Bluesound Node Network Streamer Review & Comments

acgingersnaps

Active Member

thedude

Distinguished Member
This was tested on 13k plus equipment! I'd expect it to sound good! Is it worth the upgrade from the last one though
 

monkeyboy69

Active Member
Having had a Brennan, and wasn’t impressed, I’d be keen to know how this fairs against one for sound quality as they are similar price although the Brennan can rip too which this can’t?
 

nomorelandings

Standard Member
Good review, Ed. Had mine for two months. Agree it can hold its head high playing into a highly resolving amp and speakers. Trying Amazon Hd which was not available with the TEAC and switching between it and spdif to the TEAC, I agree that the TEAC DACs offers a slightly richer bass. Where the Node really excels, imho, are radio paradise MQA streams. Delighted, as RP MQA the reason I bought it. Did you have a listen? Connected with Chord clearway RCAs TEAC clearway XLRs so level playing field.
 
Last edited:

bogart99

Well-known Member
Had a 2i for some time and no complaints. Mind you the 2i cost considerably less, bought when they had the £100 off deal. Also was not overly impressed by their customer service, or lack of. Head office in Canada were useless also.
 

Hoku

Active Member
As usual, an enjoyable review. Many thanks Ed.

This product seems the ideal choice for those who have bought an entirely analogue amp, such as the Rega Brio or Roksan K3 etc, particularly now with the HDMI input.

Some of the cheaper streamers out there, such as my Audio Pro Link 1, do all I want for £450 less, but to be fair, I wouldn’t want to use the Audio Pro’s analogue output, although I haven’t tested it.

So if your amp has digital inputs, there are certainly cheaper options. I’m not saying they’re superior, just better value.

And all I want from a streamer is to run Tidal and do a bit of internet radio. For that, £549 seems a bit steep, but adding the Node’s features, especially if you’re using a TV with it, make a lot of sense with your analogue-input-only amp.
 

charliecossie

Active Member
Quote "All the streaming services you can think of (and some you can't). All of the streaming services. ALL OF THEM".
Er, um, Apple Music.
 

Cheshire Cat

Active Member
I’ve got a 20 year old Rega system (CD, Amp and Speakers) and want to hook up a streaming device to the Amp so I can stream from my Spotify account.
What does the Bluesound provide for £549 when I can spend £400 less on a Yamaha WXD-10?
 

Hoku

Active Member
I’ve got a 20 year old Rega system (CD, Amp and Speakers) and want to hook up a streaming device to the Amp so I can stream from my Spotify account.
What does the Bluesound provide for £549 when I can spend £400 less on a Yamaha WXD-10?
I would imagine, a similar difference between a £550 CD player and a £100 CD player. Identical feature set, just sounds better.

But again, much depends on whether you intend to use the streamer’s DAC chip and analogue output. If you’re just using it as a digital transport into a separate DAC, then the advantages of the more expensive product may be unnecessary.

And much depends on what you want the streamer for. If, like you and me, we just want it for a streaming subscription service, then we’re asking considerably less of it than if we were using DLNA streaming from music we have downloaded.
 

rallye666

Standard Member
I love Bluesound, but the most requested feature is still absent. No Alexa or Google assistant built in. The clunky workaround of “Hey google, talk to bluevoice…’ is enough for me look elsewhere. This type of device needs to work for everyone in the household. Not just the audiophile (me)!
 

nomorelandings

Standard Member
I’ve got a 20 year old Rega system (CD, Amp and Speakers) and want to hook up a streaming device to the Amp so I can stream from my Spotify account.
What does the Bluesound provide for £549 when I can spend £400 less on a Yamaha WXD-10?
For 320kbps compressed Spotify, probably not much, although I know nothing about the Yamaha other than respect for the brand. When cd quality Spotify launches, the Node will deliver SQ probably close to your Rega CD. If Radio Paradise appeals, then the SQ is excellent to my ears.

hi Hoku,
As a Tidal subscriber, you would have the benefit of full MQA rendered Hi Res. I know it has its detractors, but I subscribed for 18 months and found the SQ generally excellent- the TEAC did a proper job - and expect the Node to deliver. Perhaps Ed could advise as he has experience.
 

r22flyer

Active Member
Just a few words of caution for people considering the Node 2021...

