Question Source/Streamer upgrade advice

Princebeef

Novice Member
Advice on upgrade path request: Add a Qutest or replace streamer?

Hi

I'm looking to improve my source. I currently play all my music digitally in flac/wav 16/44 up to 24/192 over wifi:

WXC-50 >
Chord C-line RCA >
Arcam A39 >
Dali Rubicon 2

All my files are stored on MicroSD on my Galaxy S10E, I don't use any streaming services. I'm considering adding a Qutest and bypassing the WXC-50 dac, which would just stream. Would this be a worthwhile route or am I better off changing my source entirely? eg: a CVN V2 or 851N or similar. I've read that the digital out on the Yamaha is limited to 16/44 which would rule it out as a decent DAC source. I've also read that it can output 24/192 digitally, but I can't seem to confirm it either way...anyone know for sure or how I could check?

Am I likely to see the benefit of the Qutest(or other standalone DAC) with WXC-50, or is that overkill for that level of streamer?

I have a budget of around £1000 to upgrade. I'm considering pairing a second hand BS Node2i with a SH Qutest. This would stretch my budget but I'd be willing to if it was a good match for my system. The BS Node2i does have 24/192 digital out, but I would be worried this was more of a sideways step rather than an uprgrade over the Yamaha.

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm hoping(probably vainly) that keeping the Yamaha streamer and adding the Chord is a sensible route to upgrade, but want to check that my system is not being throttled by me using my phone in the chain, or the yamaha to get the signal to a possibly new DAC. I enjoy my current setup but feel it is maybe let down from a weak source. I realise my amp isn't the best for detail so do have slightly tempered expectations, but I can't feasibly replace that for a while at least.

I have more questions but thought I'd try and keep it brief for my first message.

Thanks in advance

Rowan
 

mseve1

Active Member
I currently play all my music digitally in flac/wav 16/44 up to 24/192 over wifi:

WXC-50 >
Chord C-line RCA >
Arcam A39 >
Dali Rubicon 2

All my files are stored on MicroSD on my Galaxy S10E, I don't use any streaming services.
Please can you confirm how your phone connects to the WXC-50? I'm not sure I understand how you're playing your music over wi-fi.
 

mseve1

Active Member
I've read that the digital out on the Yamaha is limited to 16/44 which would rule it out as a decent DAC source. I've also read that it can output 24/192 digitally, but I can't seem to confirm it either way...anyone know for sure or how I could check?
The manual states that the digital outputs support up to 24/192.

Am I likely to see the benefit of the Qutest(or other standalone DAC) with WXC-50, or is that overkill for that level of streamer?
You may well hear an improvement in sound quality but I think a Qutest or similar would indeed be overkill in the context of your current set up.

The BS Node2i does have 24/192 digital out, but I would be worried this was more of a sideways step rather than an uprgrade over the Yamaha.
Note that the Node 2i doesn't support UPnP/DLNA so you couldn't use your current connection method of using HiFi Cast on your phone.

I'm hoping(probably vainly) that keeping the Yamaha streamer and adding the Chord is a sensible route to upgrade, but want to check that my system is not being throttled by me using my phone in the chain, or the yamaha to get the signal to a possibly new DAC.
As stated previously I don't think the Chord would represent value for money unless you could get a very good deal second hand. They do keep their value well though so you wouldn't have any problems selling on if you were dissatisfied.

I think you should also consider freeing up your phone which must be a bit of a hassle. Even if it's a just a case of copying your music files to a USB drive connected directly to your WXC-50 you would gain the benefit of using your phone solely for control instead of it also being your media server.
 

Princebeef

Novice Member
Thanks a lot for your replies, it's very appreciated.

Would the benefit of freeing up my phone to be just the control be just convenience or could it affect SQ too? Having my files on a 500gb microSD suits my needs as I can take my collection around the house, to the car etc. I would only look to change if there's a risk to SQ. Atm I'm trying keep things simple(avoiding nas etc) as we have young children keen to break things. I could run a cat 6 ethernet between my router and WXC-50, reducing the files' trip over wi-fi, but my understanding is that this wouldn't improve SQ(?).

I believe the usb on the WXC-50 is limited to 32gb but can't see it confirmed in the manual(I've now found the part with connection specs but can't see it there, sorry for missing that section before!)

