I have been looking for a streaming solution that includes Amazon HD on board, and also suits the 552/300 level of Naim kit. I have only come across the Node 2i and the Auralic streamers that have this. I’m aware that the solutions offered may not be the most elegant or effective technically, but they are here now and work. Streaming AZ HD is consistent and of high quality with the hires showing correctly as it should as indicated on the Qutest.
As I want multiroom synchronisation I tested the following and found:-
Node 2i needs a better dac,
Qutest lifts it by adding layers and clarity.
GoldNote ds 10
Both of these are about on a par. More of everything compared to the node plus qutest.
Vega G1. A lift again from the Altair . A good streamer and dac combined that for me suits the Naim sound well.
Aries G1 ( no dac) plus Qutest, like a veil lifted compared to the Node. Every thing better, more separation, more clarity, more layering. There is a downside, perhaps too much clarity, almost clinical. I had to apply a roll off filter to take that edge off.
Aries G1 plus Vega G1 working as a dac only. This gave what I can only describe as a fuller sound, but still with the same clarity and layering of individual sounds. The orchestra suddenly found its cohesion and started playing together in a perfect harmonic performance.
Very Naim like in its fullness and togetherness.
The control software is a major part of the usage and there is a wide variation. The Node 2i is far and away the app to beat. It’s ability to save playlists and combine them from various sources, plus the ability to save then to a preset, along with saving presets for radio feeds is the height of ease of use. Program a remote to those presets and then its just a matter of picking up the remote and pressing the preset number to start play.
The Auralic and the Gold note don’t have programmable presets, and the Goldnote has a clumsy menu system where you have to go through various layers to even select a radio feed. So Node, then Auralic, then GN in terms of convenience,
Final selection is Aries transport plus Vega dac for the main system, and the Altair for the study.
Naim have said they are working on integrating Amazon, and GoldNote have said they are putting kit forward to Amazon for testing. Until then the Auralic suits me and my final streaming solution will be decided when both Naim and GoldNote have Amazon on board, even if that takes some while.