Just installed a bluesound node 2i , quality not so good


Sounds flat vs streaming from marantz 5014 heos, which is more revealing and open.  Both ways are wired.
Is there a break in period?  Otherwise it is disappointing.

I am listening thru b&w spkrs and mcintosh amp. And wired to analogue inputs of avr

thanks for any comments, suggestions


emergingsoul
if u are using node 2i analog outputs - well then yes, the sound is mediocre at best

most who are serious about good sound quality from streamed sources through the node 2i will use its digital output and run it into an separate dac
"And wired to analogue inputs of avr"

There's a big part of your problem right there.  Sound quality out of the analog outputs is pretty decent given the price point, but using a better DAC will improve sound quality.
I just received my new 2i yesterday. I already have a 2. So,as a little test, set up 2i via analog outputs. I listened to a couple of songs. I thought it sounded really good. Then I ran it through my DAC, played the same songs. I noticed better detail. The biggest thing I noticed was much,much larger soundstage,as well as better defined 3D soundstage. 
2i sounds great on my system.
IMHO the Bluesound products weakest link has always been its onboard DAC.
The single ended analog outputs leave a lot to be desired for a serious music system.
Even a $250 DAC will yield benefits but has to have toslink or coax input as no USB digital output on the 2i.

Good luck and stay safe
You know, listen to the music dude.  
Just a question. On a brand new Node 2i running analog out,is there a burn in time where the sound might open up? I was thinking about this when I did my quick comparison. 
Not really.
It's cheap and cheerful as it gets on its analog output
Dunno, never stuck around long enough to tell.
Thanks, always thought dac on bluesound was very good. Live and learn.

so, goal was to get a dac that was a lot better than my avr, in marantz 5014.  So now I guess I need a dac hooked up between node and avr? Is this true?  Recommendations? 
Thanks again, great feedback
Have any of you saying the DAC in the Bluesound is soooooo bad ever actually switched between the internal DAC and external dac while listening?  
jolida fx tube dac 500-600
border patrol 800
chord 2qute 750
metrum octave or amethyst 500-800
topping d90 700
neko d100 750
rme adi 2 900
ayre codex 900

all under a grand used, all excellent (used prices shown)

Is the advice here really that the OP should buy a $1000+ DAC in order to boost the sound quality of a $550 streamer? Wouldn't it make more sense to: 1) return the Bluesound and get a more high-end streamer/DAC? or 2) buy a really good DAC ($2000+) with the thought of eventually upgrading the streamer? or 3) work with the bluesound and try to improve its sound quality with the current system (since it generally gets good notices out here for what it is)? 

(And why is this thread in the Speakers topic?)
Listen to the music on it for awhile, you may find you like it. If not, return the 2i and get your $550 back if your receiver's streamer/dac rocks, its good to have options..
Have any of you saying the DAC in the Bluesound is soooooo bad ever actually switched between the internal DAC and external dac while listening?  
Yes many times, coax digital connection into my Lyngdorf ( at the time) was vastly superior to the analog connection.

Is the advice here really that the OP should buy a $1000+ DAC in order to boost the sound quality of a $550 streamer?

Not at all, I did say a $250 DAC would work wonders, plenty around in that price range, check Drop.com for some true bargains.

I switched back-and-forth between the bluesound node built in Dac to two different dacs.
An orchid dac for about $1100 and an older Peachtree dac which was originally $500 but which I got used for $100. In both cases the external dac was superior to the streamer, but the orchid was light years ahead. 
To my mind it totally makes sense to spend much less money on the streamer then on the dac.  These have become relatively stable while streamers are changing quite rapidly, still. So by going with separates, one can invest in the stable one rather than the changing one. Otherwise one spends a lot more on something that would quickly  be compromised by change.
@uberwaltz, I wasn't trying to get into it (and I was actually looking at the post above mine, not at yours). It seems to me like the Bluesound is what it is, and by all accounts is very good for what it is. I'm not sure that dolling it up with an external dac isn't the way I'd go about it. Gamblers have a term for it: chasing your losses. 

Anyway, I don't like the hostility toward each other that surfaces too often out here, and I certainly didn't mean to offend.
I have the Audiolab 6000N streamer that has a pretty good internal DAC, but I also own a Exogal Comet Plus Dac that I run all my sources through and the sound quality through the Exogal is exceptional. It's not an inexpensive DAC but for money spent, does an excellent job
I appreciate sound from bluesound and from a marantz avr.  But level of appreciation is quite abit lower when compared to avr.  
So appears I will keep the bluesound streamer capability which seems fine and lots offered, only use tidal and Spotify for now. And I will pursue an external dac and guess spending will be 1 to 2k.  A lot better than replacing avr with a high priced preamp which I would only be getting for sound improvement with stereo and not all the home theatre sounds which are handled quite well with avr.

