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Danhifi

HEOS Link 2 - is quality ok as DAC+Streamer?

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Posted (edited)

Hi,

 

Not very experienced with audio and want to add streaming to a second hand hi-fi system:

 

Rega Elex-R + Elac 244.3

 

I’d like to do it as cheaply as possible without completely killing the audio quality of the system I have.

 

 I’ll use Tidal or Deezer as advised (or Spotify) for my music source. 

 

Ive been told the HEOS 2 ($599) is a good enough system. Next step up I think is blue sound (?) and then Cambridge CXN (v1 is on sale) but the Cambridge is double the price ($1100 + $150 for blueetooth).

 

Has anyone got experience with the quality of using HEOS Link as a DAC?

 

(Or or should I sell the Rega and get something all in one? I’m told this is not a good path generally.)

 

Many many thanks in advance!

Edited by Danhifi
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The Heos Link is a nice sounding unit, and its internal DAC is not bad for the price, however the Cambridge would wipe the floor with it (v1 or v2).

Not a fan of the Heos app though, its Ok but could be a LOT better.

 

Keep the Elex-R, its a great amp

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Hi Hydrology,

 

thanks!

 

I spoke to these guys and they said the better unit to the HEOS at my budget would be the Arcam Airdac - half price. 

 

https://www.apollohifi.com.au/arcam-airdac-airplay-digital-to-analog-convertor.html

 

anyone have any thoughts? I know I’ll loose Bluetooth but not a big deal. And with AirPlay ( I use Apple) I don’t need a great app. May be a way to get CXN type quality at a good price?

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The Bluesound and CA CXN are rightly popular here because they provide good sound quality and usability.  Do not under estimate the latter and what a good App can do to the music experience. Have yet to use the CA App but can attest to BluOS which is easy to use and looks very good, especially on a tablet.

 

Have no doubt that the Arcam Airdac is better than Heos. If all you want is a bridging device, it will do a good job. But if you are looking to improve the streaming experience and allow for future connectivity, then Bluesound or CA is probably a better way.

 

Ideally, listen to the boxes and compare but I suspect this is all done online.

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Posted (edited)

The air dac will sound better but it’s a dac not a source as such, plus it’s an old model.

 

it will receive music via airplay but the that means your phone or iPad is still the source and the streaming is only as good as the wifi signal you have between the two.

 

the denon or bluesound are the source so there no issues with wifi cut outs etc between your controller and the device.

 

if you can squeeze the extra money I’d go bluesound mode 2, there’s one ex demo  online for around $650 which isn’t bad price wise.

 

you won’t regret it.

Edited by Hi-Fi Whipped

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Thanks very much. It’s pretty complicated once you get into it! 

 

Knowing that Bluesound and HEOS link are the source (ie files play from them) is helpful vs Airdac where the phone is the source. 

 

This leads to a further question about Airplay. It seems to me that using something like Tidal or Deezer at highest quality over AirPlay will lead to a loss of quality as AirPlay needs to encode at a slightly lower quality than is available from those services (?). 

 

Finally it seems hard to know whether one or the other system (Airdac, Bluesound, CXA (rdac?)) will sound best with my set up (which has been described as a bit bright). I suppose it’s a matter of paying what you can...? So CXA if I can manage the budget, then Bluesound and so on?

 

With volume control is it acceptable practice to use the streamers app volume control instead of The Rega? 

 

Also is the sub woofer out on something like the HEOS a meaningful feature for my set up if I want to add bass in the future for music listening or this sort of ‘active’ sub a lower quality option than is suitable for a proper hifi?

 

Sorry for so many more questions..any insights appreciated. 

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I have the CXN V2 and I can't complain. I play from the Android Tidal app via Google Cast. Only minor complaint would be no gapless play back via Google Cast.

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3 hours ago, Danhifi said:

This leads to a further question about Airplay. It seems to me that using something like Tidal or Deezer at highest quality over AirPlay will lead to a loss of quality as AirPlay needs to encode at a slightly lower quality than is available from those services (?). 

I am not an Apple person but I understand Airplay is CD quality 16/44.1 which is the same as Tidal Hifi, their lossless service.  So no loss of quality as far I know.

3 hours ago, Danhifi said:

Finally it seems hard to know whether one or the other system (Airdac, Bluesound, CXA (rdac?)) will sound best with my set up (which has been described as a bit bright). I suppose it’s a matter of paying what you can...? So CXA if I can manage the budget, then Bluesound and so on?

 

With volume control is it acceptable practice to use the streamers app volume control instead of The Rega? 

The assume CXA = Cambridge Audio CXN?  Have a look at both the CXN and Bluesound and see what other features you want.  The CXN has more connectivity options, BluOS more useable etc..  

 

Volume control on streamer is digital, Rega analogue.  In theory, Rega is better, but more convenient to use streamer volume control.  But do a test when you get unit.

3 hours ago, Danhifi said:

Also is the sub woofer out on something like the HEOS a meaningful feature for my set up if I want to add bass in the future for music listening or this sort of ‘active’ sub a lower quality option than is suitable for a proper hifi?

I was hoping we have convinced you out of Heos?  Not sure of Bluesound but you can use the spare pair of analogue outputs on the CXN to drive a sub.  Having a sub for stereo is a "No No" for some here, does require some work to set up properly  but suggest you start a new thread when you consider a sub.

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On 16/03/2019 at 12:00 PM, Danhifi said:

Hi,

 

Not very experienced with audio and want to add streaming to a second hand hi-fi system:

 

Rega Elex-R + Elac 244.3

 

I’d like to do it as cheaply as possible without completely killing the audio quality of the system I have.

 

 I’ll use Tidal or Deezer as advised (or Spotify) for my music source. 

 

Ive been told the HEOS 2 ($599) is a good enough system. Next step up I think is blue sound (?) and then Cambridge CXN (v1 is on sale) but the Cambridge is double the price ($1100 + $150 for blueetooth).

 

Has anyone got experience with the quality of using HEOS Link as a DAC?

 

(Or or should I sell the Rega and get something all in one? I’m told this is not a good path generally.)

 

Many many thanks in advance!

There’s a bluesound node 2 in the classifieds if you are quick 

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3 hours ago, Hi-Fi Whipped said:

There’s a bluesound node 2 in the classifieds if you are quick 

Thanks! Have made contact. 

 

For others interested they are selling around $675 new now. 

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1 hour ago, Danhifi said:

Thanks! Have made contact. 

 

For others interested they are selling around $675 new now. 

Gotta be quick, $675 is good for what you get.

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