In my opinion, the Node is for someone who wants to easily stream high quality music from their own collection and online services and offers a pretty unique and great set of features for the price. I own two of the older version (Node 2i) and dont find the Node 2i any less enjoyable just because I do not use the internal DAC. The one on my desktop is connected via coax to my RME ADI-2 DAC and works great. The other is connected via coax to my Denon X4300 in my living room. The one on my desk makes for a very simple headphone setup that I use while working without the need for a computer (got sick of having to minimize my screens everytime I wanted to change tracks on Amazon HD or Qobuz). The Node 2i also allows me to steeam bitperfect from Amazon HD, which my Android and Windows devices cannot do. I have been pretty happy with BluOS as well. I wouldnt worry about what DAC chip is in there and just get it if it has the features you are looking for. I am very happy with mine.Wow. This place is educational!
After reading the glowing reviews all over the internet about the Bluesound NODE (Gen 3), I finally put it in my shopping cart last Friday. Then I discovered this place, and this review-
This is sad. There is a lot of distortion which in this day and age is just not acceptable. I looked up the DAC chip and it is the TI PCM5242. Sadly it is specified at 94 dB SINAD at -1 dBFS. So it is bad to start with but the Node knocks a few more dBs from that, landing it straight in our "poor" bucket of DACs in red
And decided not to buy it.
I should mention that this is my first serious attempt at getting into streaming. Since I am new to it, I don't know exactly what I will want or need. The Bluesound looks to have an epic laundry list of features-
Supported Audio File Formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, WMA-L, OGG, ALAC, OPUS
Supported Hi-Res Audio File Formats: FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF, MPEG-4 SLS
Apple AirPlay 2, aptX HD Bluetooth
I'm mainly doing this to finally try some hi-res streaming. Maybe TIDAL or Qobuz or Roon.
But back to the bad DAC performance. Who wants that? After reading through this whole thread, it sounds like I can get better results by using an external DAC. My P6 preamp has an ESS Sabre32 Reference DAC. I think both optical inputs might be full, but I can run coax out on the Bluesound and into my preamp that way.
What else- I won't be using USB and I do have an iPhone. I'll also be on Wi-Fi only, as my networking gear is in a different room and I can't run an ethernet cable to the Bluesound.
So given that I already have what should be a nice DAC sitting around, and I think this has all the features I need, should I give the Bluesound a try?
Regarding wifi, I have most of my devices, including the Node 2is, wired to nodes in my Linksys Velop mesh network and they work great (Velop Nodes communicate with each other over a 5ghz wifi connection). BluOS/Node 2i is very fast and responsive, unlike my HEOS speakers, which I got fed up with and boxed up. I dont think the fact that you have an iPhone is relevant since the music is streamed from the device and the BluOS app on your iPhone is just a remote control, unless you are trying to play music that is only on your iPhone via bluetooth for some reason, in which case bluetooth, and not the quality of the internal DAC chip, is probably your weakest link (even if you had aptX HD). You generally would be streaming from Qobuz or other service/local library --> NODE instead of Qobuz (or other library) --> iPhone -->Node (as an example).