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Bluesound Node 2


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@MNG .. here is a post from Andrew on the Bluesound Forum:

 

In October when we announced that we are partnering with Roon, we were hoping to have it integrated by the end of the year and we are continuing to work hard to get it done. We are excited to say that we have it working in our Lab and we are currently putting it through extensive testing to ensure everything is working properly. The next step requires Roon certification so we will be working closely with them to ensure that we are Roon Ready compliant. We expect to complete this process by the end of January, so it’s not long now. Thank you for your patience as we work through this important integration

 

Taken from this page: https://helpdesk.bluesound.com/discussions/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=1807&sid=53bb4dc293a9ecdf737cd82939683d8c&start=140

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Thanks very much Melvin. If that is the case, I'll keep it. I like the Node 2 unit and it is a definite step up in sound quality from the Sonos unit that I have been using, but it must be Roon ready for me as I have committed to that for all my devices.

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Thanks very much Melvin. If that is the case, I'll keep it. I like the Node 2 unit and it is a definite step up in sound quality from the Sonos unit that I have been using, but it must be Roon ready for me as I have committed to that for all my devices.

 

There is always a risk when purchasing a product with "future features" in mind. You could always return your unit for now, watch for the completed Roon implementation, and re-purchase.

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Sorry for not being clear. When using the analog out (RCA) to connect to your receiver/integrated you will be hearing the Node's on-board DAC. When using either Toslink or coax, the Node's on-board DAC is bypassed and the signal will be processed by the on-board DAC in your receiver/integrated (or stand-alone DAC if you go down that route). Which sounds better? Only you can decide that.

Thanks for that.

I have also made the connections between RCA to the Onkyo and yes I do notice a difference.

The internal Node 2 DAC sounds a bit warmer and opener.

 

Tnx for your help.

 

To provide you guys a bit of an update about my Node 2 experience. I have it for over a week now and playing both Spotify and 24bit music stored on my NAS through a Powerline adapter. Never had any hickup whatsoever. It just plays as it should. Really robust. So I am a happy guy.

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  • 2 weeks later...

kind of a cross post to the aries mini thread, but im debating between the two. Given the recent software updates I would be interested to hear any thoughts on the sound of the Node using Tidal MQA.

 

BS appears to be marketing the node as having built in "MQA decoding" Dontknow if that means a MQA dac ala meridian and mytek. So leaving aside the issue of whether MQA is a lossy format-- id be curious to know the thoughts of anyone listening to node>tidal>MQA......thanks

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kind of a cross post to the aries mini thread, but im debating between the two. Given the recent software updates I would be interested to hear any thoughts on the sound of the Node using Tidal MQA.

 

BS appears to be marketing the node as having built in "MQA decoding" Dontknow if that means a MQA dac ala meridian and mytek. So leaving aside the issue of whether MQA is a lossy format-- id be curious to know the thoughts of anyone listening to node>tidal>MQA......thanks

 

Yes, the MQA decoding is baked in since a firmware update back in June (I think). Bluesound partnered with MQA, meaning, the on-board DAC has been certified and unfolds/de-blurs the files up to and including 24/192 (which is the limit of the DAC) using analog out. When using digital out the decoding of MQA files is limited to 24/96 using a generic DAC profile and thus no "de-blurring".

 

The sound? Well, it sounds good. Very good. Is the sound "better" than an unfolded but not de-blurred 24/88.1 or 24/96 file sent to my Schiit Bifrost Multibit or Qute EX? Now that is the $100,000 question isn't it. I'm still trying to figure that out myself in fact. Fortunately for me I purchased the Node 2 before they announced the MQA partnership and is a nice bonus (as is Roon integration which arrives at the end of the month via another firmware update). I quite like the platform.

 

I know some folks think Bluesound products are only mid-fi (or worse) and not suitable for hi-end systems. Only you will know if the platform is good enough in your system. I bought the Node 2 and tested it extensively before removing my well-appointed Mac mini from my system. I'm still happy. Let us know what you decide. Good listening.

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Yes, the MQA decoding is baked in since a firmware update back in June (I think). Bluesound partnered with MQA, meaning, the on-board DAC has been certified and unfolds/de-blurs the files up to and including 24/192 (which is the limit of the DAC) using analog out. When using digital out the decoding of MQA files is limited to 24/96 using a generic DAC profile and thus no "de-blurring".

