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Bluesound Node with DAC?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by MikeJedi, Jun 8, 2021.

  1. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Las Vegas
    Heavily thinking about getting a decent streaming solution for the money. Looking at the new BlueSound node. Only thing that stinks is no DSD but not sure if it’s a deal breaker. Peeps seem to love the Bluesound and thinking about adding the inexpensive 399 dollar Parasound DAC v2 on clearance at AAdvisor. Unless the BlueSound internal DAC is close or maybe I don’t need the Parasound ? Want to add these to my new AS2200 , Klipsch RB5 , Technics SL1200G , Rotel CD11 system, Oppo 105D. I was thinking about originally a Technics SLG700 with streamer and SACD which is really nice but almost 3k .. I don’t know. The only real advantage seems to be the DSD. I already have a decent SACD. Altho I know the Technics SACD is highly rated. I did hear that the Technics interface sucks. Any ideas peeps. ? Thanks for any insight :)

  2. AP1

    AP1 Forum Resident

    It is always better to have player and DAC separate. You will likely decide to upgrade player or even change streaming platform altogether, but modern DAC will be up to the task for 5 years or more. DACs are close to physical limit now and not much improvements can be expected next few years. That cannot be said about players and streaming solutions.
    saturdayboy likes this.
  3. crn3371

    crn3371 Forum Resident

    Glendora, CA
    The DAC in the Node is pretty decent, not sure if the Parasound would add anything or not. The only way to know for sure would be to compare the two, Audio Advisor has a good return policy so why not give it a try? Return it if it isn’t an improvement.
    Hulloder, Tim 2 and MikeJedi like this.
  4. woodpigeon

    woodpigeon Forum Resident

    New Zealand
    If it helps, I route the digital output from a Bluesound Node 2i through the DAC in a Yamaha CD-S2100, and to my ears it has bigger and more defined bass than the line out from the 2i.
  5. inzite

    inzite Forum Resident

    imo the bluesound node2i is a mature product and it definitely benefits from using an external DAC of the same cost or higher. I lived with the internal DAC for a few months but the upgrade to a pontus ii was significant - huge sound stage, weight and details. The internal DAC has a pretty narrow sound stage and sounds almost abit v shaped to some degree.
  6. ernest787

    ernest787 Forum Resident

    I have the 2i and used the internal dac for a few weeks. It's solid. I was really impressed.

    I hooked up my chord mojo dac and I feel like it has more weight. The 2i isn't far off from the mojo but there is a noticeable difference.

    In short order I will be buying a permanent dac for the system and in all likelihood will be getting the qutest.
    On_the_dunes, Tim 2 and MikeJedi like this.
  7. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Las Vegas
    Thanks for the input.. I have a lot to think about ! .. FWIW is it bad if I end up getting the Zdac v2 to use with the BlueSound which has a Premium 384/32 DAC internally and the Parasound is 24/192 ADevices but “upsampled to 422/24? Wouldn’t that possibly be going backwards or ? I’m not sure what I am missing here? ;) I would think an external DAC would be better but now not sure in this particular case ...
  8. I guess that you'll need to audition, if you can, to get your answers.

    If, however, any differences are just marginal then perhaps you should consider saving up to buy a more expensive DAC. As AP1 suggests, the right DAC would pay back in the longer term.

    I use an Audio Note DAC 0.1x with my Bluesound Vault 2. It was quite expensive, but it was worth every penny, and is likely to be the last DAC that I ever buy. (It is that good.)

    Not saying that you need to spend as much as I did, nor that such a DAC would meet your technical needs, but money spent on a near-sideways step just isn't as well-spent.
    Art K, MikeJedi and Lowrider75 like this.
  9. Kristofferabild

    Kristofferabild Forum Resident

    I hugely prefer my Node 2i with my Rega Dac R. With its own DAC the sound is highly detailed, but could also sound a bit fatiguing in the long run. Not so with a dac.

    On a sidenote I turned off Bluetooth because I think it sounds better. The BT radio might interfer with audio? I don't know, but I could hear a difference.
    adamos, MikeJedi and Tim 2 like this.
  10. PS Upsampling sounds like artifice, and doesn't seem like a good idea to me. The less artifice, the more natural the sound.

    Also, higher bit rates are only any good if the resultant sound is good.

