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Bluesound Node 2i Network Audio Player Review & Comments

spl23

Well-known Member
"... the resolutely 16/48 capable Sonos..."

Just a point of information on this - while Sonos will indeed handle 16/48, it does so by downsampling to 16/44.1; Sonos' DACs cannot handle 48kHz. I discovered this while trying to get one to pass a DVD-DTS bitstream embedded in a 48kHz lossless file - the Sonos will not do it, and outputs 44.1 when fed a 48 input.

Which is why I now own a Node 2i in my main system, which is as good as the review suggests. Although Bluesound's Android control app, running on a brand-new Amazon Kindle Fire HD8, is for some reason noticeably more sluggish than the iOS app running on a 4 year old iPad mini...
 

fyonn

Active Member
I currently use a pi running volumio and have considered a "proper" streamer with a nice matching iOS app, but I keep struggling to find one that I like. I'd really like one that supports and outputs DSD via USB to my amp/dac.

The Auralic Aries Mini seems to fit the bill, but it looks like they're wanting to phase it out, it's already gone from the US sites I think and their replacement devices are significantly more expensive...

Why do so many manufacturers of reasonable priced streamers not fit a USB audio output? It seems a missed opportunity.
 

gadget man

Active Member
I currently use a pi running volumio and have considered a "proper" streamer with a nice matching iOS app, but I keep struggling to find one that I like. I'd really like one that supports and outputs DSD via USB to my amp/dac.

The Auralic Aries Mini seems to fit the bill, but it looks like they're wanting to phase it out, it's already gone from the US sites I think and their replacement devices are significantly more expensive...

Why do so many manufacturers of reasonable priced streamers not fit a USB audio output? It seems a missed opportunity.
Just stick with what you got me never changing from my setup not worth the cost and zero improvement in sound quality and lack of features like no DSD for starters.
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Using the Node as a Roon endpoint would mean you lose the MQA decode on the Node if using Tidal. It made me think twice about tinkering with Roon.
Why is that a problem? Roon can do its own MQA decoding (TBH I thought it could use the Node MQA decode as well). I use Roon and TBH the #1 reason I suggest Node 2 (2i) to people is because of its Roon network support. If you have NAD gear, then blueos is another good reason. While its a decent streamer on it own SQ wise, I cant say I its worth a second look if you ignore the blueos and especially the Roon capabilities unless you particularly want the modern 'life-style' product look (which personally I really don't like in a component setup - you feel kind of forced into getting the matching product(s) otherwise it all looks really odd).
 

JEDIBLADE

Active Member
Wow some technical stuff in here? I'm after a streamer to connect to my Arcam 850 as it only allows me to stream spotify, is the bluestone what I need?
 

mickbirch2000

Active Member
Just starting out on the streaming path after years of buying physical hi res music discs, trying to get my head around how it all works & the meaning of the many acronyms used .
How to at least put together some bits of kit that have the potential to reproduce hi res music from a data stream, it seems there are so many ways to inadvertently downgrade the data without knowing it...
My Cambridge Audio CXR200 AVR has a built in streaming module and although it supports Tidal it doesnt support the Masters streams. Support have told me they do not intend to integrate Amazon Ultra HD on the CXR200 as its an old design & that started me looking around for other ideas.
So I've ended up buying the Bluesound Node 2i after reading good things & I'm very pleased with the music I'm hearing via analog or digital to the AVR. I have ended my Tidal free trial, £20 a month is just too much to start paying so as an existing Amazon Prime member I've started their music unlimited trial with very good results.
I downloaded the Bluos app & also the Amazon music app & initially was a little confused on how to set up playlists etc but now starting to find my way around. For music on the move I set up a couple of playlists on Amazon music unlimited app. I guess its best to download this to my smartphone while at home via wi-fi. Then I set up some playlists from Amazon music on the Bluos app, all works fine but now I have playlists in 2 different places on the Bluos app menus both of which play thro the Node 2i ok, slightly confusing but not really a problem I hope.
Not sure I like the queuing of music in the app, is there any way to switch it off?
Really enjoying the sound quality, great piece of kit the Node 2i.
 