  
I think of the Bluesound as merely a transport for streaming services / Roon. It will remain pretty stable and capable of performing this function for a while. But DACs will change - either because of technology or we just want to try something different, i.e. chip vs. R2R. It's fun to have that flexibility the Bluesound + [DAC du jour] affords...
I had a Node 2 for 2 years and found it had adequate sound.  I had seen reviews of the Node 2i and the comments were that it was significantly better mostly from a updated layout of the circuit board NAD learned from the Masters series with no major changes in the parts from the Node 2.  I bought one a 2i and at first noticed a small improvement.  After a several days break in, it opened up and was significantly better.  For $549 I think it's great for the money.

Terrific review of the Node 2i in Sept 2020 issue of the Absolute Sound. 
@contuzzi

"Have any of you saying the DAC in the Bluesound is soooooo bad ever actually switched between the internal DAC and external dac while listening?"

well yes... of course... it is easy to do as the digital and analog outputs on the node play simutaneously -- otherwise how would one have the proper basis for commenting?  the ONLY way to know is to listen, extended, as well as A vs B, with db levels properly equilibrated

****************************************************************************************************

i started streaming in february when the covid thing made us stay home a lot... i have been a hifi nerd since the 80’s in college, been through countless components and systems, but had procrastinated about streaming music for a few years

since climbing the learning curve on streaming i have now been through half a dozen streamers (no computer streaming) and to this point, fully 20 stand alone DACs from $400 to $4000...  it has been fun, and quite enlightening

the node 2i is a killer product, so well designed, does so much for the money, such excellent user interface (not to be taken for granted), but for what it costs they had to limit cost and performance somewhere, and the DAC is where they did it

having said that, they made a smart choice by making the sound of the internal DAC very smooth and inoffensive (as opposed to ragged and strident), but this occurs at the expense of transparency, transient capability/impact, imaging and ’air’

that is the first thing you notice plugging in a proper dac vs the node dac - like a chord mojo or 2qute or ayre codex or a denafrips ares - so much more richness, texture, speed and clarity in the music (if your system is even reasonably resolving)

as you move up in dacs from there, you more layering, more holographic imaging, more ease and natural flow to the music -- all the while feeling no loss of detail, it is just presented more naturally more effortlessly

a final note -- one thing that is ironic to me with the node is that for $500 they give you full MQA unfolding for Tidal Masters... premise being to get folks to try MQA for modest outlay.... problem is, the node's onboard DAC’s smoothing and cloudiness obscures most of what MQA brings to the party... so, given the success of the Node in its large sales volumes, i'm actually not sure if the MQA proponents are getting their intended marketing boost, or actually the opposite effect of having many with the node question its value...


A big improvement is to be had using Supra CAT 8+ ethernet cable. A 2-meter cable runs $59 including shipping from seller zendada on eBay.  Many lengths available.

Although its advertised as CAT 8+, that is a bit of advertising license, its really CAT 8, but made a big difference with my 2i.
@uberwaltz, I wasn't trying to get into it (and I was actually looking at the post above mine, not at yours). It seems to me like the Bluesound is what it is, and by all accounts is very good for what it is. I'm not sure that dolling it up with an external dac isn't the way I'd go about it. Gamblers have a term for it: chasing your losses.

Anyway, I don't like the hostility toward each other that surfaces too often out here, and I certainly didn't mean to offend.
Absolutely no hostility or even remotely similar.
I was just pointing out that you probably would not need to spend 1k on a DAC to hear a goodly improvement in SQ.
Certainly no offense taken here and not sure why my reply would have indicated any offense was taken.....lol.
Please have a great day and stay safe
Don't use AVR input.  Use the RCA input to your amp.  I have the bluesound node 2i and it is very good as a streamer and decent as a DAC.  I use it with coax output to Denafrips Ares ii.  I have a marantz streamer with heos and the bluesound is much much better.
Thanks for the info bluedream.  I was curious as to burn in on the 2i. I’m running the 2i through an April Music Stello signature,and the 2 through a Beresford Bushmaster. Not hi end by any means. However I do prefer running the nodes through these DAC’s.  At some point,I’ll try the 2i through analog just for poops and grins. I ran my original Node analog for years and was actually pretty happy with the sound. I ran the 2 that way for a while and was just as happy.  And just recently I wanted to experience a DAC,and I’m happy I did. 
This thread belongs in the Digital section. 
in reading responses that you need to run this through an external dac what is the purpose. I run MacBook Pro usb to external dac into preamp. Already had the Mac so I was able to put all of the money into the dac. Why do people continue to over think streaming.
You don't "need to run this through an external dac".  If you want it to sound better, then you can.  If you're happy with the sound, then don't.
I was held hostage by a group of audio terrorists,and they forced me to use a DAC. It wasn’t like I had a choice! 

