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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

MaxBuck

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Right now neither the Node 2i nor the NODE has USB digital out. Bluesound has said they anticipate the function will work on the NODE (model N130) by the end of September (though that seems to be slipping now) and will be enabled by a firmware update.
 

RadioBuddha

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Be-aware that the 2i might not have the ability to stream USB out, it is different hardware. With a small amount of patience and flexibility you can still use coax/toslink out to a Dac until USB becomes available.

Keep in mind that the Node is meant to be a 'general purpose' streamer -not- an Audiophile-grade streamer with a Dac section to compete with high-end dacs. As a general purpose streamer it does a fantastic job at what is was designed to do, the Node vs. the Node 2i even has an upgraded 32-bit/384khz Dac section...which does sound very good btw.

The problem is it doesn't do anything that an Iphone with a 3.5mm audio jack to rca cable can't do, for $550, what does it do, allows you to turn off your Iphone after the music starts playing, great, it doesn't even have a display so that one could use in the manner of an old FM tuner, sit back and change internet radio stations without having to look at a smartphone remote.
 

dynobot

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The problem is it doesn't do anything that an Iphone with a 3.5mm audio jack to rca cable can't do, for $550, what does it do, allows you to turn off your Iphone after the music starts playing, great, it doesn't even have a display so that one could use in the manner of an old FM tuner, sit back and change internet radio stations without having to look at a smartphone remote.

You have a point....which begs the question, why are you here?

Use your iphone sit back and be happy. Your iphone can do what Roon does and any other audio software for that matter....plus more
 

MaxBuck

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The problem is it doesn't do anything that an Iphone with a 3.5mm audio jack to rca cable can't do, for $550, what does it do, allows you to turn off your Iphone after the music starts playing, great, it doesn't even have a display so that one could use in the manner of an old FM tuner, sit back and change internet radio stations without having to look at a smartphone remote.
I guess you won't be buying one.
 

RadioBuddha

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You have a point....which begs the question, why are you here?

Use your iphone sit back and be happy. Your iphone can do what Roon does and any other audio software for that matter....plus more

Does it really matter why anyone is here, I'm trying to find out if the Bluesound actually does anything unique, and now I'm just expressing an opinion, is that allowed? Anyway I keep reading among the Bluesound enthusiasts that a DAC is still needed, another black mark against the Bluesound Node.

I never wrote that the Iphone is my perfect solution, part of the reason I am here is to find something better, if you think it is awesome, good for you, I never understood why anyone but an employee would get upset if someone thought the product they loved was inferior.
 

Laserjock

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I have the original Node and Node 2 and like them.
I stream music from Tidal, Qobuz, Amazon Music and SiriusXM <(just recently) (music streaming poor)

I also have a Pro-Ject Stream Box S2 Ultra but it only does Tidal and Qobuz streaming.
 

Mansinthe86

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Does it really matter why anyone is here, I'm trying to find out if the Bluesound actually does anything unique, and now I'm just expressing an opinion, is that allowed? Anyway I keep reading among the Bluesound enthusiasts that a DAC is still needed, another black mark against the Bluesound Node.

I never wrote that the Iphone is my perfect solution, part of the reason I am here is to find something better, if you think it is awesome, good for you, I never understood why anyone but an employee would get upset if someone thought the product they loved was inferior.

Your iPhone will require a apple camera adapter let you use a external DAC. Only way to get high Res audio from a iPhone or iPad.

Even if you use the node only as a streamer it's not gonna break the bank. At the same time it looks modern and has a good streaming app.

Add a decent DAC of your choice and you get a great platform.

Major advantage of the node is that you get a hdmi input for eARC. Easiest way to connect a TV.
 

NYfan2

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Question for owners of the new Node.
Has anybody connected it to a TV over HDMI and are there any lipsync issues due to the latency in the bluesound system?
 

Beershaun

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I don't know, might be worth it to test it out for thirty days, if only to discover why every Youtube tech review star thinks this product is so elegant.
My understanding why The Youtube community loves it is it's featureset and no know is checking the engineering quality through measurements to see how it compares to competing and lower priced products. It is really nice all in one package for a hifi audio streaming endpoint with BlueOS. It ticks all the digital audio endpoint boxes (bitperfect audio, Roon support, MQA, Tidal, Qobuz, DLNA, Spotify etc). and BlueOS is pretty much the best music streaming client out there for retail consumer products, in that it supports all of the major streaming services at their highest level of fidelity and generally works well with a decent UI.

I also suspect the hifi youtubers mostly don't consider the Raspberry Pi solutions competition (except John Darko) so it's cheaper than everything else out there that does the same thing.

Why I am upset about it, which may or may not be why the community is upset, is that I do consider Raspberry Pi solutions and a Topping DAC as competition and frankly the minimum bar. The Node is the right recipe for the solution we all want for a streaming enpoint but they haven't focused on improving the engineering to meet our hifi engineering standards and exceed the minimum bar and it's 4x more expensive than my minimum bar. And we all know they could improve the engineering if they focused on it as companies like Topping release DACs that exceed engineering standards consistently.

Me personally, I now know what's reasonably possible at lower price points and am not willing to accept less at a higher price point.
 

dynobot

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Does it really matter why anyone is here, I'm trying to find out if the Bluesound actually does anything unique, and now I'm just expressing an opinion, is that allowed? Anyway I keep reading among the Bluesound enthusiasts that a DAC is still needed, another black mark against the Bluesound Node.

I never wrote that the Iphone is my perfect solution, part of the reason I am here is to find something better, if you think it is awesome, good for you, I never understood why anyone but an employee would get upset if someone thought the product they loved was inferior.