After reading all the reviews it seemed a perfect fit to replace my now faulty Sonos Connect on my AV system. I bought a Node 2021 for £549 from Amazon and the install went very easy. It insisted on a system update before allow use, no issues, that went ok. It didn't like indexing my MP3 collection from the USB SSD drive connected to the router - it seemed to be 'over' accessing' it which reduced it to a snail's pace. Nevermind, connected it to the NAS instead... indexing succeeded fine.

Listening tests began and I was impressed by the sound and the app. The app is extremely easy to navigate, with instantaneous scrolling and quick response and easy selecting tracks.

Then came the crunch - tiny gaps between tracks!!!
Long story short, I verified my tracks were correct and they played gapless on Winamp (PC) and on my Sonos system. Gapless works fine on the Nvidia Shield with Kodi too. They didn't play gapless on the Node. I recorded the issue from the analogue outputs and send this, original tracks and zoomed in waveforms (from Wavelab Pro) to Bluesound support. They were quick to respond and replicated the problem confirming it was an issue. They went on to say that gapless playback only works on lossless formats! Well guys, your own website dated Aug 2021 stated gapless playback on all supported formats and MP3 is a supported format!

If ancient Winamp can do it and if Sonos can do it then Node should be able to do it no problem.

This is a deal breaker for me so unfortunately it's going to be an Amazon return for refund.
What a shame because the build quality, the app, the sound quality, the output selection and its support for many streaming services made it look like the perfect add on to any AV system.

I know many of you will just say "well use FLAC then" but that's a whole load of work converting & tagging tracks. I prefer one collection that supplies Sonos, my Ibasso portable player, my car USB and PC playback. I might have to get a Sonos Port instead - but out of stock everywhere at the moment.
 

Attachments

  • ScreenShot000386.jpg
    ScreenShot000386.jpg
    180.9 KB · Views: 31
  • ScreenShot000391.png
    ScreenShot000391.png
    39.6 KB · Views: 31

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
@Ed Selley, first of all very nice review. I have few questions never the less.

From my understanding you are telling the old Node2i uses Burr Brown DAC Chip/master clock which transforms the sound from digital to analog, still in the review it has changed to Texas DAC.

Can you explain the reason behind this? I believe you are telling exactly why in the review, still it is interesting if you could share some more information.
 

Ed Selley

AVF Reviewer
@Ed Selley, first of all very nice review. I have few questions never the less.

From my understanding you are telling the old Node2i uses Burr Brown DAC Chip/master clock to which transforms the sound from digital to analog, still in the review it has changed to Texas DAC.

Can you explain the reason behind this? I believe you are telling exactly why in the review, still it is interesting if you could share some more information.

The chip hasn't changed. Texas Instruments purchased Burr Brown a number of years ago. They have simply retired the Burr Brown name so the PCM5242 itself is unchanged, just listed as a TI device.
 

Gray3

Active Member
I use a RPi / Hi-fiberry Digi+Pro / Khadas Toneboard / Volumio to play from local HDD and stream the odd internet radio station.

I'd say for those in my position, the Node would give no additional benefit.
(Even its remote control costs extra).

I can't imagine 'upgrading' to a streamer that didn't at least have its own decent display.
 

FaxFan2002

Well-known Member
Seriously, I don't get this. If you have a good 2 channel AMP and speakers then the DAC DOES make a difference. A ickle DAC on a PI ain't gonna gonna cut it, I speak from experience here.
 