    Many moons ago, I auditioned a NAD CD player with HDCD and a Rega Apollo, and the Apollo beat the NAD hands down, HDCD or not. So trust your ears beyond all else and find out what brings the most enjoyment.
    MikeJedi and RockAddict like this.
  11. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer

    The Bluesound Node ( note that this is the successor of the Node2i!) seems to be another example that DAC’s are still improving!
    I just read a test by the German Stereo mag. They compared it with the 2i and although the 2i sound on the analog out was already quite good they say that this DAC sounds audibly better.
    A new, more powerful chip allows better conversion (unnamed technology) and improved volume control. A new, larger screen and HDMI input, whilst the price remains unchanged made them singing the highest praise!
    They ranked it in the category of other streamer-DAC’s that cost 2-4x more!
    PATB, adamos, MikeJedi and 2 others like this.
  12. Gi54

    Gi54 Forum Resident

    The Node's lack of USB out makes it a non-starter for me as it is the best input for my DAC (Exogal Comet). If chosing seperate DAC - and I recomend you do! - make sure its architecture is best for a Coax input.
  13. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer

    The German review (post#11) mentions that bluesound (owned by NAD) is working on a software update that allows using the current USB in - for updates- also as output to an external DAC. However no issue date is mentioned.
    Gi54 likes this.
  14. Lowrider75

    Lowrider75 Forum Resident

    Philadelphia, PA
    I agree with others to listen to the Bluesound and then decide if you want an external DAC. I Also agree that the Dac you choose should be a higher level
    component: don't make a lateral move.
    I also listen to my Node2i through an Audio Note and the improvement in SQ is better in every way over the stock Dac.
    saturdayboy, jonwoody, adamos and 4 others like this.
  15. Roger P

    Roger P Forum Resident

    Richmond VA
    I stream from a node 2i into a emotiva preamp / dac. I compared both and while the node dac was ok the emotiva sounded better.
    I currently have a Topping D70 on the way to me now, which should be a noticeable improvement, I hope.
    If not it wont be around long
    MikeJedi, adamos and Lowrider75 like this.
  16. brubacca

    brubacca Forum Resident

    Friend has node 2 to Chord Qutest. This sounds really good to me.
    adamos likes this.
  17. adamos

    adamos Forum Resident

    Southeastern PA
    I use a Denafrips Ares II with my Node 2i and I’ve been happy with the combination.
    Roger P likes this.
  18. Roger P

    Roger P Forum Resident

    Richmond VA
    If I don't like the topping D70, this will be my next dac or the black ice/jolida tube dac
    MikeJedi, inzite and adamos like this.
  19. EastConcept

    EastConcept Well-Known Member

    United Kingdom
    Similar system here @MikeJedi

    Yamaha A-S3000 but with the older Node 2i. I have it running into a Chord 2Qute and it really does sound amazing. The clarity, dynamics and musicality is just spot on. Also sounded amazing with the Yamaha A-S1100 I upgraded from. I've thought about upgrading to a Qutest but feel I'd be messing with perfection. 2Qute's can be picked up at a reasonable price 2nd hand and if you don't like it it's an easy sell on.
  20. OC Zed

    OC Zed Bludgeon Riffola

    Costa Mesa, CA
    If you're contemplating spending up to $3k, then I would suggest looking at a used Lumin T2 (streamer/DAC combo) or a PS Audio DirectStream DAC with the built in network bridge (streamer). I have both and am currently using the T2 in my system with the Yamaha A-S3000 (similar to your setup) and it's a fantastic pairing. The PS Audio also sounds great if you're intent on going the DSD route, although I would still give the nod to the Lumin based on a likely longer product support timeline for the T2 (PS Audio is phasing out the DirectStream Mk1) and a much better proprietary app if you're not already using Roon.
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2021 at 8:09 PM
  21. tIANcI

    tIANcI Wondering when the hifi madness will end

    This is the ‘danger’, when reviewers say a certain component will match others costing 2-4 times more. Especially, when it’s 4 times more. I’ll be getting one to audition soon I hope. Let’s see how it goes.
  22. Roger P

    Roger P Forum Resident

    Richmond VA
    Reviews are always subjective at best, let your ears be the judge.
    sotosound likes this.
  23. LakeMountain

    LakeMountain Vinyl surfer

    Yes, it is a danger! Very interested to hear from you ( and others) how it sounds.
    MikeJedi likes this.
  24. displayname

    displayname Forum Resident

    Do you have a lot of DSD files? For me DSD seems nice to have, but in reality is listen to almost zero DSD. I own a few SACD hybrid discs, but I don't have an SACD player.

    I know some people use that file format frequently, but it just doesn't come up often for my musical preferences.
    MikeJedi and LakeMountain like this.
  25. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Las Vegas
    I don’t any DSD files. All SACDs. Was hoping to finally get some but I may not. I think I just like the physical rather than “owning”the downloads lol. Maybe someday. I do however like to stream a lot. I want High Quality streaming. I might have been mistakingly under the impression one can DSD streaming. I guess not. So maybe I should just go for the Node when it’s time for me to purchase :). And think about a DAC after I try it :)
    displayname likes this.

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