp.

 
bombadil

bombadil

Audioholic Intern
I have 3 of the Node 2i; in my case I use the coax out to a preamp or ext DAC. The DAC in the node has been criticized (ASR) but I've compared the sound of the Node analog output, using its DAC, to the coax output to the high end DACs I have in my systems and cannot tell the difference. The Bluesound os is excellent, a few dropped connections here and there but overall an A-. If you can connect with a hard line you'll have no issues with connectivity. As you noted the Node supports everything, including hi res streams. Plus, you get the benefit of a newly updated model. So a big thumbs up vote for the Node.
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Hello forum!

I'm finishing up my new project for a stereo system for my living room and I'm going crazy with the last piece of the puzzle: the streamer.

I have an amplifier and a pair of speakers and I am delighted with the set. I need a source to act as a streamer, DAC, and preamp.

In general I need:

- WiFi and Bluetooth. Double bluetooth would be a plus.
- Integration with TIdal, preferably with Tidal connect.
- Preamplifier.
- RJ Ethernet input.
- A good DAC.
- RCA + Digital optical outputs.
- Solid headphones would be a plus, but not essential.
- A software that works well.

I've heard good things about BluOS, which is why my list is topped by the BlueSound node N130 (2021). The truth is that it has practically everything I need.

DAC: Texas Instruments PCM5242

My questions for the Forum:

Speaking of Software: What do you think of BluOS? How do you see it compared to HEOS?

What do you think of the Denon or Marantz streamers compared to the BlueSound Node N! 130 which is the one I value? (I mean the Denon DNP-800NE and Marantz. I can get these at a very competitive price.

DAC: ESS Saber ESS9016

DAC: Texas Instruments PCM1795

Does Arylic S50 Pro + seem like an alternative?
DAC: ESS Saber ESS9023

Thank you very much in advance for the help,
RS.
If you use Bluetooth a lot, you may want to go with something more future proof such as Bluetooth APTX HD that the one you linked has, so it is a viable choice if it has the features you need.

Like ADTG, I thought the Yamaha WX-C50 is a better choice. It has a much better DAC IC and is a Yamaha but it does not have the latest Bluetooth APTX HD.

You said you already has an amp, so the Yamaha may be all you need.

The whole BlueSound thing to me seem like just another marketing hype that I just can't find a good reason to spend another dime on yet another new gadget. As usual a lot of people will buy in to it and devices with the feature seem to be getting more and more popular. The funny thing is, if the marketing people manage to do a good job spinning the benefits, backed with some seemingly sound technical explanations, people will believe the claimed benefits to the point they could actually hear the claimed audible benefits. All that would most likely disappear if they are not allowed to hear with their eyes.;) So to me, one would be better off don't let the BlueSound be a show stopper and focus on the features, playability and values based on specs and measured performance.
 
R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
Thanks for your replies.

About Yamaha, I seriously considered the WXA model but later I decided to get a separate amplifier.

One of the things I understand from the Yamaha WXC is that the software is much worse.

Is the DAC better? Which DAC is this? (Cannot find it in their Website).

How about the HEOS systems?
 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
Thanks for your replies.

About Yamaha, I seriously considered the WXA model but later I decided to get a separate amplifier.

Is the DAC better? Which DAC is this? (Cannot find it in their Website).

How about the HEOS systems?
It is the Sabre ES9006, it has much better spec than the ES9023.

