Questions about Node 2i


I'm trying to work out a fairly low cost streaming solution.

Current set up is Apple TV to Schiit Modi 2 Uber and the SQ is just okay. I don't think the weak link is the Modi.

I'm trying to do this on a limited budget so looking at a BlueSound Node 2i. But I have some questions.

1) How much SQ advantage is there with the 2i over the 2. The Node 2 can be purchased used for less than $400. What! HiFi gave the 2i glorious reviews over and above the 2 but couldn't really explain why there was a difference as the DAC was not upgraded.

2) The features list says that the 2i and the 2 will play music from my own external HD but only mentions it once and does not elaborate. If I have ripped CDs in an iTunes library on a HD will it play it through the Node 2?

3) The idea of a multiroom player appeals to my wife....which is always a good thing when spending money on hi-fi stuff. But, they're basic speakers are $300 each. I'm assuming you'd need at least 2 for a room to sound decent at all. The SQ does not have to be great for this application but spending an additional $600 to get okay SQ in another room is more than I'd like to spend. Can anyone speak to the actual quality of such a set up?

4) Do powered speakers from other makers than BlueSound work with the Node 2i or 2?

5) If I have a Node 2i or 2, is there any further role for the Modi 2 Uber or any other low price DAC?

Thanks for any assistance or experience you may have to share.

George
n80
I’ll try my best here.

1. I have the Node 2i in my main system.  I’m utilizing the internal dac and I am pleasantly surprised with the sound quality.  I have the Vault 2 in my mountain home system which is a simpler less costly system.  Again, I am pleased with the sound quality in that system.  I have not compared them in the same system.  My gut feeling is the 2i would be superior.  The WiFi options are better.  

2.  I don’t use any external sources.  There is a button in the BluOS app for configuring an external source.

3.  I also have the Pulse Flex 2i speaker.  You won’t need two for a room if you just want some tunes.  The speaker can be configured for mono operation in the BluOS app.  There are also bass and treble adjustments in the app which I have not tried.  The speaker has five presets so you can program in the stations you would use the most like Radio Paradise and any internet radio.  One speaker will fill a good sized room.  Maybe not at party levels.

4. Very unlikely.

5.  No.
I think a lot has to do with wireless not only better wifi with wifi 5 but 2 way bluetooth and airplay 2. I have no first hand experience  but I believe it works with any bluetooth speaker and headphones according to the review on nerdtechy. The better SQ of the node 2i supossedly comes from how the device itself is built with better noise shielding  utilizing trickle down tech from the NAD M 50.2. I never heard the node 2 so I don't know for sure. If a more seemless wireless application is what you're  looking to do the 2i would be better fit if everything is wired probably wouldn't matter . My 2i found my library without a hitch but mine is WAV file on a NAS. 
Thanks guys. Good info.

So far I’ve never heard anything played via BlueTooth that sounded good to me and that was true even before I got into hi-fi. Not sure how this newer version changes things in regard to the Node 2i but it certainly doesn’t hurt that it has that ability.

To be able to access my ripped CDs is very important to me and I would prefer that it not require a whole computer to do so. I’ll do some more research. When you say it found your library I assume you mean wirelessly. That would be fine as the computer could be in another room.

In any case, this path sounds promising and I think that I’d probably rather pay the $500 for a new 2i than around $400 for a used 2.
Yes , I only use the 2i wireless don’t have a wire in my living room. One of the reasons I waited for the 2i to come out was the improved wireless
So then it should not be any problem to run ripped CDs through my newest iMac wirelessly. That's good and solves a number of problems. I won't even need an external HD.
Is there any benefit to hardwiring the Node to my router (ethernet?)
If you get frequent drop outs using wireless I would use a wire. I run the node 2i on the 5ghz band and everything else in my house on the 2.4 ghz. I also set the channels in my router so I am the only one  within my area using them and will periodically check it. So far it works fine.
I have a wireless repeater and a 4 port switch in my entertainment system.  I watch 4K content on Netflix, stream to the BlueSound Node 2, etc. with no issues.  There are a lot of variables to take into consideration - your connection speed, how good your wireless router is, how far the Node 2 is from the router, etc.  If you can easily use a wired connection, that's best, but wireless can work flawlessly if the conditions are good.
Thanks. It would be easy to get an ethernet cable but my internet service is usually fine.

Another question: Does the Node multitask? In other words can I be listening to streaming on my hi-fi and my wife be listening to something else in another room?

