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Review and Measurements of Bluesound NODE 2i Streamer

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#21
... I suppose What Hi-fi reviews are nothing revelant and obviously VERY biased.

About customers reviews: I guess 88db SINAD is OK for most casual listeners.
.004% THD+N (which is what this is, roughly) is probably more than okay for just about every conceivable situation. Helpful: https://kenrockwell.com/audio/why-cds-sound-great.htm.

Now, there could be other aspects of the product that just don't perform, but they unfortunately were not tested in this review (apart from the Toslink problem, which is clearly significant). An inaccurate conflation of THD+N and dynamic range was also made in this review. It is not clear at all that the product is not capable of producing the dynamic range of a CD. Based on what is presented, it is only true that it is not capable of producing the full potential dynamic range of a CD without introducing a miniscule amount of distortion at 1kHz. Beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. There just wasn't a lot of technical data presented here, unfortunately. My guess is that time with this product was just too short for that.
 
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restorer-john

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#22
I have been asked about pure noise level before. That pops out of this test too so here it is:
What's the bandwidth of that noise value? For a D/A converter, that is dreadful, unless its all ultrasonic/out of band.
 

amirm

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#23
What's the bandwidth of that noise value? For a D/A converter, that is dreadful, unless its all ultrasonic/out of band.
22 kHz I believe. Again, note that these are post signal processing so would need to be confirmed if we get a working Toslink.
 

Music1969

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#26
Sharing for anyone interested, this is data I collected, couldn't find a comparison anywhere. The Node 2i stacks up well for features I want...except for lack of Pandora...got to think they'll add that at some point. Kind of silly not to have it. Denon and Marantz are only ones with displays though, what's up with that? Would have to imagine Sonos and Yamaha will catchup in the next iteration.

View attachment 21534
Nice table.

Could you add one more row - Chromecast.

I'm still looking for an Airplay 2 + Spotify Connect + Chromecast streamer. I don't know if one yet exists.

Bluesound did express interest in Chromecast a couple years ago but it hasn't popped up yet in any of their products - I was hoping the Node 2i would be the first to support 'the big 3'.

The Denon DNP800 supports Spotify Connect and Airplay but also supports "Google Assistant". From the Denon's website:

"Google Assistant
Ask your Google Home, Google app or other devices with Google Assistant built-in to control content across your listening environment. Start music in the HEOS app, then ask your Google Assistant to control volume, play, pause, skip tracks and more. ‘Works with the Google Assistant’ feature is always improving — further enhancements arrive in 2019."

I would expect that Chromecast should be supported if Google Assistant is, but can't find info. Maybe that's one of the updates they mention above.

I might ask Denon.
 
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Dogen

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#27
Sharing for anyone interested, this is data I collected, couldn't find a comparison anywhere. The Node 2i stacks up well for features I want...except for lack of Pandora...got to think they'll add that at some point. Kind of silly not to have it. Denon and Marantz are only ones with displays though, what's up with that? Would have to imagine Sonos and Yamaha will catchup in the next iteration.

View attachment 21534
That’s an awesome chart! Thanks for putting in the effort.
 

D700

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#28
Nice table.

Could you add one more row - Chromecast.
Sure, had a few other changes requested, I will update and repost in the morning. I probably should start a new thread for it. I just found out my tried and true old Squeezebox 3 supports Tidal now, still processing that and will add to the list.
 

amirm

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#30
Here is the performance of Bluesound Node 2i feeding a Topping D30 DAC via coax S/PDIF:

Bluesound Node 2i Topping D30 Measurements.png


As you see performance is much improved.

Those of you wanting the Topping D30 coax SINAD, you have that one there. :)
 

WondrousHippo

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#31
Is it DLNA/UPnP compliant? Thinking you could in theory get some mileage testing in a closed loop with the AP through the JRiver ASIO input out to the UPnP renderer, if such a redirect possible in JRiver (I haven't tried). In a similar fashion you can probably use JRiver instead of ASIO4ALL for DACs that don't come with ASIO drivers.
It isn't!

NOBODY BUY THIS THING. It is incredibly buggy - I had issues with it seeing my NAS, Bluetooth input would disappear, loud pops through my speakers when searching for music - and obviously the sound quality isn't worth it.

I just wish that I had not as many issues with Raspberri Pi as I do, because otherwise that's the way to go as far as a streamer goes.
 

miero

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#32

soundwave76

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#33
Thanks for the review. I am using the Node2i to feed digital DSP Genelec 8340s via coax out. I use the BluOs app to play Tidal and TV is connected via optical. I am glad to see that coax out SINAD seems to be quite good.
 

Music1969

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#34
There is one USB port on the back side.
...
but

Source: https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/community/posts/360008061173-Node-2

Which is FAIL because the box runs Linux and it should not be a problem to enable audio output on the USB...
Hi, yes I know a Node 2 can't be connected to the USB input of a USB DAC...

You said: "I think several people are using this as an USB streamer for connecting an USB DAC."

Just pointing out that's not possible and it's not possible for Amir to connect it to the USB input of a USB DAC for measurements.
 

Nango

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#35
So many times I have been told "try the Bluenode stuff....." as it was awesome sound, best I heard and blablabla ..... and now this..... Nightmare!!!!!
 

L0rdGwyn

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#37
I own the Bluesound NODE 2 (not 2i). For budget-oriented audiophiles, like myself, it is an excellent product. Amir, I know the focus of the review is performance, but the strongest aspect of this product is its convenience. Great functionality on the mobile app, windows app, frequent firmware updates, ability to stream from just about any service, and convenience of streaming your music library from a NAS server and controlling it from your cell phone.

FWIW, I compared the NODE DAC to my Topping D50 to see if there was any appreciable qualitative listening difference. Put the NODE on one line-in (87 SINDAD) and D50 on another (109 SINAD), gain matched on the D50 (subjectively), and had my significant other switch between inputs and playing the same source material simultaneously on both DACs one streamed to the NODE via my Synology NAS, the other to the D50 via Foobar2000 w/ ASIO. I did the same for her. Neither of us are trained listeners, my system is not ultra high-end, and obviously it was a crude blind test, but neither of us heard any difference.

I can't speak to the broken Toslink implementation, as I do not use it, but for my use case, I love it.

My system:
NHT C3 three-way bookshelves
SVS SB-1000 sub
Rogue Audio Sphinx V2 amp

It isn't!

NOBODY BUY THIS THING. It is incredibly buggy - I had issues with it seeing my NAS, Bluetooth input would disappear, loud pops through my speakers when searching for music - and obviously the sound quality isn't worth it.

I just wish that I had not as many issues with Raspberri Pi as I do, because otherwise that's the way to go as far as a streamer goes.
Maybe this issue is related to the 2i rather than the 2, but I have had no problems with mine whatsoever. Worth noting I bought mine from Spearit Sound at a discount (display unit) before the owner retired ;)
 
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soundwave76

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#38
^ I second this. In addition to Node2i I also have two Flex2i small speakers - one in the kitchen and one in another floor. Very handy with preset buttons, where I have a local radio in one and Tidal playlists in others. Also the capability to switch and group different devices to multiroom sound system works great.
 

Arnandsway

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#39
Let me be the third person to confirm the Node 2 (non-i) is a great unit in terms of functionality. It supports almost all connecting methods all capsulated in one package. The apps work great as well. Sound quality wise, I think it's fine.
 
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