Bluesound Node 2 vs Arcam irDAC

Hey,
Just joined roon today, very impressed.
Using a Slim Devices Transporter as an endpoint/DAC.
Sound is actually OK through my vintage Naim system (olive, with separate pre and power).
I’m streaming Tidal (have no local files and no plan to get any, got rid of my NAS a long time ago) - and roon already made Tidal sound better than natively through the Transporter.
But, still the sound is lacking warmth and energy compared to my Naim CD 3.5 - even though that’s more than 30 years old.
So, my question is, is it worth upgrading on a limited budget to either:
A. A Bluesound Node 2
B. An Arcam irDAC with the Transporter as a streamer.
All thoughts welcome,
Thank you,
Mike

I’d wager the Arcam won’t get you back your desired warmth. However, the Bluesound Node (as all Bluesounds) have an easy listening sound with a little warmth added and perhaps toned down treble/mid as to be enjoyable, even if the source material lacks in quality. it’s actually quite resolving at the same time so you wont lack resolution.

In my opinion you should stay away from Node 2, the sound you’ll get is as digital as you can have for the money (far, far away from warm). And that thing also has no idea what the bass should sound like (hence the subwoofer output).

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Should I just stick with the Transporter :wink:
Is there any upgrade path that might suit me for around 500gbp?
Or would I need to spend a lot more to get any real improvements?

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As you gather me and @luleanu obviously hear things differently. But that only proves the point that YOU need to hear and decide whats best for you!

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One thing that you should do for sure is to try as many solutions as you can. It’s absolutely nothing wrong with asking here and there but I doubt that you’ll ever get a consistent answer. Seeing what others are saying about it’s in fact a very good way to start, but in the end just trust your ears.

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i would stick with the transporter. i have two, and have found them to out perform any modestly priced dac, and they’re far and away superior to the node 2 (i have one in another system.)

there is a musical gentleness to the transporter than i find appealingly like analog. it also responds well to differences in cables- maybe spend some of your 500GBP there.

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Thank you Woodford.
I am limited to cables with the same connection as the NAIM (forget what that is called) so maybe not so much choice for interconnects.
Or did you mean power cable as well?

I have an Arcam irDac iI and always been happy with it. It’s good DAC for the money in my opinion and neutral sounding.

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both; i replaced the stock PC with a shunyata, and felt it made a significant difference. Naim uses a DIN connector i believe- you may be able to use adaptors.

in any case, IMO the transporter remains one of the biggest roon end point bargains out there. you can get them for ~$500, the support balanced output, and if you want to upgrade latter, make an excellent transport.

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Hey @woodford,
Currently getting happy with the Transporter performance with Tidal and Roon. Really sounds better than Tidal natively on the Transporter. But going to change cables soon anyway (though not for shunyatas! which look amazing but very pricey!) .
Question: if one day later I did go for more than a ‘moderately priced dac’ to take the sound to the next level, what kind of budget would that take to really feel a benefit - over 1k, 2k, 3k?
Thanks,
Mike

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I’m using the lowest priced Shunyata power cable, which, IIRC, cost ~$110 when i bought it. makes quite a difference in my system.

not sure what you’d need to spend- i would probably start with something like the Schiit Gumby Multibit, and see how i liked it. FWIW, Sean Adams has written on the slim devices forums that the BNC digital out is the best sounding transporter digital output.

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IFrom my experience if something isn’t sounding to your liking, tweaking with power chords and interconnects is in the moving deckchairs on the Titanic spectrum.

If the Naim CDP has RCA out as well as DIN use the RAC->DIN that you are using with the transporter to see if the CDP suffers a similar fate.

I’d be looking at an Auralic Aries Mini if I were you. Into Naim olive kit this should give at least as good quality as the CD 3.5 but won’t necessarily have the Naim signature sound but your amp should add enough of that.

I have a flashback RCA->DIN surplus to requirements here which you can have FOC if you wish to rule out the interconnect being the culprit.

Once power gets to the device power chords are to add icing not to radically improve.

.sjb

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Thanks @Sloop_John_B
I’ve read some reviews of Auralic Aries Mini suggesting sound is less warm than Bluesound Node.
So might just wait until I can afford a Schiit. And keep the Transporter for streaming.
But would love the interconnects if you don’t need them.
Where are you based? Can I send you transfer for P&P?
Appreciate the advice and offer,
Mike

I’m in Dublin. Send me a PM to arrange postage.

Regards, John.

.sjb