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Bluesound Node 2i -- Am I missing something?

gryffe

Standard Member
If burning in means getting used to it, it took me a good few weeks to get used to my Chord Qutest in particular. Something changed for the better over that period, and I don't think it was my brain or my ears. I've had them for nearly 60 years!!
 

Phildick

Active Member
A good few weeks is the clue really. Go back and use the original component for a good few weeks then switch back again. I bet it has to 'burn in' again.
 

Milco

Active Member
Burning in = getting used to it.
Possibly. That's the thing I love about hi-fi: it's not an exact science and there is probably a fair measure of psychology involved.
 

Phildick

Active Member
The other interesting point about burn in is it always improves the sound. It is part of the sales pitch, prevents a lot of returns.
 
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matt2006

Active Member
Hi, as a previous contributor noted, anyone with a Node MUST get a decent power cable.

I was happily using my Node 2i for nearly a year with the standard supplied cable. I then read on the net that a Nordorst Purple Flare (RRP £150) made a significant improvement so I decided to try out 2 cables which I had in stock: a) Mark Grant DSP 2.5 (RRP £60) and b) Isotek EVO3 Premier (RRP £150). Both had standard IEC C14 connectors so I bought a C14 to C7 adaptor from Amazon:


I used "I Feel Like I'm Drowing" by Two Feet on Tidal as this is a track I know very well. First up was the Mark Grant cable which made no difference in my system - not a great start. However, when I switched to the Isotek I was shocked I by the improvement - it's not subtle - everything sounded fresher and cleaner, the sound stage widened and vocals were more firmly locked in position. I switched back and forth from the standard cable and heard the same changes each time. I suspect getting rid of the adaptor by using the same cable terminated with a C7 would sound even better.

This seems to show that the Node is really sensitive to the mains cable used. Mark Grant has a really good reputation but in this application the Isotek showed it a clean pair of heals.
 

mikeysthoughts

Well-known Member
@Milco did you trial Qobuz? I've since cancelled Tidal as I found Qobuz SQ to be consistently superior.
 

Jules Tohpipi

Active Member
Am not going to comment about the bluesound. I own it and love it. I also have a chromecast audio and in my opinion this is not the same league, but i think all opinions have the same value.
Hi, I'm considering the Bluesound as an upgrade to my current Chromecast Audio. I use an external DAC for the CCA. So, the priority purchase question for me is whether sound quality of the Bluesound from its digital output is better than that of the CCA?

For your circumstances, was just wondering if you were comparing the analogue or digital feeds from the Bluesound and CCA please?

This is all assuming the same source/feed obviously. My main interest is comparing the Bluesound and CCA when listening to Tidal or Qobuz (at CD quality).

Thanks.
 
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Milco

Active Member
@Milco did you trial Qobuz? I've since cancelled Tidal as I found Qobuz SQ to be consistently superior.
No, I'm still with Amazon HD, Mikey. Just laziness, really. With the benefit of several more weeks' listening time, an even clearer picture has emerged of overall sound-quality with Amazon HD:

I find that recently-recorded (say last 15-20 years) albums sound fantastic on Amazon HD: punchy, detailed, vibrant, tonally balanced, great bass-extension, clarity etc. I am listening to some modern jazz at the moment. An album called 'Dragon's head' by the Mary Halvorson trio (just guitar, double bass and drums) sounds stupendous! The band sound like they are in my room. It's jaw-droppingly good!

However, if I then play an old Rush album, or Tull, or a bit of Yes, the sound is meh: flat, one-dimensional, uninspiring. 'Relayer' (by Yes) sounds dull as ditchwater. Rory Gallagher's recently-remastered back catalogue sounds OK, but is thin and 'toppy'.

I can't work it out. It's like certain modern, digitally-recorded albums transfer really well to Amazon's database. Older analogue recordings either sound ordinary and uninspiring, or there is some particular issue affecting the sound. Obviously, more recent recordings will have fewer technical issues generally, but for some reason older recordings invariably sound better on CD.

...so Amazon HD has given me a taste of what streaming can sound like -- and what the Bluesound is capable of -- but it is inconsistent, albeit following a predictable pattern.

I am intrigued by Qobuz and will look further into it. Watch this space...
 

RayP

Well-known Member
@matt2006 , I’ve been reading about these supposed improvements to sound quality for decades by substituting the supplied power cable for a third party one. I have never been tempted myself for one simple reason.

Your power supply to the socket starts elsewhere in your house and that cabling doesn’t need to be changed apparently. Just the final section from socket to player.

Sorry but I just cannot see how that would improve things. Just not logical. But if you’re pleased with the results that’s fine.
 

mikeysthoughts

Well-known Member
Don't knock it till you've tried it Ray. I for one am desperate to hear a vocal which is more firmly locked in position.

