Schitt Yggdrasil Vs. Bluenode 2i (Shock!)


I am having a bit of a dilemma. I recently added a Node 2i to my setup to be used primarily as a streamer. My digital rig consists of
- Amp: Rogue Stereo 100 (GE and Amperex Nos tubes)
- Preamp: Primaluna Evo 100 (GE and RCA cleartops Nos tubes)
- DAC: Latest model of Schiit Yggdrasil
- Speakers: Monitor Audio Platinum 100 II
- Analog & digital Interconnects: Audioquest Silver Extreme
- Speaker cables: Audioquest Rocket 44
- Power cables are all stock, and no attention has been paid to power supply

I had been pretty satisfied with my setup after breaking in the Yggy; I subsequently added the Node 2i and was using it as a dedicated streamer and never bothered using it as a DAC. A buddy of mine who is contemplating the node 2i came over and I offered to use the Node DAC on my system so he could get a sense of the performance. I was initially pleasantly surprised by how good it sounded, but the shock came when I started doing A/B comparisons with the Yggy and I honestly could not hear the difference between the 2 DACs. I subsequently spent the last few days comparing them and I still can't discern a difference. So my question is
- Is the Node 2i just that good?
- Or is my system not transparent enough to highlight the difference?
- Or are my ears are just not sensitive enough to pick up the difference?
- Do I need to invest in more expensive power cables and supply?

I'm interested to hear from others who have had experiences with these DACs or similar, because I'm seriously contemplating putting my Yggy up for sale.
arize84
If you can't hear an appreciable difference then I'd just enjoy the Node on it's own.

I'm running this exact combo and can attest to the lengthy break in time that the Yggdrasil needs before showing what it can really do - I'd make sure it's been sitting for a good long time before ditching it.

I did the A/B comparison to see if missing that last MQA unfold was really a big deal or not and I found the Node 2i to sound a bit mushy and rolled off in comparison, it still sounded good but it's trying too hard to be warm and smooth sounding in comparison.

I didn't mess with power cables much but I did find that moving between digital cables did make a difference - the Black Cat was super crisp and clean sounding, the Analysis plus was warm and sluggish in comparison and the Green Hornet sat really nicely in the middle.

I was running a Chord DAC previously which was really impressive fast and snappy sounding, the Schitt is more laid back and matter of fact - I'm a proud member of the DAC of the month club but I'll be hanging onto this one for awhile as it's easy to live with once she settles down...
I find the difference with my Vault 2 by its own or running into the DAC of my Cambridge 851c to be very noticeable and that being the Cambridge is more refined at both the top and bottom being more extended. The Cambridge is more open and relaxed where the Bluesound is a little closed in and softer. The Bluesound is fine and probably in most system it does not require a separate DAC. I do use aftermarket cables, both signal and power on both devices so that does push the performance on both. I would think Yggdrasil is in another league over the Node 2i.
If your Yiggy is fully broken-in, you should hear a noticeable difference in SQ compared to the Node dac.
I suggest you audition a different S/PDIF coax. Each digital cable I have used has presented a discernable difference in sonics. Your Audioquest digital cable may be a weak link. Maybe try a brand other than Audioquest.



Thanks for the responses. My schiit is definitely broken in, I have had it a few months and have never turned it off; I also listen to it everyday. I think lowerrider57's suggestion to look at the coax cable is a good place to start. I also believe that the tube preamp adds a lot of its own character to the sound which probably blurs the difference in SQ between the sources. When I connect the Node directly to the power amp, the sound quality/signature is very different (read worse) than going through preamp. I would be appreciative to get some recommendations for coax cables under ~$300. 
Your tube components may be colouring the sound, but that’s not the issue. And byw, the Node can’t be hooked up to drive a power amp, it has the correct voltage to be used with a preamp.

For digital coax cables, try auditioning one from a dealer that has a trial period or return policy.
I have used Cerious Technologies Graphene Extreme...
http://www.cerioustechnologies.com/#products

Also Acoustic Zen and have heard good reports about Black Cat Cables.

