Advice Needed: Bluesound Node vs Vault


I'd like to ask for some advice/feedback for anyone knowledgeable about the Bluesound Node and Vault. I'm trying to decide between the two and I can't understand why the Vault costs what it does. From my point of view (please correct me), you pay $700 more for the Vault to get a CD ripper and a 2TB hard drive (which costs $65 on Amazon), and LOSE wifi support. I get that it can be more convenient to stick CDs into the Vault to rip them, but outside of that why would I (or anyone) not just buy the Node and rip my CDs using my computer? There are pretty simple ways using software to get a bit perfect rip using a computer. If the Vault was $200 more I could see it, but I'm totally lost why that product has a $700 markup over a Node. Thanks in advance for any feedback!
jnehma1
I own both the Vault 2 and the new Node 2i.  I purchased the Vault for my new summer home.  For me, the choice was simplicity.  I don’t own a computer nor have the space or any other need for one.  The Vault offered a compact user friendly solution to play all my CD’s plus the ability to stream Tidal.  That level of space and convenience was worth the money to me.
If you already have the resources to rip your CD’s and are comfortable doing so, then by all means just buy the Node.
 I have not compared the Vault 2 and the Node 2i in the same system so I can’t offer an assessment as to the difference in sound quality.  The Vault is in an approximately 7K system and I have no complaints with sound quality or operation.
The Node 2i is setup in my main winter home system 50K+ and it sounds surprisingly very good.  Compared to my CD playback, Sony Es deck as a transport via Chord Hugo dac, the Node holds it’s own.  The Node is slightly less detailed and energetic but has deeper bass and a more relaxed presentation.  Depth is excellent along with a wall to wall soundstage.  Imaging is also very precise.  I’m a stickler for hearing the precise overtones and decay of piano notes.  I can’t stand the hollowness of decay that some dacs produce such as my Oppo 105D.  The Node 2i is very good in this respect, not quite matching the Hugo but reasonably close.
 I have not experienced any connectivity issues with the Node.  Wireless operation is flawless and I find the BluOS app superb.
 I have the Node plugged in to my Shunyata Hydra with the stock cord and see no reason to try a wall outlet.  So there may be some advantage there in my results.
 I can’t imagine anyone not being pleased with the sound.  I detect no glaring faults.  Some sins of omission as they say.  Can you do better?  Most likely but I’m satisfied for now.
BTW, since I found the Node so good, I also purchased the new Pulse Flex 2i powered speaker so I can listen to my sports radio and have some background music playing without having all my tubed components powered on all the time.  It is a great little component as well.  I’m a happy Bluesound owner.



I can only speak about the Node 2 from my experience. If you have many ITunes rips or files, Bluesound may not like the file folders and you may not have artwork for albums. I had to add many, many jpg files to my files for albums so that Bluesound software would enable me to see album covers. I think with the Vault, the ripping software is probably better and it will include artwork. That and I think the Vault can see an external library (HDD or NAS) of music besides the ones you rip. Perhaps Vault users will chime in.
I think the OP has it right.  The Vault2 charges more for the convenience of adding storage and a ripper.  Whether that premium is worth it is in the eye and wallet of the beholder 
Hello! I have the Bluesound Vault 2 and have been extremely happy...but, more impressed...by it ever since I bought it this past April. The happy part is in that it does everything my dealer and Bluesound said it would do. The impressive part is that it sounds much better than I ever expected.

As others have said, there is really no difference between the Vault or Node performance-wise, BUT, I have to echo what 2psyop has said above: The ease-of-use of the Vault as a ripping and storage solution cannot be overlooked. I, too, had most of my CD’s ripped to my main PC as well as backed up to a NAS. But managing the tagging info, album art, etc. became such a time-suck for me that I ultimately went with the Vault because of the promise for a more convenient solution for keeping all my music properly tagged, with the right album art and managed with a very easy to use app.

Now, while I could have just imported my music files to the Vault, I decided to take the extra time to rip ALL of my CD’s to the Vault natively. Both my dealer and Bluesound recommended this route as a way to insure a perfect, bit-for-bit rip as well as for maximum accuracy for the metadata and album art. While I can’t say that the Vault made a better lossless FLAC file than my PC, I do know that of the 638 CD’s I ripped, I only had to manually adjust/enter tagging info or album art on 31 CD’s...a very, very good "hit" rate by the Vault! Of the other digital-only albums I had to drag over into the Vault, the hit rate was a incredible 89 for 103. The Bluesound app and Vault are the closest thing I’ve found to Roon in terms of keeping a music library managed automatically, as well as integrating Tidal and internet radio.

While there is a big price delta between the Vault and Node, I look at the amount of time that I now don’t waste in keeping an ever-growing music library managed as money well spent. I have a NAS drive hooked up to the Vault that backs-up its library automatically, so there’s that additional peace of mind as well.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that, rather than looking at the Vault as an over-priced 2TB hard drive and CD-ROM, look at it as a way to save you effort and time. Only you can say how much that would be worth to you. Either way, Bluesound makes a terrific product!

