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Bluesound Powernode Edge Streaming Amp Review

Rate this streaming amplifier:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 10 8.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 56 48.3%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 44 37.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 6 5.2%

  • Total voters
    116

PeteL

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To the best of my knowledge, SMSL and Sabaj belong to the same company so there is no plagiarism. In the automotive world it happens all the time to have cars of different sub-brands that share identical platform and engines.
Did not know that, thanks.
May I ask where this knowledge come from? At the bottom of their respective website they refer to different corporate entities.
Sabaj: SHENZHEN DAHAO TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD
SMSL: Foshan Shuangmusanlin technology Co., Ltd.

That said, it can also be an OEM design that anybody can purchase.
 
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GiBo61

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To the best of my knowledge, SMSL and Sabaj belong to the same company so there is no plagi. In the automotive world it happens all the time to have cars of different sub-brands that share identical platform and engines.
Wiim Mini + Sabaj A30a (SMSL VMV A2 re-badge) would be a hugely higher-performing AX5689 streaming setup, for $50 less.


Yes correct, but now knowing this, makes the performance quite disappointing vs. other implementations. See above.
I have a Wiim Mini + Sabaj A30a, it's a very good sounding combo connected to my Elac Velas BS403.
 

Apesbrain

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Wiim Mini + Sabaj A30a (SMSL VMV A2 re-badge) would be a hugely higher-performing AX5689 streaming setup, for $50 less.
No doubt that's a worthy alternative, but the Bluesound has the potential benefit of being both a server and a streamer (as does Sonos). That eliminates the need to be running a PC in order to play your local music collection (if you have one). Just plug your external drive into the Edge, or even better, into the file server USB port on your router.
 

Veri

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Did not know that, thanks.
May I ask where this knowledge come from? At the bottom of their respective website they refer to different corporate entities.
Sabaj: SHENZHEN DAHAO TECHNOLOGY CO.,LTD
SMSL: Foshan Shuangmusanlin technology Co., Ltd.

That said, it can also be an OEM design that anybody can purchase.
SMSL is the umbrella company for VMV, Loxjie, Sabaj and probably some others I can't quite think of.

Hifi-express is their 'official' storefront.
 

doodlebro

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Nice to see this perform a little better than the Powernode, doubt my ears will tell any difference. When it arrives, I will use this review model with a pair of KEF eggs.

Jumped deep into Bluesound territory this year and I'm glad I did, current inventory is:
  • Node 2 (garage)
  • Pulse Mini 2i (second office)
  • 2 Flex 2i's (kitchen, bathroom)
  • Hub
  • Powernode (theater surrounds)
  • Powernode Edge (master bedroom)
Airplay isn't buggy like Sonos was, everything has native hi-res support, and multi-room is incredible. The BluOS API is very powerful for its simplicity and integrates well with home automation systems.
 
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GiBo61

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MacCali

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Been a while and I maybe wrong, besides power this is similar to the Allo volt+ D from way back lol but that only cost me 100
 

PeteL

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Been a while and I maybe wrong, besides power this is similar to the Allo volt+ D from way back lol but that only cost me 100
Your comment is a bit hard to read. I apologize if english is not your first language and wouldn't judge you for trying. May be wrong about what? I am understanding that you are comparing a low cost power amp to a All in one Network streamer Streamer/DAC/Amp, but maybe I do not understand your point.
 

MacCali

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Your comment is a bit hard to read. I apologize if english is not your first language and wouldn't judge you for trying. May be wrong about what? I am understanding that you are comparing a low cost power amp to a All in one Network streamer Streamer/DAC/Amp, but maybe I do not understand your point.
Yes amp wise, also if you purchased the Allo boss 2 or whichever one it was Amir reviewed you would get similar performance for under half the cost minus UI

I maybe wrong about comparable measurements.
 

PeteL

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Yes amp wise, also if you purchased the Allo boss 2 or whichever one it was Amir reviewed you would get similar performance for under half the cost minus UI

I maybe wrong about comparable measurements.
Yes, appear fair that it's about the same range of amplification than what you refer too. The Bluesound Node, which is essentially this without amplification, is only 100$ less than this Power node Edge. It suggest a very low cost Amp section.
Edit, I didn't watch well. The Node is 600$ This is 649$ You pay 49$ to get the amplifier.
 
