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Bluesound Node Review (Streamer)

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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.
Is that really a consensus view? It seems rational that moving a switching power supply away from the audio path would potentially reduce noise. Manufacturers separate PS from audio within device cases all the time with shielding for this same reason.
 

tomasai911

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Is that really a consensus view? It seems rational that moving a switching power supply away from the audio path would potentially reduce noise. Manufacturers separate PS from audio within device cases all the time with shielding for this same reason.
I absolutely think you should get the best speakers you can afford before getting any other audiophile level equipment.

I have Tekton Lore Reference speakers and a Tekton 2-10 subwoofer and they sound amazing to my ears just using the analog outputs of a node n130.

The power amp I use is an old school class a/b 130 watts a channel Odyssey Khartago Extreme that helps with the amazing sound too.

I now have the upgrade itch and upgrade power supply would definitely be the last in my list if I would get one at all.

Just use your ears, room setup and enjoy.
 

LuvTheMusic

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Is that really a consensus view? It seems rational that moving a switching power supply away from the audio path would potentially reduce noise. Manufacturers separate PS from audio within device cases all the time with shielding for this same reason.

That's right, and I that's why I think that the consensus would be that an external PSU would be unlikely to help: the designers of the Node have already done what's needed to reduce power supply noise to an insignificant level. (This assumes that the Bluesound designers are reasonably competent, which we'll take that as a given.) If the noise is already inaudible, making it even less audible won't do much.

More specifically, I used the term "consensus" in regard to the digital signal. The likelihood of degrading the digital stream with PS noise seems really low.

Disclaimer: I'm not an EE. But I'm reporting (extrapolating, if you like) based on a *lot* of comments made by qualified people on other threads, as well as review results from Amir for multiple products, including various PS enhancements.
 

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More specifically, I used the term "consensus" in regard to the digital signal. The likelihood of degrading the digital stream with PS noise seems really low.
Of course it is. But this isn't just a streamer, it's a full DAC/preamp.
 

bkkchris

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Using the Node hooked up to an external DAC and into a power amp, both without volume controls, so using the volume control on the Node. Is there any audio degradation by using the Node's volume control, or is the volume control on the Node transparent and still passing through bit-perfect out to the external dac? I have read with the WiiM Mini/Pro that using the volume controls on those units should be avoided and instead running "fixed/full" volume control so the dsp doesn't affect sound quality.

In my case where I need volume control somewhere before the dac/amp, would I be better served with a WiiM set to "fixed/full" and then through a pre-amp with volume control like a miniDSP Flex Digital?
 
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MaxBuck

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Is that really a consensus view? It seems rational that moving a switching power supply away from the audio path would potentially reduce noise. Manufacturers separate PS from audio within device cases all the time with shielding for this same reason.
If noise is your concern, I guarantee that changing the PS won't improve anything. My Node-based system has absolutely no audible noise playing through an external DAC.

I also suspect the external DAC has no truly audible improvement, but it was cheap and I'm very happy.
 

xinvisiblex

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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?
I bought this set out of curiosity a week ago, but for the old 2i version. I burned it for 3-4 days of continuous playing with the amplifier turned off. I have to admit that I am shocked how Node is playing now. The sound is more open, airy, diverse, has more depth. Better separation, space between instruments, nothing blends, everything is more accurate. More natural and present vocals. Bass is better controlled, more diverse. Very well rendered all reverberations, rustles. It really is like jumping from 2D to 3D. A change like after buying new speakers or an amplifier. Cheapest sound upgrade of my life. I really recommend. Tested on the internal DAC with interconnects connected as a pre-out to the tube amplifier. In some time I will buy an additional linear power supply, but I did not expect such a change on a regular impulse one. There is also a review of the set by Hanz Beekhuyzen on YT
 

MaxBuck

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I bought this set out of curiosity a week ago, but for the old 2i version. I burned it for 3-4 days of continuous playing with the amplifier turned off. I have to admit that I am shocked how Node is playing now. The sound is more open, airy, diverse, has more depth. Better separation, space between instruments, nothing blends, everything is more accurate. More natural and present vocals. Bass is better controlled, more diverse.
Uh-huh.

Are you aware of where you are?
 

xinvisiblex

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Uh-huh.

Are you aware of where you are?
Yep, I don't want to be rude but I would like to point out that unlike the rest of the commenters here, curiosity took over and I decided to check it out for myself and these are my listening impressions and opinion. I strongly encourage anyone else to listen to this set and share their listening impressions.
 

