The Node2i has a built in dac, while not that good compared to newer dacs it’s probably as good as the preachtree dac if not better. Unlike a lot of others on the forum I have not been impressed with Schiit dacs so between the 2 I would have gone with the peachtree.
@djones -- thanks. Comparing the Node with the Peachtree will be something to try. Even if their character is different, I’ll learn something. I was going to buy a cable to connect the transport with the Node 2i (something which others said I could do) and I thought that for a little more $$ it would be fun to try an external DAC originally priced at $450 or so. If it’s not better than the Node 2i, I can always use the Peachtree with my laptop.
So your the person who stole the dacit out from under me.... LMAO.
Seriously I was about to buy it for exactly same purpose in second system then saw it said sold.
Please report back with your impressions.
Like everything in this hobby better is subjective, I haven’t heard the peachtree just going by specs on the two, Node2i and peachtree, it will give you a chance to compare different chips implemented in different ways, Node2i uses Burr brown, peachtree ESS. IMO unless the DAC is intended to have a sound signature, i.e. tube dacs, R2R dacs, filters implemented, I have a hard time telling good neutral dacs apart. I doubt I could do better than chance in a blind test.
@uberwaltz -- so sorry! I do appreciate knowing that someone else wanted it! Tell you what, if I ever decide to get rid of it, I'll message you and we can arrange something way under market!
@djones I often have trouble telling things apart. I'm learning more about being a "critical listener" as Harley calls it, but often I find it hard to freeze a moving sound impression in my mind with enough precision to then compare it -- after a delay -- to another moving sound impression. In some cases, it's obvious -- "no bass" or "harsh treble" -- in other cases, it feels like guessing.
@djones, you were right about how hard it might be to hear a difference between the DAC chips. I got the Peachtree DAC today and tried it out against the Node 2i streamer. Some listening reports.
It’s hard to control all the variables, but I played the exact same cuts on different setups.
SOURCE: Either Spotify or CD (same cut on each)
DACs: Either Node 2i or Peachtree
SPEAKERS & HEADPHONES both used.
Here’s what I know for sure:
NO NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE:
When the source is a Spotify stream, I *cannot* tell the difference between:
* Node 2i’s DAC
* Node 2i’s run via bypass through Peachtree DAC
YES, A DIFFERENCE:
* Cambridge CXC transport via Peachtree DAC (wider soundstage, clearer treble, more fulsome bass) is better than either:
* Spotify via Node 2i direct
* Spotify via Peachtree DAC
Again, this is a flawed test, and could be due to a lossy/lossless difference. That is, the lossless quality of the CD player vs. the lossy (but high quality Spotify source.
If I sign up for Qobuz or Tidal, I can do a better comparison by eliminating the lossy factor.
Everything sounds pretty great, though -- and musical.
Yeah you're not really comparing apples to apples try one of the streaming services at CD quality. They used to give a month or 15 days free to try out. It's not surprising that you can't tell the difference with spotify.
@djones I will do that. I was going to wait until I had my new speakers, though I have to say these old Pinnacle bookshelves with a Rel subwoofer are sounding lovely. They were a good company, I suspect, though these are the only Pinnacles I've heard. I am liking my Adcom separates, too, though I'll improve them, too, when life fully resume. [Prays.] I took some time the other day to pry off the cover of both Adcoms and blow the dust out of them. It's like one of those chores you promise to do and then never get to...until you do. That's how I am with my nice coffee maker, too -- I finally remember the dezcal and get it nice and clean.
Ok, a bit of an update.
I compared some lossless files vs. CD.
I cannot tell any differences now.
Here’s what I compared:
NO NOTICEABLE DIFFERENCE:
When the source is a lossless FLAC file, I *cannot* tell the difference between:
* Node 2i streaming lossless FLAC via its own DAC
* * Node 2i streaming lossless FLAC via Peachtree DAC
* Cambridge CXC transport via Peachtree DAC
So, one conclusion is that I bought a CD transport for nothing.
Another conclusion is that my system isn’t presently resolving enough.
Every piece of equipment involved is mid-fi (Adcom separates, mid-fi streamer, mid-fi transport, and mid-fi speakers) that I do not have equipment capable to expressing the differences between the FLAC vs. CD media.
Or, perhaps I am not aware of what to listen for. I tried many well recorded musical selections of different genres but I’m unable to make out real differences.
I'm in the process of putting a new system together, so I'm not making any changes to my sources. And I'll get a much better DAC at some point. So, perhaps revisiting this in time will reveal more.
Very interesting results there OP.
I will not enter the fray regarding comparison between full res file vs. CD playback as I have not streamed the former. However, knowing the direction you are going with system improvements, once you are there a better DAC for the CXC and Node 2i will make an improvement.
Thanks Uber and Mesch. Regardless of whether there's a noticeable audio improvement between the file types (and perhaps some will offer their experiences) there is something nice about putting in a CD and having that artist's album as a natural boundary for listening.
The way many listen now, often, is to jump from track to track, artist to artist. That's fine — that's how I read a newspaper or just news in general. But I don't grab a novel, read two pages, then grab another novel. I stick with one for a long while.
So, the way a CD player operates for me is that it encourages me to stick with something for longer, and so a different kind of immersive experience with audio comes about, that way. It's not the same as the kind of qualitative listening we usually see on audiophile forums, but it's still directly related to the larger experience.
If you play CDs you didn't buy it for nothing. In my personal experience I can stream the same file over Qobuz and the sound is as good as the CD so I don't bother with CDs anymore plus the ones I have are ripped to a HDD. I like listening to the whole album as well. Another personal experience is unless the DAC is designed to have a sound signature, NOS R2R, Tubes, etc.. I can't really tell much if any difference between well implemented modern DACs. For instance the two DACs you're using are both Delta Sigma DAC's and probably use similar output filters so I know I would have a hard time differentiating between them.
Good point. I did rip most of my CD's as MP3's back in the day, and now I'm ripping them again. I do like the convenience and the sound is hard to distinguish. So, we'll see. I am more focused on a stand alone listening area than I have been in years, so in some ways the stand alone CD player is part of that ethos. It's all a rich tapestry, as the hackneyed saying goes. Cheers!
Sometimes it just depends on one's mood at the time. No need to worry as you have both transport and streamer. Ripping your CDs as uncompressed files is key.