My Node 2i has become a rather expensive remote.

I purchased a Gustard X26 a few months back and am happy with it. However, it has become apparent (to me anyway) that the SQ through USB connection is superior to Coax with the Gustard eventhough the USB connection is via Apple camera adaptor from my ipad. The Node 2i connection is coax (Node is connected via ethernet cable from Eero). Becuase of this I find myself using the the ipad vs the Node 2i %80 of the time, hence making the node more or less an expensive remote and expendable except for convience.

So, I'm looking for advice from members on better USB implementation (or i2S if that is a better option). I also want to be able to use apple protuct as remote interface. This technical stuff is new to me so I don't want to spend alot $$ to get started. I figure the camera adaptor is a pretty low bar and I want to make sure I can decern the difference before proceding to spend sigifigant money. Below is what I think is the pertinent info you'll need to help.

*I have Fiber Optic internet (Sonic)with a Adtrans 411 modem and Eero router (Cat 5e from modem, cat 6 from router to node 2i.

* I stream both Qobuz and Tidal. Prefer Qobuz.

*I use the USB cable that came with Gustard from adaptor

*I've tried different Coax cables ( coax was superior to optic) and couldn't decern a difference among them. So at this point I really want to focus on USB or I2S implementation for this discussion.

*advice from router to modem to streamer to cables is all welcome. I don't suspect I can do all with budget limit but priority is always useful.

*Budget is absolute max $1000 and prefer to buy used and keep to $750.


Thank you all in advance!


Remote? No savvy.

The post title is a statement and I can’t understand what it is and even how there is any question without a question mark.

I think that you’re trying to improve your SQ up from Apple for under $1K.

I certainly would not know because of I’m totally unfamliar with your current level.

If you say that it’s better than BlueSound it might be as good as $100 worth if Raspberry Pi. No telling about your ears and system deployment.






I equating the Node to an expensive remote because I only use it when I'm too lazy to get up and change the music on the iPad since  it is tethered to the DAC via USB cable, sacrificing quality for convenience.

I guess more simply put, I'm looking for better Implimentation of USB to Gustard  than a camera adaptor that will allow me to select music from my seated position and provide better sound quality. I also mentioned i2s because have read that is the preferred way by many to connect streamer to DAC.

hope that helps clarify

I get it. It's NOT a remote. It functions with remote access.

A Raspberry Pi into a Matrix 2 (to i2s) is likely better. Or for more plug n play, an iFi Zen into a Matrix 2.  $840 today. Probably more tomorrow.

I don't fully follow you because I can't picture the streaming path involving your ipad.  When I had a node 2i, I used my ipad to control the node but the node was actually doing the streaming and the ipad was the expensive remote.  I always used an external DAC like you do.

I have since gone to roon and gotten rid of the node 2i.  Roon communicates with your DAC via USB which I find very clean.  Your ipad continues to function as an expensive remote.  Different DACs have different USB circuits and I'm not familiar with the Gustard but if you are happy with it, you can go roon for the price of a $600 NUC and the sell your node 2i.


@fuzztone yup, you got it. Sorry for the poor explanation. I'll look into the iFi Zen into matrix 2.

@carlsbad  thx. I ruled out room before. But probably should reconsider.



Thanks for sharing such great information, the post you published have some great information which is quite beneficial for me.

I found a lot of interesting information here. Keep sharing such informative post.

Mrpsync, I also suggest the Ifi Zen Stream.  There is a 20 minute video on Youtube from Audio Excellence (dealer in Toronto) comparing the Node vs Zen in which they basically say the Zen is *alot* better in sound quality.  And they are not the only ones praising it.  Some people with very high end systems are using it.  Good luck.

@poseidon1500 ​​​​ and @fuzztone 

thank you for your input and recommendation. I looked a little deeper into the “stream” and placed on order and I’ll report back. If I’m really happy with it I may try the Matrix 2 for i2s and see if I can squeeze out even more SQ.

thanks again