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Which streamer to go with Musical Fidelity M6i & PMC twenty5 22??


on the rocks
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I'm still pondering whether to get a streamer or restrict myself to my A5 CD (JS upgrade) and A5 tuner. What to people find is a good match to my amp and speakers and at least match or preferably exceed the SQ of my CD player, either with built in DAC or separate DAC? Thanks.  The Leema Elements looks interesting as paying for sound quality rather than superfluous pre-amp or display, the Auralic Altair G1 also looks good but could it be into diminishing returns territory.  There must be many more options to consider; it's difficult to get a feel for what the price point would be to best match my existing system without lots of shop demos, although with a shortlist I may be able to arrange some home demos.
 
There are a number of used streamers on that auction site, some of them rather old but big savings on the high-end list price.  I'm wondering if their older DAC technology restricts SQ compared to more modern options with lower new prices?
 
Suggestions and recommendations appreciated, thanks.
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On a budget, the 2 best are probably Auralic Aries Mini and Bluesound Node 2i (which I now have).

With a bigger budget, my preference is for Linn - having compared it to various options, including Naim, Cyrus and Olive (if they still exist).

I found the cheapest Linn streamer (Sneaky - no longer sold), outperformed my Linn Karik/Numerik (which is why I no longer own it).

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Having just installed (and currenlty listening to) an Auralic Altair (not G1), I can confirm it is a sonic improvement on my Bluesound Vault 2.

These can be had as a bit of a bargain now, I picked mine up for £1k ex-display, mint and boxed.

A new SSD just arrived today and will be installed tomorrow so I can copy over my existing music library. The Lightning DS app is very good and the Qobuz integration works very well.

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1 hour ago, CnoEvil said:

With a bigger budget, my preference is for Linn - having compared it to various options, including Naim, Cyrus and Olive (if they still exist).

I found the cheapest Linn streamer (Sneaky - no longer sold), outperformed my Linn Karik/Numerik (which is why I no longer own it).

Hmmm.  There's a buy-it-now Linn Akurate on ebay for £1.75k, similar to new options like Lumin D2 etc.  I  assume used Linns are reliable and can be serviced if things  go wrong? 

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55 minutes ago, on the rocks said:

Hmmm.  There's a buy-it-now Linn Akurate on ebay for £1.75k, similar to new options like Lumin D2 etc.  I  assume used Linns are reliable and can be serviced if things  go wrong? 

IMV. The Akurate DS is a sensible buy - not only does it sound great in its own right, but has the potential to have the Katalyst Upgrade...which gives it a performance that matches, if not outstrips, the Non Katalyst Klimax DS (£15.8k when new).

Linn give on going support and upgrades - which are either free (like their Space Optimization), or retro-fittable (like Katalyst). I also believe they have a 5 year Transferrable warranty.

My Linns have been totally reliable and any minor issues were easily solved with a phone call. @Nopiano has a non Katalyst version.

Lumin have a great rep - but I've no personal experience of them.

Edited by CnoEvil
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and completely at the other end of the scale (which is where I am at the moment), dare I suggest consideration to a Raspberry Pi 4, using Moode or Volumio. Either with/without a HAT and a choice of DACs (again either a DAC HAT or external)?

For what it’s worth, I currently run a RPi4 with USB into a Schiit Modius DAC, then my Rega amp. 

I fully accept that I have never owned or used a streamer such as the Node 2i, so regret than I’m not in a position to offer any sort of comparison.

I simply decided that I’d start off this way and see if I take to streaming before deciding whether to continue on up the ladder.

So far, it has cost me very little (in terms of losses) - I bought the Pi new and it has other uses. re my DAC, well DACs actually. I had a Dragonfly Red, which I sold (small loss). Then an ALLO BOSS DAC HAT - sold on (insignificant loss). Then on to a Schiit Modi 3 on which I lost about £10 when upgrading to a Schiit Modius.

