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Bluesound Node 2? (Read 779 times)
Jeff of Arabica
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Bluesound Node 2?
06/12/17 at 23:33:02
 
Anyone have the Bluesound Node 2 that can comment on SQ and functionality?  

I recently purchased the new Opportunity UDP-205 and it no longer has any app to stream.  So, I lost the ability to stream Tidal through the Oppo (had a modded BDP-103 prior which had the Tidal streaming capability).

This Node 2 also has MQA decoding which is nice since Tidal offers MQA with its "Master" streaming.  It is reasonably priced at $499, but I would like to know how this device sounds with its mid-level DAC's.  

Thanks!
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Torii//ZDSD//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Rachael//Super Zen Triode//Taboo MK III//Muse Phono Stage//Zen Head//SonoruS R2R w/ tube playback pre-amp//OPPO BDP-205//Omega SAHOs//Monoliths//Ultrasone Signature Pros//UM Miracle CIEM
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Rich
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #1 - 06/13/17 at 06:26:54
 
I can't comment on the Node2, but I have been using a first generation Node and Vault for a couple of years.   The built in Dac is not bad especially if your just using the Node to stream.  You can always go to an external Dac later because the Node2 has both optical and coax digital outputs.  

Bluesound devices are controlled by an app on your phone or tablet.  They do not have their own remotes.  The app is a little clugee to use but it works well.

I have my Vault connected to a Schiit Bifrost Multibit Dac which outputs to my Decware SE84UFO2.   I think the Vault sounds better then my Marantz CD player.  It has a terabyte internal drive and I have ripped my whole CD collection to it.  Using the app I can play any song or album or make up my own playlists.  My Node which is connected to a different system in another room can access all the music stored on the Vault.  

All in all I'm happy with the Bluesound gear.  I think you would have to spend quit a bit more to get noticeably better sound quality and there's not much out there that can match it's versatility.  
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SE84UFO2, Zstage, Schiit Bifrost Multibit Dac, diy Betsy bafels, Bluesound Vault music server
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #2 - 06/13/17 at 06:37:36
 
Thanks Rich!  That has been my impression so far with the limited research I have done.  And yes, it will solely be used for streaming Tidal, first and foremost.  

As far as the external DAC, I have an amazing Decware ZDSD that would certainly smoke the Node 2 onboard DAC, buuuut....   a great feature of the Node 2 for me is the MQA decoding which I would lose (at least the full blown MQA decoding) if I output to the ZDSD via digital.  

The Vault seems like an awesome device.  If my optical disc collection was of greater volume, I would consider it.  However, with Tidal HiFi, I can stream at least CD quality and have access to more than I could (or ever want to) collect of physical media.  

Again, thanks for your input.  I am glad to hear you are pleased with the device.  I really have not found a better potential fit for me, especially considering the Tidal and native MQA decoding.  But, SQ matters.  And I certainly don't want to obtain a device, at any price point, that will become an unacceptable weak link considering the time, money, and effort I have put into my system so far - within reason considering this will be a streaming device.
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Torii//ZDSD//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Rachael//Super Zen Triode//Taboo MK III//Muse Phono Stage//Zen Head//SonoruS R2R w/ tube playback pre-amp//OPPO BDP-205//Omega SAHOs//Monoliths//Ultrasone Signature Pros//UM Miracle CIEM
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Rich
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #3 - 06/13/17 at 07:03:38
 
Jeff,  it looks like you have some pretty high end gear.  The Node will probably be your weakest link.  You may want to check out some of the gear from Aurender.  It's a lot more expensive but from what I read it sounds like its truly high end gear.
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SE84UFO2, Zstage, Schiit Bifrost Multibit Dac, diy Betsy bafels, Bluesound Vault music server
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Jeff of Arabica
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #4 - 06/16/17 at 07:25:46
 
Well, I found a local Magnolia store that had one in stock, so I figured the best way to know how it performs in my system is by actually putting it in my system.  The thing is, I searched high and low for a solution that had all the features I wanted (which is primarily wireless streaming, native Tidal, and an on-board MQA DAC).  Even much more expensive, higher-end solutions did not have all of this in one appliance.  Needed two separate units, which put it over $5K.  So, considering its duty, I had to see how this $499 solution performed.

I will say, it is a rather nice, sturdy unit.  The packaging and build quality certainly exceeded my expectations.  Setup was a breeze and in minutes I was streaming Master (MQA) quality Tidal tracks.  

I first ran it direct to the ZMA.  The output signal level must be on the lower side as I had to get the attentuator knob 3/4 the way up to get the volume to what I would consider the low end of concert level.  Typically, with a 2 volt input I can't get it over 1/3 to 1/2 before I reach my max tolerance.  Anyway, the sound was good, but a bit lean, and boring.  It wasn't the dense, full sound I am used to from my ZMA and Omega SAHO's.  My guess was, if I added some tube gain, it would benefit from it.  

