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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

Timcognito

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They do so far and there are frequent updates, but don't have experience with the X. I bought a used original Node for cheap and it plays perfectly in my garage/shop system. For many rooms the Bluesound devices are not the best value but the fact that it is been around for while has meant many bugs are fixed. UI is aging without many updates unlike the hardware which gets updated every few months.
 

PortableMusic

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@Timcognito: thanks for your reply. at least i think you're replying to my question.

however, my question was IF different generations of Nodes would play and SYNC together so when one plays music in more than one room/system, they all play the same music and the music is sync'd? One of any Node's features is that it is able to sync with other Nodes and play music "whole house" in a sync'd fashion. BUT, there's no mention on whether different generations/models of Nodes would be able to sync properly.

would different generations of Nodes not play well with each other?

also: "...unlike the hardware which gets updated every few months"
what does that mean? was it a typo please and you mean their SOFTware gets updated every few months? hardware can't get updated, right?

thanks!
 
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enricoclaudio

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@Timcognito: thanks for your reply. at least i think you're replying to my question.

however, my question was IF different generations of Nodes would play and SYNC together so when one plays music in more than one room/system, they all play the same music and the music is sync'd?

would different generations of Nodes not play well with each other?

also: "...unlike the hardware which gets updated every few months"
what does that mean? was it a typo please and you mean their SOFTware gets updated every few months? hardware can't get updated, right?

thanks!
No matter the generation, they all play together even if they are not the same model. Like Original Node with Power NODE 2i and NODE X. This also applies to Roon Multizone Playback as all of them are Roon Ready.
 

Timcognito

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mine are several rooms apart and two closest are floor apart so not the perfect situation for testing. when I stand at the top of the stairs equal distant from each of the two best systems I can't hear any delays. Sorry thought you were talking among the generations.

Post your questions here, has been a great resource.
 

PortableMusic

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Timcognito

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was it a typo please and you mean their SOFTware gets updated every few months? hardware can't get updated, right?
Sorry should have said the firmware gets updated often but the UI is very functional but stagnate. If you go to the feature requests (in the link I gave above) there are many unanswered simple requests that other companies are offering in their UI's that never get updated. Example since 2017 many have asked for delete song after playing in play queue feature is constantly ignored and many other simple changes get the same treatment. WiiM customers have seen multiple UI updates
 

bubba zanetti

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I wanted to share a fix I found to the commonly reported issues when connecting the Node to an external DAC (Topping E50) via USB where MQA output is unstable. I had the usual issues, MQA playback was glitchy, switching between MQA, PCM, different sampling rates, and experiencing continual dropouts. After trying all the suggested fixes (resets, reboots, firmware updates, cable swaps, etc.) on both devices, I decided to remove the wired internet connection and connect via WiFi. Viola! Unit streams perfectly to the Topping through the USB out and the Topping does all the decoding. Zero issues now in 8-10 hrs of listeing. Maybe this will work for others, I haven't seen this as a listed remedy anywhere else.
 

VintageFlanker

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You will a little longer.

NODE X arrived a couple of days ago. Don't expect the measurements to come within good week (minimum). This one will be done as a two parts review, along with the Bluesound HUB.

PXL_20230604_142039915.NIGHT~2.jpg
 
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tomasai911

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While waiting patiently for a node X review, I have been looking at the Nad C700 streaming amp.
Was not really interested in this product as I already have a great power amp (Odyssey Khartago Extreme) and though it was an overpriced node with a nice screen.

Well...I looked at the internal dac specs and it looks to be running an ES9010 chip which is very similar to what's in the new node X and I am starting to like the idea
of having a big screen front end even though I will probably use Tidal Connect 99% of the time.

Does anyone have experience with the Nad C700 because it looks like I could use it as streaming dac preamp, which is basically how I run my node n130 now.
And yes, I am starting to really like the idea of seeing that big screen from 9 feet away and changing the volume without using my iphone or remote.

Yes old school but I love how the node already connects with my system and really just want a better dac which is in the node X.

Any thoughts beside the fact that the C700 is over twice the price of the node/node x ??
 

Timcognito

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I run my three Bluseound devices on nice big 10" tablet and 17" laptop. In my best system I use a node with a Topping E30 DAC, from which I hear a slight improvement in clarity. Maybe try something like that first, less expensive and quick.
 

tomasai911

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I run my three Bluseound devices on nice big 10" tablet and 17" laptop. In my best system I use a node with a Topping E30 DAC, from which I hear a slight improvement in clarity. Maybe try something like that first, less expensive and quick.
Yes, definitely could run thru external dac from node but I really like a single box streamer/dac/preamp which node does great.
The bluesound os is great and Tidal Connect is the icing on the cake for me.
So having a single digital box is ideally what I am looking for in order to upgrade from my node n130.

Right today, I have at least 3 good choices so far:
- node X (~$750)
- eversolo DMP-A6 (~$900)
- nad C700 (~$1500)

All are great single box streamer/dac/preamp solutions that fully exploit the digital to analog domain with great software and good enough audiophile quality sound.
 

Timcognito

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Yes, definitely could run thru external dac from node but I really like a single box streamer/dac/preamp which node does great.
The bluesound os is great and Tidal Connect is the icing on the cake for me.
So having a single digital box is ideally what I am looking for in order to upgrade from my node n130.

