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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

reddavin

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I have the latest Node and am using it for streaming. I have an extremely clean amp and revealing speakers and am frustrated with sound quality this far. I have an Apple Music subscription. It can only use Airplay2 to the Node - which sounds muddy and compressed. (Lossless setting). I tried Amazon Music with the BluOS app. It’s clearer, but lacking bass and fullness. I’m thinking I’m hearing the limitations of the source material.?

Do you think I should pony up for a Tidal membership? Maybe try the 1 month trial. Could a Dragonfly Cobalt be connected via iPhone to the Node somehow to get max bitrate from Apple Music? Other thoughts? Thanks
 

Kuppenbender

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I have the latest Node and am using it for streaming. I have an extremely clean amp and revealing speakers and am frustrated with sound quality this far. I have an Apple Music subscription. It can only use Airplay2 to the Node - which sounds muddy and compressed. (Lossless setting). I tried Amazon Music with the BluOS app. It’s clearer, but lacking bass and fullness. I’m thinking I’m hearing the limitations of the source material.?

Do you think I should pony up for a Tidal membership? Maybe try the 1 month trial. Could a Dragonfly Cobalt be connected via iPhone to the Node somehow to get max bitrate from Apple Music? Other thoughts? Thanks
Dragonfly Cobalt might not be the best choice.
https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...balt-review-portable-headphone-adapter.23015/
 

Timcognito

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Try Qobuz too. Most like it better. try both
 

TK33

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I have the latest Node and am using it for streaming. I have an extremely clean amp and revealing speakers and am frustrated with sound quality this far. I have an Apple Music subscription. It can only use Airplay2 to the Node - which sounds muddy and compressed. (Lossless setting). I tried Amazon Music with the BluOS app. It’s clearer, but lacking bass and fullness. I’m thinking I’m hearing the limitations of the source material.?

Do you think I should pony up for a Tidal membership? Maybe try the 1 month trial. Could a Dragonfly Cobalt be connected via iPhone to the Node somehow to get max bitrate from Apple Music? Other thoughts? Thanks
If I am reading your question correctly, I think you are asking if you can stream Apple Music via iPhone --> Dragonfly Cobalt --> Node. If so, I do not think that would work since the Dragonfly Cobalt only has an analog output.
 

reddavin

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What quality/bitrate would I get connecting an iPhone to the Node via 1/8” the analog in? Then playing Apple Music lossless? Different than Airplay2?
 

Niko.RR

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The node had 2 updates in the last 20 days, in the last week, I had not been able to use it correctly due to problems with my internet provider, but yesterday, I made a long session, I can say that now it sounds different, using the internal dac, closer to what could be a definitive configuration, I have no way to prove it, because I do not have another node without updating, but the changes for the better are very evident, it sounds much more airy, greater impact, the bass is not so swollen , there is much more control, there is an opening in the scene, before it felt very intimate, I wanted to know if anyone else experienced the same, I even started playing with the tone control to immediately disable it and go back to that sound I was hearing, maybe it deserves a new evaluation, Niko
 

Laserjock

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The node had 2 updates in the last 20 days, in the last week, I had not been able to use it correctly due to problems with my internet provider, but yesterday, I made a long session, I can say that now it sounds different, using the internal dac, closer to what could be a definitive configuration, I have no way to prove it, because I do not have another node without updating, but the changes for the better are very evident, it sounds much more airy, greater impact, the bass is not so swollen , there is much more control, there is an opening in the scene, before it felt very intimate, I wanted to know if anyone else experienced the same, I even started playing with the tone control to immediately disable it and go back to that sound I was hearing, maybe it deserves a new evaluation, Niko
Not sure what a firmware upgrade could change
 

lpdot

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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
Interestingly, BlueSound considers a USB drive to be a temporary source as opposed to a network share. As a result you can't add tracks from USB to favourites.
 
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Neftun

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Hey, I have question, sorry if it has been covered.

Is it possible to connect bluesound node to a TV as the source using hdmi arc, and an external dac with preamp, like topping e50, using toslink output, and still have the TV control volume (HDMI CEC)?

This would be so awesome to me.
 

MaxBuck

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Hey, I have question, sorry if it has been covered.

Is it possible to connect bluesound node to a TV as the source using hdmi arc, and an external dac with preamp, like topping e50, using toslink output, and still have the TV control volume (HDMI CEC)?

This would be so awesome to me.
Yes, I do exactly that.
 

Neftun

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Hey, I have question, sorry if it has been covered.

