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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

MikeS54

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I was about to purchase this right before I saw this thread. Thanks for the info.
The Cambridge CXN V2 was on my list too last week until the price jumped up $200 on every retailer. And now I see here that the unit doesn't appear to sound that well.

Maybe someone can point me in the right direction here? I have a Denon X4700 receiver and 1.5TB's of HI-RES FLAC files from HDTracks, Pro Studio Masters, etc. I'm just looking for a box that I can connect to the Denon and plug the hard drive in to play the files. Something with an app would be great to browse and create playlist. Something up to $1k. Is there anything like that? Doesn't need streaming capabilities. Thanks in advance.
 

Eddy

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I was about to purchase this right before I saw this thread. Thanks for the info.
The Cambridge CXN V2 was on my list too last week until the price jumped up $200 on every retailer. And now I see here that the unit doesn't appear to sound that well.

Maybe someone can point me in the right direction here? I have a Denon X4700 receiver and 1.5TB's of HI-RES FLAC files from HDTracks, Pro Studio Masters, etc. I'm just looking for a box that I can connect to the Denon and plug the hard drive in to play the files. Something with an app would be great to browse and create playlist. Something up to $1k. Is there anything like that? Doesn't need streaming capabilities. Thanks in advance.

Are the 1.5TB's of HI-RES FLAC files on a USB hard drive? If so, do you really need an extra box to connect it to your Denon? Isn't there a USB input on the front to connect your hard drive?

If you want an extra box, there should many media players being able to read an USB hard drive and transmit a digital signal via SPDIF (opt or coax) to the digital inputs of the Denon. But you should care that the media player can transmit the bitrate of your files.
 

MikeS54

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Thanks for the reply! Yes, they are all on Western Digital Passport drive. Yes, there is a USB input on the front which I use with a 32GB thumb drive. It doesn't seem to work so well with the Passport, so I reached out to Denon support. Here is there reply about a 2TB drive -

The USB input is intended for small drives with not a lot of files on them. Perhaps a cd or two worth of music. There is a hard mechanical limit for size and files, but you are going to reach the soft limit of the memory within the receiver way way before you get to the mechanical limit.

Before any file can be played, the contents of the entire drive need to be loaded into memory so that an index of what is on the drive can be created. So the more data there is on the drive the more of the receiver's memory this takes

If the drive were empty or only had a few files on it, it could probably be read. But the closer to full it is, the less likely that would be.


So in my search for a media box, I stumbled upon this review of the Bluesound Node. Sucks that the DAC isn't that good cause I thought it might be a handy device. And honestly, compared to the Denon x4700 for music, my old Yamaha RX-1020 sounded better.

The search continues...
 

MaxBuck

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Thanks for the reply! Yes, they are all on Western Digital Passport drive. Yes, there is a USB input on the front which I use with a 32GB thumb drive. It doesn't seem to work so well with the Passport, so I reached out to Denon support. Here is there reply about a 2TB drive -

The USB input is intended for small drives with not a lot of files on them. Perhaps a cd or two worth of music. There is a hard mechanical limit for size and files, but you are going to reach the soft limit of the memory within the receiver way way before you get to the mechanical limit.

Before any file can be played, the contents of the entire drive need to be loaded into memory so that an index of what is on the drive can be created. So the more data there is on the drive the more of the receiver's memory this takes

If the drive were empty or only had a few files on it, it could probably be read. But the closer to full it is, the less likely that would be.

So in my search for a media box, I stumbled upon this review of the Bluesound Node. Sucks that the DAC isn't that good cause I thought it might be a handy device. And honestly, compared to the Denon x4700 for music, my old Yamaha RX-1020 sounded better.

The search continues...
If you have a wifi router for your network that has a USB port and a USB hard drive, you essentially have a NAS that a Node can access. Or you can attach a true NAS drive on the same network that the Node is connected to (wired or wireless).

Not sure how much that helps you.
 

MikeS54

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If you have a wifi router for your network that has a USB port and a USB hard drive, you essentially have a NAS that a Node can access. Or you can attach a true NAS drive on the same network that the Node is connected to (wired or wireless).

Not sure how much that helps you.
Thanks MaxBuck. I was thinking of a NAS next. Seems to be easier to manage and I wouldn't have to worry about USB sizes and compatibility. I just always wondered about quality loss. Maybe I'll look into a couple of NAS units. Thanks for the info!
 

