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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

MattHooper

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Thanks for the replies. I'm still working this out, except I decided first to sit back and enjoy, and I've also played with moving around diffusion in my room which adds another variable, but which has yielded nice results. The sound was truly spectacular listening last night. It still sounds to me a bit different, but I'll have to get more rigorous about investiging that. For the moment I'm looking in to how to fix missing album art....
 

Rottmannash

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@MattHooper If no one has commented prior to this the 2i does not have USB input. You will have to use either coax or optical toptical to feed an external DAC.
 

MattHooper

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@MattHooper If no one has commented prior to this the 2i does not have USB input. You will have to use either coax or optical toptical to feed an external DAC.

I ended up with the newer Bluesound NODE. My external USB drive music library is taking up the USB input. I'm using optical out from the NODE to my external DAC.
 

Rottmannash

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I ran my 2i as is, then with an E30 then (and now) D90SE and there was very little change between them. All via coax. I hardly ever listen to the radio stations but when I did was underwhelmed with their SQ.
 

pjn

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I ended up with the newer Bluesound NODE. My external USB drive music library is taking up the USB input. I'm using optical out from the NODE to my external DAC.
External library attached to USB is probably the smart move - I find that having it on the same network as a shared volume is a little flaky
 

MaxBuck

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I was using USB out to connect my Node to my DAC. That created a lot of electronic noise that was very loud. I did not try coax or optical so cannot comment on Node performance connecting to external DAC using those connections. I go back to iFi Zen Streamer created no such noise and is about 1/2 the price.
I've had absolutely no problems running USB out from my NODE to my DAC. Sounds like a warranty issue.
 

NiagaraPete

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Rottmannash

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Because they do what they're designed to, do it consistently and without issues (at least for me).
 

dtaylo1066

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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.

RPi or Tinker Board in a case running Volumio into the USB DAC of your choice can give you as good performance for less than $100
 

djigibao

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MaxBuck

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Why? Would you say it’s a stellar product?
For my purposes, absolutely. Great ease of use, able to access a huge range of streaming sources, capable of working as a server for one's own digital music library. Just marvelous sound, especially if one uses an outboard DAC.

I personally find the Android app to be one of the most effective in the entire Play Store. Other people likely differ, but as I've noted before, user ratings overall are exceptionally high.

Again: best audio purchase I've ever made.
 
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Timcognito

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I hardly ever listen to the radio stations but when I did was underwhelmed with their SQ.
Most internet radio stations stream in Mp3 format some as little as 128kbs. Nice for finding new music, background or talk.
 

NiagaraPete

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For my purposes, absolutely. Great ease of use, able to access a huge range of streaming sources, capable of working as a server for one's own digital music library. Just marvelous sound, especially if one uses an outboard DAC.

I personally find the Android app to be one of the most effective in the entire Play Store. Other people likely differ, but as I've noted before, user ratings overall are exceptionally high.

Again: best audio purchase I've ever made.
I admit I’m negatively biased against this product. Thus I will unwatchable and refrain from further comments.
 

MattHooper

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For my purposes, absolutely. Great ease of use, able to access a huge range of streaming sources, capable of working as a server for one's own digital music library. Just marvelous sound, especially if one uses an outboard DAC.

I personally find the Android app to be one of the most effective in the entire Play Store. Other people likely differ, but as I've noted before, user ratings overall are exceptionally high.

Again: best audio purchase I've ever made.

Agreed. Despite some quibbles at this point I'm very happy. So easy to use!
 

dtaylo1066

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Agreed. Despite some quibbles at this point I'm very happy. So easy to use!

Blue Sound Node has many fine attributes but possesses a far less than quality DAC than it should for its price point. None the less, for most listeners, and many listening occasions, it is a terrific product. Not the case for many on this forum. Glad you enjoy it!
 

MaxBuck

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Agreed. Despite some quibbles at this point I'm very happy. So easy to use!
I'm particularly pleased to see this from you, Matt. As a semi-subjectivist (intended as a compliment!), your pleasure in this product is especially meaningful to me.

I've been concerned that I might be overly analytical about my audio preferences. Since you have both vinyl and tubes, I feel like I have common ground with "your kind" of music lovers. :)
 

MattHooper

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I'm particularly pleased to see this from you, Matt. As a semi-subjectivist (intended as a compliment!), your pleasure in this product is especially meaningful to me.

I've been concerned that I might be overly analytical about my audio preferences. Since you have both vinyl and tubes, I feel like I have common ground with "your kind" of music lovers. :)

Ha, thanks Max!

As I said, I haven't concluded whether it was my imagination or something in the settings yet. I still have to do some more looking in to it. It was that sort of see-through lack of density thing I was perceiving, but otherwise to no surprise I heard that always amazing clarity of a digital source sent to my Benchmark DAC and then through my Benchmark LA4 preamp to my amps. Just a ridiculous sense of 'resolution' and clarity. I'd been frusterated for quite a while with my Logitech server so for months I've been much more heavily in to vinyl. So I think that made me start to crave or appreciate the clean sound of digital.

I've been playing with diffusion behind and between my speakers which, when placed right, add a sense of density to the sound. So I threw those in and got back some punch and density, and combined with the overall clarity I've just been luxuriating in the sound. So I've thrown in some variables. I'll try at some point to take out the diffusion and re-do some of my airplay vs direct streaming comparisons. (And maybe I can manage a blind test).

It's funny because I've been so impressed with the digital server music sound that I started to wonder "is this that much better than the vinyl I've been listening to?" I threw on a well produced Earth Wind And Fire album and...yup..the vinyl still sounded amazing too. Tons of sonic information. But I'll be luxuriating in re-visiting my streaming music for some time I think. I'm so happy to have access to some of my favorite internet radio stations - Proton Radio and the french Generation Soul Disco Funk - that I sometimes feel I could toss away my music collection and happily listen to just those stations. They may "only" be 320kbps MP3 streams but it still sounds amazing :)
 
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