Bluesound Node 2 vs. Node (2021)

I am currently enjoying an older Node 2 and wondering if I my sound quality might benefit from an upgrade to the new, 3rd generation, Node (2021).  My system: Network > Node 2 (via Cat5e) > Chord Qutest DAC (via Coaxial) > Hegel H190 (via analog) > Magnepan 1.7i.  I'm only using the Node's WiFi for control via the Blue OS app on a tablet.



You could? just spend the money on a better external DAC than what’s in the Node (2021). That would enhance the sound (other than MQA albums) unless you bought a more expensive DAC with MQA.

All that depends on whether or not you already have a quality external DAC. Opps I see that you do...

I have no experience with the NEW Node. But I have read that it is a step forward or 2 from your Node2. I have a Node 2i and I upgraded it with a power board and external power supply that isolates the streamer from the power and it was a big step up from stock. A friend did the same thing to his Node2 (like yours) with the same results. Blacker background, more separation, resolution and air. The bellow board and an Sbooster power brick will do the trick.



hegel 190 into maggie 1.7i is exceptionally fine and very very resolving

i would say get the node 3 and use its usb digital out to feed the qutest - i would think the sq difference will be quite noticeable... also, if you aren’t already, get a good linear power supply for the chord dac... makes a difference imo

good luck and enjoy


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Thanks to everyone for the input!

@jjss49: Yes!  I have been very impressed with the Hegel H190/Maggie 1.7i' pairing.  Thanks much for the suggestions.  I do not yet have a power supply for the Chord but it's on my list.  Do you have a favorite for say under $500?  SBooster as @nwres suggests?

Also a good point about being able to utilize a USB connection between a new Node 3 and the Qutest.  Although I'd have to ditch my nice new Transparent coaxial cable.

Now the question s which to do first.

I am using an older Node2 in a second system, no external DACI heard the 2021 Node at a dealer and was mighty impressed .  I believe it would be an upgrade if you weren’t using the Chord, but since I have never heard the Chord I can’t say anything definitive.

Can someone who is using the new Node confirm that usb out actually works now?  I've recieved mixed reports.  

Thanks, Marco

I just switched from the Node first generation to the latest Node and the difference to me was a more relaxed presentation l

@evank - Are you using the DAC in the new generation Node or passing the signal along an external DAC?

I use an external dac. MHDT Orchid. The more relaxed presentation could be the new Node I am using coaxil connection verse the Spdif connection on the original Node. Only have the new Node for a few days so I have not given it my full attention yet to make.anymore comparisons

@evank  when you say you're using coax vs. spdif they're actually the same ;-)  Do you by chance mean you're using the usb out with your new Node?  Still trying to confirm that the usb out on the new Node is actually working now.

Thanks, Marco

Sorry Marco how about OPTICAL vs Coax.

Cant answer about Usb because I do not use it. 


I don't know if your concerns about the USB connection has anything to do with the recent firmware update but after reading the Bluesound forum there seems to be a bug with the latest update and the USB connection. They are looking into it. Shouldn't stop you from purchasing one if you do not already have one. At least you have a big company to support the product.

Thanks evank.  That's exactly what I'm trying to determine.  Like i said I've seen mixed reports whether the usb is actually working now but haven't thought to check the Bluesound forum.  Do you by chance have a link to the dicussion you're referring too?

Thank, Marco

If you go to the forum the first page has some users asking various questions about Usb 

Thanks.  Just spent the last hour reading through. Seems like problems with usb out are still ongoing.  Too bad a company of this size cannot come up with a reliable fix after 6 months.

that usb digital out was a major selling point of the new model when it was introduced... it's a black eye for bluesound if they still don't have it working right... kinda basic...

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Thanks.  Just spent the last hour reading through. Seems like problems with usb out are still ongoing.  Too bad a company of this size cannot come up with a reliable fix after 6 months.




Marco I didn't know it was that long. Guess I'm lucky that I don't use USB

I have the original node and the new Node N130 and USB works going into my Gustard U18 DDC and then to my Musician Pegasus dac! 

Marco, I bought a Node in August '21. I don't recall updating the software. I've used the USB to feed an Ares II with no problems. I'm running v.3.18.7 which is current afaik.


I can recommend this Polish product for the Node, price recently reduced to about $82-. Shipping is not terrible, they charged less than they quoted me. The Meanwell is a switching power supply but a pretty quiet one. The plug allows you to roll power supplies.


OP sorry for hijacking your thread but at least you'll know whether to ditch your transparent cable in favor of usb :-)

After watching numerous YouTube reviews of both of the Node 2i and the newer "Node", it seems that any upgrade would be slight. They all tout that the new Node has eARC, is built more modular (probably makes it cheaper to manufacture and service), has a slightly better power supply, and a different DAC implementation.  

I would think that your Chord Qutest DAC is a step up from either one in quality. 

The main difference is the processor in the newer Node is faster, for a snappier response when you are controlling it. 

If you are happy with your Node 2 I don't think you'd gain much from the new Node - unless eARC is something you want - especially since you have the Chord Qutest DAC in the chain. 

It isn't like they are touting the new Node as having super better jitter specs or anything, so as a source, your Node 2 is likely just as fine and capable for feeding an external DAC.

I'm looking to buy a Node, use it for a while, but save up for a better external DAC like the Denafrips Ares II or maybe even your solution, the Chord Qutest.

@MoonWatcher - Thanks, I think I'm coming around to the same conclusion that any improvements coming from switching to a new Node from the Node 2 would be slight, considering my current setup/use.

I don't need eARC or AirPlay.  Better response time would be nice (although I have no complaints currently) but I'm guessing the extra $s would be better spent elsewhere. 

However, I might try to audition a new Node from a local dealer just for the hell of it.

@skirescue911 Hi, I’ve just started using the USB output on my Node "3" to a new DAC I’ve had for around a month. While for me it works flawlessly streaming natively from the Node/BluOS, Roon/USB has issues in the form of pops and crackles.

This has been acknowledged by Bluesound and discussed on Roon forums. Bluesound say the Roon integration is still in Beta and will be addressed by future updates.

If you don’t use Roon, you shouldn’t have issues. USB out has provided a greater clarity and detail for me, but that maybe due to the way USB is implemented in my DAC. But, the greatest improvement I made was modding the Node with the replacement PCB and external LPS from the Polish company someone linked above for you. The cost is extremely reasonable for the improvements gained; it cost me around £200, which was eyebrow raising personally, as I wasn't expecting such an improvement for that kind of money.


Hope this helps; good luck and happy listening 👍

I have no experience with the Node2, but I do have the new Node 3 and am running it into a H390. I also have a Pontus ll and an original Schiit Bifrost DAC. The Node 3’s DAC is actually not all that bad. During the last few days I’ve been mixing and matching and the H390’s DAC is only slightly better and the Bifrost is only slightly better. The Pontus ll however is a bunch better. I’d hope so considering it cost almost 4 times as much as the Node.

All the best.


I just read this thread and wondering if anyone else has new opinions about upgrading from a Node 2i to the Gen 3? The power supply upgrade sounds interesting too?