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Review and Measurements of Bluesound NODE 2i Streamer

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#81
Hi Gus -- my claim about the Toslink possibly being defective on the Node 2i comes from ASR's own review of the Node. Amir found that the SINAD was considerably worse, quite terrible in fact, when using the Toslink. ... .
I may have read that part of the review wrong, but I think he was referring to measuring the mini-Toslink-input and saying that part was potentially defective. Maybe @amirm can clear that up?

Cheers
Gus
 
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#82
I may have read that part of the review wrong, but I think he was referring to measuring the mini-Toslink-input and saying that part was potentially defective. Maybe @amirm can clear that up?

Cheers
Gus
Ah, I believe you are correct that the problem is the mini-Toslink input, not the Toslink out, now having read Amir's review more carefully.

Apologies for the confusion!
 
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#83
Ah, I believe you are correct that the problem is the mini-Toslink input, not the Toslink out, now having read Amir's review more carefully.

Apologies for the confusion!
Oh, no problem. I was just checking to see if there was any news to confirm my subjective bias towards the coax-out.

Cheers
 
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#84
Oh, no problem. I was just checking to see if there was any news to confirm my subjective bias towards the coax-out.

Cheers

I've had both the Node 2 and Node 2i for a couple of years now. I've used only the coax out on them both primarily, and I've never heard any thing audibly wrong with any of them. I currently have the Coax output split to two different dacs, a Schiit Gungnir Multibit for my Parasound amp, and the Schiit Modi 3 to my Beyerdynamic headphone amp.

bluenode2config.JPG
 
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#85
I've had both the Node 2 and Node 2i for a couple of years now. I've used only the coax out on them both primarily, and I've never heard any thing audibly wrong with any of them. I currently have the Coax output split to two different dacs, a Schiit Gungnir Multibit for my Parasound amp, and the Schiit Modi 3 to my Beyerdynamic headphone amp.

View attachment 33139
And how does it sound?
 
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#86
Great review and comments! Regarding connection to an outboard DAC: I read here that using the coax connector, one CANNOT transfer files at a full bit rate above 24bit/96 kHz? Wondering if my information is correct and if others have had success with transferring files with bit rates like 24 bit/192 kHz, or higher?
 
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#87
Great review and comments! Regarding connection to an outboard DAC: I read here that using the coax connector, one CANNOT transfer files at a full bit rate above 24bit/96 kHz? Wondering if my information is correct and if others have had success with transferring files with bit rates like 24 bit/192 kHz, or higher?
I've never heard of such a limitation with the digital coax connection. Did you mean the toslink optical connection? The reviewer only tested the optical out. Ive heard of those being limited to 96khz becuase often the recieving end is limited.
 
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#88
I've never heard of such a limitation with the digital coax connection. Did you mean the toslink optical connection? The reviewer only tested the optical out. Ive heard of those being limited to 96khz becuase often the recieving end is limited.
Thanks for answering so quickly. All agreed-- seemed odd. Know that Toslink is limited to 24/96 kHz and that coax can go much higher. I'll see if I can find that reference here. I see here that you're using the coax output to your DAC(s)-- no issues with going above 24/96 kHz?
 
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#89
Yes I can confirm that the digital coax supports 192k output.
All the issues the reviewer found in the digital output was from a bad toslink connection.
The coax output is fine.
IMG_20191002_1335132.JPG
 
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#90
Thank you so much again-- noted the issues with the busted Toslink. Thinking I may buy this streamer-- want to hook it up to my Benchmark DAC, or the OPPO DAC and try Amazon HD for (ultra) hi-rez files. You have a great set up (almost bought a (Parasound amp...)....best and more thanks....
 
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#91
I’ve been trying out Amazon Music Unlimited HD on the Node 2i because according to Amazon and Bluesound, BluOS supports Amazon Music’s version of High-Res (Amazon calls it HD for CD-quality 16/44.1, and UHD for anything greater than 16 bit-depth for sampling rates up to 192kHz). Have others tried it on their Nodes?

I’m getting one problem: any 24/44.1 files show up as 16/44.1 on an external DAC (RME ADI-2 DAC via Coax). Those same 24/44.1 songs streamed via Qobuz from the Node 2i show on the DAC as they should at 24/44.1.