    Seriously, for me,I ran node products for a couple of years through the analog outs. I was pleased with the sound. I just wanted to see if I get better sound. Just like any other facet of this hobby. 
+1rocray!
I  was wondering who was holding the gun to whose head to "make" them use a DAC.
Op asked and was given opinions, nothing more.
I have I have bluesound wired to avr now, can I bypass avr and direct wire to amp? Can amp have two sources of input? Not sure it would be smart to do this?
I am being held hostage by my speakers holding out until they reach their full potential.  Captivity is challenging, expensive, and frustrating due to a lack of clarity in the marketplace relating to a vast maze of complex components.  This forum has proven to be of great value.
Would a used McIntosh d150 dac be a good choice to go with the bluesound 2i?
emergingsoul, what eq are you using with your Marantz? Direct? I’m not very familiar with Marantz AV receivers. On my Onkyo, I have various eq settings. IE; Orchestra,Acoustic,Theater,Direct. On the rare occasion I listen to stereo,I use 2ch Direct for best SQ. I hope I explained this right. 
@OP, 
As listed earlier, an Ayre Codex, now running under $1K used.
Or, a Schiit Gungnir Multibit used- for a little less used, should provide you with enhanced sound quality.
As far as the Mac DAC, I would keep searching. Though it would probably be an improvement, I think you could do better.
My 2 cents....
Bob
Thanks.
rocray, like the diversity of sound settings. Don’t have these but do use auto direct so I can include the sub for stereo.

presently searching for a higher quality dac.  So many to chose from, kinda like all the ice cream choices.  If I can find a chocolate Chip cookie dough dac I’ll be happy. 
Thorens td 125 (Hana eh)
vincent SA-T7
bluesound node 2i 
music hall dac/cd
bob latino st-120
bob crites cornscala speakers

ive had the node 2i for about 8 months now, and at first I wasn’t really impressed. I mean it sounded ok, but didn’t have the magic. But here’s the thing, (you know the thing! Lol) I was streaming over the WiFi. I learned about the fiber optic bridging people were doing and thought I’d give it a try. A reasonable tweek under $200. Well it was night and day, huge improvement! I think I bought cat 8 cable but I can’t remember.
Dang it! Just checked my amazon history when I bought the fiber optic bridging gear. Prices have dropped by about half! Anybody streaming should do this tweak, you have no excuse now! Dramatically improves sound. Oh and I did get cat 8 Ethernet cable. 
presently searching for a higher quality dac.  So many to chose from, kinda like all the ice cream choices.  If I can find a chocolate Chip cookie dough dac I’ll be happy
Ha,  man after my own heart, or stomach...lol
Watch the Key Lime pie variety though!
@superstoked,
Can you provide a link to the equipment?
B
Pretty funny what goes around...lol
Back in the 90,s we were using fiber optic comms for industrial usage, I liked it a lot as no noise, the "wiring" could be routed anywhere even 360 degree loops etc with zero issues.
The programmers say it did not allow enough heavy duty information exchange as Profibus and then later Profinet so we ditched it and moved on.
Canbus that you now find in cars( for a few years actually) was basically Profibus that we started with in the late 90,s, early 00,s . Profinet is really just a variation of ethernet.

Now it is showing up as the latest audio "darling"

Pretty interesting tbh.
Good luck.
superstoked, does this "tweak" still require a "hardwire" connection to the router using the fiber optic cable instead? I'm not following how it addresses the scenarios where the hardwire connection to the router is not possible due to location logistics.   
https://darko.audio/2018/08/ethernet-or-wifi-which-is-better-for-high-end-audio-streaming/

This article explains the process better than I’m able to do. There are many other articles also on the subject online. So to answer your question, yes this is a “hardwire” connection. I also have the issue of my router being in another room, and much to my wife’s chagrin, I have optic cable running across a hall and under a foyer rug. However this isn’t  the first time I’ve caused her distress with my audio hobby. I will eventually pull cable up into the attic and down inside the wall to my rig, but I live in Florida and I’ll be damned if I’m doing that in late August/September. So as best as I understand, the advantages of the bridge are as follows:  one being a much faster data transfer than WiFi, two it galvanically isolates the connection, and lastly eliminated RF/noise from long runs of Ethernet cable .
Try connecting the Node2i with digital, toslink or coax instead of analog to the Marantz.
I'm not following how it addresses the scenarios where the hardwire connection to the router is not possible due to location logistics.
It does not.
In fact you now have two extra powered devices, the sender and the receiver for the fiber optic cable.
You still need to run the fiber optic cable so if you have problems running a hard internet line due to logistics this is not going to be any different.
However it should be better than wifi and possibly the hard internet line if you can run cable .

I guess I could as I ran a new cat7 75ft cable from my server upstairs down to a new unmanaged switch downstairs in my music room.
Could replace the internet cable run with fiber optic but I doubt I am going to try at this stage
+1 @jjss49 
I went back and forth with my node from internal to external dac many, many times, on a variety of speakers. There is a difference that is unmistakable. That said, the internal dac isn't terrible and everyone has their own systems and tastes.
I agree with you hilde45, it is not horrible. I ran my Node,and then my Node 2 for a good 3 years or so with just the internal DAC. A couple of those was just with Spotify. When I moved into hi res streaming via Qobuz and Tidal,I was very pleased with the increase in sq.  I think for a lot of folks,the internal DAC is adequate. I still think it’s a great value for an all in one solution.