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Better WiFi would be nice. I wasn’t able to make the WiFi work when I had a problem with the Powerline Adapters that I use to rout the Ethernet around the home. The App kept me running in circles.
Better Adapters helped but I’m having Ethernet cabling throughout the house anyway and would have for other reasons than Bluesound.
As fast far as better sound-without hearing it, can’t say, but essentially it’s a digital transport and the external DAC should be the biggest factor there. I’m willing to believe that the DAC included sounds better, because there have been so many changes in DAC technology in the last 3 years. Too ad current owners can’t upgrade with a firmware update—or can we?
Yes, from their website...
Bluesound has also upgraded the Wi-Fi chipset technology in its Bluesound Players to the latest and greatest Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) dual-band offering. Best-in-class products deserve best-in-class connection; with the new Wi-Fi chip onboard, Gen 2i owners can take advantage of the less noisy 5 GHz band if needed. This results in faster connection times and fewer interruptions from other network traffic.
I added an RME ADI2-DAC to my Bluesound node. Got a big jump in SQ. The DAC chips in the Bluesound are very good. But they are voiced to sound a certain way. W/an outboard DAC you can fine tune the sound w/various filters and in the case of my DAC can use the parametric EQ to shape the sound I want.
I bought a node 2i so that I can get sound into my main rig while I don't have internet here for a few months. I live in the camp fire area and we are without internet so I thought that I could stream from my phone to the node 2i and into my big rig via toslink into my DAC. I am really bummed with how bad this thing sounds at least via bluetooth. I am starting to think bluetooth is just plain bad. I can't use airplay since my phone can't be on the network and get LTE service at the same time so I have to use bluetooth. Seems like airplay is always better sounding than bluetooth.
I just installed a node 2i in my system. The sound is much more holographic than my previous source (laptop > eitr > metrum amethyst). I’m happy overall with the sound quality, however I made a direct comparison between the internal DAC and my amethyst and the metrum beat out the bluesound - although I’m not that surprised. I think it really depends where you are coming from for your previous source.
One thing to note: the node 2i sounds massively better when wired in my system as opposed to using the wifi. And again the wifi sounded better than airplay or bluetooth. I think the big compromise with streamers like the bluesound is that you have to use their app/streaming software. I don’t mind the interface, just something else to deal with. Also, there was a severe burn in within the first 3 hours, it was actually terrible out of the box and slowly opened up as I sat there.
I also just ordered an aftermarket shunyata power cable for the node 2i so I can report back on that after I listen to it.
I’ve been using a Node 2 as a Roon endpoint in a minimalist second system. The Node 2 benefits from a better power cord. I built a silver PC with Furutech and Oyaide ends. Also, it can definitely sound better through an external DAC. I took from storage an old Marigo Apparition RCA digital cable and a Theta Gen Va DAC with balanced outputs. These feed a pair of Pass ACA 1.6 Class A kit monoblocks. The Node 2 downsampled by Roon from 24/192 to 16/44.1 for the old Theta sounds better that the Node 2’s integrated DAC at 24/192. Nice to know that the Theta still stands up! But the Node 2’s integrated DAC isn’t bad.
Node 2i's bread and butter is the operating system and the multi-room function. There are other options out there that sound better. The internal DAC is average at best. The Rotel 1572's DAC sounded better than the Node 2i with MQA even. It's a good starter kit that is for sure. I have since moved onto a separate streamer (metrum ambre) and DAC (Metrum Onyx).. you always think it sounds great until you hear better and thats what makes this hobby so fun...and expensive! cheers on your journey
I have a Node2 connected to a Schiit Gungnir Multibit. 90% of the time it works great streaming from my Synology NAS using Roon. My problem is my main listening room is upstairs and the furthest from my router. All my other Bluesound products are closer and really never have issues. But my Node2 struggles at times with dropouts. Especially with higher-res files (like 24/192.) I wonder if just the improved wifi alone in the 2i would solve this? Obviously I don't care about the DAC inside, just the connectivity issue. I could probably hire an electrician to run CAT6 cable up here and install a jack to plug my Node2 into for about the same price as buying a 2i. But maybe the dual-band 802.11ac (which my router provides) would do the trick. What do you think?