This is not the case for anything higher in resolution from Amazon Music: 24/96 and 24/192 streamed through the Node 2i show on the external DAC as 24/96 and 24/192 (I couldn't find any 24/48kHz files on Amazon Music HD to test). So why does the DAC show Amazon songs labeled as 24bit/44.1kHz playing as 16 bit from the Node 2i, but the same songs from Qobuz stream through at the full 24 bits of dynamic range?

If you have an external DAC connected to a Node 2i that shows bit-depth and sampling rate for S/PDIF input (and have signed up for the free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited HD) please post here if you see the same thing.

The RME ADI-2 DAC manual, written by @MC_RME says that if a 24bit song shows as 16bits then it is only 16bits. Maybe Amazon is padding zeros in the last 8 bits for 24/44.2 files only (since 24/96 and up is fine) and the RME is ignoring them; or maybe the Node 2i is doing something to the original 24/44.1 file.

Cheers
Gus
 
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#93
I’ve been trying out Amazon Music Unlimited HD on the Node 2i because according to Amazon and Bluesound, BluOS supports Amazon Music’s version of High-Res (Amazon calls it HD for CD-quality 16/44.1, and UHD for anything greater than 16 bit-depth for sampling rates up to 192kHz). Have others tried it on their Nodes?

I’m getting one problem: any 24/44.1 files show up as 16/44.1 on an external DAC (RME ADI-2 DAC via Coax). Those same 24/44.1 songs streamed via Qobuz from the Node 2i show on the DAC as they should at 24/44.1.

This is not the case for anything higher in resolution from Amazon Music: 24/96 and 24/192 streamed through the Node 2i show on the external DAC as 24/96 and 24/192 (I couldn't find any 24/48kHz files on Amazon Music HD to test). So why does the DAC show Amazon songs labeled as 24bit/44.1kHz playing as 16 bit from the Node 2i, but the same songs from Qobuz stream through at the full 24 bits of dynamic range?

If you have an external DAC connected to a Node 2i that shows bit-depth and sampling rate for S/PDIF input (and have signed up for the free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited HD) please post here if you see the same thing.

The RME ADI-2 DAC manual, written by @MC_RME says that if a 24bit song shows as 16bits then it is only 16bits. Maybe Amazon is padding zeros in the last 8 bits for 24/44.2 files only (since 24/96 and up is fine) and the RME is ignoring them; or maybe the Node 2i is doing something to the original 24/44.1 file.

Cheers
Gus

Yes I noticed this also when using the desktop Amazon Music app. It happens when the I set the output to 24/44.1 and the source file is higher.
I only get 16/44.1
44116.jpg


However if the source is 24/44.1 then it streams fine.

44124.jpg


If I set the output to something higher like 24/192, then everything streams fine.

I assumed it was some glitch, but I didn't know it did it with the Node 2 though.
 
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Juwieh

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#94
The German HiFi magazine stereoplay has just reviewed the Bluesound Node in their latest edition, and they claim they had measured an A-rated SNR of 108 dB. Unfortunately they do not detail how exactly this has been measured.

But the difference to the 88 dB measured by Amir is quite odd.

(stereoplay 11/19, page 40)
 

JEntwistle

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#95
I’ve been trying out Amazon Music Unlimited HD on the Node 2i because according to Amazon and Bluesound, BluOS supports Amazon Music’s version of High-Res (Amazon calls it HD for CD-quality 16/44.1, and UHD for anything greater than 16 bit-depth for sampling rates up to 192kHz). Have others tried it on their Nodes?

I’m getting one problem: any 24/44.1 files show up as 16/44.1 on an external DAC (RME ADI-2 DAC via Coax). Those same 24/44.1 songs streamed via Qobuz from the Node 2i show on the DAC as they should at 24/44.1.

This is not the case for anything higher in resolution from Amazon Music: 24/96 and 24/192 streamed through the Node 2i show on the external DAC as 24/96 and 24/192 (I couldn't find any 24/48kHz files on Amazon Music HD to test). So why does the DAC show Amazon songs labeled as 24bit/44.1kHz playing as 16 bit from the Node 2i, but the same songs from Qobuz stream through at the full 24 bits of dynamic range?

If you have an external DAC connected to a Node 2i that shows bit-depth and sampling rate for S/PDIF input (and have signed up for the free trial of Amazon Music Unlimited HD) please post here if you see the same thing.

The RME ADI-2 DAC manual, written by @MC_RME says that if a 24bit song shows as 16bits then it is only 16bits. Maybe Amazon is padding zeros in the last 8 bits for 24/44.2 files only (since 24/96 and up is fine) and the RME is ignoring them; or maybe the Node 2i is doing something to the original 24/44.1 file.

