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I have a Bluesound Node 2 although I do not use it for critical listening. For the most part, I use it to identify new music which I then purchase as a CD and copy to my server, or as an LP and play on the turntable, or in some cases, both.
I am currently running the Node 2 directly into one of the RCA inputs on my preamp and not through my DAC, although I could if I wanted to. I chose to go directly to the pre for convenience's sake and because of how I am using it. If you are using an integrated, for instance, you would need an open RCA input.
As for sound quality, if you are really concerned about that I would recommend you consider the CD quality level of Tidal. Spotify, even the subscription version, is only streamed at 320kbps whereas Tidal can be streamed at CD quality, which is 1411 kbps. Quite a difference. Of course, you could always take advantage of the 30 day free trial period offered by both to hear the difference for yourself and then decide which service suits your needs best.
Regarding the iPad, yes, the Node 2 can be controlled wirelessly through a Bluesound app you download from the iPad app store. You simply add the Node 2 to your existing WiFI and you're all set. The Node 2 comes with a power cord and the necessary RCA cables so it is pretty much self contained. It took me about 10, maybe 15 minutes, if I remember correctly, to set mine up, download the app, and start playing music. Pretty simple really.
For the cost of the Node 2 and your budget of $1000.00 you might consider using any of the popular DAC's in the $300.00 to $500 price range. That would allow you to stream any of the current or future higher resolution music available through Tidal or any new service that may come along.
One big question is will streamed digital music, regardless of the source, bring you the enjoyment I'd guess you obviously have with LP's? That is a question you will have to answer for yourself. However, it should be noted that the Node 2 with Spotify might be considered by many audiophiles ( and certainly by myslef) to be seriously lacking in sonic quality. Using a CD quality service like Tidal may help to improve your listening enjoyment of streamed digital music. Depending on the rest of your system, that might be something to keep in mind.
Thank you very informative. I like the idea of higher quality of tidal. With that and a dac do I still use the bluesound? Or another component?
My goal is to use my iPad with an online service wirelessly into my home separates that I do have 1 or 2 extra inputs available.
What's your recommendations for the 1000 maybe more if it's worth it.
Im wanting the service to supplement my vinyl and as you say if I hear something I like I would purchase the album.
You will need the Node 2 either way if you intend to play anything through your system. At least that is the easiest way to do so. The Node 2 can be connected directly to an open RCA jack on an existing preamp or integrated amplifier. The cables to make that connection come with the Node 2.
If you are using an integrated that does not have a DAC you really don't need one. An integrated will work fine to stream CD quality music from Tidal - again, provided you have an available RCA input on your integrated. In my case, I'm doing exactly that with my preamp.
The DAC would be used if you want to stream any of the hi resolution content from Tidal, which is not a huge amount, right now the catalog of MQA songs. Again, depending on your system, a DAC might improve the sonics some but that would be something you'd have to decide for yourself. As to which one, there are quite a few. The Audio Quest Dragonfly is less than $200.00 and it has been highly praised since its inception. If you have a dealer close by, I'd recommend checking with them so you can hear some various components which is always the best way to go.
Either the Red ($200) or the Black ($100) -- plus the Apple USB 3 Camera Adapter ($39) -- would form a great iPad-based solution, here.
The OP could come up with something if wireless is a necessity?
While my solution isn't wireless, I still have wireless control. It consists of an old macbook running Tidal, out through a DragonFly Black and into my tube equipment via a headphone to RCA cable. The wireless control is through my iPad running a remote desktop app. It sounds a lot better than it should. The best part is that the DFB also serves me on the go with the Apple USB3 adapter. I also use it in my office. Unfortunately I can't install Tidal on my office computer. I can still listen on the browser based version but that doesn't offer MQA.
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