One of the things I understand from the Yamaha WXC is that the software is much worse.
What software are you referring to, could you post a link to the source of such claims/talks?
 
bombadil

bombadil

Audioholic Intern
The DAC in the WXA (not sure if it is the same one used in the WXC) has a SINAD of 92
whereas the new Node has a SINAD of 88

If anyone can hear a difference between those two DACs I'd be very surprised.
It comes down to day to day interaction with the OS, reliability, resale, customer support, warranty etc. You'd probably be fine with either, but I had the WXC for a while and did not like the interface, compared to Bluesound. And customer support with Bluesound has been excellent IME. It's a mute point if you use Spotify as you'll be redirected from the main app (Bluesound or MusicCast) into the Spotify app.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
I'd say the more direct comparison would be the WXC-50 vs the Bluesound NODE and the WXA-50 vs the Bluesound POWERNODE. The Yamahas are getting long in the tooth for anybody wanting the latest specs but have a nice assortment of ports. Get one of each and send the loser back. Oh, and try Hi-Res from Qobuz instead of Tidal's MQA.;) Ok, I'm off to wack more hornets' nests.
 
R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
It is the Sabre ES9006, it has much better spec than the ES9023.



What software are you referring to, could you post a link to the source of such claims/talks?
I got this.

Internally the WXC-50 uses two DAC chips – a DSD capable ESS Sabre ESS9006 and PCM Burr Brown PCM5101A.

Indeed it looks like the WXC-50 is a better option than the Arylic, at double the price.

The Yamaha is cheaper than the Bluesound and I am quite happy with other Yamaha products that I have had.

You are making me put it in the radar again.

In regards to the software I am referring to the android application, I will try to get some links with information that supports this claim.

The DAC in the WXA (not sure if it is the same one used in the WXC) has a SINAD of 92
whereas the new Node has a SINAD of 88

If anyone can hear a difference between those two DACs I'd be very surprised.
It comes down to day to day interaction with the OS, reliability, resale, customer support, warranty etc. You'd probably be fine with either, but I had the WXC for a while and did not like the interface, compared to Bluesound. And customer support with Bluesound has been excellent IME. It's a mute point if you use Spotify as you'll be redirected from the main app (Bluesound or MusicCast) into the Spotify app.
Thank you very much for those links.

My general impression of reading around quite a bit is that the BluOS software, including the user experience with the App, is much better than with Yamaha. But I am here to read what other people think or even know... And learn.

Still, no one is talking about HEOS and Denon/Marantz... Are those so inferior that they are not worth considering? If so, why?

RS.
 
R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
I'd say the more direct comparison would be the WXC-50 vs the Bluesound NODE and the WXA-50 vs the Bluesound POWERNODE. The Yamahas are getting long in the tooth for anybody wanting the latest specs but have a nice assortment of ports. Get one of each and send the loser back. Oh, and try Hi-Res from Qobuz instead of Tidal's MQA.;) Ok, I'm off to wack more hornets' nests.
I'm with Tidal at 9€ per year and I do not even care about MQA for now.

I would prefer to avoid paying for good marketing, I even considered things like a pecan pi but there is a limit of time I can dedicate to this and I would rather go with something that just works.

I am definitely not considering the WXA+50 or the powernode, I am happy with my amp.

Thanks to you too!

RS.
 
T

Trebdp83

Audioholic Samurai
It's interesting how many Denon/Marantz owners there are around here and how few of them seem to stream music using their built-in HEOS apps. I can't remember ever reading a post about anybody using the HEOS LINK but I'd be interested in reading about it.
 
R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
I have also been checking the Yamaha WXAD-10 at ridiculously low prices.

That would allow me to extend music cast at a cost BluOS would not.

However the WXAD-10 does only have a line out. Would I be able to control volume at all from the Musiccast app if I use the WXAD-10?
 
W

WookieGR

Audioholic
I didn't read this whole threat but I'm just sharing a note about Tidal. I tested the Hifi/Master subscription on both my Denon X4400H and new Onkyo TX-RZ50 within a day of each other. The Tidal integration on the Denon was limited to 16/44 while the Onkyo offered 24/48. The Denon would stream and decode raw DSD files in their full bitrate while the Onkyo wouldn't acknowledge their existence at all. Seem the Denon was superior when supporting your own files while the Onkyo excelled ever so slightly when streaming through Tidal. Maybe Denon's more current models do justice to that expensive Tidal subscription. Streaming through the Shield Pro with the App was excellent.
 
