Bluesound Node 2i network player/bridge

Bluesound introduced a new series of network players and looking at them I thought they were pulling my leg for they look identical to the previous models. And then the web buzzed about drastic sound improvements. Time for a review.

If you feel like translating this video in your language: http://www.youtube.com/timedtext_video?ref=share&v=LIWkeXPjvyw

Manufacturer: https://www.bluesound.com

Links mentioned in the video:
Bluesound Node 2 review: https://youtu.be/K0lbdeDS-FM
Bluesound Node 2 Update: https://youtu.be/hC3OEHL1Lqo
Streaming audio players: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K0lbdeDS-FM&list=PLMbsmejHnP8FYyhgJ6ZwhQv_j4dRE9x9v

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Comments

Peter terHorst says:

Hello Hans, do the Node 2 and 2i have the same graphic user interface? I am thinking a used Node 2 would be a good value as my first network streamer because I already own a Pro-Ject PreBox S2 Digital (based on your review). I don’t need dual-band WiFi or the multi-room functionality of AirPlay2 so the remaining question seems to be the GUI. Your comment is much appreciated.

topsy topsy says:

Thanks for interesting review. Can the app control treble and bass in real time, while streaming Tidal or any source?

Oscar Silva says:

Thank you! Great review. I have a question: in your opinion, is the price justified? I mean, the Chromecast audio has similar features and is considerably cheaper. Thanks again.

hifi noob 2018 says:

I have the node2 and really enjoy it, however would buying a separate Dac help improve the sound quality? I was thinking of maybe something from Schiit audio.

itoosh says:

Hi,
I’m looking for DAC/Streamer that can play MQA and control it from my tablet.
Can you recommend on other combinations for MQA streaming?
I also have vinyl system, this is just for discovering new music.
Any suggestions?
Thanks!

badd99 says:

was hoping soon you could do a video on the New SOtM sNH-10G. Please make sure you compare it very critically to the Cisco WS-C2960-8TC-L.

Ian Hatton says:

I would like to hear more about the sound differences between the 2 and the 2i – in which areas is the 2i stronger?

TheRajMirage says:

Hans, Excellent review with relevant details. Thanks. I just ordered one. But I have a question for which I don’t have an answer yet. Can i connect the USB-A connector at the back to computer and use the node 2i as a DAC? The user manual says that the USB-A is meant to interface with music storage media.

First Last says:

I have a GUSTARD X20PRO DAC. Would I be able to take advantage of this player and my DAC without losing the MQA capability? How do I wire it? or is the internal DAC of this streamer superior to the GUSTARD X20PRO? Thanks!

Francis Francis says:

Around about a minute in you mistakenly said up to 32bit audio format is supported, not the actual 24bit capability.

yourotherleft says:

Wish this one has usb or i2s output.

Mr. GT says:

can I connect my hi-res Sony speakers to this?

Francis Francis says:

Can the node2 and/or 2i have the wireless and BT switched on & off independently? For example, the WCX-50 has a hard switch, but maybe there is a soft switch in BlueOS?

Guy Gichon says:

Hi Hans,
You mention several times that the DAC chip is less relevant and the more important aspect is the implementation – makes perfect sense.
Does the same apply for MQA implementation in a DAC or is the implementation the same for all DACs?
Let’s assume there are 2 different non-MQA DACs (with different DAC chips) that you find to produce the exact same sound quality (i.e both engineered with good implementation) , then both brands implement MQA in a new version without changing anything else, will they both benefit with the same improvement?

JB Broos says:

Beste Hans. Bij gebruik van een externe dac deze vraag: Zal ik geluidstechnisch verschil merken tussen de Node2 en de Node2i?

Ruud Stet says:

Hans, I agree on your take on the sound quality. I own both a node 2 and a chord Poly/mojo combination. The latter is the clear winner on detail and accurate reproduction of voices and instruments compared to the node. But the node does mqa and offers fatigue-free listening that gives it it’s own place in my system.
A question. Could you consider a video on mqa rendering? Listening tot mqa files through the analog out (=full mqa) of the node 2 gives a coherence between instruments that is somewhat lacking when using the node for decoding and the Mojo as a dac (toslink in). The Mojo doesn’t seem it’s usual brilliant self. The individual instruments and voices sound great and better than through the node’s analog out. But the coherence of the orchestra is lacking. Same with the tidal desktop app for decoding and the Mojo connected over USB. Any thoughts?

Francis Francis says:

When buying used, how can versions 2 and 2i be distinguished from each other visually externally?

vadimkrylov says:

Hi Hans! I do have a Node 2 but want to improve its sound quality. Can you suggest how to do it?

Mark Menasci says:

This or the Elac Discovery Server?

hxhky says:

– So how does the 2i compare to the 2 in sound quality? I watched the video several times and still could not find your opinion.
– Also, what do you mean by theyre not for “+20K stereos”?
– I assume whatever sound quality limitations the 2i/2 has, it’s due do the DAC? If I use digital out on the 2i, I can play the source music to its fullest sound quality potentials if I have goood enough DAC/pre/amp/speakers?

Thanks.

anthony0803 says:

So in your opinion what sounds better this or the project prebox? I won’t be using this with Bluetooth and it will be hardwired all the time. Just looking for the better sound quality.

Sorin G says:

Hans, compared to the Yamaha WXC-50 do you think the extra cost is justified considering only sound quality?

Francis Francis says:

Where exactly is the front panel IR receiver?

Mac Mac says:

How does this compare to the new Pulse Soundbar 2i? Is the streaming module equal in quality?

M. says:

Do you still recommend the Node 2 over the 2i for a lower price? Someone has it for under 300 usd. Not sure if the extra features is worth getting the 2i instead.

Ser Loin of Lamm says:

Great review as usual. I was reading on your website your article on upsampling vs over sampling and wondered what you thought of the new Chord MScaler? It would be great if you did a review – if not on the actual product, then on the technical side of what such a product might do and if such a product might be worth investing in for those of us who play red book CD quality music via an external DAC? Thanks

Guy Gichon says:

How is the sound quality Vs Cocktail N15D ?

Guy Gichon says:

Hi Hans
Is the Node also a PreAmp? Does it have a volume control so that it can be connected directly to a power amp ?
Thanks

Ian Sharp says:

Great features, but it’s a bit of a shame they did not put more attention into improvements into the audio quality.

kgwmail says:

Nice review. Question, I have a number of Sonos Connects – for my main system I use a digital output into a Schitt DAC. I have also just started to evaluate Roon to run everything. For sound quality does it matter if I am using a Sonos given the D/A conversion is occurring somewhere else? If I replaced the Sonos with the Node 2i but continued to use the same DAC would it make a difference? I have the Sonos hardwired so there are no obvious problems like drop outs. Thanks

Ron Howlett says:

I have purchased one a couple of weeks ago and find the sound quality excellent. My issues were setting it up. It never directly connected to my wifi so I plugged it directly via ethernet. I then plug my CD into the analog section. Again sound is great. Now for the problems. I have numerous 50+ error messages dealing with “stream connection timed out” and others which I am not sure I understand and currently sending logs directly to their tech dept. I have rather slow internet which may not be helping my issues.

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