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Get yourself a used Logitech Squeezebox Touch off eBay for about £60. The internal dac is a cracker but it can ge used with an external dac, too. I've been using my Touch for some years now through an Audio Synthesis Dax Discrete DAC, passive pre, EAR valve monoblocs and Quad Esl63 electrostatic speakers and feel no need to upgrade it. I'm definitely considering buying a spare, though. 

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1 hour ago, on the rocks said:

Hmmm.  There's a buy-it-now Linn Akurate on ebay for £1.75k, similar to new options like Lumin D2 etc.  I  assume used Linns are reliable and can be serviced if things  go wrong? 

They are in my experience.  And on weekdays, you can email: helpline@linn.co.uk with the serial number of your proposed purchase.  They’ll tell you it’s age, any repairs or servicing, and confirm if it’s still covered by their transferable 5 year warranty. 

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I have an Auralic Aries Mini (with Luxman or Benchmark DAC) and an Altair G1. As an allinone the Altair makes a lot of sense if you also want to rip CDs. But it does not have the bass and drive of the Benchmark DAC.

I personally didn’t like the Linn streamer (c£3500) when compared against the Naim NDX5 as it sounded lifeless and boring by comparison. 

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19 minutes ago, DomT said:

I personally didn’t like the Linn streamer (c£3500) when compared against the Naim NDX5 as it sounded lifeless and boring by comparison. 

Generally, if you like what Naim does, you will the Linn boring; and if you like what Linn does, you will find Naim too in your face and ultimately fatiguing. 

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16 hours ago, on the rocks said:

Hmmm.  There's a buy-it-now Linn Akurate on ebay for £1.75k, similar to new options like Lumin D2 etc.  I  assume used Linns are reliable and can be serviced if things  go wrong? 

If your budget stretches that far then I'd pop a NAD C658 on your shortlist. It uses the popular BluOS user interface and provides Dirac Live functionality. It also offers MQA support.

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15 hours ago, Gizza said:

Get yourself a used Logitech Squeezebox Touch off eBay for about £60. The internal dac is a cracker but it can ge used with an external dac, too.

Can you use USB to do this?

what do you use?

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Iam reading some real good things about the pimped node 2i, and as a previous user of the blue sound eco system, I cant fault the ease of use or the robustness of the app.

One more thing that only recently surfaced on my radar is the Cambridge CXN v2. One of my friends was using it and was very happy with it. Only last week another friend whose ears I trust a lot gave it a try and was all praise for it. And he has some really high end dac's in his chain. So maybe it is worth a consideration, or their more expensive 851N. 

I did try a lumin T1 recently, but was not really bowled over with it, both sonically as well as the app interface on my android phone. Apparently iPhone app is way better. Just my 2 cents.

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2 hours ago, DomT said:

I have an Auralic Aries Mini (with Luxman or Benchmark DAC) and an Altair G1. As an allinone the Altair makes a lot of sense if you also want to rip CDs. But it does not have the bass and drive of the Benchmark DAC.

I personally didn’t like the Linn streamer (c£3500) when compared against the Naim NDX5 as it sounded lifeless and boring by comparison. 

System synergy is very important, particularly with little opportunity to demo due to Covid or buying used.  I'm on my third Musical Fidelity System  E10 Electra > A3.5 System > M6/A5 system so I'm a confirmed fan of the MF sound.  I've not listened to Naim, but from what I've read they are brighter/livelier than my preferred MF, as is Cambridge - I'm assuming Linn are somewhere in the middle and I remember Cno was happy with Linn and warm MF AMS.

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1 hour ago, MartinC said:

If your budget stretches that far then I'd pop a NAD C658 on your shortlist. It uses the popular BluOS user interface and provides Dirac Live functionality. It also offers MQA support.

The NAD may be interesting too.  I'm waiting to see reviews of Arcam's new ST60.  One factor is that I understand BBC Radio no longer works with Tunein but does with vTune?  I would wand to be able to  stream BBC radio without  the hassle of extra boxes or having to play through my phone or tablet

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