Rottmannash

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Thanks for the reply! Yes, they are all on Western Digital Passport drive. Yes, there is a USB input on the front which I use with a 32GB thumb drive. It doesn't seem to work so well with the Passport, so I reached out to Denon support. Here is there reply about a 2TB drive -

The USB input is intended for small drives with not a lot of files on them. Perhaps a cd or two worth of music. There is a hard mechanical limit for size and files, but you are going to reach the soft limit of the memory within the receiver way way before you get to the mechanical limit.

Before any file can be played, the contents of the entire drive need to be loaded into memory so that an index of what is on the drive can be created. So the more data there is on the drive the more of the receiver's memory this takes

If the drive were empty or only had a few files on it, it could probably be read. But the closer to full it is, the less likely that would be.

So in my search for a media box, I stumbled upon this review of the Bluesound Node. Sucks that the DAC isn't that good cause I thought it might be a handy device. And honestly, compared to the Denon x4700 for music, my old Yamaha RX-1020 sounded better.

The search continues...
that's kinda sad. My RZ series AVR's will load a 2 TB WD HDD and play from it w/o issue. Maybe buy an Onkly RZ series AVR? I use a 1 TB solid state drive plugged into my Bluesound Node 2i. Works flawlessly. The only issue w/ the Node is it will not play DSD files.
 

Audio Flynn

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This is one of the only reviews I've seen where the reviewer frankly admits they were unable to get the product up and running. Considering Amir's excellent technical skills, that's just baffling. What is the Lenbrook Group, which also owns NAD and PSB I think, doing here? When I read user experiences with this and other Bluesound products, they are a curious mixture of 'its great' and 'it is a nightmare to setup and I got no help from Bluesound when I called' responses. I wouldn't go near something like this,
I am a NAD M32 user for three years. Blue sound good and bad.

>MASTERS series DAC is on par with my Topping D70B using Tidal and internet radio.
>Ethernet, optical, USB/laptop and rca/Tascam transport functions perform well.
>Best in class build quality.
Blue OS works well on PC, Apple or Android.

Bad
>Wifi poor, Bluetooth marginal
>Abysmal to non existent phone technical support.
>Unedited unclear and incomplete work instruction for HDMI MDC card upgrade to M32.
>HDMI ARC function would not work with very new Samsung TV.
>HDMI card was returned with no issue.

After 47 years of analog, vintage and tubes coupled with 39 years of digital craziness on many levels, this company and their Blu OS operating system has highly credible attributes. When they fall down they crash and burn. Never assume plug and play.

You folks are awesome in your forum!
My digital system...Klipsch Belles, NAD M32, ToppingD70, Channel Islands and very old MSB...Furman Elite power...dedicated earthground circuit.
Analog system...KT88 and horns.
:facepalm::facepalm::facepalm::cool:
 

tsammyc

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Thanks for the reply! Yes, they are all on Western Digital Passport drive. Yes, there is a USB input on the front which I use with a 32GB thumb drive. It doesn't seem to work so well with the Passport, so I reached out to Denon support. Here is there reply about a 2TB drive -

The USB input is intended for small drives with not a lot of files on them. Perhaps a cd or two worth of music. There is a hard mechanical limit for size and files, but you are going to reach the soft limit of the memory within the receiver way way before you get to the mechanical limit.

Before any file can be played, the contents of the entire drive need to be loaded into memory so that an index of what is on the drive can be created. So the more data there is on the drive the more of the receiver's memory this takes

If the drive were empty or only had a few files on it, it could probably be read. But the closer to full it is, the less likely that would be.

So in my search for a media box, I stumbled upon this review of the Bluesound Node. Sucks that the DAC isn't that good cause I thought it might be a handy device. And honestly, compared to the Denon x4700 for music, my old Yamaha RX-1020 sounded better.

The search continues...
You can connect the Bluesound to your Denon 4700 with an optical or coaxial cable and use the Denon’s DAC with the Bluesound being a pure streamer. You can also connect the Bluesound to an external DAC with appropriate sound quality for your taste before routing into the Denon via analog.
 

FrantzM

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You can connect the Bluesound to your Denon 4700 with an optical or coaxial cable and use the Denon’s DAC with the Bluesound being a pure streamer. You can also connect the Bluesound to an external DAC with appropriate sound quality for your taste before routing into the Denon via analog.
Hi

I am in a similar situation. Thanks very much. I am interested by tis solution.

Peace.
 

Laserjock

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What’s the latest on the NODE as far as USB output to external DAC?

I have the original Node and Node 2 but was wanting to get the NODE for USB output to a Topping E50/PA5->
Revel M16 setup.
 

Astoneroad

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What’s the latest on the NODE as far as USB output to external DAC?