Enjoy the music...

Arvin

Audio Research D240 MKII s/s amp, LS-7 tube pre & PH-3 tube phono; Denon VL12 turntable w/Ortofon 2M Bronze ; Thiel CS3.5 speakers; Bluesound Vault 2; Audioquest and MIT interconnects and cables

Thanks everyone for the detailed responses! Since Roon was brought up, let me add that to the question. I had thought about album art potentially being an issue but if I used Roon in conjunction with the Node, wouldn't that automatically show all the album art and other meta data for my ripped CD's? A lifetime Roon subscription is $500, so still cheaper than the Vault premium over the Node.
I don't want to have to rip all my CDs again and could not see any reason to purchase the Vault over the Node 2.

I've already ripped hundreds of CDs to an external hard drive that is visible on my network. They are neatly organized by artist/album and I could care less if I see album art or not.

One of the things I like about the Node 2 is that I don't have to have my TV on to listen to music.  I upgraded my Oppo BDP-103 to a UDP-103 and bought the Node 2 so I could continue to enjoy Tidal in my main system.  Before getting the Node 2 I used the Oppo to stream Tidal.

I'm very happy with the Node 2.  I am using my Auralic Vega instead of the Node 2's internal DAC and am very happy with the ease of use and sound quality.  I picked one up for $200.  One of the best bang for the buck "audiophile" purchases I've ever made!
Thanks big_greg, I was thinking sort of along those same lines. I've already ripped some of my CDs a couple years ago. Not a ton, but maybe around 40 or 50. I already went through the process on my PC to get the album art and they are all neatly arranged in folders, like yours. I had no problem using them with my old Squeezebox Touch until the external HDD they were on died. I have the original copies still on the laptop. It's been a few years since I did it, but I don't recall it being that difficult of a process and the album art isn't critical priority for me either. I think the answer coming out of all this is the Vault isn't worth the extra money *for me* so I should stick with the Node 2i. Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to reply
The Bluesound ripper generally does good rips, superior to iTunes, perhaps a notch below dbpoweramp.  I’ve used all 3 of these extensively.  Still, if you are comfortable doing your own ripping, a program like dbpoweramp costs under a hundred, still cheaper to add then the ripping part of the Vault2 
I was going to get the Node 2i and stopped by my dealer to buy one.  We went through the specs between the Node 2 and 2i and there wasn't anything new in the 2i that mattered to me and he had a couple of the Node 2s coming in from a trade in.  I was able to pick one up for $200. 

If you're going to use the analog outputs, the sound quality is purportedly better on the 2i and it has Airplay 2 (which I don't have any use for).  I am running my Node 2 to an external DAC, so the "better" analog output sound quality didn't matter.  If you plan to use an external DAC and don't care about Airplay 2 you might be able to get a good deal on a Node 2.
Keep in mind when getting a Node 2, as I have mentioned in a previous response to this post, the name for artwork in each folder with music is Cover.jpg. This is the default for Bluesound now.
https://support1.bluesound.com/hc/en-us/articles/200271926-Why-is-some-of-my-Album-Cover-Art-shown-a...
If you have 300 albums of music, each with it’s own folder the embedded artwork or separate artwork file must be Cover.jpg.
If the OP hasn't made his/her purchase yet, they may want to consider this: https://www.bluesound.com/products/vault-2/Yes it's recertified as opposed to new, but it's much closer to the price of a Node, and has the Vault's ease of ripping.
I have the Node 2i. I already had my CD's ripped by dbpoweramp to WAV and placed on my NAS. The Node2i had no problem finding the drive and adding my library. It's almost impossible to run a wire in my house unless I run it outside so I run everything wireless, never had a glitch or problem with playback. I guess it depends what you are comfortable with. 
I just picked up the Vault 2i and it is AWESOME .....  It pretty much set itself up after seeing my tablet running BluOS and then it downloaded the latest firmware automatically.  I first tried an external 2TB drive with music and it recognized it immediately.  Then I sent some music to it via Blutooth, tried some internet radio and premium services...  ironically I have yet to rip a CD but I am amazed at what this machine can do.   
I was afraid I could not use the Vault because I have no wired ethernet access so I tried this