Cheers
Gus
I'd be interested in testing this on my BluOS module. Can you share an example of a song on Amazon Music with these characteristics?

I will try streaming direct in the BluOS software and also compare with the Amazon Music software on my PC output to a desktop DAC.
 
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#96
I was underwhelmed by the Node 2i within a week of getting it this past summer. Wasn't the breakthrough sound it was billed to be. Its been banished to my bedroom and I use a NAD m10 on my main system that is the breakthrough in sound I was looking for. Hopefully ASR reviews it. Anyways I've always used the Node 2i DAC even though its shown to have mediocre performance here. Today I used the digital coax out of the Node and into the Rotel A12 integrated I'm using and I immediately heard a positive change in clarity and brightness compared to the Node DAC. The Rotel lets you lock the input volume on the different inputs so its a quick and fair A/B comparison between coax and the aux inputs. I'm hoping to see some Rotel gear get tested now too. I know I'm limiting my Node to 96khz MQA by bypassing its DAC but I'm preferring the Wolfson in the Rotel
 
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#97
I was underwhelmed by the Node 2i within a week of getting it this past summer. Wasn't the breakthrough sound it was billed to be. Its been banished to my bedroom and I use a NAD m10 on my main system that is the breakthrough in sound I was looking for. Hopefully ASR reviews it. Anyways I've always used the Node 2i DAC even though its shown to have mediocre performance here. Today I used the digital coax out of the Node and into the Rotel A12 integrated I'm using and I immediately heard a positive change in clarity and brightness compared to the Node DAC. The Rotel lets you lock the input volume on the different inputs so its a quick and fair A/B comparison between coax and the aux inputs. I'm hoping to see some Rotel gear get tested now too. I know I'm limiting my Node to 96khz MQA by bypassing its DAC but I'm preferring the Wolfson in the Rotel
I never read about it having any type of "breakthrough sound", but I thought the sound quality was decent. After a while I also preferred the Coax output, because I could connect it to a better DAC a Schiit Gungnir multibit. Also I like all my sources plugged into the same DAC for a consistency in sound. I think your Node 2i sounds better connected to your Rotel amp because your amp has a better dac and power supply driving it.
BTW I just sold my Node 2i and I also upgraded to a NAD. But I got the C658, a preamp/dac with BluOS built in. It's got a couple of quirks, but its pretty cool.
 
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#98
I never read about it having any type of "breakthrough sound", but I thought the sound quality was decent. After a while I also preferred the Coax output, because I could connect it to a better DAC a Schiit Gungnir multibit. Also I like all my sources plugged into the same DAC for a consistency in sound. I think your Node 2i sounds better connected to your Rotel amp because your amp has a better dac and power supply driving it.
BTW I just sold my Node 2i and I also upgraded to a NAD. But I got the C658, a preamp/dac with BluOS built in. It's got a couple of quirks, but its pretty cool.
Well I was coming off of a Chromecast Audio and the Node was my first experience with any hi res music. I do really like BlueOS and I think it's unfairly judged by a lot of early reviews. The C658 is another piece of gear I hope makes its way to the test bench here.
 

nodeMcIn

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#99
@amirm I think several people are using this as an USB streamer for connecting an USB DAC.

Can you connect & configure Topping D50 for its output and make some basic test (dashboard) using it please?
Node2i doesn't have USB audio out. USB is only for servicing and flashdrives.
 
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I was underwhelmed by the Node 2i within a week of getting it this past summer. Wasn't the breakthrough sound it was billed to be. Its been banished to my bedroom and I use a NAD m10 on my main system that is the breakthrough in sound I was looking for. Hopefully ASR reviews it. Anyways I've always used the Node 2i DAC even though its shown to have mediocre performance here. Today I used the digital coax out of the Node and into the Rotel A12 integrated I'm using and I immediately heard a positive change in clarity and brightness compared to the Node DAC. The Rotel lets you lock the input volume on the different inputs so its a quick and fair A/B comparison between coax and the aux inputs. I'm hoping to see some Rotel gear get tested now too. I know I'm limiting my Node to 96khz MQA by bypassing its DAC but I'm preferring the Wolfson in the Rotel
I feel the same way about my node 2i.... if anyone is looking for one in the color black PM me... lol
 
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