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
Audioquest Carbon Toslink (from Node2i to Qutest)
Nordost Blue Heaven RCA (from Qutest to P5)
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.
I definitely heard a difference between the onboard Node Dac and an Ayre Codex.
The Schiit Yggy is pretty close to the Codex sound wise.
Considering your system, I would think the cabling might need some upgrading. You'd be surprised how much you can get out of cables-over the stock cables.
Thanks for your feedback. A lot of cable suggestions here. I want to start with upgrading the coaxial cable and then moving on to the interconnects if necessary. The important thing I'm taking away is my setup definitely needs some tweaking. I will report back when I have updated the coax cable. In the meantime, I will be happy to get any additional digital cable suggestions.
Coax I use is 75 ohm blue jean cable from Node 2i to Yggdrasil works great. Biggest improvement however was with Triode Wire Labs Digital American Power Cable for the Yggdrasil. TWL allows a trial period if you decide to return the PC. Good luck.
I have an update. I tackled the issue from multiple fronts
and have realized some significant gains. My weakest link was my preamp; while
the Primaluna Evo 100 is good sounding preamp, it isn't revealing enough to
immediately reveal the subtle differences between decent quality DACs.
My first change was to tool around with a better coaxial cable which revealed a
very subtle difference between the Yggy and the Node. I then switched out the
Node to my Cambridge CXN streamer. The CXN must have a better DAC than the Node
because I again couldn't tell the difference from the Yggy. Things really
started cooking when I upgraded the Evo 100 to an Evo 300. The new preamp is an
absolute game changer for my system. It is very revealing; I picked up on
instruments I hadn't heard before; dynamics, sound stage, and instrument
separation were much improved. Not only could I easily tell the difference
between DACs, I could even pick up subtle differences between different
rectifier tubes. I also played around with better quality silver interconnects
and could pick up the difference in speed and dynamics.
But I was in for a real shock; when I dropped off my old preamp as a trade in,
my dealer lent me an Audioquest Thunder power cable. The effect that had on my
amp was jaw dropping; it brought liveliness to my music that wasn’t there
before, and practically upgraded my amp. I knew power supply was important but I
didn’t realize a good power cable could add so much. The power cable did more
for my system than upgrading the interconnects did.
What I have learnt in this journey is that everything
matters and as much as I hate to admit it, gains require $$ (seems like there
is just no way around this). My ears are open and so apparently is my
What really set me off on my hifi journey was when a local
dealer played a Gregory Porter song that I was very familiar with; the song
engaged me so emotionally at that moment that I almost started crying. I have
been chasing that feeling ever since, and this week I got much closer to
capturing it. I’m not there yet, but I feel good about the path I’m on and the
I picked up a Node2 that was a demo unit from a shop that was closing a year ago. I already used a Vault2 in my main system and a Node2 in my living room system, to which I recently added an Anthem AVR. The demo unit that I acquired was for a basement system that has been cobbled together from various parts and the AVR down there is a Pioneer Elite that is about 15 years old.
In the living room I run the Node2 digitally into the Anthem,as the newer DAC in the Anthem sounds better than the Node2 DAC. In the basement I started the Node2 into Pioneer through the Node2 analog outputs, figuring that the DAC in the Bluesound had to have a better DAC than the ancient Pioneer AVR, but that wasn’t the case. It sounded glaring, really hard to enjoy, but much less so than when I changed to the digital outputs. Just thought I would pass that along
Node2 also responds well to power cable upgrades, of course within reason.
I installed the Thunder Power cable on my DAC, as my dealer John Rutan believes it is the best component to add to first.
I have to say he is correct.
I also use them on my amps, as well.
i auditioned the Node 2i today at a NAD dealer using the internal DAC in the 2i connected to NAD electronics. streaming from the Tidal app. i found the sound very warm but not engaging. compare to my home system with Rega electronics the Node 2i just lacked transparency. have not heard it yet with an external DAC. i wonder if the Aries might be a better option?
I know that this is old discussion but I need help. I have a new 1140 and new Node. I tried the optical out from Node to optical input on the Anthem It’s ok but I was told that the Node can decode MOA and the Anthem dac can’t. I decided to try the analog input it’s pretty good using Tidal masters. I got to think about several configurations and wondered if using the Node to decode and then to the Shitt Modi input and using then the coax input on the Anthem.Does anyone have an opinion or thoughts.
I have the vault and node 2i.
I think the node outperforms the vault in so many ways especially it's wireless functions. As a DAC that delivers bluetooth, it sounds surprisingly good.