Thanks for the heads up on Node2i not being UPnP. That rules it out for me I think. Are there any other streamers you would recommend that would be a worthwhile step up from the WXC-50 up to around £1000?

My thinking on the Qutest is as part of a long term upgrade plan. I thought the Qutest(or other DAC) would be good base to possible future upgrades, as i only use digital music files. Could you be more specific on the part/s of my setup that wouldn't be up to the level of the Qutest?

Thanks again
 

Princebeef

Novice Member
The manual states that the digital outputs support up to 24/192.


You may well hear an improvement in sound quality but I think a Qutest or similar would indeed be overkill in the context of your current set up.


Note that the Node 2i doesn't support UPnP/DLNA so you couldn't use your current connection method of using HiFi Cast on your phone.


As stated previously I don't think the Chord would represent value for money unless you could get a very good deal second hand. They do keep their value well though so you wouldn't have any problems selling on if you were dissatisfied.

I think you should also consider freeing up your phone which must be a bit of a hassle. Even if it's a just a case of copying your music files to a USB drive connected directly to your WXC-50 you would gain the benefit of using your phone solely for control instead of it also being your media server.

Thanks a lot for your replies, it's very appreciated.

Would the benefit of freeing up my phone to be just the control be just convenience or could it affect SQ too? Having my files on a 500gb microSD suits my needs as I can take my collection around the house, to the car etc. I would only look to change if there's a risk to SQ. Atm I'm trying keep things simple(avoiding nas etc) as we have young children keen to break things. I could run a cat 6 ethernet between my router and WXC-50, reducing the files' trip over wi-fi, but my understanding is that this wouldn't improve SQ(?).

I believe the usb on the WXC-50 is limited to 32gb but can't see it confirmed in the manual(I've now found the part with connection specs but can't see it there, sorry for missing that section before!)

Thanks for the heads up on Node2i not being UPnP. That rules it out for me I think. Are there any other streamers you would recommend that would be a worthwhile step up from the WXC-50 up to around £1000?

My thinking on the Qutest is as part of a long term upgrade plan. I thought the Qutest(or other DAC) would be good base to possible future upgrades, as i only use digital music files. Could you be more specific on the part/s of my setup that wouldn't be up to the level of the Qutest?

Thanks again
 

mseve1

Active Member
Would the benefit of freeing up my phone to be just the control be just convenience or could it affect SQ too?
That's a very good question - by comparing the SQ of your current streaming method with a few test files on a USB stick plugged into the WXC-50 you should be able to answer that yourself.

I could run a cat 6 ethernet between my router and WXC-50, reducing the files' trip over wi-fi, but my understanding is that this wouldn't improve SQ(?).
Agreed, shouldn't make any difference.

Are there any other streamers you would recommend that would be a worthwhile step up from the WXC-50 up to around £1000?
If we're strictly talking sound quality probably not - especially if you continue to stream via Hifi Cast. Money would be better spent on an external DAC as you have alluded to.

Could you be more specific on the part/s of my setup that wouldn't be up to the level of the Qutest?
If you were not going to upgrade further then the I'm not sure you would hear the full benefits of an expensive DAC. For example, I have a Node 2i feeding a Chord 2Qute then into an Arcam A29 and Ruark Preludes. If I'm honest whilst there's a worthwhile difference between the analogue outputs of the Node and Chord it's not massive and I think an amplifier upgrade would have a bigger impact.
So my all means consider a higher end DAC for your current set up but be guarded in your expectations. Incidentally, I would also suggest you consider something like the RME ADI-2 as a slightly cheaper and more versatile alternative to the Qutest.
 

Princebeef

Novice Member
That's a very good question - by comparing the SQ of your current streaming method with a few test files on a USB stick plugged into the WXC-50 you should be able to answer that yourself.


Agreed, shouldn't make any difference.


If we're strictly talking sound quality probably not - especially if you continue to stream via Hifi Cast. Money would be better spent on an external DAC as you have alluded to.


