My First Week With The Bluesound Node 2i & 4 Major Streaming Services

ahaydock

Active Member
So after having my Bluesound Node 2i set up for about a week I thought I would share some feedback.... Firstly remember this is based on my set up (see signature), type of music, my ears and how I use the services.

Overall for the price the sound is very impressive and have no regrets with the purchase. I have it set up via Coax and Analogue but for me Analogue wins here hand down. More warmth, more lively, more separation and just more entertaining (glad I held on to my QED interconnects now). I have tried it in Pure (Stereo) Direct mode with the Arcam but wasn't a fan (maybe because it disables the Dirac). That's not to say it sounds bad via Coax as it still sounds amazing, but for me analogue is the one although I can imagine people will find that varies hugely depending upon their kit.

I have it wired into my network rather than wifi. Set up was a doddle and have had no performance issues so far.

I also like the app although the user experience varies depending on the music service. Currently I have Spotify, Tidal, Amazon HD and Quboz but will eventually whittle it down to 2. I will be keeping Spotify as IMO it cannot be beat for its UI, sheer choice of music and playlists, plus the discovery algorithms are better than the others. That said out of the 4 its is the least audio performant, but then that's not a surprise at 320kb MP3.

Doing an A/B between the others (or is it A/B/C) the difference I find subtle. However Amazon HD has the edge for me here although Quboz very closely behind. Tidal isn't that far behind either, but out of the 3 here my least favourite for sound quality (even the MQA's) plus its also cost more than the others so I suspect I will cancel my subscription to it.

However the integration with Tidal is the best in terms of user experience followed by Quboz and finally Amazon, however this will be down to the service and what they offer up to 3rd parties. That said I don't go searching for high res music specifically - I just search for what I want to listen to so not a huge issues for me, but I get this may be a limitation for people who want to find High res music specifically.

It did take me a while to get the remote control function working with my Harmony remote and ended setting it up a NAD device which over came most of my issues along with having to teach my Panny TV remote a few functions, which I then taught to the Harmony.

I still need to set down and have a few proper hours with it but all in all for the price I am very pleased.
 

On the rocks

Novice Member
Thanks that’s very helpful. Have you had an opportunity to compare the sound quality of the streaming services with internet radio, particularly BBC R3 and R6?
 

ahaydock

Active Member
Thanks that’s very helpful. Have you had an opportunity to compare the sound quality of the streaming services with internet radio, particularly BBC R3 and R6?
Cheers. I haven’t as I’m not a huge radio listener I’m afraid. I’ll try have a go over the weekend abs report back.

I didn’t even realise it had internet radio until I set it up
 

3rdignis

Active Member
Have you tried tidal music videos and atmos music on Apple tv.

I don't want to poo poo your new purchase but you could compare the two streamers as digital from ends?
 

ahaydock

Active Member
Have you tried tidal music videos and atmos music on Apple tv.

I don't want to poo poo your new purchase but you could compare the two streamers as digital from ends?
I have indeed but the Bluesound Node 2i beats it for me especially given Analogue.
 

ahaydock

Active Member
So after much more listening I’ve cancelled Tidal. Just need to decide between Quboz and Amazon HD...
 

Mr109

Active Member
The biggest issue with Amazon is the 3rd party integration, as you’ve seen it’s poor. It’s been poor for ages and isn’t improving. I went Qobuz, for the car - through phone - and other speakers.
 

ahaydock

Active Member
The biggest issue with Amazon is the 3rd party integration, as you’ve seen it’s poor. It’s been poor for ages and isn’t improving. I went Qobuz, for the car - through phone - and other speakers.
It is I agree. Sound quality wise it’s very minimal to me but I struggling to find some of the using I want on Quboz.

My Amazon HD trial is 3 months free and now I’ve ditched Tidal I’ll probably keep Quboz a little longer before deciding on one.
 

Ascotbilly

Well-known Member
I agree with you comments re the Spotify QI. I'm on my 2nd free Tidal trial and will be cancelling. Personally I simply cannot hear the "higher quality" sound and therefore its not worth the extra £. However, the most annoying feature is that even after a number of months usage it is still throwing up [email protected] that I am not interested in on the homepage on each login...
 

ahaydock

Active Member
I agree with you comments re the Spotify QI. I'm on my 2nd free Tidal trial and will be cancelling. Personally I simply cannot hear the "higher quality" sound and therefore its not worth the extra £. However, the most annoying feature is that even after a number of months usage it is still throwing up [email protected] that I am not interested in on the homepage on each login...
Agreed. They will price themselves out the market if they’re not careful :D

I find Amazon HD is picking up some good suggestions for me. Quboz not so.

I’m going to keep those two running a bit longer before I ditch one.
 

mseve1

Active Member
I will be keeping Spotify as IMO it cannot be beat for its UI, sheer choice of music and playlists, plus the discovery algorithms are better than the others. That said out of the 4 its is the least audio performant, but then that's not a surprise at 320kb MP3.
Indeed, Spotify's lossy Ogg Vorbis streams are technically inferior the FLACs of the other providers. However, in level matched (and ideally blind) comparisons can you reliably hear deficiencies in their 320kbps streams?
 
