Any advice on Bluesound Node 2 upgrade? Lumin/Ayre

I have been using Roon for about a year with a custom built media center PC running core, a NAS, and a Bluesound Node 2 getting ethernet and feeding optical to a Krell Foundation (ESS DACs). Sounding great, especially since I did some careful room optimization using Roon PEQ. Anyway, I’ve been reading up on upgrades in the $2000-$5000 range. Zeroing in on the Lumin UI Mini via optical (or Lumin T2 with the optimized ESS Pro DACs balanced to Krell, which is noted for a good analog section) or an Ayre QX-8 streamer/DAC. (Roon doesn’t list it, but Ayre’s website says QX-8 is Roon ready.) Avoiding Aurilac because of chatter on this forum about it being cranky. Foundation feeds a Krell Duo XD to Goldenear Triton 1s. I listen to 44.1 and hi-rez FLAC (no DSD) and Tidal.

Anyone have direct upgrade comparison experience from Blu to one of these? Any good/bad experiences with Ayre or Lumin that I haven’t seen in the Forum? Thanks in advance!

As an upgrade I suggest getting one with an included DAC such as T2, instead of the U1 MINI. Using an external DAC in place of the internal DAC integrated into an amp can potentially offer a much larger SQ upgrade.

Since you subscribe to Tidal, you may consider the support for MQA.

By the way, ESS Q2M chip is a low power DAC chip with 2 channels only for mobile purpose, i.e. smartphone. One ESS PRO chip has 8 channels - in T2 / X1 there are two of such DAC chips giving a total of 16 channels. They combine together to improve SQ (higher dynamic range, better linearity).