https://www.netgear.com/home/products/networking/powerline/PLP2000.aspx

Works great, does not seem to inject any noise into system like earlier IP over AC devices could.  Super fast 2 gigabyte /sec speed.  I'm using the other jack for my BluRay player and it's super stable with video streaming .
I used Powerline Adapters for the first couple of years but they were problematic.  It turns out that when the signal crosses a breaker there is a significant drop, something like 40%, and to get from my router to my listening room required a 2 circuit jump.  The PLAs would work for a while, then ultimately overheat and die after a few weeks.  If your listening area is on the same circuit as your router you probably won’t have any issues.  I ultimately bit the bullet and paid a few hundred bucks to Ethernet Wire the house, which helped my Apple TVs, Blu Ray Players, and some non Audio IT stuff in the house.
   I’m having my first problem with Bluesound since the above cabling issue.  The color scheme on the Vault2 cycles between red and blue, it’s overheating, and the app isn’t working.  This started Dec 23 when I did their latest update, the one to add AirPlay.  I first noted the issue on XMass Eve and haven’t been able to fix it with the usual rebooting of the BS and the router.  I’m off today and hoping Tech Support is available.
Sorry to hear you are having a problem. Let us know how you make out.  
Well, seems like I’m SOL.  Tech support not available today, reopening tomorrow but I have to go to work and Tech Support won’t help unless you are at home.  That’s not going to happen for a while
There's  always  the  last  resort  factory  reset. 
I, too, have been having issues with my Bluesound app/Nodes.
Spotify and Deezer have skipping. To their credit, both companies(Spotify and Bluesound) have been pursuing the issue, though it still hasn't been corrected.
@mahler,
I suggest you contact Bluesound and request a TimeViewer session. They can take control of the app and see what is going on, as well as try to reset everything. I don't know if they can remotely connect while you are at work, but there might be a way.
Bob
Factory reset didn’t work either.  

The only other thing I can think of is the update might have gotten corrupted during download and locked it up and it thinks its  still updating flashing green/ red,  did you try downloading the manual update and perform it by usb stick to overwrite. Might also be a problem with the newest update and vault 2. 
Here’s my thoughts to try: 1st disconnect all cables other than power and attempt reboot.  2nd see if you can download the update again.  
I have the update installed and no problems.
Hopefully you’ll get lucky.
You might be on to something there, as the download appeared to have a problem.  How do you download the manual update?  I didn’t see a download update areaon the BS website but I can look again.
Go to the download page under support , scroll down to your product and select it and follow instructions, they email a link to the firmware download. 
Huh I tried to do that but somehow I don’t the page that you are referencing.
I tried a factory reset again and this time it worked.  I did the reiindex music collection and rebuild index and the only problem is that my NAS won’t play.
i have two separate folders—the Vault and my NAS—the Vault and the Internet Radio works well but while the NAS shows up, no sound comes from the files.
I have Oppo players in the same systems as the Vault2 and the Node2 and using the network function of the Oppos I can play files from the NAS so the problem has to be the Bluesound 
For future reference since you seem to have yours working for the vault 2 the page is
https://www.bluesound.com/products/vault-2/attachment/v510_usb_stick_3-2-6/
You have to fill out your information and they will email you a link to the download page. Looks like a network problem might try removing the NAS from the vault , adding it back and let the vault find it again ? Does the Node play from the NAS? Bluesound uses SMB not DLNA I think Oppo uses DLNA
I have my hard drive attached to a NAS server with usb and the HDD is   configured as a file share and I have never had any problem with my Node2i finding the library and playing from it. IF the NAS is running a DLNA  UPNP server the Bluesound will configure the drives as shares so you might have some kind of protocol problem that the Bluesound needs to start over like it was first set up. Just a thought, something to try. 
I know you have had problems contacting Bluesound customer service but I would like to add that when I have done so, to fix problems like reindexing files, finding shares with my music on a NAS hard drive the guys have been very helpful. They have the ability to get into your network remotely and fix all connectivity issues (if you let them). Just a thought....
Their customer service is always great.  The problem is their availability.
Though you have to wait to get a Teamviewer appointment, they do allow you to set the time to whatever is convenient for you.
B
Well, due to the Holidays and and my work schedule, it may be a few weeks before we are able to do his.  This is a first world problem—90% of my rips are still available to me on the Vault2, and if I use my Oppo as the controller, I can access all of the NAS, and I still have a few thousand shiny silver discs to spin—so I hate to sound a whiner (actually I am a whiner, I just hate to be so obvious).
However, this won’t be the first time that I haven’t been able to use it and had to make a date with their IT department weeks in advance.  
  Looking back at it I think most of my troubles have been related to software upgrades.  I think that djones May have hit the nail on the head—the software downloads don’t make it to home base, which confuses the whole unit(s), which then overheat worryingly.  Perhaps I will do future downloads manually.
  Apologies to the OP for hijacking the thread, but prospective purchasers are best informed if made aware of issues.
  The other thing is that posters here regularly criticize the Bluesound products as budget items that can’t possibly compete with streamers that cost 5-10 times as much, and many of us Bluesound owners rejoin that as long as one uses external DACs, they sound exceptional.  Where they may have cut corners is on the networking part.  Perusal of the Bluesound forum suggests that I am not the user who has these issues.  It may be that certain routers are more likely to be affected, as I use the stock router that ATT provides, but I have an IT guy that set up my NAS who says the router is fine.  Anyway they sound great and have a heck of a lot of functionality but at this price I guess something has to give.