 

The Bluesound firmware image contains a software MQA decoder running on the ARM CPU. Not that this means anything. The Meridian Explorer 2 apparently runs the MQA decoder on the XMOS USB receiver.

 

Whether the Bluesound decoder is tailored for its DAC is hard to tell without comparing the output to another implementation.

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The Bluesound firmware image contains a software MQA decoder running on the ARM CPU. Not that this means anything. The Meridian Explorer 2 apparently runs the MQA decoder on the XMOS USB receiver.

 

Whether the Bluesound decoder is tailored for its DAC is hard to tell without comparing the output to another implementation.

 

Not sure if this answers the "tailored for its DAC" thing but this quote is from TonyW on the Bluesound forum:

 

I am going to try and explain this as best I can from my understanding based on my conversations with our engineering team. MQA Certified DACs provide an end to end, from source to decoder to output, overview of the file verifying the content. Though we at Bluesound decode it as MQA and, if you are using our on board DAC via analogue out, the process is covered end to end and Authenticated as Masters Quality (A MQ... MQA ;) ).

 

If you bypass our CL (Gen1) or Burr Brown (Gen2) DAC and select Optical or COAX out, we decode and the file and provide the content but the 3rd party DAC unfolds it to the best of it's ability. If that DAC is not MQA certified, it will be limited to how much it can open the file and will play at it's best. That's the beauty of MQA, if you do not have MQA certified equipment, you can still at least play the file - just not to the best of it's ability. It would be like watching a BluRay disc in a DVD Player and it still work... just not at 1080p... :D (yeah yeah, 4K I get it - I digress).

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Not sure if this answers the "tailored for its DAC" thing but this quote is from TonyW on the Bluesound forum:

 

I am going to try and explain this as best I can from my understanding based on my conversations with our engineering team. MQA Certified DACs provide an end to end, from source to decoder to output, overview of the file verifying the content. Though we at Bluesound decode it as MQA and, if you are using our on board DAC via analogue out, the process is covered end to end and Authenticated as Masters Quality (A MQ... MQA ).

 

If you bypass our CL (Gen1) or Burr Brown (Gen2) DAC and select Optical or COAX out, we decode and the file and provide the content but the 3rd party DAC unfolds it to the best of it's ability. If that DAC is not MQA certified, it will be limited to how much it can open the file and will play at it's best. That's the beauty of MQA, if you do not have MQA certified equipment, you can still at least play the file - just not to the best of it's ability. It would be like watching a BluRay disc in a DVD Player and it still work... just not at 1080p... (yeah yeah, 4K I get it - I digress).

 

I'm not sure I follow. What is this "unfolding" by a non-MQA DAC he talks of? Plain old upsampling?

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I'm not sure I follow. What is this "unfolding" by a non-MQA DAC he talks of? Plain old upsampling?

 

Well, I took it to mean the unfolding is limited to 24/96 regardless of non-MQA DAC and if your DAC only does Redbook, for example, then it will only "unfold" to the DACs limit of 16/44.1.

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I am debating buying this or the Auralic mini.

 

I have them both atm testing.

 

Using and external DAC, I still think I am hearing some diferences on the output from them even when using and external DAC. I dont know if this is placebo or whatever. Im not much of a technical guy, just want to buy a good system that the best for my liking.

 

I have tryed the Auralic with USB to Nu prime DAC 10

 

Then comparing to the Bluesound Node 2 connected to Nu Prime DAC 10 with optical.

 

It seems to me the Auralic is more clean, bright, analytical, dont know how to describe it.

 

The Bluesound has some more deepness to it, seems bass is more for my likening.

 

Weird thing is I dont understand how it should makes this diference when i am using and external DAC with both of them. Maybe its just placebo ?

 

Also as far as the app goes, I prefer the Bluesound over Lightning DS. Im getting a lot of disconnecst with lightning DS. The bluesound App seems very stable.

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I am debating buying this or the Auralic mini.

 

I have them both atm testing.

 

Using and external DAC, I still think I am hearing some diferences on the output from them even when using and external DAC. I dont know if this is placebo or whatever. Im not much of a technical guy, just want to buy a good system that the best for my liking.

 

I have tryed the Auralic with USB to Nu prime DAC 10

 

Then comparing to the Bluesound Node 2 connected to Nu Prime DAC 10 with optical.