Zensō

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Yep, I don't want to be rude but I would like to point out that unlike the rest of the commenters here, curiosity took over and I decided to check it out for myself and these are my listening impressions and opinion. I strongly encourage anyone else to listen to this set and share their listening impressions.
Why would anyone on Audio Science Review be interested in uncontrolled listening impressions? Instead, perhaps it would be worth your time to read this article:

 

A Cute Earring

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I bought this set out of curiosity a week ago, but for the old 2i version. I burned it for 3-4 days of continuous playing with the amplifier turned off. I have to admit that I am shocked how Node is playing now. The sound is more open, airy, diverse, has more depth. Better separation, space between instruments, nothing blends, everything is more accurate. More natural and present vocals. Bass is better controlled, more diverse. Very well rendered all reverberations, rustles. It really is like jumping from 2D to 3D. A change like after buying new speakers or an amplifier. Cheapest sound upgrade of my life. I really recommend. Tested on the internal DAC with interconnects connected as a pre-out to the tube amplifier. In some time I will buy an additional linear power supply, but I did not expect such a change on a regular impulse one. There is also a review of the set by Hanz Beekhuyzen on YT
Quite preposterous claims. Perhaps your “before” was a Victrola? What is your relationship to the maker/marketer of this miraculous power supply?
 

xinvisiblex

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Why would anyone on Audio Science Review be interested in uncontrolled listening impressions? Instead, perhaps it would be worth your time to read this article:

I understand to take a look at the charts and tables for the initial selection of the best equipment, but in the end it doesn't change anything. Everything boils down to the fact that the equipment we are interested in must be bought or rented in order to listen to it in conjunction with your music system in your room with your ears, because each set or room plays differently and everyone perceives the sound differently. My impressions were only to outline that the changes in my system were very large, not some marginal ones. Will they be the same for everyone? I have no idea. The whole set plays, not just the source, but for this amount I think it's worth a try. Thanks for the article. I read it in my free time. Sounds like an interesting book to read before bed.
Quite preposterous claims. Perhaps your “before” was a Victrola? What is your relationship to the maker/marketer of this miraculous power supply?
My only relationship with the creator is that we both come from the same country and it was an important thing that decided to buy from him. On ebay you can find interfaces sold by a UK company (Fidelity Audio) or Chinese. Buying from PD Creative was the best option for me because if I didn't hear any changes in the sound, I had the option of quickly and cheaply returning the kit and getting my money back. In the case of a purchase in the UK or Chinese, I would be doomed to higher costs related to the return of goods abroad, and longer delivery and possible return time. When buying on the spot, I had the interface at my place the next day. It was also the most attractively priced. Really, if I had a lot of money, I wouldn't bother with some crappy Node, I'd buy a Rose RS250A or Lumin D2. Encouraged by the opinions on the Audiogon forum, and for economic reasons, I decided to try the PD Creative and I was very surprised by the sound improvement. Someone asked specifically about PD Creative, which I recently purchased, so I shared my subjective impressions and that's it. That's my story. If companies such as Naim (HiCap, FlatCap) or Cyrus (PSX-R2) release external power supplies to improve the sound of their amplifiers, why shouldn't a better power supply also improve the sound in Node?
 

Rednaxela

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Someone asked specifically about PD Creative, which I recently purchased, so I shared my subjective impressions and that's it.
Fair enough.

If companies such as Naim (HiCap, FlatCap) or Cyrus (PSX-R2) release external power supplies to improve the sound of their amplifiers, why shouldn't a better power supply also improve the sound in Node?
This is lazy reasoning, sorry.
 

VintageFlanker

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If companies such as Naim (HiCap, FlatCap) or Cyrus (PSX-R2) release external power supplies to improve the sound of their amplifiers, why shouldn't a better power supply also improve the sound in Node?
Nonsensical. Anyway: whatever device that would need for an upgraded PSU is faulty by design to begin with.

Why do these companies still advertise such BS? Easy answer:
giphy (1).gif
 

xinvisiblex

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Nonsensical. Anyway: whatever device that would need for an upgraded PSU is faulty by design to begin with.

Why do these companies still advertise such BS? Easy answer:
View attachment 298797
Yep. I believe that every project is limited by the budget, so you look for savings. You can always do something better, with better components, but the price automatically goes up and the question arises who will buy it when it will be in a higher price range? Apparently, these two, specifically, companies have found a way to save on power, and then earn additionally on components that improve what they screwed up. But why the belief that everything is ok in Node and the manufacturer did everything right and there were no savings in the power section? Bluesound is NAD's sister brand. To me it's rather obvious that Bluesound is ok, but if you want better sound then buy a more expensive product like the NAD C658, also based on our intuitive BluOS.
 

xinvisiblex

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Nothing but conjecture.

You can always buy the PD Creative interface, connect it to an oscilloscope and show off the results. I don't see a problem and the discussion will be more substantive. If someone else does it for you, you'll probably say it's cheated :7
 

Rednaxela

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Depends.

Truly backing up the (your) claim that a different PSU audibly improves a system is a very difficult task.
 

A Cute Earring

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You can always buy the PD Creative interface, connect it to an oscilloscope and show off the results. I don't see a problem and the discussion will be more substantive. If someone else does it for you, you'll probably say it's cheated :7
Perhaps you could do this and post the results here. I’d appreciate seeing the improved soundstage, presence and separation of instruments shown on an oscilloscope.
 
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