Recommendations for music network player

Hi. I'm never in digital and I'm very septic. I'm using Mac mini. Any suggestions for any thinking better sounding than Mac , I do own dac , but would be great to hook up to music player cd ripping device. Thanks for response if any 
Try auditioning Bluesound Vault 2, very versatile and amazing sound given its asking price. You also get a DAC onboard that decodes MQA** files as a bonus. 

**For MQA playback, you would need a subscription to Tidal. 

And if cost no object and you’re willing to let go your DAC and CD ripping, I highly recommend Aurender A10. 

+1 for the Bluesound

I purchased the PowerNode 2 for my TV system - Once I heard the quality, I went out and purchased the Node 2 for my audio system.

This summer I just purchased the Pulse Mini for outside music

The software is intuitive and comes on almost every platform - I have Android, Windows and a MAC all running perfectly. Updates on all three are fast and works every time.

Support is top notch and very knowledgeable - even to the point of recommending what setting on my router is required for the MAC - try getting that from Apple.

I installed quality cables on my Node 2 and it sounded so nice I sold my Schiit Bifrost DAC and ditched my computer interface - YES!!!

It supports the most popular streaming services, connects to my remote NAS drive with ease and has never let me down.

I do have issues with streaming 24/192 files wirelessly on the Pulse Mini - but that could be more to do with my router. No issues when using Ethernet for the TV and Audio system

Great company - great product - nicely finished

Regards - Steve

+1 for Bluesound.
I own the Node 1 and use my Ayre Codex as a DAC.
Works beautifully and you can have them run throughout the house for wireless connectivity.
For the money, Spotify would be my choice. I am trying Tidal again, but find it a bit limited when listening to anything but contemporary music.

If you are using USB to the DAC, the Antipodes and Aurender N10 are the best picks.

Steve N.

Empirical Audio

Thanks a lot for response. I did speak today with the audio advisor representative we came down to the bottom line with aurender n100c . He said that it sounds very soft and is made kind of cutting edge toy . But is quite expensive. I was mentioned start from my Mac trough blue sound and up aurender. I'm really confused now because I haven't audition non of them beside my Mac which works how it works . The salesman was saying that is big difference between blue sound equipment and aurender. For example the same things other salesman from different store was saying how good is benchmark and I got it and I broke it in I wasted time trying to like it and I had to sell it. And I think the best way is forum to get any opinions from others who own equipment or did audition it . One more time thanks 

Aurender N100H is a very nice streamer but restricted to USB output. There are plenty of threads on Aurender N100 and DAC recommendations that gels quite well with N100H, I suggest you do some reading before you buy N100.  

You will never know for sure unless you try these components in your home. Both Aurender from Audio Advisor and Bluesound from Crutchfield should come with at least 14 days money back guarantee. 

What DAC you currently own?
I using as a dac accuphase dp 78 , c2420 preamp , and ofcours the aurender n100 might be over kill to accu. Maybe I should pick something from lower shelf, or get something from aurender shelf with dac which uses USB instead coaxial or optical output . I have no clue because I have never use before computer fails or streamers 
sorry to hear that you are septic.  Perhaps broad spectrum antibiotics and fluid resuscitation may help.  Perhaps a dose of Bluesound may facilitate a quick recovery
I was very skeptical when I purchased my Bluesound Node 2. First, I really was put off because I had many digital files ripped with Itunes which were a little hard to set up with the Node 2. Additionally, the artwork integration by which Itunes does a horrible job of getting album artwork for files. Once I got these bugs worked out, through the great help of the guys at Bluesound customer support I really liked the versatility of playing my files from my Iphone and NOT USING MY COMPUTER OR ITUNES. I have a separate HDD setup with Western Digital’s My Cloud in another room that the Bluesound picks up via my home wireless network. The best surprise of all was when I started investigating Tidal’s MQA on the Node 2. I was floored by how good it sounded. The Node 2 was the best $500 I have spent on my stereo.
BTW with the Vault 2, one would be skipping all the technical integration problems I had and serve as the HDD for your music. The Vault 2 will rip all your CD’s and find the artwork. It will also stream music, just as the Node 2 does.
2psyop - I am still on the fence about the Node 2.  I may soon have enough credit card points to get one, but some of the reviews have criticized the Node 2's sound stage as too narrow and not deep in comparison to somewhat more expensive DACs.  Care to comment on that?  Thanks.
Post removed 
Yes the Bluesound is that good..... for $499. We are in a place and time in audio, whereby people spend $20k for amps and preamps $10k for source components, $50k for speakers and $25k cabling. So lets keep things in perspective. I like the Node 2 as a budget component that delivers above the bar for it’s price range. Sounds better than my CD player to my DAC, better than my older Logitech Squeezbox and much better than any source digital audio component I have had when playing albums in MQA.
As always YMMV....
I concur with 2psyop, the Bluesound is an incredible value.
If you couple the Bluesound with an Ayre Codex, or a Schiit Gungnir or Yggy, you will be spending a reasonable amount of money and getting a killer combo.