If you were not going to upgrade further then the I'm not sure you would hear the full benefits of an expensive DAC. For example, I have a Node 2i feeding a Chord 2Qute then into an Arcam A29 and Ruark Preludes. If I'm honest whilst there's a worthwhile difference between the analogue outputs of the Node and Chord it's not massive and I think an amplifier upgrade would have a bigger impact.
So my all means consider a higher end DAC for your current set up but be guarded in your expectations. Incidentally, I would also suggest you consider something like the RME ADI-2 as a slightly cheaper and more versatile alternative to the Qutest.
I'll definitely put some tracks on a USB stick and do some comparisons this week sometime.

I Have looked at RME ADI-2 and it does look good. But I don't really need any functionality other than to play music from one source. Occasionally I'll put a film or concert through it, but pretty rarely. Reviews seem to say the Qutest just beats it on SQ, which you'd hope it would considering the price difference. I doubt the RME would maintain it's value as well though, but maybe a more sensible match for my system. I'd be a little reluctant to have the extensive EQ controls of an RME type dac as I tend to tweak too much.

I have read that a higher quality steamer is unnecessary with a good dac. Therefore making an upgraded streamer a little redundant with the purchase of a good dac later on. It would be interesting to see if 851N/CXN or similar alone sound better than a node 2i & Qutest or similar.

I do see what you say in terms of upgrade for the expense. My A39 currently sells for a lot more than I paid for it 2 years or so ago(not sure why), if I sold that and added the proceeds to my dac fund I'd have maybe enough to get a decent step up in quality on a SH amplifier. Like you say, that would seem to offer the biggest upgrade for the money. Just another 2 channel amplifier but I do require two sets of speaker outputs.

I'm pretty attached to my amp though and would be sad to see it go. Maybe I should just stick for now.

Thanks again for the input, do you have any future upgrades planned for your system?
 

mseve1

Active Member
It sounds like you've got your upgrade path well sussed and your plans sound fine to me. I'm pretty happy with my own set up thanks - whilst I could go for a better amp at some point it could be the start of another slippery slope... It's probably best just to enjoy what I've got and concentrate on the music!
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Dac vs Dac. They measure more less the same. But what can set them apart is the way the analog circuit convert sound from digital to analog. Jitter issues also. Dac Chip also. I use my Rega Dac R that feeds my Node2i, then to amplifier. At first I thought the Rega Dac R was much better then my Node2i, still think so to some degree, but over years my mind has changed. Still, my Rega R edges the Node2i midrange, giving voices more meat on them. Otherwise they sound more less the same. Conclusion: we’ll i buy some new external Dac, when my Rega retires, I don’t think so. Regarding streamer. The only difference is convenience. Can be better software etc. More connections. Otherwise mseve has covered the basic.
 

Princebeef

Novice Member
It sounds like you've got your upgrade path well sussed and your plans sound fine to me. I'm pretty happy with my own set up thanks - whilst I could go for a better amp at some point it could be the start of another slippery slope... It's probably best just to enjoy what I've got and concentrate on the music!
That sounds sensible indeed. Thanks again for the input, probably going to hold off for a while. Streaming/digital music reproduction seem to be changing and improving pretty fast at the moment. More music, less procrastination!

Cheers
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I’d sell the Arcam and the WXC-50 and instead buy one of these.

It will transform your sound hugely more than any possible streamer or dac upgrade. RP is superb.

You’ll thank yourself for it.

 

Princebeef

Novice Member
I’d sell the Arcam and the WXC-50 and instead buy one of these.

It will transform your sound hugely more than any possible streamer or dac upgrade. RP is superb.

You’ll thank yourself for it.

Thanks for advice, I think you're right.

Do you have one yourself? It would seem to be the best solution and I don't think I'd need any additional modules.

Only the lack of remote would put me off I think, as I like to toggle volume. Plus I sometimes like to have 2 sets of speakers on in our lounge and presume RoomPerferct correction isn't applicable in that scenario. For dedicated listening I do use just the front pair so I guess I should focus on that setup for SQ, which the Lyngdorf would seem win comfortably.

I'm struggling to find info on the optional IR remote atm so any help in that direction is much appreciated too

Thanks
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I do have the 1120 sir. It replaced my Arcam SR250.

The Lyngdorf is a complete system for those who need streaming, an excellent dac and even a phono stage.

Room Perfect simply makes it the best bargain around in hifi if you have the cash.

