Starting Over and I need your help

The more I read…….the more I become confused!…..Do I simply need to start over with more carefully selected components?

I currently own a Musical Paradise MP 301 III, Bluesound Node 2i, Omega 7 speakers, and a Rotel RCD 06 SE CD player. To me, this system sounds underwhelming, especially when streaming. I use Apple Music as a source but I am open to switching to another. I only play CDs and stream and do not see myself incorporating vinyl into the mix. Musical tastes are jazz and acoustic. The room size is smallish home office. By the way, I also own a Parasound Zamp that I currently don’t use because I do not have a preamp……should I sell or keep that?

I am willing to sell it all, if needed, to get better sound.  If you were me, what would you change or keep? My total budget would be under $3000 and by buying some used I bet you guys can help me figure out what I should pursue within Audiogon to purchase.

Many thanks in advance for your expertise and opinions!


Raleigh NC






3,025 posts


Before you change anything, maybe your expectations are just very high. Is your room set up properly? Maybe try near field listening. I have heard six figure systems that sound as you describe. Keep in mind, we are listening to recordings. If you ever have heard an ensemble of musicians playing at a park, auditorium, or some other place, without the use of amplification (non amplified)? I certainly have, and these "sounds" of the instruments cannot be duplicated by a hifi system. Many people who think this can be accomplished, some having BIG MONEY systems and awesome rooms, cannot get this (I am sure some might come close). I   adopted the reality when I was in my teens (I am 70) that recordings, all recordings, have limitations. Many have less, many have more, but limitations exist. If you read some of my posts here, you will understand what I listen to with a hifi rig. So, what is your system not doing for you? My best, MrD.


Defining one’s expectations and understanding how to make them a physical reality, or why one cannot, is indeed a crucial first step that’s often not practiced in hifi (e.g. with manicured recordings).

Very sage advice @mrdecibel .

I also own a Parasound Zamp that I currently don’t use because I do not have a preamp

You do not need a pre-amp. Just use the volume pots on the back of the Zamp. At least it's a free way to compare to your Musical Paradise MP 301 III.


this system sounds underwhelming, especially when streaming.

Can you be more specific about the sound? And ideas why streaming sounds worse than CD?

@simao is right, that 6.5 watts is not doing you any favors. A decent integrated amplifier like a Yamaha A-S701 or the Schiit separates or the Schiit integrated amplifier or similar that get you at least 100 good watts. A decent DAC and maybe a subwoofer.

All great advice, and I thank you. I am using my phone to access Apple Music, is this a weak link? I have just ordered a Schitt Modi dac per this thread’s opinion that the dac inside the Bluesound was not up to snuff. Baby steps I know but an improvement I hope !