Right today, I have at least 3 good choices so far:
- node X (~$750)
- eversolo DMP-A6 (~$900)
- nad C700 (~$1500)

All are great single box streamer/dac/preamp solutions that fully exploit the digital to analog domain with great software and good enough audiophile quality sound.
I'm a fan of this if you want one box 120, w/ch with DSP for the same price.
"Chromecast Built-in, Apple AirPlay, and a headphone output, the SHD Power includes features not normally found in a budget integrated amplifier-DAC: Roon Ready network streaming capability, parametric equalization, Dirac Live room correction, and adjustable high-pass/low-pass crossover filters. The SHD Power also runs the open-source Volumio music player, which is accessed through a web-based interface and supports Tidal, Qobuz, HighResAudio, Spotify (via a plugin), and internet radio. Considering its reasonable price, the SHD Power is remarkably fully featured."
 

tomasai911

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I'm a fan of this if you want one box 120, w/ch with DSP for the same price.
"Chromecast Built-in, Apple AirPlay, and a headphone output, the SHD Power includes features not normally found in a budget integrated amplifier-DAC: Roon Ready network streaming capability, parametric equalization, Dirac Live room correction, and adjustable high-pass/low-pass crossover filters. The SHD Power also runs the open-source Volumio music player, which is accessed through a web-based interface and supports Tidal, Qobuz, HighResAudio, Spotify (via a plugin), and internet radio. Considering its reasonable price, the SHD Power is remarkably fully featured."
I looked at minidsp and while I think it is great for room correction, I am more picky for the software integration for how I would use a streamer day to day.
It took me quite a few years before I got the node 2021 with Tidal Connect which I absolutely think is the main way streamers should be connected to another device with streaming over the internet instead of directly from your mobile device which mainly can act as a your streaming control center.

I should probably give Roon a try but Bluesound Node/Tidal Connect/AppleTV meets my audio/video streaming needs for now.

So from a price point of view, node X has the inside lead but the C700 is growing on me and I am not in a hurry to upgrade yet.
The smart thing maybe to wait for next year when I am sure a node 2024/n140/n200 upgrade will come out which hopefully will be a C700 without the power amp section
and with an ES9028 dac for a price around $1000. If they did this, I would buy it in less than a heartbeat!!
 

JoetheLion

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My Node X arrived today! I was mainly interested in the quality of the headphone output, because I wanted to replace a streamer-DAC-headphone combination with it - and am very fond of BluOS. As headphones I have the Focal Clear, and Sennheiser HD 800S in addition just here to try.

First impressions of the headphone output:
  • qualitatively no audible difference from my Lake People G 111 and SMSL SH 9. Better than Loxjie A30 and Matrix Mini I 3 pro (the only comparison I have from memory)
  • able to play the Clear louder than is healthy,
  • able to play the 800S louder than is healthy in the long run,
  • and best of all, it remembers the volume of the headphone output, which can be controlled separately. I don't know if this was already the case with the Node 2i, because I never tried the headphone output there.
With the Sennheiser, you might feel that the power is not enough if you really want to listen very loud. However, since those headphones don't appeal to me and I'll be sticking with my beloved Clear, the Node X seems perfect for me as an all-in-one headphone listening device. Not quite cheap, but as a replacement for three devices and the possibility of using it for more from my point of view okay.

So much for a first impression. I am curious about Amir's or VintageFlanker's measurements.
 
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Lau

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Hello gents!
I just stumbled across this PSU upgrade: https://pd-cf.com/produkt/bluesound-node-2021-gen-3-upgrade-smpsu-kit/
It sounds like the upgrade i wel worth it when reading the reviews... but some of the happy customers are using an external DAC. So they claim to hear a noticeable difference on the digital signal from the node due to an improved PSU. Does that make any sense? I can't come up with a reason why it would be the case.
And if those guys are just being tricked by psychoacoustics... then I guess the validity of any of the reviews are questionable.

And therefore I ask here on ASR. Will the Node 130 or 131 benefit greatly from an improved PSU when using the analogue out to feed a good class D power amp?
 

Purité Audio

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Amir suggests a better external dac ‘may’ be an improvement, I don’t believe an external power supply will make the slightest difference.
Keith
 

tomasai911

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Amir suggests a better external dac ‘may’ be an improvement, I don’t believe an external power supply will make the slightest difference.
Keith
I agree in principal: do you get actual sound improvement that you can hear or are you already convinced that you are hearing a sound improvement??
If price is not a major concern and you know how to install said PSU, then by all means do it but...I too doubt you will hear a difference.

Probably put the price of a psu upgrade to an external dac or upgrade to node X
 
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No matter the generation, they all play together even if they are not the same model. Like Original Node with Power NODE 2i and NODE X. This also applies to Roon Multizone Playback as all of them are Roon Ready.
Yep and not only Node / Bluesound devices, any device running BluOS will sync this way. That includes NAD devices and integrated BluOS speakers like the Dali Callisto and PSB Alpha iQ. There are a few other brands making BluOS integrated products as well.
 

LuvTheMusic

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Hello gents!
I just stumbled across this PSU upgrade: https://pd-cf.com/produkt/bluesound-node-2021-gen-3-upgrade-smpsu-kit/
It sounds like the upgrade i wel worth it when reading the reviews... but some of the happy customers are using an external DAC. So they claim to hear a noticeable difference on the digital signal from the node due to an improved PSU. Does that make any sense? I can't come up with a reason why it would be the case.
And if those guys are just being tricked by psychoacoustics... then I guess the validity of any of the reviews are questionable.

And therefore I ask here on ASR. Will the Node 130 or 131 benefit greatly from an improved PSU when using the analogue out to feed a good class D power amp?
It's safe to say that the consensus view at ASR would be no benefit from an external power supply.

In fact, most ASR folks would say that this is the case even when using the internal DAC (and outputting an analog signal), much less when simply outputting a digital signal to an external DAC.
 
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