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ivayvr

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I mentioned this a few times already on other threads reviewing Bluesound equipment: People complain about the price of their equipment, comparing it to DIY multi box solutions. Nobody takes into consideration the Blue Os that is built in and included in the price. It is constantly being updated and improved and you never pay a penny for it.
At the same time we (I recluse myself from we), are perfectly fine with Roon charging $829.99 for the life time subscription! I couldn't care less for their curating efforts! If the DSP portion would be available for one time purchase for $50.00 I would definitely consider it. For their (Roon's) annual program charged monthly at $ 12.49 you can get a high res service with a very reasonable curating and suggestions that are usually very meaningful. I am talking Qobuz here. I believe that they currently offer a two month free trial. If that promotion expired, you can definitely have it free for one month. I am in no way affiliated with Qobuz.
About the Bluesond in general, there is a wide selection of the comparative equipment with much better specifications. I am unaware of a single unit that is close to the price of the Bluesound, with such a variety of connectivity options and an app that is anywhere near to the Blue Os.
 

PeteL

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I mentioned this a few times already on other threads reviewing Bluesound equipment: People complain about the price of their equipment, comparing it to DIY multi box solutions. Nobody takes into consideration the Blue Os that is built in and included in the price. It is constantly being updated and improved and you never pay a penny for it.
At the same time we (I recluse myself from we), are perfectly fine with Roon charging $829.99 for the life time subscription! I couldn't care less for their curating efforts! If the DSP portion would be available for one time purchase for $50.00 I would definitely consider it. For their (Roon's) annual program charged monthly at $ 12.49 you can get a high res service with a very reasonable curating and suggestions that are usually very meaningful. I am talking Qobuz here. I believe that they currently offer a two month free trial. If that promotion expired, you can definitely have it free for one month. I am in no way affiliated with Qobuz.
About the Bluesond in general, there is a wide selection of the comparative equipment with much better specifications. I am unaware of a single unit that is close to the price of the Bluesound, with such a variety of connectivity options and an app that is anywhere near to the Blue Os.
Yes I don't know about others, but I can tell you that my 2014 first gen Node is still accepting all firmware and software updates, Is fully supported and function as new. To me that's gold.
 

ASR fan

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Thanks for this review. I bought a unit after reading this, and it sounds great. It is powering at set of Dali Rubicon 8s in my living room.

In my opinion this combo disrupts my previous system (Dali Rubicon 6C) for stereo use. Because you get very similar features and probably less total harmonic distortion, as well as less dynamic compression for about the same or less total system price.

dalrubicon6cwlnt2__36156.jpg
dalrubicon8wn__10183.jpg
2x Dali Rubicon 6C = USD 10,000
1x sound hub + BluOS module + HDMI = USD 2,050
Total: 12,050

OR

2x Dali Rubicon 6C = USD 10,000
1x sound hub compact (no BluOS) = USD 450
Total: 10,450
2x Dali Rubicon 8 = USD 10,000
1x Powernode Edge = USD 650
Total: 10,650
Amplifier
THD+N = around 0.002% at 1kHz, 1W into 4ohm (upto 0.005% at other frequencies).

Loudspeaker
THD = unknown, but Rubicon 2 had its highest distortion below 800hz. The additional woofer in Rubicon 6 happens to cross over at 800hz.
Based on a design with 88.5dB (2.83V/1m) sensitivity
System frequency range: 37-30,000hz

Maximum SPL = 110dB (manufacturer's number)
Amplifier
THD+N = below 0.004% at 1kHz, 1W into 4ohm.

Loudspeaker
THD = unknown, but must be lower than Rubicon 6 at lower frequencies and higher volumes. Still much higher than the powernode at 1W I assume.
Sensitivity: 90.5dB (2.83V/1m)
Nominal Impedance 4 ohms (measured 4.1-19ohms, 10hz-50khz)
Frequency Range: 38-34,000hz (however the powernode is -3dB down at 30khz)

Maximum SPL = 107dB (my assumption based on 1x50W from powernode edge)

Due to the digital crossover, the C-series needs two amplifiers, and one power supply in each cabinet. I guess the amplifiers also need to be +200W to accommodate for scenarios where the loudspeakers are used outside or similar. This drives up cost. However as I am using the Rubicons in a small room, the powernode offers more power than I will ever need.

I wish the economics stacked up better for Dali. Because at least in theory, digital crossovers should always be superior. Especially if done for all drivers (unlike the 6C and 8C which are both hybrids). Would have loved to see it offered properly with the Dali Kore and Epikore loudspeakers just as a statement.

If I ever get the Epikore 11s, why not power them with the Powernode Edge? :D
 

doodlebro

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Worth noting that this unit died almost immediately after arriving from Amir's tests (not his fault). I plugged it in, lights came on for sometime, walked away to grab speaker cables, and no lights. Seems the power supply has failed. The Audio Factory (One of Lenbrook America's outlets) has a 1-yr warranty on refurbished equipment so it is being replaced.
 

