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Bluesound Node 2i -- Am I missing something?

RayP

Well-known Member

RayP

Well-known Member

RayP

Well-known Member
If I paste the URL into a W7 laptop without the http:// it finds the station and plays. But if I exclude http:// in the app it doesn't save it.
 

Milco

Active Member
Switching briefly to the Cambridge CXN streamer brought a slight change with the treble a little more pronounced but it was difficult to come to a definitive decision in the shop.
Congrats on your purchase and I'm glad the demo went well!

Demos can be a hit and miss affair. Sometimes the differences are obvious and the decisions easy. Other times you're straining to hear minute variations and wondering if it's all in your imagination.

I am reassured that you found no substantial differences between the Bluesound and the Cambridge. The guy in Richer said they were similar and the main difference was that the CA had a display panel on the front!

I think the main learning curve for me with the Bluesound was getting used to the variable quality of the streaming service from Amazon HD. Some albums sound great, others good, a minority are either bland and tonally insipid or massively compressed and very loud. I can only judge the Bluesound based on the best of what I'm hearing from Amazon HD: supple, but really meaty bass, clean-but-smooth top end and great clarity to the midrange.

Enjoy!
 

RayP

Well-known Member
@Milco , personally I would never use a streaming service for critical assessment of kit. Either your own FLAC tracks or a downloaded Hi-res file to ensure you have a solid unchanging source for comparison. As you say, with the variable quality of the streaming service it makes comparisons extremely difficult.
 

Milco

Active Member
@Milco , personally I would never use a streaming service for critical assessment of kit. Either your own FLAC tracks or a downloaded Hi-res file to ensure you have a solid unchanging source for comparison. As you say, with the variable quality of the streaming service it makes comparisons extremely difficult.
Agree. I think that is why I've mellowed out over the Bluesound in recent days. The best streams sound great and they are the proper benchmark of the capabilities of the Bluesound.

Someone kindly posted a FLAC file of a Yes track I know like the back of my hand the other day (on this thread, I think) and I struggled to download it onto a memory stick. I shall enlist my missus this evening to help me do that so I can do a straight A/B comparison with the CD version.

Will report back...
 

Cebolla

Member
LMS still reports that as 320k?
A display bug with LMS, perhaps? I get a much higher expected bitrate displayed by the foobar2000 & VCL players.

I don't have an original Squeezebox like your Touch, but I had a play with LMS using both Squeezelite & SqueezePlay on Windows and found the same. However, More Info also displays 2 more items on both the Squeezebox software players, Sample Rate & Sample Size, with the expected correct values of 96.0kHz & 16bit - so contradicts the Bitrate value:
1580330633830.png


The bitrate should be variable anyway, not constant, given it's a FLAC stream (albeit in an Ogg container), so should be around 1500kbps VBR for 16/96kHz FLAC.


Interestingly, if you force LMS to transcode Ogg FLAC to pure FLAC, by changing its Ogg FLAC field value from Native to Disabled while keeping its FLAC field value at flac/flac, in LMS's Advanced - File Types settings, More Info displays what appears to be the expected bitrate (though still says CBR instead of VBR):
1580332160816.png


1580332380617.png
 

Cebolla

Member
I to never found a way to get it working in LMS but works no problem in Volumio just inputting the url in.(i do hope someone will show me how to get round it)
Add the stream's link in Tune in URL in the Squeezebox player's Radio section to get it on the current playlist and you can then add it to Favorites from the current playlist. Alternatively, you can add the stream's link directly by creating a New Favorite in Favorites.
 

Milco

Active Member
Esteemed forum poster RBZ5416 sent me a FLAC file of 'Long distance runaround' by Yes a couple of weeks ago, which I have finally managed to download (in FLAC format) onto a memory stick.

I can now do a proper A/B sound quality comparison between 1) the Bluesound playing a FLAC file from a memory stick, 2) the Bluesound playing the same track via a stream off amazon HD 3) my Cambridge 651C CD player playing the same track off a CD.

All three versions of the song are the 2003 Rhino remaster, so finally I should be comparing apples with apples!

Will give it a good listen and report back with my findings...
 

Milco

Active Member
OK...so I have just done an A/B/C sound comparison between:

- Bluesound streamer playing a FLAC file from a memory stick via the USB port
- Bluesound streamer playing a FLAC file from an Amazon HD stream (rated 'CD' quality)
- My Cambridge 651C CD player playing a CD

The track was 'Long distance runaround' by Yes (recorded in 1971), 2003 Rhino remaster.