Another vote for the Bluesound Node 2. It is fantastic. I will be stepping up to the Vault 2 in the future.


Ok . So do you think guys the aurender is over priced???? . I'm really impressed your opinions according to vault. And I'm gonna get one tomorrow 


Thanks guys!  I was actually thinking of the Node 2 as a first step, to be followed by the addition of an ifi iDSD Black Label DAC (which I can get an employee discount on through a family member).

But, since it my current DAC only goes to 96/24, I expect I might be using the Node 2's DAC for a while until I could afford the ifi DAC.  However, my current DAC is pretty good - a highly moded Beresford DAC called the Superberry, by K-Works.  One of the things I like about it is that it has a really wide soundstage, although the depth is a little lacking.  That's why I asked specifically about the Node 2 DAC's soundstage characteristics.  Can anyone comment specifically on that for me?  It's really the only area some of the reviews (none from Bo) criticized.


@bondmanp - I am very happy with the sound stage of the Node 2 - but you have to treat it to some great cables to maximize it.

The presentation is 3D and very large - it’s like being at the actual venue

Orchestral tracks offer the biggest sound stage, but having said that I have a solo violin album that transports me into the church where it was recorded - the walls of my room just melt away

I get a similar effect with Is this Love from Bob Marley - instruments are spaced much wider than my speakers and walls

With stock cables the image was not as spacious or as detailed and dynamic

My room is 16.5 x 40 x 7.5 - the speakers are 8 ft from the wall behind them and 4.5 ft from the side walls

Hope that helps
@pophaudio - all cables are my own DIY design see...

But if you want great commercial cables see...

I have reviewed most of their product line and they are the best commercial products I have tried

The problem with most other commercial cables is that they tend to use a very poor geometry (like slightly twisted pairs)  that actually results in RFI/EMI being into the conductors from within. Shielding does not protect against this.

To alleviate the issues of intra-cable RFI/EMI you need a more advanced geometry such as braid, Helix or that used by KLE Innovations.

As for the Vault - I have three Bluesound components and their fit and finish is exemplary - I see no reason to assume the internals would be any different

Hope that helps - Steve

Acrolink cables are pretty decent, once you hook up your Vault please report back your experience.  

I am using Purist Musaeus IC’s (very neutral sounding) and Verastarr SPDIF cable. 
Auralic Mini or Altair. Does Tidal, MQA ( with Auralic's decoder), can install an SSD inside the units for music storage. Lightning DS is a pleasure to use. Compatible with all resolutions including DSD.
+1 for Melco

Agree, very high performance for price.  Still waiting for their dedicated control app though - seems like its been in the works forever, but never released.
I will state I have not heard other music servers for comparison to the Bluesound Node 2. I have used the original Logitech Squeezbox as a music server, then started using my Iphone as a server for Spotify via a Pure I20 charger/stand. I also used my MacBook Pro with various software programs over the years. As the years progressed I used external DACs. I had last used a Benchmark USB DAC1 and a Schiit Bifrost Uber as of 2016. When I switched to the Node 2, I knew that it had the benefit of NAD engineering and I knew DACs were getting better and better every year. So the idea of a specifically designed digital audio component to replace my computer and provide the latest DAC technology to deliver all my ripped digital files AND stream hi-res files was within reach for $500 was very appealing. To my surprise the time had arrived for digital to sound really good.
The sound of the Node 2..... Separation of instruments is much more defined. One can pick out each instrument while listening to music. When I listened to Crosby Stills and Nash vocal harmonies, I can clearly differentiate each voice. When listening to Diana Krall’s jazz ensemble, the timbre of sounds match the instrument more exactly. A piano tone sounds like a piano key strike, the decay of the sound trails off slowly. On older and contemporary jazz recordings horn players like trumpet players and saxophonists don’t sound shrill or strained, they sound smooth and very easy on the ear.....natural and organic. Probably more than any other characteristic of the sound is the silence between notes, or passages. Deep dark backgrounds where there is NO sound, helps one hear each individual instrument note. I listened to the Ray Charles song “Deed I Do” and the song bursts from silence into a full orchestra. The dynamics are there full force, and where Ray sings his voice is clear, natural. After this the dynamic range dies down and the soundstage narrows Ray’s voice is low and tender and the piano notes are more delicate. Most of what I describe is from MQA material on Tidal. All of that with the Bluesound internal DAC! If, as one noted, you ran a cable out to an Ayre Codex..... it would sound even more heavenly.
Good job regarding DIY cables , sound you know what you want from life . Many times we are paying big bucks for crap  because big NAMES . But every thing starts from people like you.

Now I'm breaking in Vault so far so good , few days I'll run trough optical output on my accuphase dp78 and then switch to preamp c2420  I'll keep updating.

