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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

Bachemar

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That would be valuable if the apps were actually part of the review. That is however not the focus here, and the fact that we read about it just anecdotal in case of issues.

Since the app did not work, I had no way of characterizing the input performance even though I was all cabled up and ready to measure!

May not be the focus, but it’s certainly affecting the review, no? And that’s actually my point. If the goal to get the “device” functioning, and (assuming) the iPhone app works - just use that and get on with the review
 
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AudioSceptic

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Thank you for the review.

I bought it because I wanted a nice and easy streamer solution (not to expensive) with the possibility to add an external DAC (in my case the RME ADI).
Never intended to use the internal DAC anyway.

If I understand the review correctly, it should then work fine and measure as well as the external DAC attached?
Or are there other technical flaws that affect the digital signal?

In practice (without using the internal DAC) :
I am more than happy about it for my daily use.
Set up was bit like a walk in the dark.

I particular like the ability to stream from external attached HD, Tidal, Radio stations/RP, to set 5 presets (touchscreen) and to be able to control it from phone, iPad and mostly from the Macbook on my knees. In my case, such an improvement in convenience from iMac/Audirvana.

I dislike that the app does not load certain Artwork.
If you use it only as a streamer, how is it better than a Raspberry Pi for a fraction of the cost?
 

Stephen

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I understand that the performance compared to other DACs was subpar but I don’t understand why this is marked as broken. To me broken implies an audible problem. In this case the performance is still .004% distortion which, of course, is two orders of magnitude below human audibility. So in this case you could put a very sad panther but in fact the device is not broken.
I had the chance to compare the Node 2i internal DAC with an external one (Soncoz) with a switch, that allows to compare immediatly the differences. Trust me: it's day and night...
 

holbob

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The old fella certainly seems to have teething problems with apps and updating units. :D
 

abdo123

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If you use it only as a streamer, how is it better than a Raspberry Pi for a fraction of the cost?

because a Raspberry pi is do it yourself alternative with no customer support, manuals or anything that will help on your way.

It is also lacking proprietary features or lacking legal ways of using these proprietary features.
 

abdo123

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I had the chance to compare the Node 2i internal DAC with an external one (Soncoz) with a switch, that allows to compare immediatly the differences. Trust me: it's day and night...

does the digital outputs and analog outputs work simultaneously? this device keeps surprising me.
 

Stephen

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does the digital outputs and analog outputs work simultaneously? this device keeps surprising me.
Yes! From the Node the sound was like 'coming from a box' from the external DAC it was nice with a big sound stage. The difference was staggering.
 

CMB

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If you use it only as a streamer, how is it better than a Raspberry Pi for a fraction of the cost?

You are right. But I choosed the fraction of hassle instead .

Plug and play ?
Touchscreen ?
Easy peasy...
Now, raspberry pi was an option too. After consideration of my skill, I decided it was not for me.
I
 

Rja4000

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If you use it only as a streamer, how is it better than a Raspberry Pi for a fraction of the cost?
Its interest is multiroom.

I run it in 3 rooms on ground-floor :
Music is controlled with smartphone app, and remains in perfect sync.
You walk from one room to another and music is everywhere.

You can do the same with Roon, but you still need Roon-ready devices (Bluesound and NAD BlueOS devices are all Roon-ready) and you need a PC that is always running on top.
I tried Roon, but BlueOS works better than Roon, in my personal experience.
 
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abdo123

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I have a sound level meter, and my amplifier has an independant level option for each input line. I also have a DSP with a real time sound analyser...

Cool! I usually use REW to gain match the two as much as i can with frequency sweeps. if voltage matching isn't an option.
 

edjo

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Thank you for this review Amirm, and certainly no reason to upgrade my Node 2i for this new baby.
My Node 2i is connected via coax to the Gustard X16 dac driving my Denon PMA-QS1 high end amp and 4 way Rogers monitors, giving a very realistic concert hall quality outcome. The BluoOs app installed on laptop, tablet and Galaxy smartphone works smoothly.
But for a next step higher:
Are there suggestions - streaming transport (without dac) for a further quality upgrade that can handle BluOs. I need BluOs as the only choice to stream my favorite Idagio lossless subscription classical music. Suggestions very welcome!
 

vkvedam

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No real surprises here in terms of analogue performance but I am surprised to hear that the app is broken :oops:. The whole point of opting for Bluesound is for the idiot proof integration, almost on par with Sonos.

PS: Burr Brown is the achilles heel here and they don't quote outstanding specs either so I give it to them on that front :)
 

pjug

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I have the original Node in the ugly box and use it in one of my rooms. Someone gave it to me so I found a place for it. I have to assume it also has a poor performing DAC. Still, I use the Node's DAC and feed the analog out to a miniDSP 2x4 so the signal is converted to digital again and then back to analog. Then the MiniDSP's low signal level is fed to an integrated amp with a lot of gain to get a decent final output level. With all that you would think the sound might be lousy but in fact it sounds very good to me. So if I had this new Node and wanted to use analog out I would try it and see if you hear anything that bothers you before panicking over the poor DAC measurements. (Not that I don't think it is important for Amir to measure; I very much appreciate what he does).
 

AudioSceptic

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You are right. But I choosed the fraction of hassle instead .

Plug and play ?
Touchscreen ?
Easy peasy...
Now, raspberry pi was an option too. After consideration of my skill, I decided it was not for me.
I
OK, but setting up an RPi really isn't that hard. There are many guides out there. The toughest bit is deciding which OS/app to use.

Why would I want a touch screen on the device itself? Unless I'm using a portable player, I expect to use a remote, remote app, or web access, to control any audio device, just as I would with a TV or DVR/PVR.
 
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