I loved the SR, but the 1120 simply beats it with RP

I’m very familiar with Dirac, having used it for three years, and if I had to I’d happily live with it. It is top class.

It does take a bit of tweaking and experimentation to get it perfect, but that’s hardly a big ask considering the improvement.

However, RP does it better and much more easily.

So to my mind it’s simply the best way to get rid of the rooms intrusion into the sound produced by the leakers of your choice.

The Remote is an £80 extra. Something that peeves me frankly. I use my old Harmony 300. It’s easy to programme for volume, source and on off.

However, I’m told the remote is a good solid fellow, which I’d bloody well hope so for that much cash.

As for the two sets of speakers, that’s a bit of an issue, but as you use one pair for serious listening it is less so. But having two pairs playing simultaneously does nothing for sound quality.

Also, it would be possible to run a RP calibration for both sets and keep them on a usb drive.

So should you wish to use both, it would be an easy (2 minutes, I think) job to swap RP profiles to suit. That would still only allow one pair at a time of course.
 

Princebeef

Novice Member
Do you still think RP worthwhile despite not having a sub in my current setup? I don't currently run one, and that's unlikely to change till the kids are older and more reasonable.

Did you buy your 1120 new? If so is there a dealer you can recommend? I think I would er toward a new one for the warranty(though can't seem to find anything about that either). I did see a new one from a dealer today for £1800..

Another reason it looks a good future bet for me is I'd like to one day reintroduce a multi channel setup alongside the two channel, without sacrificing the SQ of my music(the holy grail!). The 1120 looks a good choice for a future HT bypass type setup. This would probably be some way down line though.

I can't even find pictures of their proposed remote, so think I'd go down the SH third party universal route too. Maybe I could dig out my old learning LCD remote purchased from Richer Sounds in the mid 90s. It was spectacularly underused back in the day.

My main doubt now(apart from never hearing anything by Lyngdorf in the flesh!) is wether I can live without a toggle to switch between 2 and 4 speakers. I think I'd use your suggestion of having the separate RP profiles on usb and switching them over. Then on the odd occasion of having 4 speakers on will turn RP off, which is naughty.

Have you found the 1120 sufficient power/drive wise? The A39 does have a certain room filling quality.
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
I think it is worthwhile without using subs, yes.

Using subs make the whole system a full range hifi, that is from 20Hz on up, and sounds quite impressively large.

But the point of RP is to make the rooms contributions disappear.

(Those contributions are overwhelmingly negative).

A job it does simply very well. No drama, no knowledge needed, no room treatment.

I currently don’t have any subs and it will be a while before I get any, but the RP works superbly in 2.0 as well.

As for power output, on paper it sounds no more than average, but in reality the current output is formidable.

I’m driving a pair of rather hungry three way speakers and the 1120 doesn’t seem to notice.

Tom @ Cinehome​


This fellow here is a forum sponsor and offers a home trial of the 1120.

That seems to me the best possible way to hear what the fuss is about.

You can get in touch here.

 

Princebeef

Novice Member
I think it is worthwhile without using subs, yes.

Using subs make the whole system a full range hifi, that is from 20Hz on up, and sounds quite impressively large.

But the point of RP is to make the rooms contributions disappear.

(Those contributions are overwhelmingly negative).

A job it does simply very well. No drama, no knowledge needed, no room treatment.

I currently don’t have any subs and it will be a while before I get any, but the RP works superbly in 2.0 as well.

As for power output, on paper it sounds no more than average, but in reality the current output is formidable.

I’m driving a pair of rather hungry three way speakers and the 1120 doesn’t seem to notice.

Tom @ Cinehome​


This fellow here is a forum sponsor and offers a home trial of the 1120.

That seems to me the best possible way to hear what the fuss is about.

You can get in touch here.

 

Princebeef

Novice Member
That does sound like the way to go, I'll drop Tom an email. Thanks for the contact.

Also thanks for the info and advice, it is much appreciated!

Cheers
 

Paul7777x

Distinguished Member
That does sound like the way to go, I'll drop Tom an email. Thanks for the contact.

Also thanks for the info and advice, it is much appreciated!

Cheers

You’re very welcome. I’m sure you’ll love the Lyngdorf.
 

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