So, I hooked it up to the 2-channel inputs of my Ultra preamp, and I was right.  This Node 2 grew a huge set of balls!  Completely different product with a tube preamp between it and the amp.  

And as far as the sound, I am really content with it gained up.  It was good/fine direct, but it was not an exciting sound - at least unless I cranked up the ZMA but I want it to sound good at all levels.  

Anyway, great little product if fed properly and the BluOS controller app is easy enough to navigate and use.  Havent done much but play Tidal through it thus far though.  
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« Last Edit: 06/16/17 at 07:39:51 by Jeff of Arabica »  

ZMA//Zen Ultra//Torii//ZDSD//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Rachael//Super Zen Triode//Taboo MK III//Muse Phono Stage//Zen Head//SonoruS R2R w/ tube playback pre-amp//OPPO BDP-205//Omega SAHOs//Monoliths//Ultrasone Signature Pros//UM Miracle CIEM
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Rich
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #5 - 06/17/17 at 01:11:29
 
Jeff, glad you like the Node.  I know you want to use the nodes Dac to play MQA but if you get the chance I would like to know how it sounds going digital out to your ZDSD.  
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SE84UFO2, Zstage, Schiit Bifrost Multibit Dac, diy Betsy bafels, Bluesound Vault music server
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Jeff of Arabica
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"Music is what
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #6 - 06/17/17 at 06:50:21
 
Since my Ultra and ZSB are tapped out on their inputs, I picked up Trip's Zstage he put up on the classifieds the other day.  The most perfect timing.  I knew I needed to add a tube gain stage of some type to this Node 2 and the Zstage is an ideal solution.  The next day, I saw the classified listing and snatched it up.  Problem solved.

I have heard it through my Ultra pre - it is was great.  I will put the Zstage between the Node 2 and ZMA and report back next week.  Heading out of town with the fam for the week.  Having once had a Zstage, I am confident that success is imminent with this preposed Node 2 pairing.  

Rich,
I can run the optical out to the ZDSD and then to the ZMA to compare results.  Kind of a difficult comparison since I cannot run fully decoded MQA through my ZDSD, so not exactly a limited variable comparison.  I am not sure when I will get a chance to do it, but I will.  Have a few other to-do's of higher priority I have to hammer out.  I am 60% done with room treatments and want to finish the other 40% in the next 30 days.  

Anyway, I will keep you posted with the Zstage results and eventually the ZDSD integration.
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ZMA//Zen Ultra//Torii//ZDSD//PS Audio DirectStream DAC + Memory Player + P10//Rachael//Super Zen Triode//Taboo MK III//Muse Phono Stage//Zen Head//SonoruS R2R w/ tube playback pre-amp//OPPO BDP-205//Omega SAHOs//Monoliths//Ultrasone Signature Pros//UM Miracle CIEM
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ginny
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #7 - 09/05/17 at 14:55:35
 
I am considering a Bluesound Node2 and using its toslink output (to bypass its DAC) to a Schiit Bifrost Multibit DAC to utilize its DAC.
This will eventually feed an SE34I.5 OR Torii jr. (still undecided)
My current speakers are Tekton Pendragon

Can anyone comment on their experience with this setup or have any thoughts as to how this setup will sound?

Thx in advance
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Rich
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #8 - 09/06/17 at 04:15:39
 
My budget for audio is modest so I look for bang for the buck when I by gear.  To my ears the Bluesound Node which is basically a Vault without the hard drive and cd ripper sounds great when paired with the Bifrost Multibit.
My setup is a SE84UFO2, a Bifrost Multibit and a Vault with Betsy speakers.  With decent but modest cables i'am getting a wide and deep  soundstage.  On well recorded material I can easily pick out where the instruments are located and vocals lock on right in the middle.  Piano sounds realistic as compared with the baby grand in my church.   I'm really happy with this setup and feel I would have to spend a lot more money to significantly improve it.
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SE84UFO2, Zstage, Schiit Bifrost Multibit Dac, diy Betsy bafels, Bluesound Vault music server
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Lonely Raven
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Re: Bluesound Node 2?
Reply #9 - 09/06/17 at 15:38:13
 

Just a note for those using Toslink -

Since Toslink wasn't implemented very well when it came to market all those decades ago, and the fact that it's typically bolted on as an afterthought with $1 transmitters from China, and run through plastic "optical" connections - it tends to be rather high in jitter and transmission ghosting/echoing issues.

If at all possible, use a proper 75 Ohm S/PDIF RCA cable. Making sure it's a real 75 Ohm cable and not just a mono-RCA cable makes a difference as well.

While having two pieces of hardware separated by an optical cable is great at reducing noise transmitted from one device to the other, you'll probably appreciate the lowered jitter and improved accuracy of a proper copper S/PDIF line as it's less work for your DAC to try to sort out the bits.
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