Advice for a more functional network bridge


I am looking to upgrade my network bridge from an Raspberry Pi 3 / HifiBerry digi+ combo.
Currently i am using my integrated amp’s coax input and wish to use that for a while before upgrading to an external dac.

I am happy with the sound quality but there are two features than I am missing:

  • Tidal connect (espcially for my partner who doesn’t want to bother with Roon)
  • A control panel : having to pull the phone to play/pause is annoying

I somewhat got Tidal connect working through the paid version of Volumio, but I have encontered a few bugs and I’d like to avoid another subscription, even if it means a premium when buying a new device. Also it doesn’t support MQA as far as I know.

So my requirements are as follows:

  • Coax output
  • Tidal connect with MQA support
  • Roon ready
  • A control panel or maybe existing IR compatibility
  • A specific attention to isolation and build quality, I would like to keep the device for a long time while upgrading the rest of the system, so future proofing for a more revealing setup would be nice.

Budget would be roughly $1000 USD.

The only device that I know of which seams to satisfy all of these requirements is the Bluesound Node.
However, I think it’s more intended to be used as a DAC/Streamer combo, I feel like I would be paying for features I do not use.

I also feel like I could swallow it and live with Volumio on a PI if I can figure out a semi-decent way to control playback without a screen. Allo DigiOne signature looks nicely built and a step up from the HifiBerry (especially with better power supply).

I looked at the list of Roon Ready devices but there are a lot of them and I figured the community would be able to help :slight_smile:

I read about the Primare NP5 mk2 which apparently will get Tidal connect soon:

But unfortunately no control panel or obvious way to add one.

Primare and soon? I’m waiting now near three years that my PRE35 will become Roon Ready, which was mentioned soon…

But there are a lot more options in your price range, if don’t need really Tidal connect (isn’t the Roon implementation not enough?):

  • Matrix Audio Mini-I Pro 3
  • RPi with e.g. Ropieee and Flirc and a good DAC with MQA like a Topping D90 MQA.

If you’re willing to spend more money, then Lumin (D2, T2,…) with the IR package will be a great solution.

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From what I can see the Matrix Audio has no control panels / buttons. It’s also a DAC while I’d like to keep transport and DAC separated. I guess I would prefer the Node’s design if I were to go with a combo (its touch panel looks nice).

Tidal connect might be the real problem in my list of requirement. If Spotify gets an Hifi tier and open source Spotify Connect clients follow through then Tidal connect won’t be a requirement anymore.

Overall it looks like pure transports are quite costly. Lumin looks nice, but it’s way above my budget.

Thanks for the answer nonetheless.

Matrix Audio has a remote control and also a nice display.
But if you want only transporter, then it will hard to find something for 1000€.

The new iFi Audio ZEN Stream ($399) will do what you want. But I can’t imagine living with a partner who does not enjoy Roon. That would be a deal breaker for me. Good luck!


The Allo DigiOne (non-signature) sounded great when I had it in my system. Got a nearly free Node 2i that I’ve been using, but, am thinking about going back to the DigiOne.

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Nice, the feature list is indeed very cool, competitively priced too. I kinda find it very ugly though.

Roon support isn’t there yet?

Oh! So you can tell the difference between each streamer’s coax output?
Or do you use the Node 2i’s internal dac ?

I have the Matrix audio mini I pro 3 and the Zen stream and both are excellent.
The zen has no screen, but has Tidal connect, already works with Roon and has Spotify connect as well. It’s an excellent budget device that is worth much more than the ticket price.

The MA is also an excellent device with a good DAC and headphone amp, I also use it to drive my Sonos through the line outs as well. Though the MA doesn’t have Tidal Connect or Spotify Connect (or Chromecast) though I have a Chromecast audio hanging off the back through the optical in.

Both excellent choices for Roon

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Hmm. I didn’t do an A/B, and it has been months since I had it in the system; so, It wouldn’t make such a definitive statement. I will say that I enjoyed the DigiOne’s output. And that I’m not using the node coax output as much as I did the digione.

I doubt open source Spotify implementation can get HiFi any time soon. If this is important to you, you need to differentiate between open source and official implementations.

We have been working on Spotify HiFi for months already.

How about a 2 box solution

RPi Riopeee then USB to a Cambridge Audio DAC magic 200. That ticks most of your boxes even the cost one I would guess

Or a 1 box Cambridge Audio CXN V2, misses MQA and a bit above budget but a good device

Personally own a Matrix Audio mini-i Pro 3, ARCAM ST60 Streamer and Bluesound NODE (2021). Also have a Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3 on the way. The Bluesound NODE is the only one that check all the boxes for you. Remote, Tidal Connect, some sort of touch screen and decent sound. The MA mini-i Pro 3 has a remote but the remote has limited functions. Basically you can change filters, volume and inputs. That’s it. You can’t control playback with the remote. Same for the X-SABRE 3. However, the Matrix Audio X-SABRE 3 is Roon Ready, and also certified for TIDAL and Spotify Connect. The ARCAM ST60 check almost all your boxes but Tidal Connect.

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It doesn’t matter hugely to me since I am subscribed to Tidal for Roon, but I would like to have the option to at least evaluate Spotify Hifi.

I would like to use the DAC inside my integrated and it only accepts optical and coax.

But yeah a two box solution is what I am after, there a number of RPI hats for coax, as I mentioned the Hifiberry Digi+ is what I use.

What I don’t like about it is the lack of control panel and outside of Roon, the absence or non official support of streaming services.

I think I am happy for now : I managed to use my integrated’s remote with my RPI to control playback without pulling the phone (using a Flirc USB which maps IR->Keyboard).

Using the HifiBerryOS we also get AirPlay which is sufficient for the wife :slight_smile:

For sure I would like a more “native” solution, I guess I’ll upgrade to a fancy transport someday, but for now that satisfies my needs.

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