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Review and Measurements of Bluesound NODE 2i Streamer

vatoman

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Feb 7, 2019
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#41
I love the concept of this unit it has seem really amazing features and does better then Sonos in this regard. I am still looking at buying my first dac and was hoping to get it all wrapped into one neat lil package. The performance doesnt seem to be there for me at least, seems I can do more with my money. I'm open to your thoughts, maybe I'll open a thread.
 

Samoyed

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#42
I loved my node 2, but ultimately, the lack of a usb output did it in. Lovely little unit, otherwise, with great sound, support and software.
 

Samoyed

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#46
This reminds me of an old joke. A man pulls down his pants as a woman waits expectantly. The woman says who are you going to please with that little thing? The man says me!

Me!
 

WondrousHippo

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#47
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 ;)
See, that's the crazy thing: not a whole lot of people have had the same degree of just constant usability issues I had with the 2i.

- I have a QNAP NAS with a music library of about 570 albums or so. It would get through 3000 songs, send a loud pop through my speakers, and then just stop without actually adding the files. (A smaller shared folder would work, though!)
- It wouldn't read a USB hard drive, either
- Bluetooth option would sometimes disappear...and restarting doesn't actually give the device a clean restart, you have to unplug for 10 seconds at least to get it starting clean and getting the Bluetooth back.
- While this is my fault for not confirming, the lack of DLNA/UPnP support is a bummer, I would've kept it if it had reliable support for that

And there are clearly issues with the optical input. And I had all these issues in a 24-hour time period!

Yamaha WXC-50 is a worthy competitor to Node2i and also cheaper. @amirm this one would be love to see measured!

https://europe.yamaha.com/en/products/audio_visual/wireless_streaming_amplifiers/wxc-50/index.html
I've been really tempted to pick up the WXC-50, but am gunshy after my Node 2i experience AND some of the reviews have been iffy on this. Not that the glowing Node 2i reviews helped me at all!
 

vatoman

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#48
Was your usb hd formatted ntfs, if so try with fat32 it should pick that up

See, that's the crazy thing: not a whole lot of people have had the same degree of just constant usability issues I had with the 2i.

- It wouldn't read a USB hard drive, either
 
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#49
I had a WXC-50 as streamer/dac/pre with Pass ACA amp. To me it sounded very harsh. Now I us TEAC UD-301 dac/pre and my phone as Tidal streamer. Sounds much better.
 

WondrousHippo

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#50
Was your usb hd formatted ntfs, if so try with fat32 it should pick that up
Indeed it was - however everything I've seen indicates that it'll work with NTFS. It is a USB3 drive, so maybe that was the issue.

I'm still tempted to pick this thing back up at some point since my experience is so wildly different, maybe it was just terrible hardware. Plus, the Bluetooth in and out with aptX HD is handy for the convenience aspects of my music setup. And I like having a player with physical buttons! But I've never had a piece of hardware leave such a bad taste in my mouth so quickly.
 
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Music1969

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#52
I was surprised how many support Google Assistant, didn't realize that was a thing yet.
Thanks. Looks like Denon & Marantz (same group) are all in with Google Assistant (via HEOS I think).

Once I find one that supports Chromecast Built-In (with Airplay 2 and Spotify Connect) I’ll ping you.
 

vitalii427

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#53
Thank you, Amir. I was waited for this review. Measurements a bit disappointing. I’m still looking for budget network streamer with a decent DAC and good connectivity.

I have WXC-50, but using its optical out. It would be really interesting to see its DAC performance.
 
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Feb 10, 2019
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#54
I too have had problems with the Node 2i alongside some other Bluesound speakers (pulse mini 2i).

It is currently Uncertified by Roon because it is not working well with it. Please note I used it wirelessly in a very good quality home network (flagship router) and at 10ft unobstructed distance from router. These are the problems I encountered (also reported in the Roon forums as well as in the Bluesound forums):
- Syncing with other Roon endpoints does not work. Bluesound has acknowledged this 14 months ago but bug is still pending. Node 2 is certified despite also suffering from the same sync bug.
- Playback via Roon suffers with a 4-7 second chopping of the song after playback starts. Roon forums discuss this and Bluesound indicated it has something to do with the 'standby' of the unit.
- Disappearing units from network. This happens daily where the Node 2i and pulse 2i would just disappear from the app / network. It would take a few minutes to an hour for them to come back or alternatively a hard reboot.
- Sluggish / slow responding grouping. This is via the BlueOS app.
- Bluetooth is supper buggy. It activates on its own and switches at random times. Problem is reported in the Bluesound forums and pending for a fix.
- Setting up network shares is very cumbersome and buggy. I ended up engaging Bluesound support to get it working and in the end it still failed (could not index 40% of my library)
- Optical input tends to auto switch for no apparent reason when setting the auto-detect to on.

The digital out to a good dac sounds great but then so does the digital out of a Sonos connect (for anything up to lossless FLAC, AIFF etc).

My experience is that the Bluesound problems become a lot more pronounced once used alongside other units (e.g. Pulse mini 2i) as a multiroom setup. Roon usage is definitely buggy and hence they have not yet obtained certification. I purchased and returned twice over a period of a year. I wanted it to work but I could not manage it. Bluesound support was responsive but ultimately ineffective.
 

D700

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#55
I too have had problems with the Node 2i alongside some other Bluesound speakers (pulse mini 2i).
- Playback via Roon suffers with a 4-7 second chopping of the song after playback starts. Roon forums discuss this and Bluesound indicated it has something to do with the 'standby' of the unit.
...
- Setting up network shares is very cumbersome and buggy. I ended up engaging Bluesound support to get it working and in the end it still failed (could not index 40% of my library)
Ugh...this is the kind of crap that still has me buying CD player and new CDs in 2019. I have yet to see something that "just works" in the under $1000 streaming space for hi res music. This space has never really gotten past SlimDevices Squeezebox from a quality/convenience perspective. From what I've been reading, my money is on Yamaha's next version of WXC-50 to come close....

Say what you will, CDs are enjoying the long tail of their product quality curve.
 

Music1969

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#56
Hi @D700

I asked Denon about if Chromecast is planned for the Denon and Marantz products (which already support Google Assistant).

They said not at the moment but they flagged it with the Feature Request team.

Will update here if I get an update.
 

jtwrace

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#57
Here you go Amir!

bluesound.jpg
 

Samoyed

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#59
App is about the same. Roon is fantastic. The sound with my Nuprime Evolution DAC is amazing. The built in DAC is good, but lacks detail.
 
Joined
Feb 12, 2019
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#60
Here is the performance of Bluesound Node 2i feeding a Topping D30 DAC via coax S/PDIF:
...
As you see performance is much improved.
Those of you wanting the Topping D30 coax SINAD, you have that one there. :)
Good to see coax S/PDIF output is good. I am using both S/PDIF outputs on the 2i to two different external DACs. How is Toslink-out performance to an external DAC (specifically, I have the optical S/PDIF going to an RME ADI-2 DAC). Just wondering if optical in and out is compromised.

Thanks for all the reviews and measurements.
 
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