Bluesound with external DAC

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by ChuckyBuck, Nov 8, 2018.

  1. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Hello. I'm thinking about purchasing a Bluesound Vault 2i to use with my Gungnir Multibit, probably using the spdif coax output. I'm currently using a Allo DigiOne for SPDIF and I don't expect the Vault to sound as good as the DigiOne necessarily but I wouldn't want it to be too inferior either. Does anyone have much experience using the Bluesound with an external DAC? These kinds of things were much easier back when bits were bits.

    "Why Bluesound?" you ask - there are so many devices out there these days. The main thing is I want something with good, mature software that I don't have to pay extra for. It seems to me that Bluesound should be pretty far down the software development path by now. And I'm leaning towards the Vault because I like the idea of easily ripping a new CD without having to pull out my computer, rip, then transfer to where the files belong. Seems like a pretty nice setup to me - but I'm interested in your thoughts too.

    Thanks.
     
  2. mdelrossi

    mdelrossi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn nyc
    Love my Node2. Output to Schiit Bifrost multibit. Sounds great, especially with Tidal.
    Audio Sensibility digital coax.
     
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  3. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Do you use a USB drive with the Node2? I've already got most my music on a thumb drive.
     
  4. Ezd

    Ezd Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Seattle
    I have used a Node2 for about a year and I like it... I usually rotate 16 GB thumb drives with what I am in the mood to listen to.
    I think the built-in DAC is fine, but I did buy a Line Magnetic 502 tube DAC, that was an improvement to my ears.. It got even better when installing vintage tubes.
    Bluesound's customer service has always been responsive when I had a question...
    I would not hesitate to purchase from the company again.
     
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  5. RiCat

    RiCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT, USA
    I use my Node2 with my Gumby. Noticed an immediate positive upgrade to the sound.I do not know how the Node2i compares as it is the newer model and is supposed to be an upgrade. I use the coax connection. Since the Node2 now serves as a streamer, it has little influence on the playback. I am completely happy with the setup.
     
  6. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks for this, RiCat. And no problems with the "buy better gear" light on the Gumby? I'm a little worried because I have a current model NAD CD player that lightes up the bbg and I know Bluesound and NAD are related.

    Paying the $700 premium for the Vault is probably something I should rethink. Thanks to all for the responses.
     
  7. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Is it easy to manage files on USB attached storage across the network (from a Mac especially)? My experience trying to work with files attached to Linux devices across a network is not good. I hope that BlueOS has that all worked out. I have a nice little tag editor on my mac and it would be sweet to be able to work with files while they reside on the Node/Vault.
     
  8. jdsher

    jdsher Forum Resident

    Location:
    Plano, Texas, USA
    I have a powernode 2 at my office that I stream Tidal with. I setup a USB connected SSD on my desktop and shared it on the network to play through the Bluesound. Once I figured out how to set it up (excellent customer service at Bluesound), it works great with the Bluos software on my desktop.
    Jon
     
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  9. rodentdog

    rodentdog Forum Resident

    I use a Gungnir DS with my Vault2. Sounds great. Thinking about upgrading to Gumby.
     
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  10. Nesto719

    Nesto719 Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    I think the built in dac on the node2i sounds pretty good in its own
     
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  11. Wasabi

    Wasabi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lutz, FL
    I’ve been happy with the built in DAC on my Node 2 too but I’m curious of other DAC advice that would be worth upgrading.
     
  12. Wasabi

    Wasabi Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Lutz, FL
    Have you had a chance to compare the 2i to the 2? On paper the DACs are the same but I’ve read some that the 2i sounds better?
     
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  13. Doug Walton

    Doug Walton Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    You can just plug a USB SSD or non-SSD directly into the back of the Node 2. BluOS will see the device as "USB", and then let you browse thru the content and choose/listen to it, including of course any hi-res stuff that's there. I have mine streaming into the back of an external DAC - that works really well, and I like the BluOS UI just fine.
     
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  14. ChuckyBuck

    ChuckyBuck Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Albuquerque, NM
    Thanks, Doug. Can you access the USB files via Finder (mac) or File Explorer (windows)?
     
  15. mdelrossi

    mdelrossi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn nyc
    I use a NAS via ethernet. works just fine.
     
  16. MusicNBeer

    MusicNBeer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florida
    I have 2TB USB harddrive plugged into my Asus router. Asus setup for shared harddrive directories. Wifi to Node 2. Node 2 to Benchmark DAC1. Love the Node 2. All runs gapless. I do all FLAC.
     
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  17. Doug Walton

    Doug Walton Forum Resident

    Location:
    United States
    I have no idea.
     
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  18. RiCat

    RiCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT, USA
    From what I read the new Nodes have reconfigured internal component layout, brought about by a new WiFi section and other changes. Much has been written about the importance of the internal positioning of devices and boards in all gear. It matters and influences how the product sounds. So as described the Node changes may definitely have improved the sound. Only a side by side could prove this in any given system. Well that is my opinion any way that only comparing in the system being used is the way to know. That said, my Gumby is right at home and never tells me to buy better gear. As an aside I went from a Logitech Squeezebox>Node2>Gungnir>Multibit upgrade. So I have had a progression of comparisons. My impressions have been: The moveto the Node2 gave a very modest improvement in sound and was close to the Logitech but way better in interface and the ability to eliminate the computer from the audio chain (implemented a NAS at the same time); the basic Gungnir was a very obvious change for the better in every way I judge the music; going to the Gumby form also involved a new motherboard as the factory found issues after the upgrades to DAC and USB boards. So I ended up with essentially a new DAC (props to Schiit for their customer service). The sound is the best to date. Extremely musical and open, well defined sound stage and instrument locations and an improve bass definition and impact. I strongly suggest the use of a NAS for storage and file source location. The vault is a great idea if this is not practical for you. If an external DAC is planned the Node becomes a streamer with no added sound of its' own. If you can it is always best to audition in your home in your system. I bought mine from Best Buy-Magnolia. They have a no questions return policy and I was able to audition against a borrowed Oppo and a Cambridge Audio streamer DAC. I kept the Node2. GL as you are on the way to a very enjoyable musical experience.
     
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  19. Nesto719

    Nesto719 Member

    Location:
    Colorado
    I haven’t had a chance to a/b but I have compared to othe dacs , and I feel the 2i holds its own especially for the cost . I do like how the node2i sends out a mqa signal tojuse for outboard dac though , but mqa is a whole different topic
     
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  20. RiCat

    RiCat Forum Resident

    Location:
    CT, USA
    BlueSound is clear in their instructions as to how to deal with MQA and an external DAC. Below is their exact quote regarding the issue. Hope it clarifies.
    "
    Bluesound Players are a full MQA playback solution. They will decode and render MQA playback up to 24/192. If however you are connecting an external DAC, the maximum output will be 24/96 and MQA processing is not happening in the DAC.

    If you have an external DAC that is certified by MQA, you may bypass Bluesound's MQA rendering process in the Bluesound NODE 2 or VAULT 2 and send the pure untouched music bits directly via TOSLink Optical or Digital COAX output for processing by your external DAC.

    • In the Player Selection Drawer, press the Settings icon next to the selected NODE 2 or VAULT 2
    • From the Audio Settings page, set Tone Controls to Off
    • Set Audio output levels to Fixed
    • MQA External DAC will no longer be grayed out, set this to Yes
    • Close Audio Settings
    The Bluesound NODE 2 and VAULT 2 will now bypass MQA processing."
     

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