I have a different experience. When I plugged my new Chord Qutest DAC into my Node2i, I found that the SQ improved a lot. Bass is much better and cleaner.  There is more rhythm to my music. Everything just comes alive.  The rest of my system is not as nice as yours so maybe that's why Qutest was able to improve the SQ significantly.

Sonus Faber Venere 3.0
Parasound P5
Parasound A23
Audioquest Carbon Toslink (from Node2i to Qutest)
Nordost Blue Heaven RCA (from Qutest to P5)

@pc_audio 
If I may, why are you using optical rather than S/PDIF coax to your Chord?

"...the Node can’t be hooked up to drive a power amp, it has the correct voltage to be used with a preamp...."

Not completely true, depending on the input voltage sensitivity of the amplifier. It (2V) can drive most amplifiers to full output. Furthermore, you can control the volume, as well as bass and treble, if so desired, from the BlueOS app.
I’m surprised with your system that you cannot hear any difference. We all have different preferences but it’s surprising they sound identical to you. 
Not surprised at all. If you’d like to change the sound hearable in a simple way - buy a Schiit Loki. Very useable to tame "too hot" recordings. And there's a lot of them...
The Yggy and Node Dac have never sounded identical to me.  Agree many low cost DACs sound quite good. But each different nonetheless 
One of the things I notice about the Yggdrasil is the width of the sound stage can be incredible on good recordings. For example, the West Side story original cast recording on the Yggdrasil produces finger snaps beyond the boundary of my speakers. One some other DACs the image placement is not nearly as wide. So depending on your musical taste, you may or may not hear much differences in DACs. 
@lowrider57 i am using optical because my HIFi shop owner said optical is better for Chord
I'm glad to hear that others are hearing a difference. Something must be off with my system and it could be that I have never actually heard what the Yggy is capable of! I will continue to tweak things starting with with the digital cable. I will point out that based on this review (https://www.whathifi.com/us/reviews/bluesound-node-2i), there is a noticeable bump up in quality between the Node 2 and 2i. 
and interestingly the DAC is unchanged from the 2 to 2i...
First, you have pretty nice stereo gear. I don’t think that’s holding you back. DAC comparisons can be very frustrating, since the differences are going to be much more subtle than with any other major component - that’s been my experience, for many years now. Quick A/B comparisons are definitely not the way to settle on a DAC (really anything, but especially DACs), because the inevitable large similarities will feed right into your brain’s tenacity at pattern matching "yep that’s the same". Enjoy one DAC for a while, then try another for a while. With time you’ll identify a favorite.

One thing that CAN make a surprising amount of impact in the digital world, is your transport. If you’re using the Node 2i as transport to Yggy, that alone could explain your results. I use my Yggy with an Audiophilleo 2 USB-to-SPDIF (with PurePower) converter from my PC, and it sounds a LOT better than the straight USB feed. I’m not sure a cable swap in your case will be enough to improve the Node as a transport. The Node 2i indeed sounds quite good (I have one in a system at the girlfriend’s), but I’m not sure it’s capable of fulfilling the Yggy’s DAC performance. Your Node’s coax-out transport may well be the bottleneck in your system, more than its built-in DAC. Of course, this partially explains the market for much more expensive streamers. 

Agree with above. Same for my Sonos.  Such high jitter sent to DAC. With Wyred4Sound modified Sonos a better DAC made a significant difference. 
I run the Node 2i into the Yggdrasil A2/5 and it no way sounds the same as the Node 2i separate using its own internal DAC, it is a decent DAC using BB1505 chips and sounds good. I bought it specifically to run into my DAC to eliminate USB from a computer.
All cabling, everything is WyWires. I use the Wireworld Electra mini for Power on the Blusound. The cabling combination Electra PC (WiWire Litespeed Silver SPDIF) on it is more $ than the Bluesound Node 2i. It all matters.
 
But we all have different systems and ears.