Jason72

Active Member
Hi,
Can anybody give me advice on the Bluesound Node 2i.
I have a Yamaha TA-A1ES amplifier, a pair of Dynaudio Special 40 speakers and a Marantz CD6006UK player. I understand that the Marantz CD player is in a far lower price range than both the Yamaha amp and the Dynaudio 40's but the general consensus among Forum Members is that the CD player should perform admirably in this setup. This leads me onto my main question, will buying a Node 2i 'hold it's own' alongside the other hardware or should I be looking for something in a higher price bracket. I expect to eventually take out a subscription with Qobuz for the Hi-Res content.
 

xdb

Standard Member
Just starting out on the streaming path after years of buying physical hi res music discs, trying to get my head around how it all works & the meaning of the many acronyms used .
How to at least put together some bits of kit that have the potential to reproduce hi res music from a data stream, it seems there are so many ways to inadvertently downgrade the data without knowing it...
My Cambridge Audio CXR200 AVR has a built in streaming module and although it supports Tidal it doesnt support the Masters streams. Support have told me they do not intend to integrate Amazon Ultra HD on the CXR200 as its an old design & that started me looking around for other ideas.
So I've ended up buying the Bluesound Node 2i after reading good things & I'm very pleased with the music I'm hearing via analog or digital to the AVR. I have ended my Tidal free trial, £20 a month is just too much to start paying so as an existing Amazon Prime member I've started their music unlimited trial with very good results.
I downloaded the Bluos app & also the Amazon music app & initially was a little confused on how to set up playlists etc but now starting to find my way around. For music on the move I set up a couple of playlists on Amazon music unlimited app. I guess its best to download this to my smartphone while at home via wi-fi. Then I set up some playlists from Amazon music on the Bluos app, all works fine but now I have playlists in 2 different places on the Bluos app menus both of which play thro the Node 2i ok, slightly confusing but not really a problem I hope.
Not sure I like the queuing of music in the app, is there any way to switch it off?
Really enjoying the sound quality, great piece of kit the Node 2i.
Not sure I like the queuing of music in the app, is there any way to switch it off?

+1 Any ideas, anyone, if this is possible and if so how to do it? TIA.
 

MONKEY_MAN

Active Member
Hi,
Can anybody give me advice on the Bluesound Node 2i.
I have a Yamaha TA-A1ES amplifier, a pair of Dynaudio Special 40 speakers and a Marantz CD6006UK player. I understand that the Marantz CD player is in a far lower price range than both the Yamaha amp and the Dynaudio 40's but the general consensus among Forum Members is that the CD player should perform admirably in this setup. This leads me onto my main question, will buying a Node 2i 'hold it's own' alongside the other hardware or should I be looking for something in a higher price bracket. I expect to eventually take out a subscription with Qobuz for the Hi-Res content.
I own a Marantz SA7003 CD player and a node and I find the node more than a match for the Marantz, so much so, that I haven't played a CD in a good couple of weeks
 

mickbirch2000

Active Member
Not sure I like the queuing of music in the app, is there any way to switch it off?

+1 Any ideas, anyone, if this is possible and if so how to do it? TIA.
I havent found a way to switch it off but have found that its fairly easy to delete the queue thats built up at any time thereby mitigating the problem to some extent. I'm hoping that later versions of the Bluos app will integrate with Amazon music HD better for things like nominating favourite tracks/albums etc.
 

KenM10759

Active Member
The play queue is actually quite easy to manipulate with just a little practice. The tools are there as icons. I like being able to add and delete songs from it, then save as a playlist that I can name as I please and recall it later.