I don't know only how to use ROON and TIDAL . 
TIDAL itself works because was preloaded 

thanks a a lot guys I'm new on this forum and I like it too

My recommendation to try a good RCA (SPDIF) cable instead of Toslink. IME, the RCA digital cable will sound ‘fuller’ vs Toslink which can sound ‘thin or flat’ in some systems, YMMV. 
You are right it is sounding kind of flat , I thought because needs sometime brake in . I'll try coax
@pophaudio - MY DIY journey started out of necessity - like many others  I did not like the price of cables that proved to be uninspiring.

Then I got into experimenting with different geometries and it grew from there.

Net result was the Helix cables - excellent performing cables for a fraction of the cost of the big names.

lalitk recommends RCA cables for digital - as it turns out the Helix RCA can also be used for Digital and they have outperformed digital specific cables from the commercial brands I have tried.

Food for thought?

Regards - steve  

A New Node 2 owner and couldn’t be happier. DITTO to all the above. My amp is Moscode 600 Tube...pre is a Audible Illusions Modulous. 

The speakers, well they are more interesting. CSS Woofer Module designed by Jeff Bagby, matched with Continuum monitors, however, I am in the process of rebuilding the cabs of DITTON Celestion 100 monitors and matched with the module sound real nice. Regardless which monitor I use the Node 2 does a splendid job with my components that I am very happy with.

Cables in the future.....I am following your leads WW.

Thanks, Robert
woodsart - Thanks for posting.  BTW, I have heard your amp and it is one of my favorites. 
One could also check out the SOtM SMS 200 Ultra at 1/2 cost of the Aurender N100h. Only thing is, it needs a good power supply and an external SSD.
@koestner   Some retailer of the SOtM should offer a package that includes everything needed.  For us tech-illiterates, the thought of having to put all this together ourselves is intimidating.  I mean, what if we get it wrong?
Thanks Bondmanp, I appreciate this thread. It helped me decide the way I wanted to stream music and play from a hard drive. BTW,  I use Tidal and the Blusound app is great. However, I can’t tell differences between CD and Masters, but it all sounds good with my setup. 

Also, I did not mention that I am saving up for my final pair of speakers. But the Vintage Celestions are pretty darn amazing and a perfect match with sensitivity and worthy of a new Cab. Oh, did I say really great sound with the Node 2...😸
I may be useful to realize that the streaming part does not have a sonic signature - bits are bits as long as the output is bitperfect. So for the streaming part the overriding concern is convenience and the availability of apps. For that reason I like the Chromecast Audio.
Sonic quality depends on the DAC. Here, the best like the Benchmark cost quite a bit, but at 16/44 sonic differences are very small. Usb is the best connection for low jitter and low noise.
You can get the Power Supply box from SOtM as well. It's $500 and plugs directly into the SMS 200 Ultra which is $1200. As for the SSD, well that's just an external hard drive that you can get anywhere that you put your music onto. People have said the SOtM sounds better than the Aurender, but I'm not making that claim, only that it's similar for $1,000 less.
Hi guys. I'm back and it's been few weeks I'm testing vault2 and I like it got nothing against it and I'll keep it because spending more money for equipment like that it is wasting money. In my opinion. To use roon I have to use my Mac mini anyway, I have experience loosing signal internet connections. I'm using time capsule 3tera gig. And exfinity modem just modem speed around 100 mbps . So I kicked out my router, and I got replaced google mesh 3 pack $300 though gonna be better, wrong , after 2 weeks return it do to the same problem . My time capsule works better from time to time very rarely still chocking. So I'm getting to the point, listening music trough the internet is not good idea because we don't know what we hear too many softwares , too much cables etc. good thing only access to big library, if I like something from the library, I'll go to my local record anc cd store to see my friends talk and get what I like, bring it home, open it up smell it, read the booklet, turn on equipment, go to kitchen, make some tea add some voltage into it, by now equipment is red hot , place record on the pan drop the needle and ran fast on the couch grab my tea and enjoy, one side finished, get up stretch legs, stability check, flip pan cake and finish my tea enjoy second side, gently placing pan cake into the sleeve. I didn't mention whole procedure before and after preparing equipment that is me :-)
My Ayon  Audio S-5 Network Player/Preamp feed by a QNAP NAS drive (single 2TB ssd hard drive)/Uptone Audio PS-2 sounds very analog like.  The SR Galileo UEF Ethernet cable between both pieces really brought the best out of my system.  Bear in mind I do have the SR cable plugged into the SR Active Ground Block SE.  
I’m currently converting my CD collection to FLAC files and storing them to a NAS Drive that will be attached to my wifi router. I have a Yamaha A-S501 integrated amp and I’ll be adding a Google Chromecast Audio via the Optical input. I plan to use my iPad to allow guests to pick from the albums in the collection so I need to pick some music player/music manager app that allows me to do this via Wifi. I’d also like to limit the guests to selecting only Albums and not single tracks- trying to get back to how we listened to music when quality of the music was the most important aspect! Any suggestions on the player app would be appreciated!