R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
What software are you referring to, could you post a link to the source of such claims/talks?
For example:




When I was reasearching about this a few months ago I found plenty of people over the Internet complaining about the app which took me to the conclusion that it was not worth it for my use case.

But I am always happy to learn that I am wrong, so that I fix it.

RS.
 
G

Golfx

Junior Audioholic
Regarding HEOS vs BLUOS, I’ve had recent negative interactions with NAD customer support recently. No answers to email questions regarding setup questions etc etc. I’ve always had good response from Denon. I currently use HEOS to stream amazon hd over wifi at 192/24 on my Denon A110. HEOS IOS app receives some complaints but not as many as BLUOS app. I thought the ASR negative review of the new Node would make people run away.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
G

Golfx

Junior Audioholic
You might also consider purchasing a Roon Nucleus and using it to stream to a roon endpoint like a Denon/Marantz or competitor. The reviews of the nucleus and roon app have all been spectacular. I’ve not gone that route “yet” as I’d have to switch to Qobuz to stream in 191/24. I’ve stubbornly become loyal to amazon hd but they seem more predatory lately than inclusive with their atmos via proprietary toy speaker.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
R

real_shark

Audioholic Intern
Thanks everyone for your replies.

It is becoming quite difficult to decide.

What do you think about the Matrix Audio Digi i?


The reviews seem to be quite positive, although it does not have everything in my list I could possibly live without some accessory features.

RS.
 
bombadil

bombadil

Audioholic Intern
Thanks everyone for your replies.

It is becoming quite difficult to decide.

What do you think about the Matrix Audio Digi i?


The reviews seem to be quite positive, although it does not have everything in my list I could possibly live without some accessory features.

RS.
Matrix is like Topping in that they produce stellar well engineered products (see ASR reviews, all excellent). I purchased several of the Matrix products and at the time, connectivity and app problems resulted in me returning them to the US distributor (Power Holdings). I have settled on Spotify Premium and again, at the time, the Matrix products did not support Spotify Connect so that was a problem for me but not for those using other services. The point of this response is that if anything goes wrong with your ChiFi product you are in for frustration. You have to email support in China, the language barrier is a real issue, they are off for all sorts of holidays, and if there is a serious problem you have to send the unit back to China, shipping costs, etc etc. There is a recent thread re Topping on ASR that goes into this in more detail. Suffice it to say I'd strongly advise that you settle on a product that has US customer support and can be returned to a stateside repair facility if needed. And, just my opinion, but I think resale on these Chinese products is going to be poor, compared to something like Benchmark or NAD. The Matrix i review is at:

 
P

PENG

Audioholic Slumlord
For example:




When I was reasearching about this a few months ago I found plenty of people over the Internet complaining about the app which took me to the conclusion that it was not worth it for my use case.

But I am always happy to learn that I am wrong, so that I fix it.

RS.
The guy in the video is funny.. He kept complaining about not being able to see a display of the resolution yet he also emphasized he could not hear a difference either way. The thing is, if you can't the display, it would be like doing a blind listening test so in a way it simplify proved that he would be one one those who really couldn't tell a difference between say 16bit/44.1 kHz and 24bit/192 kHz, all else being equal.

In reality, on the same track it is pretty much impossible to tell the difference between the so called CD quality and the higher resolution such as 24b/192 kHz or DSDs anyway. Sound quality is determined by the recording/mastering quality, not by bit depth/rate as soon as you get pass 16bit/44.1 kHz. Any claims of hearing differences seemed to be always from people who only trust their ears, yet their ears would not back them up if you prevent them from seeing/knowing which one they are actually hearing.

Aside from that, I don't know what the real issues are with Music cast in terms of technical issues and/or usability. I have never used music cast but since it is a Yamaha feature, I would like to hear from @AcuDefTechGuy who probably knows enough to give you some meaningful feedback.
 
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