I have the original Node and Node 2 but was wanting to get the NODE for USB output to a Topping E50/PA5->
Revel M16 setup.
It was updated with a firmware update a few months ago. I owned the 2i and now the current Node and it "happened one night". I was able to run a SMSL M400 from the USB with no problem. Although after a few months of listening with and without the DAC, my 65 year old ears couldn't tell the difference and I sold the DAC... and canceled MQA on Tidal. I love the functionality of the current Node's new top pane.. Whatever negatives that have been voiced haven't found their way into my enjoyment of the music.
 

panther

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This may be a dumb question, but is there an alternative streamer that still uses the BluOS software not made by Bluesound?
 

Laserjock

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This may be a dumb question, but is there an alternative streamer that still uses the BluOS software not made by Bluesound?
 

Timcognito

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Used Nodes are all over the net. I bought a gen1 node for my garage $85 and it uses the same interface and works with other newer BS devices. Do that and if you don't like it give it your kid or a friend. My two other BS devices are Node2 and Vault2 (which is a NAS, CD ripper and BS player) with their lifetime BluOS operating system. After reading this thread a bought a Topping E30 DAC but the improvement is there but very slight. The reason to get a BS device is the ease of connectivity to streaming services, NAS, Internet radio on one system one dashboard. That all said, Roon software which requires a full time operating computer does all the same and has EQ and better music searching capabilities in magazine type format for $10/mo. I use both because I bought lifetime Roon awhile back. If you want something slick and updated and constantly curated those are good choices. Recently there has been quite a buzz about the WiiM Mini Streamer $100 that is economical cousin but sounds like there is bit more maintenance and setup involved (just from reading here, I don't have one). I have been happy with BS devices and chose the Vault initially to rip and store my 1k+ CD collection with one device and work around from the computer and NAS. I have been curious about the WiiM system but am pretty satisfied with my gear and rarely play LPs anymore. Maybe my son gets one from me for his birthday so I can fiddle with it.
 

Pep2020

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My Wiim streamer was very easy to set up. A couple of minutes and I was listening to music.
 

Open Mind Audio

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This is what it takes to get me to give a good review to a streamer: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...udio-element-i-usb-dac-streamer-review.10360/

Of course I did. I streamed the test tones from Roon player to it. Bits went to it over Ethernet and played using internal and external DAC.
If I'm reading your analyses correctly, for $730 dollars (a Bluesound Node connected to a Topping D30 DAC), I can get better SINAD performance than the $1000 Matrix Audio Element, and overall comparable audio quality, although the Matrix may beat the Node-D30 option on dynamic range. So the main difference comes down to price and whether or not consumers think they'll appreciate BluOS with its access to multiple streaming services, or want to pay $270 more for the fewer music-service options on the Matrix?

Now, I know you cold not get BluOS to work for you - but from the thread, it seems like most people have not had that problem.

(And I'm addicted to your site, which I appreciate and support!!!)
 

Timcognito

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If I'm reading your analyses correctly, for $730 dollars (a Bluesound Node connected to a Topping D30 DAC), I can get better SINAD performance than the $1000 Matrix Audio Element, and overall comparable audio quality, although the Matrix may beat the Node-D30 option on dynamic range. So the main difference comes down to price and whether or not consumers think they'll appreciate BluOS with its access to multiple streaming services, or want to pay $270 more for the fewer music-service options on the Matrix?

Now, I know you cold not get BluOS to work for you - but from the thread, it seems like most people have not had that problem.

(And I'm addicted to your site, which I appreciate and support!!!)
Or $700 for lifetime Roon curated operating system with options for end points on multi room devices, DSP, Roon radio and magazine like interface to liner-notes, lyrics etc. or BluOS curated lifetime with purchase and expensive endpoints. Downside to Roon 24/7 computer needed and small company that may not survive due to competition over time.
 

Snoopy

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Or $700 for lifetime Roon curated operating system with options for end points on multi room devices, DSP, Roon radio and magazine like interface to liner-notes, lyrics etc. or BluOS curated lifetime with purchase and expensive endpoints. Downside to Roon 24/7 computer needed and small company that may not survive due to competition over time.
I decided for roon lifetime. It's just so much better than everything else.

I have 1 loudspeaker setup and 1 (soon 2) headphone setups with different headphones that I use on both.

Having 1 library on everything with DSP features while being able to do multiroom audio stuff is definitely worth it.

Add a rasberry pi as endpoint is cheap and easy enough. Certainly more economical than multiple bluesound nodes
 
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