Gray3

Active Member
Seriously, I don't get this. If you have a good 2 channel AMP and speakers then the DAC DOES make a difference. A ickle DAC on a PI ain't gonna gonna cut it, I speak from experience here.
I do have a good 2 channel amp and speakers.
My 'ickle' DAC isn't actually on my PI (not that it would make a difference if it was).
But I can report that it's every bit as good as DACs costing (considerably) more (Yes I have tried them).
'Ain't gonna cut it':)
Maybe you're one of those that believe a DAC can't be any good unless it cost thousands (or looks like it costs thousands)....but there was a blind test where a panel of experts couldn't reliably tell a 20 from a 2000 quid DAC by listening.
Then there are those who say that the bit-perfect stream a Pi sends to a DAC is inferior to the-bit perfect stream that a 'proper' streamer sends to a DAC.......🙄
 

iFi audio

Well-known Member
AVForums Sponsor
Having had a Brennan, and wasn’t impressed, I’d be keen to know how this fairs against one for sound quality as they are similar price although the Brennan can rip too which this can’t?
What did you not like about it?
 

FaxFan2002

Well-known Member
I do have a good 2 channel amp and speakers.
My 'ickle' DAC isn't actually on my PI (not that it would make a difference if it was).
But I can report that it's every bit as good as DACs costing (considerably) more (Yes I have tried them).
'Ain't gonna cut it':)
Maybe you're one of those that believe a DAC can't be any good unless it cost thousands (or looks like it costs thousands)....but there was a blind test where a panel of experts couldn't reliably tell a 20 from a 2000 quid DAC by listening.
Then there are those who say that the bit-perfect stream a Pi sends to a DAC is inferior to the-bit perfect stream that a 'proper' streamer sends to a DAC.......🙄
What two channel amp speakers are you listening to? I've listened to various model including a 2i, E90, CXN v2 - they sounded awful quite frankly. I won't be suckered in to this sounds this better than this due to price as, hopefully, you can tell from my auditions..
 

Gray3

Active Member
What two channel amp speakers are you listening to? I've listened to various model including a 2i, E90, CXN v2 - they sounded awful quite frankly. I won't be suckered in to this sounds this better than this due to price as, hopefully, you can tell from my auditions..
Cyrus 8 amp into PMC twenty21 speakers. Between them, they don't miss any detail - in fact the amount would be far too much for many people (and kill some of the 'pipe and slippers' crowd).

I've always quite fancied a CXN (not least because of its decent display) However, one owner on another forum suspects the proprietary upsampling that CA use, actually compromises the sound.
(He wished he could turn it off).

Don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not from the 'All DACs sound the same' brigade, but personally, I place them toward the bottom of the bang-for-buck list, way below speakers, still below amps, but well above cables 😉
 

Steve Stifler

Well-known Member
Love the review, one happy Node 2i with a suitably unclenched,,, ahem, ring piece here. My white 2i model suits the decor boss in da house!
 

Toon Army

Well-known Member
Love the review, one happy Node 2i with a suitably unclenched,,, ahem, ring piece here. My white 2i model suits the decor boss in da house!
Another relieved 2i owner and I have been impressed since I brought it with the £100 price reduction offer last year. I found Tidal and Spotify worked best from a UI perspective and bailed out of a free Amazon HD promotion due to the poor UI.
More than happy with the onboard DAC.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Does anyone know if Qbuez, Amazon HD (I don’t want Tidal)
supports audio normalization like Spotify Connect does but only trough airplay? I want audio normalization to work trough Spotify Connect too. Because Airplay can be very unstable at times.

I really can’t understand why Spotify Connect can’t fix this in the next firmware? Can’t be rocket science. So the subscription customer can chose airplay or Spotify Connect. Because the suddenly loud song is so annoying.
 
Last edited:

Mindhead1

Standard Member
I think the Node 2 is a good value if your going to use it’s DAC. If not then IMO a Raspberry Pi 4 running Volumio or MoOde into a USB DAC is the way to go. The value proposition of the RPi 4 as a streamer is hard to beat. If you don’t have a USB DAC get a HAT from Allo or Hifiberry. Your still under $200 USD.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Podcast: Best Home Cinema Sources and B&W 805 D4 Speaker Review and more...
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

StormAudio launches ISP Core 16 AV processor
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Cabasse launches limited edition Pearl Pelegrina speaker
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
AVForums Podcast: 22nd September 2021
  • By Phil Hinton
  • Published
Creative introduces Sound Blaster Katana V2 soundbar
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published
Audeze introduces reference LCD-5 planar magnetic headphones
  • By Andy Bassett
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom