Streaming Options: What is best for me to get music at the push of a button?


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Jul 7, 2021
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Question to those with more experience:

I want to add a bit of convenience and sound quality to my setup.

Currently, I either Bluetooth to a Fiio DAC (from iOS, so no fancy codecs) or I plug my iPad into an Ifi Zen DAC V2. Both use Tidal, the latter version with MQA.

What I want to achieve: MQA with something that is permanently connected, and the ability to select what is playing on a device like my phone.

I have worked out 3 separate options now, which in order of cost are:
1. Use an old iPad Mini 3, permanently plugged in into the Zen DAC and subscribe to Roon. This would allow me to select music on my phone and use the iPad as a Room endpoint with MQA. (Cost: R800 for USB adapter for iPad, R1800 for a year of Roon)
2. Buy an ifi Stream, connect to Zen DAC, and use Tidal Connect. (R8000)
3. Buy a BlueSound Node, and use Tidal Connect. It also adds the ability to use eARC from the TV and not just 16/48 optical into the Amp?s DAC. (R9000-10000 if I find a used one or sell the Zen DAC)

I like the idea of iPad, with a little display showing what?s playing, and I?m running a media server already which could function as Roon core and my LAN is pretty good.

Would the Ifi Stream and DAC sound better than the Ifi DAC fed Tidal by Roon? Does anyone have experience with using an iOS as Roon Endpoint? Does is stay on and running, or is there a need to open Roon in the iPad every time I want to put on music?

Is there any benefit to the BlueNode that I?m not aware of? The ifi Stream and DAC combo is generally reviewed favorably, so makes more sense, as far as I can tell?

Thanks for any pointers.

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