Apples and oranges. The fair comparison would be the Node into the zDAC. If you still don’t hear a difference then return the Node.
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@labguy .. wasn’t this your goal in purchasing the Node 2i?
Well at least I’m not alone, but I really had hopes of cleaning up my system, and not having to use 2 damn dacs. I have terabytes of Flac files and rare live concerts on external hard drives of my laptop.
I’m sure there’s a hack out in the wild to add storage capability to the Fire Stick but otherwise it doesn’t have the capability to play your flac files. If your goal hasn’t changed then you might want to re-think the idea of using 2 DACs or simply ignore the DAC in the Node 2i and send everything through the Zdac, using the Node 2i as just a streamer. Many people do because it’s a great little streamer at it’s price point.
Parasound’s Zdac (both versions) were well-reviewed and said to perform well above their price point. I’ve not heard one BTW but I was sure tempted to purchase one years ago. Point being .. from all accounts it’s a good DAC and is perhaps better than the on-board DAC in the all-purpose Node 2i.
Yes it was, and you're correct. It took me longer than I thought to learn my way around the system, and get everything working. The remote session from bluesound was a huge help. I was just simply surprised that streaming Spotify app on a smart TV to my external zDAC provided as good as sound as it did for such a budget solution. Definitely something that a person with budget restrictions may want to consider, or the other members here may have experience with some be able to chime in on. We tend to think substantial new purchase equals substantially Better Sound and that just simply isn't always the case. What I do have though is vastly more options and improved integration and ease-of-use. Bluesound customer service is phenomenal, which is a good thing cuz not much comes in the way of instructions with the box of product.
You have many more options now with the Node. The first thing to try is streaming a higher resolution signal than Spotify. Most have a free trial period, and none would be easily accessible without jailbreaking the Fire.
The other is the fact that I consider the Node more of a streamer and less of a DAC, not trying to be elitist here. I am streaming through Transporter to a R2R dac I bought off of MassDrop for $300, and will probably sell my Mytek as it is 90% there and in some ways better.
Unfortunately you have opened a can of worms, because as soon as you "wonder what if", you fall head first down that rabbit hole!! Good luck.
I’m having intermittent issues with my Node 2i, but when it’s working right it’s pretty good. I was surprised that the internal DAC is as good as it is. Running out to an Oppo105 sounds only slightly better to me, but Firestick to TV to the Oppo was definitely 3rd place. Glad to hear support was helpful for you.
I wouldn't be surprised if most good DACs can do a good job with any half-decent USB stream, but as audiophiles we obsess about everything in the path. When I hear someone praising a USB cable for delivering great bass, my brain aches and my lip curls, but my audiophile heart wants to believe, and my wallet get emptier.
The remote session from bluesound was a huge help. I was just simply surprised that streaming Spotify app on a smart TV to my external zDAC provided as good as sound as it did for such a budget solution. Definitely something that a person with budget restrictions may want to consider, kroger feedback or the other members here may have experience with some be able to chime in on. We tend to think substantial new purchase equals substantially Better Sound and that just simply isn't always the case.
The quality of your dac, dac cable and streAmer has everything to do with how
much better it sounds,or just sound ok
the bluesound is a very basic entry level design which is a good start ,don’t. Expect too much in truth you need to spend at least $3-5 k just to get very a respectable digital front end ,that is about the average in cost.buy A LuminD2 for under $2k great value
nice streamer ,respectable dac just plug ina external Harddrive .much better quality .