Is it possible to connect bluesound node to a TV as the source using hdmi arc, and an external dac with preamp, like topping e50, using toslink output, and still have the TV control volume (HDMI CEC)?

This would be so awesome to me.
Yes, I do exactly that.
Great, thanks!

You use toslink? Would it work with coax, do you know?
 

Neftun

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No, I use S/PDIF coax, but the means of transferring digital out from the Node to a DAC should be immaterial.
This is great news to me, it solves the usability issues with hifi, especially for the rest of the family who don’t share my interests and just want something that works.

Are there any other products out there that can connect hdmi arc to a dac with volume controlled from tv?
 

Stephen

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Interestingly, BlueSound considers a USB drive to be a temporary source as opposed to a network share. As a result you can't add tracks from USB to favourites.
Hi Ipdot, This is right and a real problem for me as I use a lot my USB files. Also you can't select some USB tracks to your created playlists, you can only add all USB files to the main play queue.
 

lpdot

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Hi Ipdot, This is right and a real problem for me as I use a lot my USB files. Also you can't select some USB tracks to your created playlists, you can only add all USB files to the main play queue.
Hi, Stephen.

Yes, there's a bunch of things not available when attaching a hard drive to the USB port. For instance, the 'Library' doesn't appear in the BlueOS app menu drawer.

Eventually I configured my RPi, l that I had previously used to run Volumio, as a Samba server and hooked up the drive to it. So, now the local files are loaded from the RPi's network shares.

And I'm using the Node's USB to connect a Topping E30 as the primary DAC.
 

Stephen

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Hi, Stephen.

Yes, there's a bunch of things not available when attaching a hard drive to the USB port. For instance, the 'Library' doesn't appear in the BlueOS app menu drawer.

Eventually I configured my RPi, l that I had previously used to run Volumio, as a Samba server and hooked up the drive to it. So, now the local files are loaded from the RPi's network shares.

And I'm using the Node's USB to connect a Topping E30 as the primary DAC.
Hi Ipdot,
I have other complaints about the USB management: the USB sorting engine is very limited, only quality is available whereas sorting by dates, lengths, least played, most played, etc. would be very useful. The shuffle engine is not efficient: I noticed that I listened too many times to the same files without ever listening to others. Also, It would be nice to be able to manually change files order in the play queue...

I use the Node with a DSP (Berhinger) and an external DAC too, it works well.

I had the chance to test a Cambridge CXN V2 with my system, side by side with the node.
The Cambridge has a good internal DAC, so I could easily compare the two solutions.

Sonically: I found the Cambrige a bit muddy in the bass region (less clear and detailed than the node with DSP and external DAC) but acceptable.

The app: The Cambridge's USB file management is even more basic than the Node's, and less stable (it disconnected from the USB stick several times).
 

lpdot

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Hi Ipdot,
I have other complaints about the USB management: the USB sorting engine is very limited, only quality is available whereas sorting by dates, lengths, least played, most played, etc. would be very useful. The shuffle engine is not efficient: I noticed that I listened too many times to the same files without ever listening to others. Also, It would be nice to be able to manually change files order in the play queue...

I use the Node with a DSP (Berhinger) and an external DAC too, it works well.

I had the chance to test a Cambridge CXN V2 with my system, side by side with the node.
The Cambridge has a good internal DAC, so I could easily compare the two solutions.

Sonically: I found the Cambrige a bit muddy in the bass region (less clear and detailed than the node with DSP and external DAC) but acceptable.

The app: The Cambridge's USB file management is even more basic than the Node's, and less stable (it disconnected from the USB stick several times).
Stephen,

The sorting for network shares isn't much different. The 'Album' view allows to sort by Recent, Year, Decade, Artist, Artist/Release Date, and by quality (MQA, High-res, CD). The 'Tracks' view can sort by quality only. The folder view (i.e., network shares) provides no sorting at all. So, yes, this functionality is somewhat rudimentary and leaves a lot of room for improvement. But then again, I assume the Node is designed primarily as a streaming platform, so the focus on handling local files is not that strong.

As to the DACs, I have the Node's internal DAC connected to my integrated amp along with the Topping. I never did a proper A/B testing but from just randomly switching between the two I wasn't able to tell any difference. However, when connecting my LG beamer via Bluetooth to the Node, I found that the Topping's output stutters - that's why I keep the two connected and switch between them depending on usage.
 
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liviurosioara

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Hi,

Is Amazon Music supported? Could you stream directly from the Amazon Music app (via Alexa Cast, UHD also)? Or only via the BluOS app?
 
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