Bluesound Node 2 Users?


#1

I’m curious to see if there’s any Bluesound Node 2 users in this forum.

If there are, I’m wondering if anyone has had a chance to compare just the Bluesound Node 2 and its internal DAC to any of PS Audio DAC’s?


#2

The Bluesound lags far behind.


#3

Have to agree with Elk as you’d expect, when considering that the Node 2 is a full streamer with built in DAC for just $500. It’s a good value option if it fits your needs but its DAC is not really competitive with more expensive stand alone DACs.


#4

I tried the Bluesound Node 2 for a 30-day home trial. I wanted to like it, especially at the $500 price point. I decided to send it back.

The sound quality was mediocre. The usability was decent, but not great. The use of Ethernet was a big improvement over the wireless connection.


#5

Just curious if anyone has done a/b - that’s all. Interestingly enough, I have read several testimonials of the Bluesound bettering the likes of the Schiit Bifrost and even Gungnir. Though several people have used the Bluesound as a source and then passthrough to another DAC with good results (like the Brooklyn or Codex).

I’m likely going to get a GCD and run the Bluesound directly into the back of it and use it strictly as a source when the time comes. Still be interested to see people’s thoughts though on a/b if anyone’s actually done any.


#6

The Bluesound is far enough behind that no A/B is necessary or even vaguely tempting. Two totally different worlds.

My impression is that it did not compete well even in the $250 category. I have no idea how well its other features work, but it is weak as a DAC.


#7

I use BlueSound Vault 2 as a source and love it. Has streaming including Spotify and Tidal plus 2TB of CD storage. Great remote control apps. Has digital out to bypass the built-in DAC, which is not bad but obviously more of a budget item. I see BlueSound used like this, as a source, by several of the high-end audio stores in New York City and they swear by it.


#8

I love mine as a source to. I’m beginning to feel like my judgement must be off or something since I believe it sounds quite nice as a source (even with it’s DAC). I no doubt know the SGCD will be a good upgrade when the time comes.

What are you connecting your Vault 2 to? Have you ever tried comparing the sound of your Vault 2 vs your current DAC?


#9

Qualitative judgments are relative.

I find the Bluesound Node 2 to possess an opaque clouded sound, lacking in detail. Listenable, but not approaching the sound quality of any PS Audio DAC. But if one is accustomed to the sound of an iThing, the Bluesound is an obvious improvement.

This does not make the Bluesound bad onto itself, but you asked for a comparison with PS Audio kit. The Bluesound suffers in this context.


#10

Hi Elk, I appreciate the feedback. Yes, qualitative judgements are indeed relative.

I’m quite impressed with the quality of music I’m getting right now. That being said, I’m left wondering (as I’m sure a lot of audiophiles are) how many more levels of detail/musicality can I uncover in my system? Would something like the Direct Stream Jr. be a further improvement yet over the GCD…in my system? Things to ponder. I know the only way to ultimately tell is to test such theories out in one’s system.

I don’t believe my setup is super revealing/resolving nor capable of this (my speakers are Monitor Audio Silver 300’s). Still I want to get the most from them I absolutely can - within my budget - all while not going too far into the diminishing returns category with what my system is only capable of.

I’m sure the GCD will be a noticeable improvement and I cannot wait to try one, but that will take me a while to save up for (unless PS Audio raffles one off!) :slight_smile:


#11

The Monitor Audio Silver 300 is an amazing speaker, especially for the money. My bet is you would hear a positive difference.

With all the good and bad this implies. :slight_smile:


#12

I agree it’s quite amazing, but then again I know I’m lacking perspective as I haven’t listened to a ton of speakers. Though still enough to know I very much like what I’m hearing. Thanks again.


#13

I use a Bluesound Node 2 and have a Directstream DAC. (We mainly use the Bluesound for Tidal, but the spousal unit also sometimes just plays our local library thru the Bluesound rather than bother to switch inputs on the preamp.)

I agree with the others here who have said that it’s not close. I have only bothered to make a direct, level-matched comparison a few times, but it was clear that it was no contest via any kind of revealing system - “opaque” is the perfect word to describe the sound in comparison to the DSD. Don’t get me wrong, I think the Bluesound is a pretty darned good product, and worth the asking price for what it does, but it’s raison d’etre is lifestyle and convenience, not state of the art sound. It doesn’t sound crappy by any means, but neither can it compare with anything remotely close to SOTA. I should also mention that the output level from the Bluesound’s internal DAC is kinda low; I bump it up by 6 db to match my other sources.

We have gotten used to the interface… I’d rate it as OK, but I actually prefer JRemote both for aesthetics and usability. In the plus column, Bluesound’s support is very good, though they’ve screwed up a few updates (as has most everybody in the industry.)

Edit: I also play tidal via Mconnect to the Bridge II, which works fine. Haven’t really compared that to how Tidal masters sounds coming via the Bluesound, but I’d presume that the above comments would apply to this scenario as well.


#14

Bob, thank you for sharing your experience with the Bluesound Node 2 and its use with your Directstream DAC.

I’m curious…is your Node 2 connected to your Directstream via Toslink or Coax? Have you compared the two and do you find a difference in sound quality between the two?


#15

I didn’t try that b/c (to be honest) it would have meant training the Significant Other to change inputs on the DSD. However, I did try it via coax into my Hegel H160’s internal DAC, which despite being something they throw into the mix with the amp, doesn’t suck by a mile, in fact it’s damned good. I no longer use the Hegel and of course I couldn’t get MQA that way, but it sounded very decent. So that implies that the DAC in the Bluesound is to some extent at least what’s holding it back.


#16

btw i can try it thru the dsd and let you know, but i am traveling now for about a week. But I expect it would be more than decent.


#17

I’m curious, what settings do you have set for your bluesound node 2 when it’s connected to your directstream DAC?


#18

dbanker, so far I have used it with an external DAC via coAx but not the DS - in any case, I am not looking at the control panel for the Bluesound at this moment, but the only relevant setting I can recall would be that you have to tell it that it is not using an MQA-capable external DAC. FWIW - I leave the volume control of the Bluesound disabled.


#19

Thanks Bob, that’s what I was thinking of doing…coax to a NuWave DSD DAC.

On the note of volume control, can you leave the volume control enabled and control the volume of the bluesound directly into another deck? Or if you bypass the bluesound DAC does the volume control have to be handled by a preamp?


#20

Bob, I actually got a hold of Bluesound directly, and they told me I could adjust the volume (if variable is selected) even if the Node 2 is connected to another DAC via COAX. I may try this and see if it sounds better (using digital volume control) than connected to my NAD integrated…into my Stellar S300.