First and foremost, the difference between the two Bluesound options (i.e. memory stick / Amazon stream) was negligible. You get to the stage where you're splitting hairs and probably imagining things. Put it this way, they were very close. In a blind test I probably wouldn't be able to tell one from the other!

The difference between the Bluesound and the Cambridge CD player were a little more noticeable. The Bluesound's bass is beefier and has more solidity. The Cambridge's bass has good soundstage and scale, but is a little skinnier. Does this mean it carries a touch more detail than the Bluesound's more solid bass? Not sure. Possibly, but I would have to do quite a bit more A/B testing.

The Bluesound's top end is a little smoother than the Cambridge. Sometimes that's an advantage -- the Cambridge can be a little bright on occasion -- other times you feel you're missing a little bit of 'edge' with the Bluesound...a little mid-range insight and transparency.

Conclusion: Based on the limited evidence of one track (!) the Amazon HD stream, delivered via Virgin Media wi-fi, offers faithful, CD-quality reproduction. It is pretty much identical to an equivalent FLAC file stored on a memory stick.

Whereas the Cambridge CD player is all about detail retrieval, insight, scale and clarity (at the expense of being just a touch brittle and 'toppy'), the Bluesound is tonally slightly warmer with more bottom end. Whilst still offering plenty of detail, Bluesound seem to have gone for a natural (almost analogue) sound over mega detail retrieval.

Having spent seven years listening to the Cambridge it took a little time to get used to the slightly different presentation of the Bluesound, but it works for me now. I rate the Cambridge / Bluesound pretty equal and will probably err towards the Bluesound's presentation over time.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
@Milco , interesting read, thanks. You omitted one important factor. How did you connect the CD player and Bluesound to your amp? Digital which means you’re using the amp’s DAC or via analogue cables where you would use the source’s DAC.

You might find swapping to analogue changes the sound possibly for the better.
 

Phildick

Active Member
Whereas the Cambridge CD player is all about detail retrieval, insight, scale and clarity (at the expense of being just a touch brittle and 'toppy'), the Bluesound is tonally slightly warmer with more bottom end. Whilst still offering plenty of detail, Bluesound seem to have gone for a natural (almost analogue) sound over mega detail retrieval.
Brightness and extra detail tend to come hand in hand. Bottom end improvements always come from better kit. Based on what you say I'd say the Blusound is better.
 

Phildick

Active Member
Correct. Both the Bluesound and the CA 651C are connected to my Arcam A-18 via their analogue outputs. The Cambridge is connected via an Atlas Element Integra RCA to RCA interconnect and the Bluesound by a Wireworld Luna 7. That is the only (minor) variable in this equation.

I'm going to delay making any decision re taking the Bluesound back for a couple of days. It's first day back at work today and I've got other things to be getting on with! I will continue to listen to mainly tried-and-trusted, familiar tracks and see if the extra solidity (and musicality) of the bass provided by the Bluesound compensates in any way for the lack of 'air', presence and soundstage.

Will keep you posted...
See above
 

Milco

Active Member
@Milco , interesting read, thanks. You omitted one important factor. How did you connect the CD player and Bluesound to your amp? Digital which means you’re using the amp’s DAC or via analogue cables where you would use the source’s DAC.

You might find swapping to analogue changes the sound possibly for the better.
Thanks, Ray. Both are connected via analogue, RCA cables (see below). They are different I/Cs, but both are of a similar price-point and quality.
 

willsmusic

Standard Member
Thanks for the replies. Yes, sorry...forgot to mention the speakers. They are Dali Opticon 2. They sound awesome with my Cambridge 651C CD player as source. Big, wide soundstage, punchy, great vocals, tons of detail.

I agree with the point about Google Chromecast not supporting Amazon's HD service. Surely this should make the difference between my old Chromecast and the Bluesound even more significant!

As far as the variable volume control in 'audio settings' is concerned: I have fiddled around with the min and max volume settings at various points along the db axis which the app provides, and then press 'OK'. It doesn't seem to make any difference to the volume at all! It just stays quiet. As soon as I switch to 'fixed volume' the volume jumps up to a level roughly comparable to the Google Chromecast (and a bit lower than the CD player). Am I doing something wrong? I am notoriously useless at these things!