 

It seems to me the Auralic is more clean, bright, analytical, dont know how to describe it.

 

The Bluesound has some more deepness to it, seems bass is more for my likening.

 

Weird thing is I dont understand how it should makes this diference when i am using and external DAC with both of them. Maybe its just placebo ?

 

Also as far as the app goes, I prefer the Bluesound over Lightning DS. Im getting a lot of disconnecst with lightning DS. The bluesound App seems very stable.

It's interesting reading your post.

The impression I got (my subjective interpretation) is that all your testing is telling you that you like the Bluesound more, but the "audiophile" grade normally associated to Auralic makes you hesitate, as if you really would prefer to like the Mini more, despite the evidence of the contrary....

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It's interesting reading your post.

The impression I got (my subjective interpretation) is that all your testing is telling you that you like the Bluesound more, but the "audiophile" grade normally associated to Auralic makes you hesitate, as if you really would prefer to like the Mini more, despite the evidence of the contrary....

 

Yes that is a good way do descibe it. Actually I am leaning towards buying the Bluesound

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I have always viewed Bluesound as "Peachtree" level products. They fit very well with mid to high end systems. Sonos more consumer oriented. Next month I think I will purchase a NODE 2.

 

Just curious, what is general BLUESOUND upgrade cycle? In other words, when should one expect a Node 3?

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I have always viewed Bluesound as "Peachtree" level products. They fit very well with mid to high end systems. Sonos more consumer oriented. Next month I think I will purchase a NODE 2.

 

Just curious, what is general BLUESOUND upgrade cycle? In other words, when should one expect a Node 3?

 

I like your perspective @arcman. Bluesound seems to be on a 2 year cycle but God knows. The gen 2 products have been a big hit for them and now with Roon integration coming at the end of the month (never mind MQA) perhaps more audiophiles will see them as a serious contender.

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I would pay a couple hundred more for one if it had an upgraded Dac. Currently, there's no mid level priced, non USB, mqa capable Dac. An "audiophile" version of the node would probably do quite well. However, the current Node Dac may be just as good as any mid Dac out there. When I get one, I have the ability to run both digital and analog outs at same time. It will be interesting to compare to my Peachtree Nova Pre Dac.

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No longer vaporware since Tidal flipped the switch, MQA has obviously impassioned folks not only here on CA but also among audiophiles in general. I don't think we need or want another MQA thread but, Bluesound owners, what are your thoughts? Was it worth the wait? Is MQA everything you hoped for? How do you like the sound quality?

 

First, I'm happy Bluesound partnered with the folks at MQA for no other reason than I wanted to hear for myself what the fuss is all about and, as promised, with a no-cost-to-us firmware update, voila! Lucky us. While I never thought the on-board DAC sounded bad at all, I preferred using the Node 2 as a preamp/transport in conjunction with one of my stand-alone DACs. Now, with MQA in the mix I'm not so sure. It seems the de-blurring aspect truly elevates the sound quality of the on-board MQA-ified Burr Brown PCM5122 DAC. At the very least the gap has narrowed in my system.

 

As my listening habits move more and more toward streaming I look forward to Tidal acquiring more MQA content. For now I like what I'm hearing. What do you guys think of the sound quality?

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No longer vaporware since Tidal flipped the switch, MQA has obviously impassioned folks not only here on CA but also among audiophiles in general. I don't think we need or want another MQA thread but, Bluesound owners, what are your thoughts? Was it worth the wait? Is MQA everything you hoped for? How do you like the sound quality?

 

First, I'm happy Bluesound partnered with the folks at MQA for no other reason than I wanted to hear for myself what the fuss is all about and, as promised, with a no-cost-to-us firmware update, voila! Lucky us. While I never thought the on-board DAC sounded bad at all, I preferred using the Node 2 as a preamp/transport in conjunction with one of my stand-alone DACs. Now, with MQA in the mix I'm not so sure. It seems the de-blurring aspect truly elevates the sound quality of the on-board MQA-ified Burr Brown PCM5122 DAC. At the very least the gap has narrowed in my system.

 

As my listening habits move more and more toward streaming I look forward to Tidal acquiring more MQA content. For now I like what I'm hearing. What do you guys think of the sound quality?

 

What rate do you get from the digital output on the Node 2 when playing MQA content?

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