Hi, n80,

If I understand your question correctly, you'll need a separate Node for each listening environment. That is, one for your hi-fi system and one for wherever else you have a system. For example, I have two Nodes, one in the basement stereo room and one in the living room. I can access either Node to play music using the BluOS controller from our laptop or notebook but I had to have a Node upstairs and a Node downstairs to play different music in each room. You can sync the Nodes to play the same music in each room as well.

Regards,

Tom

If you are just wirelessly streaming your ripped CDs from your computer to several systems in different rooms, the most cost effective way is using an Apple TV or Airport Express. They are only about $50 on eBay or CL. In my experience the SQ from the Apple devices is identical to the Node 2. My son purchased a Node 2 a while back and he found no difference between it and his Apple TV using his external DAC. He let me try it before returning it and my results were the same as his. I have 4 systems, 2 with an Airport Express and 2 with an Apple TV. I tried the Node 2 with all four of my systems and heard no difference using my external DACs. I tried the Node 2 internal DAC, really a surprisingly nice DAC, but I preferred the sound with my external DACs. 

I’ve got an Apple TV. First or second gen. I have been told that it down samples the music so using it with Tidal hi-res would be pointless.

Others say the SQ via Apple TV is terrible.

In my experience, playing Amazon Unlimited music via Apple TV into my external DAC (Schiit Modi 2 Uber) the SQ is not bad. It isn’t great and certainly does not sound as good as playing ripped CDs via iMac hard drive into the same DAC via USB.

I have not tried playing a ripped CD through Apple TV.
I believe you are correct about the Apple TV downsampling Hi-Res files, that is why i suggested using it if you are playing ripped CDs on your computer. I have never played any HI-Res files. I stream my ripped CDs wirelessly to an Apple TV or Airport Express because my iMac is in my home office and my systems are in different rooms. I use my iPhone or iPad as a remote to access the files on my iMac. I think the SQ is great with either the Apple TV or Airport Express. When I did try USB directly out of my iMac to any of my DACs, I could not detect any difference compared to streaming wirelessly to the Apple TV using the optical out into the DAC.

I found the SQ of streaming my ripped CDs to an Apple TV or Airport Express to be as good as using my CD players. I have since sold off my CD players and play all my music from my ripped CDs on my computer. It is just so much more convenient. Even my 3 year old grandson uses his iPad to play music on my wife's system when he visits.

My son's system is more expensive than any of mine and he still uses the Apple TV and hasn't found anything better that works as simply at a reasonable price.
That will be easy enough for me to try using my newer iMac. The current iMac I'm using as a server is over 10 years old and sits next to my system on a table. It is not going to fit in the new built in shelves I'm building for my system (and hundreds of books).
Hmmmmm.

Playing my ripped CDs from iTunes/BitPerfect through Apple TV and into Schiit Modi 2 Uber via Toslink does sound rather close to doing the same thing directly from computer into DAC via USB cable. Maybe subtle differences but hard to call one better than the other.

(When I first tried this the ripped CD via Apple TV was way too bass heavy and boomy until I realized that the iTunes EQ was on.)

And it all sounds pretty close to playing CDP through same DAC. 

This goes against most serious audiophile advice. The common denominator of course is a low end DAC. Maybe that's just leveling all inputs? And maybe with each step in the wrong direction the degradation is subtle enough that I'm not noticing it as a problem? But with each step its getting additively worse? Sound like audiophile angst? Some of you may not doubt your ears. I doubt mine.

The bottom line is that I'm listening to ripped CDs through Apple TV and a low end DAC and it sounds okay to me. I guess that's all that matters.




You have to be careful with iTunes. for the best sound quality the EQ has to be off, the volume adjust should be at the center point (none), and the volume control at the upper left should always be at maximum. Otherwise the SQ will be affected. Any volume adjustments should only be with your preamp. 

Also, a lot of low end DACs sound pretty good. Everybody hears things differently so there is never a consensus on anything in the Audio world.
I always doubt my ears that's why I ask my wife who has better hearing and sees everything I put in the system as another little black box. If you like the sound that's all that matters. I do some things , like adding  new DAC , I "think" improves the sound and other things for convenience like the node2i   and putting my CD's on a NAS. 

I am surprised that you are able to run the Node 2i on the 5G.
Tech support states only 2.4Ghz will be
detected.

djones51
614 posts12-10-2018 1:27amIf you get frequent drop outs using wireless I would use a wire. I run the node 2i on the 5ghz band and everything else in my house on the 2.4 ghz. I also set the channels in my router so I am the only one within my area using them and will periodically check it. So far it works fine.



Bobpaule The only thing I  can  tell  you  is when I  look in settings on my 2i it shows I am connected to my 5ghz network.