Like I say, the sound is slightly better than the Chromecast. Compared with the Cambridge 651 CD player, I would say the Bluesound's soundstage is slightly narrower, it has a less three-dimensional sound, but, on the plus side, the bass is tighter and more controlled. (My only minor gripe with the CA651 is a slightly flabby bass.)

I just wondered if I was missing a trick to really make the Bluesound shine. Usually when you buy a new hi-fi product you fiddle around with it until you feel you're getting the best out of it -- and I don't feel like i've hit that point yet!
Have you tried a trial with Tidal? Are you using the bluesound App as your controller? I would try both of those things out if you are not?
 

Milco

Active Member
Have you tried a trial with Tidal? Are you using the bluesound App as your controller? I would try both of those things out if you are not?
Hi Willsmusic! You are replying to a relatively early post of mine on this thread. Since I wrote that post I have played a lot more music on the Bluesound and come to a somewhat better view of the sound. I think it is also possible that everything has 'run in' a bit and I have tried to stop comparing the Bluesound with my CD player all the time.

However, the point still remains that I find the quality of streams on Amazon HD quite variable -- considerably more so than the sound quality of the respective CDs.

I have looked on other threads to see how people compare Amazon HD vs Tidal and I think the best that can be said is that views are mixed. Many people actually prefer the slightly brighter sound of Amazon...and they certainly prefer the monthly outlay of Amazon vis a vis Tidal's premium product.

I am going to live with the Bluesound for a bit before I start thinking about switching streaming provider, although it is an option. I do use the Bluesound app, which I quite like.
 

Goose54

Standard Member
I also have a Node 2i. I have listened extensively to Amazon HD, Tidal and Qobuz for several months. To my ear, Qobuz wins the sound quality competition. Although Qobuz's catalog is somewhat smaller, it;s not a problem as I also keep my Amazon HD subscription due to being a Prime member, and it being so cheap. Amazon fills in whatever music gaps I have with Qobuz.
 

Milco

Active Member
I also have a Node 2i. I have listened extensively to Amazon HD, Tidal and Qobuz for several months. To my ear, Qobuz wins the sound quality competition. Although Qobuz's catalog is somewhat smaller, it;s not a problem as I also keep my Amazon HD subscription due to being a Prime member, and it being so cheap. Amazon fills in whatever music gaps I have with Qobuz.
Interesting! I will definitely bear this in mind!
 

gryffe

Standard Member
I have recently switched from CXN V2 to Bluesound Node 2i, you won't reget purchasing the Node 2i

After "burning in" for a week I was hearing new sounds I'd never heard before on well loved albums, and the bass that you initially had reservations on is taut, rhythmic and deep.

Finally let me say the CXN V2 is a fantastic streamer and sound quality is amazing. My only reason for changing to Node 2i was that as a Roon user I was limited to 48khz sample rate due to Chromecast limitations. The Node2i is Roon Ready and allows me to use RAAT rather than Chromecast, and therefore achieve up to 192khz sample rate on Roon.
 

Milco

Active Member
I have recently switched from CXN V2 to Bluesound Node 2i, you won't reget purchasing the Node 2i

After "burning in" for a week I was hearing new sounds I'd never heard before on well loved albums, and the bass that you initially had reservations on is taut, rhythmic and deep.

Finally let me say the CXN V2 is a fantastic streamer and sound quality is amazing. My only reason for changing to Node 2i was that as a Roon user I was limited to 48khz sample rate due to Chromecast limitations. The Node2i is Roon Ready and allows me to use RAAT rather than Chromecast, and therefore achieve up to 192khz sample rate on Roon.
Glad you like the Bluesound, gryffe! It's always interesting to hear from someone who has heard the Cambridge CXN and the Bluesound in order that a direct comparison can be made.

If you are referring to me, as the original poster, having reservations about the bass on the Bluesound, this wasn't the case. If you scroll back to page 1 of this thread, even when I was having misgivings about the Bluesound in the first couple of days I was always impressed with the bass. What I have noticed subsequently is, as well as the taut, extended qualities of the bottom end, which you describe, how well the bass is knitted into the overall sound. Even when the soundstage fills up with mid-range frequencies the bass is still very present in the mix. By contrast, I find that the bass can go a bit 'missing' with my Cambridge 651C CD player. This has been an interesting contrast in comparing the my streamer and CD player.

Although I was always something of a sceptic when it came to running hi-fi components in, I think it has definitely made a difference in the case of the Bluesound. I'm glad I didn't panic in the first few days and just gave it a chance.
 

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