You have another great point...yes all opinions are definitely allowed. And using a phone can be a viable choice, in fact I use a dock which allows me to send analog or digital out to 'anything' for my DAP's....and I could very well use it for my phone too. Nice cost effective way to enjoy music. A phone can be a swiss-army knife sort of thing.

After I come home from a walk I can just put my DAP on the dock and enjoy the tunes via my home system....seamless quick and easy. Any music service Tidal, Spotify et.al, any stored music, radio etc etc.

dock.png
 

CMB

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Question for owners of the new Node.
Has anybody connected it to a TV over HDMI and are there any lipsync issues due to the latency in the bluesound system?

Hi - had connected the TV for Netflix content and couldn't notice lip-sync issues on my side.
 

Timcognito

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My understanding why The Youtube community loves it is it's featureset and no know is checking the engineering quality through measurements to see how it compares to competing and lower priced products. It is really nice all in one package for a hifi audio streaming endpoint with BlueOS. It ticks all the digital audio endpoint boxes (bitperfect audio, Roon support, MQA, Tidal, Qobuz, DLNA, Spotify etc). and BlueOS is pretty much the best music streaming client out there for retail consumer products, in that it supports all of the major streaming services at their highest level of fidelity and generally works well with a decent UI.

I also suspect the hifi youtubers mostly don't consider the Raspberry Pi solutions competition (except John Darko) so it's cheaper than everything else out there that does the same thing.

Why I am upset about it, which may or may not be why the community is upset, is that I do consider Raspberry Pi solutions and a Topping DAC as competition and frankly the minimum bar. The Node is the right recipe for the solution we all want for a streaming enpoint but they haven't focused on improving the engineering to meet our hifi engineering standards and exceed the minimum bar and it's 4x more expensive than my minimum bar. And we all know they could improve the engineering if they focused on it as companies like Topping release DACs that exceed engineering standards consistently.

Me personally, I now know what's reasonably possible at lower price points and am not willing to accept less at a higher price point.
I think you hit the nail on head here. I'm not PiGuy but do have several Bluesound devices. Node is a one box turnkey solution by single supplier that curates the the system across many hardware platforms and software. Its appeal is just that, analog, digital and internet in with a preamp out with nice industrial design and multi-vendor integrated UI. The rub comes from Bluesound focusing on the UI and inputs and neglecting the output technology with a mid-fi solution that can be mitigated with a $150 dac.

Does your 1/4 price system include a preamp like the Node and what brand and model is it, its quality and cost? Curious as I said not a PiGuy
 

Beershaun

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I actually use an old AVR as an integrated amp. In my 1/4 price benchmark case I would use the Topping E30 in pre-amp mode and it has a volume control.
Edit: The actual cost comparison would be $35pi4+$149e30+$10pi case=$194 vs $549 for Bluesound Node is actually 2.8x not 4x as I stated above.
 
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Timcognito

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I actually use an old AVR as an integrated amp. In my 1/4 price benchmark case I would use the Topping E30 in pre-amp mode and it has a volume control.
Thanks for quick reply. I just bought an E30 so I'm going play around with it and my old Link Dac III w upsampling for kicks.
 

ivayvr

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About "App doesn't work" situation, I remember reading on the Blusound forum, a few years ago, that certain Asus routers or some settings on Asus routers are not compatible with Bluesound so I totally agree with 981 flatsix some additional effort to find the cause should have been made.
My understanding is that most iPhones are much more expensive than the NODE and are nowhere near as flexible as the NODE, so why you would use the iPhone?
I can't think about any other streamer with the connectivity set of NODE even at twice the price.
If we accept that the price of Roon of $700 is fair because they are constantly updating it and improving it, why we are not willing to assign any monetary value for the Bluesound OS that is probably the best app for streaming?
I will not even mention all the on line services readily available and some exclusive to the Bluesound.
 

hedrick

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Measured SINAD is only 88 dB, less than the 96 dB of a 16-bit CD-quality recording. See the first post in this thread.
The point of 96 db is to give you a large dynaimic range. It’s very unlikely that more than 85db SINAD is audible. Most amps won’t preserve such a high SINAD anyway, though you could always use the Benchmark amp.

It’s not clear that the DAC chip is the limiting factor. The Node’s Analog circuitry is inside what amounts to a computer. It’s possible that noise is coming from that, or from the volume / tone / subwoofer control, and that a lower noise DAC wouldn't help.
 

JJB70

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It's worth remembering that different people prioritize different things and have different preferences when buying things.
 
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freddianz

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Question for owners of the new Node.
Has anybody connected it to a TV over HDMI and are there any lipsync issues due to the latency in the bluesound system?

i've just ordered this, and will happy to report it back later, from what I've read from another user on reddit, no lip sync issue for him
 

srrxr71

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Mine shipped and should be coming in a few days. This was the only game in town for HDMI eARC. I’ll just connect it to the eARC port on my LG OLED and with the neutrik impedance adapter connect directly to an 8341 Genelec.

So I won’t be using the DAC which should be better than it is but it is what it is. I don’t really need any of the other features either since I can Airplay to the Apple TV. Maybe it could be used if I don’t want the TV on. I don’t use Roon (no Apple Music support).

So I guess it’s a $550 hdmi audio extractor in my case. I can only hope I end up finding one of its other features useful.

Very happy to hear about lip sync being solved at least. I guess that’s what separates it from using optical LPCM to the $100 Hosa optical to AES. I wonder if it was worth it and if the optical solution would have done the job. No impedance adapter needed. I actually need the HDMI port that would be devoted to this so I’ll be using a breakout cable to connect one of my devices on demand. Maybe it’s a good enough stopgap until 2022 AVRs come out.

If one comes out with 4 sub audyessy multeq xt32 this will get put into a bedroom. No AVR manufacturer has taken up Audyessy on this feature.
 
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