Bluesound Node 2i
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SptsNaz

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I'm surprised I could not find a dedicated thread for this device... what gives? I've had one for about a week now and it's nothing short of awesome. Ease of use, pretty seamless integration with a multitude of musical services (namely Tidal), and then there's the thing that surprised me the most - the sound quality. I've been using it as a transport to my DAC and it's phenomenal for the relative bag of change that paid for it. I briefly tried the internal DAC and it wasn't anything to scoff at either and should certainly suffice for anyone with reasonable expectations. I'm sure there's better sound to be had out there but I can't imagine for the price these go for.

Set up wasn't the easiest and the software is buggy, for me it's worth the trade off. Anyone else currently enjoying theirs?
 
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gimmeheadroom

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I'm surprised I could not find a dedicated thread for this device... what gives? I've had one for about a week now and it's nothing short of awesome. Ease of use, pretty seamless integration with a multitude of musical services (namely Tidal), and then there's the thing that surprised me the most - the sound quality. I've been using it as a transport to my DAC and it's phenomenal for the relative bag of change that paid for it. I briefly tried the internal DAC and it wasn't anything to scoff at either and should certainly suffice for anyone with reasonable expectations. I'm sure there's better sound to be had out there but I can't imagine for the price these go for.

Set up wasn't the easiest and the software is buggy, for me it's worth the trade off. Anyone else currently enjoying theirs?
This is a known-good box. I didn't find the software buggy. Not cheap, not expensive, good value in streamers. Great, if you consider it supports MQA.

But, if you use it as a transport you're wasting your money.
 
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SptsNaz

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But, if you use it as a transport you're wasting your money.
I'm going to have to disagree... i find a lot of variability in SPDIF output quality and it seems like Bluesound did their homework with this device. What would your alternative be for bitperfect streaming that has a similarly intuitive interface?

I paid around $400 for it used... objectively that's decent coin but personally it's one of the more cheaper audio things I've bought in the last few years.
 
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I'm going to have to disagree... i find a lot of variability in SPDIF output quality and it seems like Bluesound did their homework with this device. What would your alternative be for bitperfect streaming that has a similarly intuitive interface?

I paid around $400 for it used... objectively that's decent coin but personally it's one of the more cheaper audio things I've bought in the last few years.
Ok, sorry if I was a little abrupt.

You could use Audirvana, Jriver etc on a cheap laptop with USB out to your DAC. I don't like their apps but a lot of people do. There is also roon, which I also don't like.

I have my node 2i as a source for a secondary system but I'm equally fine with Tidal desktop app or foobar2000 on a mini PC. For me I chose bluesound because there was no other MQA DAC in the price range at the time. And to me the main selling points of the node 2i are MQA and the good DAC it uses. I can't see using it with a separate DAC although some people do, they lose MQA and that defeats the purpose.

As a transport the node 2i is just not very useful for me since it doesn't play SACD ISOs or DSD files. I have other setups that handle this much better. And it's nice to be able to play FLAC etc. over SAMBA (Windows filesharing) but my other devices (mini PC, Oppo) navigate a lot faster than the bluesound.
 
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SptsNaz

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Are you just using the integrated optical/coax out from your PC's motherboard? If that's the case that's a no go for me. Not a huge fan of computers as transports as they are loud (even after going out of my way to silence mine it was still audible) and all the other components in there surely can't be a good thing for the meeting sic. My source used to be a PC with old emu 1212 sound card (considered good at the time) and while that set up was serviceable I'm glad I got away from it.
 
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You could be right though... but one thing I've learned in this hobby is if you find something that pleases you (even if others may not be as appreciative), don't get rid of it! I've had way too much stuff over the years that was highly praised that I didn't care for (head-fi hype is probably the biggest culprit). This device is universally praised just about everywhere BUT here... which is a little surprising to me considering every new $69 USB DAC that comes out seems to warrant its own thread here.
 
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There are many favorables comments here. It's often hard to find info because of a huge number of posts.

I think you're right that there is not a fanboy thread for it but you could start one. Maybe a major reason for megathreads on el-cheapo DACs is just because the cheaper stuff is more accessible to huge numbers of people.
 
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I'll second the positive review for the Bluesound Node 2i - I have a couple of units for different systems. Dead simple to use, reliable, excellent feature set, good interface. I like the ability to plug a hard drive into the back of the unit for local storage and indexing. A nice system at a reasonable cost. Unless you want a Pi based DIY solution, there aren't too many streamers I can think of that match price/quality, and none if you add the benefit of the feature set and UI.

As a FYI, on one of the Node 2i's I own, I purchased a power supply upgrade from Fidelity Audio in the UK - replaces the internal power unit with a DC unit and uses an external power supply. I just purchased the board from Fidelity and used my own LPS as the DC source. I would say a subtle but meaningful upgrade - the sound is slightly more relaxed, less digital glare. This is using the coax out to supply my RME ADI 2 DAC.
 
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Connected to a external amp. Is a node 2i a better streaming solution. Than a laptop with Tidal and a external dac?
 
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Connected to a external amp. Is a node 2i a better streaming solution. Than a laptop with Tidal and a external dac?
It depends on which DAC. If you prefer to control things with a phone or tablet, Bluesound gear is very nice. They support most streaming services and they support MQA. Not sure how much you would have to spend to get an MQA DAC that does full unfold.

If you are only or mostly playing from streaming services then a node 2i is a top choice for the money. If you have a large music collection maybe a laptop with a dac or dacamp would be better. But you will still need enough amp for your cans, speakers etc
 
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I have a setup like LadderB, without the upgraded power supply. I have the Node 2i -> Rme Adi-2 - > Denon Reciever -> B&W speakers.

The node 2i is a transport and a dac. In my tesing, my 2016 macbook pro has better SQ than the node 2i. And a good standalone dac, will have better SQ than the node 2i dac. But the Node 2i is a good combo at that pricepoint, and it does what i need in that system.

I like the node 2i in my home system because it is very easy to use. When using the Rme Adi-2 as a dac, the combo sounds terrific. All together, this combo is easy to use, and sounds great in my setup. While using the macbook in this system would improve the SQ slightly, the hassle is not worth it to me.
 
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It depends on which DAC. If you prefer to control things with a phone or tablet, Bluesound gear is very nice. They support most streaming services and they support MQA. Not sure how much you would have to spend to get an MQA DAC that does full unfold.

If you are only or mostly playing from streaming services then a node 2i is a top choice for the money. If you have a large music collection maybe a laptop with a dac or dacamp would be better. But you will still need enough amp for your cans, speakers etc
c
It depends on which DAC. If you prefer to control things with a phone or tablet, Bluesound gear is very nice. They support most streaming services and they support MQA. Not sure how much you would have to spend to get an MQA DAC that does full unfold.

If you are only or mostly playing from streaming services then a node 2i is a top choice for the money. If you have a large music collection maybe a laptop with a dac or dacamp would be better. But you will still need enough amp for your cans, speakers etc
Could you just use the Roon software to control the laptop via iphone etc?
 
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c

Could you just use the Roon software to control the laptop via iphone etc?
I don't know. I hated Roon, it is not free (still would have hated it) and for the lifetime price you can buy hardware instead of a UI to your music. Seems like a bad idea to me.

And you still cannot play Tidal hifi with full unfold without a DAC that supports MQA.

Maybe JRiver or Audirvana have clients that run on Android or Apple. Would be a lot cheaper for less smoke and mirrors.
 
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