Puddingbuks

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I am curious how the original powernode with full digital/pwm design would perform.
 

nick-v

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I'm going to put a little system together with the Powernode Edge and JBL Studio 6 8IW (1"compression driver - HDI Waveguide, 8" woofer, in-wall speakers).
studio-8IW-824x570.jpg

They play down to 43Hz, rated at 6 Ohms and a sensitivity of 93dB. I use Roon, so I'll be able to take measurements with REW and my Umik 2 and generate convolution filters and load them into Roon.
 
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Timcognito

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I'm going to put a little system together with the Powernode Edge and JBL Studio 6 8IW (1"compression driver - HDI Waveguide, 8" woofer, in-wall speakers).
View attachment 310459
They play down to 43Hz, rated at 6 Ohms and a sensitivity of 93dB. I use Roon, so I'll be able to take measurements with REW and my Umik 2 and generate convolution filters and load them into Roon.
Cool send one to Amir first. Many are interested in In-Wall speakers
 

unexperienced

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Thanks for this review. I bought a unit after reading this, and it sounds great. It is powering at set of Dali Rubicon 8s in my living room.

In my opinion this combo disrupts my previous system (Dali Rubicon 6C) for stereo use. Because you get very similar features and probably less total harmonic distortion, as well as less dynamic compression for about the same or less total system price.

View attachment 305533View attachment 305534
2x Dali Rubicon 6C = USD 10,000
1x sound hub + BluOS module + HDMI = USD 2,050
Total: 12,050

OR

2x Dali Rubicon 6C = USD 10,000
1x sound hub compact (no BluOS) = USD 450
Total: 10,450
2x Dali Rubicon 8 = USD 10,000
1x Powernode Edge = USD 650
Total: 10,650
Amplifier
THD+N = around 0.002% at 1kHz, 1W into 4ohm (upto 0.005% at other frequencies).

Loudspeaker
THD = unknown, but Rubicon 2 had its highest distortion below 800hz. The additional woofer in Rubicon 6 happens to cross over at 800hz.
Based on a design with 88.5dB (2.83V/1m) sensitivity
System frequency range: 37-30,000hz

Maximum SPL = 110dB (manufacturer's number)
Amplifier
THD+N = below 0.004% at 1kHz, 1W into 4ohm.

Loudspeaker
THD = unknown, but must be lower than Rubicon 6 at lower frequencies and higher volumes. Still much higher than the powernode at 1W I assume.
Sensitivity: 90.5dB (2.83V/1m)
Nominal Impedance 4 ohms (measured 4.1-19ohms, 10hz-50khz)
Frequency Range: 38-34,000hz (however the powernode is -3dB down at 30khz)

Maximum SPL = 107dB (my assumption based on 1x50W from powernode edge)

Due to the digital crossover, the C-series needs two amplifiers, and one power supply in each cabinet. I guess the amplifiers also need to be +200W to accommodate for scenarios where the loudspeakers are used outside or similar. This drives up cost. However as I am using the Rubicons in a small room, the powernode offers more power than I will ever need.

I wish the economics stacked up better for Dali. Because at least in theory, digital crossovers should always be superior. Especially if done for all drivers (unlike the 6C and 8C which are both hybrids). Would have loved to see it offered properly with the Dali Kore and Epikore loudspeakers just as a statement.

If I ever get the Epikore 11s, why not power them with the Powernode Edge? :D

I bought this thing. The first impression after warming up. Why I paid such a lot of money for in my previous NAD M33 amplifier compared to EDGE. When used only as a player for Tidal.
 

fcracer

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Something that is often forgotten quickly after the initial setup is the plethora of free music that BluOS taps into. I’ve been using the TuneIn, Radio Paradise and local radio a lot on my M33 and C3050LE. A chill station on TuneIn puts me to sleep every night. It’s a great user experience from BluOS.
 

unexperienced

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Yes, many people who have never used the Bluos ecosystem and they don't know that it has a built-in Radio Paradise in high quality and completely free. I also use this radio and others and also Qobuz. And also, for example, you can take two devices such as Powernode Edge and combining them into a stereo pair thanks to Bluos, you can organize, for example, biamping. Use the left channel of one device to send a signal to the woofer and the right channel to tweeter on one speaker, and do the same with another device on the other. The bass and treble levels can be adjusted by the balance on each channel, and the overall volume can then be adjusted after pairing. In this case, it is possible to pump each speaker system with the full power of one device. And it will still be much cheaper than the same NAD M33. I am very surprised by the Powernode Edge sound quality. It feels like I haven't changed anything and I still have my NAD M33, which I recently sold for this reason. By the way, they are in the measurement table very close to each other. NAD M33's Sinad is only on 4 points higher in total.
 
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