As for Amazon Music and the BluOS interface, that problem lies chiefly with Amazon Music. It's really set-up to act more like a radio station than a streaming service. In it's infancy, give them a little time to refine it.
 

mickbirch2000

Active Member
Update to Bluos 3.6.12 this morning, notes just say " Performance improvements & feature enhancements " Sounds good but wouldnt it be nice to have more detail in release notes. Hoping for improvements in Amazon music integration & features myself.
 

tparm

Standard Member
Hey folks, enjoyed reading this thread. I own an Arcam AVR850 and see no need to buy a 2i over a 2 if I am using digital output, agree? Recommendation for optical vs. coax?

I am an avid Tidal user along side a NAS chock full of Flac files. Prior to my 850 I owned a T758.3 so I am very familiar with BluOS. Not too pumped about some of the UI issues I've read about with Amazon Music (U)HD, but I plan to give it a try. Lastly, how the heck can I play Atmos tracks from Amazon Music? Node 2 is limited to digital output and Atmos is only transmitted via HDMI (as far as I know anyway).

Thoughts?
 

mickbirch2000

Active Member
Hey folks, enjoyed reading this thread. I own an Arcam AVR850 and see no need to buy a 2i over a 2 if I am using digital output, agree? Recommendation for optical vs. coax?

I am an avid Tidal user along side a NAS chock full of Flac files. Prior to my 850 I owned a T758.3 so I am very familiar with BluOS. Not too pumped about some of the UI issues I've read about with Amazon Music (U)HD, but I plan to give it a try. Lastly, how the heck can I play Atmos tracks from Amazon Music? Node 2 is limited to digital output and Atmos is only transmitted via HDMI (as far as I know anyway).

Thoughts?
The Node 2i is a step up in all respects from the Node 2 according to reviewers so you may get a worthwhile improvement with a 2i analog into the AVR850 going by my experience. I have tried all 3 connections ie optical, coax & analog into my Cambridge Audio CXR200, there is nothing to choose between optical or coax but analog using the 2i onboard DAC is just amazing. I think some of the shortcomings of the Amazon music via Bluos UI will be sorted over coming months.
As for the Atmos tracks or 3D music as Amazon like to call it, as far as I can tell its designed to work their Echo Studio to produce a psuedo stereo + height image from a single device & is not Atmos as an AVR would recognise. I did wonder whether the Node 2i would produce multi channel music using optical into my AVR but apparently not, the 3D music streams as stereo. Hope this is helpful.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
I'm chewing over the Blusound Node 2i or Cambridge CXN v2. This is from the Home Cinema Choice review...

"BluOS has evolved into a very lovely piece of software indeed. It's available for Android and iOS devices and offers a logical, fast 
and well-engineered user experience that 
is equally happy controlling one device or several. One of the reasons it can do this is that the Node 2i is not a true UPnP product. 
It can use a standard NAS drive as a library, but it compiles its own database and can’t 
be controlled by any form of third-party app. "

Is that a good thing or not? I've highlighted the relevant bit. Does that mean I'm restricted to using the BluOS app and no others?
 

KenM10759

Active Member
I'm chewing over the Blusound Node 2i or Cambridge CXN v2. This is from the Home Cinema Choice review...

"BluOS has evolved into a very lovely piece of software indeed. It's available for Android and iOS devices and offers a logical, fast 
and well-engineered user experience that 
is equally happy controlling one device or several. One of the reasons it can do this is that the Node 2i is not a true UPnP product. 
It can use a standard NAS drive as a library, but it compiles its own database and can’t 
be controlled by any form of third-party app. "

Is that a good thing or not? I've highlighted the relevant bit. Does that mean I'm restricted to using the BluOS app and no others?
I have been using the BluOS apps and Bluesound devices for over 4 years now. I don't really understand why this is even a question, because they have apps that run their core database for Windows, IOS, and Android. The updates to apps and firmware of the devices is continual, and free.

It is decidedly a good thing, from my perspective.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
@KenM10759 , as someone new to this type of technology it’s important for me to understand if things like this are critical or not. Otherwise why would it get a mention.