Accordingly, I've trebled my power cable budget.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
Don't knock it till you've tried it Ray. I for one am desperate to hear a vocal which is more firmly locked in position.

Accordingly, I've trebled my power cable budget.
Unless someone is willing to loan me one I’m unlikely to be able to compare. Shelling out £150+ is not something undertaken lightly.
 

matt2006

Active Member
RayP - I was sceptical too, if I didn't have spare cables I would never have known. You can buy a cable online and try it yourself for 14 days - if no benefit, then just pay return postage for a full refund under distance selling rules.
 
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RayP

Well-known Member
RayP - I was sceptical too, if I didn't have spare cables I would never have known. You can buy a cable online and try it yourself for 14 days - if no benefit, then just pay return postage for a full refund under distance selling rules.
I sometimes wonder if the audio benefits were so clear why don’t the manufacturers get into bed with power lead makers and offer the option of another power lead?
 

matt2006

Active Member
The manufacturers work to a price point. I'm sure your comment about the power cable is equally applicable to all the onboard components too - which is why some who are handy with a soldering iron upgrade capacitors and resistors etc.
 

faiz0

Distinguished Member
I did exactly the same thing with my 2i - upgraded it with a spare Istokek mains lead. Made a big difference - much more detail and a wider soundstage.
 

matt2006

Active Member
So my question is this: am I missing something? When I started listening to the Bluesound, I checked into the audio settings and found that anything other than the 'fixed volume' setting and 'non-variable tone' control settings would make the volume level drop off a cliff. I don't understand what the variable volume setting is all about with its minimum and maximum db settings. With everything nailed down on 'fixed' it seems to sound best.
Back to the OP - I use my Node 2i in fixed volume mode out to my integrated amp. Out of curiosity I went into the settings and enabled tone controls and all the music fell flat - I didn't change the volume or tone values - just enabled them. There is no way I could listen to this device other than in fixed volume mode. No wonder people who use it in variable volume mode find it so dull.
 
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mseve1

Standard Member
Back to the OP - I use my Node 2i in fixed volume mode out to my integrated amp. Out of curiosity I went into the settings and enabled tone controls and all the music fell flat - I didn't change the volume or tone values - just enabled them. There is no way I could listen to this device other than in fixed volume mode. No wonder people who use it in variable volume mode find it so dull.
When enabling the tone controls I hope you did adjust the volume setting on your amplifier to compensate for the inherent 6dB reduction in gain of the Node 2i when doing so? Personally, I cannot hear any difference when switching the tone controls in or out and/or using fixed or variable control modes provided that the downstream amplifier gain is adjusted accordingly in each case.
 

matt2006

Active Member
When enabling the tone controls I hope you did adjust the volume setting on your amplifier to compensate for the inherent 6dB reduction in gain of the Node 2i when doing so? Personally, I cannot hear any difference when switching the tone controls in or out and/or using fixed or variable control modes provided that the downstream amplifier gain is adjusted accordingly in each case.
Thanks - I didn't realise that - I'll have another go.
 

matt2006

Active Member
OK just had another go and yes, if I set variable volume on the Node and raise the amp volume a bit then the music does sound the same.
 

Milco

Active Member
OK just had another go and yes, if I set variable volume on the Node and raise the amp volume a bit then the music does sound the same.
Why should you have to do that, though?
 

akjohnson50

Standard Member
Just to chip in on this thread. We went from a cxn to a node 2i last year. Initially the bluesound was so flat and dull but within 2 weeks the sound opened out and improved...it wasnt a case of getting used to it!
Secondly qobuz is an absolute must now...much more consistent than amazon hd...and a bargain at it's new price of £14.99 rather than 25 pm .
Most of all just enjoy your music!
 

Milco

Active Member
Just to chip in on this thread. We went from a cxn to a node 2i last year. Initially the bluesound was so flat and dull but within 2 weeks the sound opened out and improved...it wasnt a case of getting used to it!
Secondly qobuz is an absolute must now...much more consistent than amazon hd...and a bargain at it's new price of £14.99 rather than 25 pm .
Most of all just enjoy your music!
Interesting. Why did you change your CA for the Bluesound. Isn't the CXN the more expensive unit?

I still think my Cambridge 651C CD player has a more three-dimensional soundstage than the Node 2i, but tonally I now tend to prefer the slightly smoother, more 'analogue' Bluesound. The CA often sounds a bit thin and toppy by comparison and the bass is definitely skinnier.
 

akjohnson50

Standard Member
Like you we found the CA to be a bit too bright for our ears and we were not impressed with the control software. Having come from Sonos we preferred an easier software package...but wanted a better sq ..hence settling on the bluesound. Recently we bought a marantz hd dac and that is superb with the bluesound....having said that tomorrow we should be taking delivery of a parasound hint 6 amp....and so will use the dac in that for the bluesound...let's see what happens and which dac we prefer!
 

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