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It was counter-intuitive to me as well but at the time, the development of the BL90 did not allow the input of USB volume control (Im not sure if it does now or not). However, I opted for the Auralic Vega G2 DAC on the grounds that I could:-
- increase the competency of the G2 by adding incrementally extra improvements over time
- XLR is the defacto cabling system used in most high-end Source to Source equipment
- XLR also fitted in with my speaker placement and source placement (+6m apart – no good for USB)
- But with an option to go digital to digital when the BL90 was capable.
- If I ever wanted to split apart from B&O (and boy o boy I’ve been tempted until recently), the Auralic and BL90 can live together perfectly.
- The Auralic Vega G2 can support DNLA to pipe-in music from my music server (or NAS) – thus compatible with the prior arrangement via the BV.
I think you can get into a rabbit warren of capable streamers. It is a balance of what you want, what you want to pay and perceived quality. It may be there is an all-in-one solution such as the Auralic Altair G1 (discontinued – I have one in the office driving BL3’s – soon to be BL17s) which have a streamer, DAC and can take an internal harddrive (Server) that may suit your needs – but – but the BL50s do not have XLR so you will need to look whether the Altair G1/G2 is suitable in terms of connections.
Other possibilites are to plug-in say an Aries G1/G2 and keep it all digital and include and internal server…..but you need to listen if it is the sound you want.
By adding the Auralic Sirius – a sophisticated up-sampler – native in the G2 series but can be used on the G1, you can take all your 44/16 music files up to DSD512, (which gives a really clean filtration in effect – not more data) before the Lab90/50’s drop it back down to 192 for internal processing. Another meaningful step up sound-wise.
I could go on and on on this but in essence you need to look at the market, swap the Auralic brand for Bluetone, Aurender, DCS, Lumen etc…etc… and find the sound/price that suits you.
Ultimately, I believe you will be impressed in what different 3rd part sources can do compared to B&O Source when playing through the BL50.