It is unusual for a player not to adhere to an industry standard so I felt it was important to understand whether this could be a problem. Thanks for your views.
 

mickbirch2000

Active Member
Is that a good thing or not? I've highlighted the relevant bit. Does that mean I'm restricted to using the BluOS app and no others?
Yes it means you use the Bluos app to control the Node 2i but once you get used to it you will find it works well, I understand there is a remote now available if you dont like using an app on a smartphone.
The fact that its not a true UPnP device just means it is not aware of any other kit on your home network unless you specifically set up something like Amazon Alexa or want to stream from storage which can be done.
In my experience of Cambridge Audio the products are good but they are a bit slow to update software, for instance to make their streaming products compatible with Amazon music Ultra HD whereas Bluesound seem fairly quick to update etc.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
@mickbirch2000 , thanks for that Mick. I don't have Alexa but do have a Synology DS212j that holds all my music (FLAC). Is connecting to a device like that reasonably straight-forward? It's ethernet-connected to my TP-Link router upstairs with Wi-Fi to the lounge.

My other concern is new music services coming along that a player cannot access until a firmware update is provided. Do manufacturers always provide updates for existing users? Did you previously have a Cambridge streamer before buying the Bluesound?
 

mickbirch2000

Active Member
@mickbirch2000 , thanks for that Mick. I don't have Alexa but do have a Synology DS212j that holds all my music (FLAC). Is connecting to a device like that reasonably straight-forward? It's ethernet-connected to my TP-Link router upstairs with Wi-Fi to the lounge.

My other concern is new music services coming along that a player cannot access until a firmware update is provided. Do manufacturers always provide updates for existing users? Did you previously have a Cambridge streamer before buying the Bluesound?
I'm fairly new to music streaming myself so bear with me I'm afraid I cant specifically answer your question about compatability with your storage device but quoting from the book that came with my Node 2i "The Node 2i connects your gear to all the music ever recorded . Online streaming services ,internet radio and even your own digital music library held on computer, smartphone or external drive" so I would imagine it would be straightforward. My Cambridge Audio CXR200 has a streaming module built in that works well with Tidal , Spotify & internet radio but thats all whereas the Node 2i has a long list of music services including Amazon music Ultra HD that I wanted as an existing Prime member. As I mentioned earlier my experience is that Cambridge Audio take their time updating software which leads to an amount of frustration whereas Bluesound seem to be able to update quickly with good bug free software for existing customers.
I just stream music myself, I havent been tempted to store on a drive yet.
 

RayP

Well-known Member
Hi Mick,

Thanks for that. I've been reading multiple Bluesound reviews and testers haven't had any problems linking to their NAS boxes so I'm sure that won't be a problem.

I'm now leaning towards the Bluesound for these reasons:-
  • Good quality app.
  • 5Ghz Wi-Fi dual-band
  • Multiple streaming services - more than Cambridge.
  • MQA compatibility.
Downsides? No display like the Cambridge but in order to see it I would have to walk across the room! :laugh: The Bluesound app will tell me all I need including bitrate etc. Its non-standard connection software (not UpNp compatible) doesn't appear to be a problem.

The Cambridge's lack of some services is a drawback and its Wi-fi is only 2.4Ghz. 5 is more robust.

I have a music collection going back to the 70s from a collection of vinyl recorded to DAT and then converted to FLAC plus lots of ripped CDs. A NAS box is ideal to store it all and Synology make some great ones. I also use it for computer backups.

Thanks for your opinion, much appreciated. :thumbsup:
 

NottsMFC

Active Member
The NAD C658 is a BluOS streamer & has a display, 3 times the price of the 2i though...
 

RayP

Well-known Member
The NAD C658 is a BluOS streamer & has a display, 3 times the price of the 2i though...
And would appear to have the same DAC as the Bluesound. That’s a lot of money for a display and a lacklustre case.
 

NottsMFC

Active Member
I moved from CXN v1 to BluOS, NAD M10 1st & since added a Bluesound Node 2. Recently got the CXN out of box to compare to the Node 2 & to be honest couldn't really detect much difference, both connected to a pair of a active speakers.

Software/app, BluOS streets ahead of Cambridge.
 

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