Last edited:

ahaydock

Active Member
Indeed, Spotify's lossy Ogg Vorbis streams are technically inferior the FLACs of the other providers. However, in level matched (and ideally blind) comparisons can you reliably hear deficiencies in their 320kbps streams?
I can indeed hear a difference we’ve performed blind tests at home. Even my partner has said it’s obvious.

That said Spotify doesn’t sound bad by any means but the others at high res are definitely better (on my kit to my ears anyway).
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Why 2 streaming services?
 

ahaydock

Active Member
Why 2 streaming services?
Because I really like the Spotify experience in terms of sheer volume of music, playlist and discovery - IMO its unrivalled elsewhere.

Then I will use a High Res service for high res and they sound much better than Spotify.

Spotify is a duo account and I don't pay for it anyway so doesn't cost me anything.
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Thanks, just wondered
 

ahaydock

Active Member
Thanks, just wondered
That’s cool. I can see why someone would wonder.

If Spotify can do high res music please ...
 

muljao

Well-known Member
That’s cool. I can see why someone would wonder.

If Spotify can do high res music please ...
I don't think at this stage Spotify will bother. I have spotify and got tidal for 4 months for 4 euro. I think sound quality wise there is a difference, but I don't think it's night and day
 

ahaydock

Active Member
I don't think at this stage Spotify will bother. I have spotify and got tidal for 4 months for 4 euro. I think sound quality wise there is a difference, but I don't think it's night and day
Agreed I don’t think they will either.

It’s not I agree although I have found for example the difference is more noticeable through my Arcam and Kefs vs my Sonos. But then the Arcam and Kefs costs considerably more so not surprising
 

muljao

Well-known Member
Yes you can find differences, I think anything with dense music (is that the right terminology)can be lacking a little on spotify. Nevermind by Nirvana is one example. Less dense sounding Albums by Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell for example imo sound superb on spotify and I failed to tell the difference between a stream and cd on one or two comparisons I made when I first subscribed
 

ahaydock

Active Member
Yes you can find differences, I think anything with dense music (is that the right terminology)can be lacking a little on spotify. Nevermind by Nirvana is one example. Less dense sounding Albums by Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell for example imo sound superb on spotify and I failed to tell the difference between a stream and cd on one or two comparisons I made when I first subscribed
Oh totally with you on that. Some albums it’s much harder to tell
 

andycc72

Well-known Member
Because I really like the Spotify experience in terms of sheer volume of music, playlist and discovery - IMO its unrivalled elsewhere.

Then I will use a High Res service for high res and they sound much better than Spotify.

Spotify is a duo account and I don't pay for it anyway so doesn't cost me anything.
Same as me . I’ve got Amazon HD and Spotify.

I’d never get rid of Spotify, I love the functionality and I’ve created some great playlists that have taken years to create. Plus it’s better for the genres I like, House, Reggae, Funk, Soul, etc.

Amazon HD on the Node2i app is a pain in the arse but the high res stuff sounds superior to Spotify and sounds fine on my system.
 

ahaydock

Active Member
Same as me . I’ve got Amazon HD and Spotify.

I’d never get rid of Spotify, I love the functionality and I’ve created some great playlists that have taken years to create. Plus it’s better for the genres I like, House, Reggae, Funk, Soul, etc.

Amazon HD on the Node2i app is a pain in the arse but the high res stuff sounds superior to Spotify and sounds fine on my system.
Agreed. Have you tried Quboz out of interest?
 

ahaydock

Active Member
No never and at £25 a month I probably won’t.
I pay £14.99 for Studio Premier to get the High Res. Don’t think I even saw a £25 on their site tbh, although I think it use to cost much more per month and they dropped the price to be more competitive.

I’m still undecided between Amazon HD and Quboz at the moment. Need to do more AB testing
 

andycc72

Well-known Member
I pay £14.99 for Studio Premier to get the High Res. Don’t think I even saw a £25 on their site tbh, although I think it use to cost much more per month and they dropped the price to be more competitive.

I’m still undecided between Amazon HD and Quboz at the moment. Need to do more AB testing
I read a What HiFi article about Quboz a while back and I thought it said it was £25 a month or £250 per year. Just checked on Quboz and that appears to be for the the ‘studio sublime package’..actually £21 and not £25.

I see they doing a free trial. I think I’ll try it to compare with Amazon and keep which ever one I prefer.
 

The latest video from AVForums

Panasonic LZ2000, LZ1500 & LZ980 Hands-on Launch Event | No QD-OLED for 2022, new 77-inch for LZ2000
Subscribe to our YouTube channel

Latest News

Cleer Audio announces Arc earbuds
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
iFi Audio launches new Go bar portable DAC/headphone amp
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
Sony adds LinkBuds S to its earphone series
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published
T+A announces Solitaire T headphones
  • By Ian Collen
  • Published

Full fat HDMI teeshirts

Support AVForums with Patreon

Top Bottom