Node2i doesn't have USB output. Use optical or SPDIF coax into the Hint digital input. Very likely the Hint Dac will be an improvement over analogue output of Node2i.
Coax digital is usually best interface, you have many choices of cables.
Whichever one sounds better to you.
If you don’t have a cables it’s high time to start a collection.
Most likely the Hint sounds best to most.
I have the Node 2i. Not impressed with its dAc. I have a parasound Amp (not integrated). But I would not expect a DAC added to an integrated amp that costs total the amount of a good DAC to be great quality. I'd go with a stand alone DAC. The node is great at doing digital. The Hint is great at doing analog. Get a great component to go in-between.
I have a Bluesound player and have swapped back and forth from the internal DAC to an external Bryston BDA-2, also a Topping D30 pro and cannot discern any difference. For simplification I went back to the blue sound players internal DAC. I know a lot of people are sour on the Bluesound DAC, but for me it's just great.
In my humble opinion the preamp the DAC is plugged into makes a bigger difference in sound quality.
Experiment and see which you like best. Enjoy the hobby!
It isn’t too difficult to beat the dac of the node, but the node is great for streaming and the UI is top notch.
+3 that the Hint DAC will likely sound better than the node dac, but as others have mentioned there are also many $2k standalone dacs that will take the performance higher still if you want to grow down the road. Happy listening
why ask if you can just try it? trust your ears and make the effort to decide
Use a COAX cable yo your preamp. Better than optical. Don’t use the default rca cables. Please.
Just go out and get a dCS Bartok and never wonder again.
I have the Node 2i and would be very happy with the internal DAC if it was my only option but I am currently running it through an external DAC to my preamp. I do find the DAC in the Node 2i to get better at higher volumes.
As others have stated go with the SPDIF Coax cable from the Node to your preamp to test the DAC in the Hint. You won’t get the higher res transfer from the Node using an optical cable.
You should be able to also connect the Node from the analog outputs in the Node to the Hint and switch inputs back and forth to compare the DAC's one after the other.
Spot on. Buy an inexpensive coax cable, experiment and listen. You may find you agree with the majority of Node2i users and prefer not to use the onboard DAC. The worst that will happen is you hear no difference and you just have an extra cable. From what I've heard is the Node2i DAC is it's weak link. The Hint DAC is very good.
I have an older version of the Node. I heard the latest iteration at a dealer and was impressed with the improvement in the DAC. I have no idea re the Parasound
The DAC in the Parasound is actually very good, much better than the one supplied with the Bluesound. Tried and tested. Much better. I have a Straightwire Coax run from Node to Hint 6. Make sure your settings in the Node are set for an external DAC.
If you are running Tidal you want to make sure the DAC in the Hint6 is MQA ready. You will want it to unfold completely. The DAC in the Node 2i is very good. I have tested this. It is as good as a $700 DAC. You can run all three connections if you want. A couple dig cables off Amazon will run you $20. They will sound different and most people prefer a coax. There is a cable Nordost discontinued called the Silver Shadow. It was $540 but now it’s $270. It is awesome with the BlueSound Nodes. A lot of people do not realize how good the BlueSound Node is. You can also upgrade to a linear power supply. I know you are doubling the price of your streamer. If you did all of this you would have an awesome streamer with one of the best user interfaces. This dealer in the Chicagoland area sells everything except the power supply board replacement. https://holmaudio.com/
They also let you try before you buy if you want to hear the Nordost Silver Shadow or try out a NODE. They did have some Node 2i at a discount last I checked if you wanted to get into streaming. I hope this helped. When I was in the store last they had the PowerNODE hooked up to a KEF KC62 subwoofer. So cool because the BlueSound lets you crossover the sub in the app.
The Hint doesn’t dac doesn’t support MQA but it will still sound better than the node, despite its support of MQA. Don’t let that technicality trip you up as you move up the sonic ladder. You have both the node and the hint now, so use the hint to get the best sound you can with what you currently have.
If you decide to upgrade to a better standalone dac in the future, at that point consider whether MQA support is important to you.
The DAC in the Node 2i is very good. I have tested this. It is as good as a $700 DAC.
my personal experience is that this statement is not correct (there are numerous $700 dacs on the used market the outperforms the internal dac in the 2i)
well - on second thought - maybe the statement IS correct - it may be as a good as ’A’ $700 DAC... that would be a somewhat poor sounding one though
In my experience most modern DACs sound very similar.. It's definitely worth the price of a cable to see if you can tell them apart.
"well - on second thought - maybe the statement IS correct - it may be as a good as ’A’ $700 DAC... that would be a somewhat poor sounding one though"
That's funny, and appreciated. Agree, you buy the Node for the streamer and Bluesound OS. Use the dac until you can upgrade, and OP already has a superior option in his integrated amp.
We have the new node it’s DAC is not bad and certainly better than 2i however we use a coax cable (DIG 3 Morrow) and we found that the DAC in our Anthem AVM 70, in our opinion), larger sound stage and a slightly cleaner sound. It’s so subjective, though your ears can decide which it’s sound.
I would suggest don't ask for opinions do a blind test an convince yourself. Your room does have a different room acoustics (than the people you are asking for advice) which is atleast for 60% responsible for your precieved sound.
That is totally true about the room acoustics. When I did the tests I was doing near field listening to try to take the room out of it. Also, to give those DACs a chance I worked up to $1k worth of cables on the separate DACs and kept the BlueSound stock using a modest $100 stereo RCA cables. I have listened to the BlueSound Node 2i on several expensive DACs all the way up to $14k. It sounded awesome and they did not support MQA. The one that I thought sounded the best was the Ayre QX-8. It sounded the most real to me. This is still a $5k DAC but it kept up with and surpassed much more expensive DACs. I wonder if you upgrade to a linear power supply would it surpass a $700 DAC? Since the new NODE might have USB out I would rather upgrade to a NODE and the LPS in it since it would require a different power supply model.
Best investment i did in almost 60 years was buying a measuring mic for less than 100,- euro. I’m using Mathaudio room EQ for free with foobar2000. The results are astouding.
Have a look here under at my room measurments Grey Curve. I can assure you that any Gear like cabels DAC’s etc etc will not compensate that by far not coming close. Roomcorrection (the horizontal White Line) will be the best solution that will creat a level playing field. . https://i.imgur.com/T0I1hrT.jpg
Glad I came across this discussion. Have a Bluesound Node 2i going into an NAD C388 analog RCA with Mogami cable as recommended by the dealer. After reading this thread I plugged an old monster cable between digital coax in and out then flipped back and forth. Definitely like the digital connection better. It seems sharper and even louder. Guess it might be the same with the Hint. I was actually looking at that integrated amp originally. Now thinking about a Pass amp but likely wait. This little tweak will buy me some time before I become discontent with my system again.
You are splitting hairs and spending a lot of money over DACs, when you are actually hearing the pre-/post-filter. Unless the DAC is really bad.
Try swapping that (if possible) and hear the true difference.