All Hail the meek --yet mighty – NODE 2i

Here’s a salute to the venerable Bluesound NODE 2i. It’s not much to look at, but what piece of audio gear has been more ubiquitous and held up better over the past ten years than the NODE 2i? It opened the door to the wonders of quality streaming audio for legions of us. I’m guessing the lion’s share of us on this forum have owned or are very familiar with the NODE. So let’s take a moment to acknowledge and applaud that it has been the mainstream standard for nearly a decade. How many other pieces of gear have come and gone in our systems over that timeframe while the NODE continued to sit humbly on its perch?

But I’m not writing an obituary here. The Node 2i continues to be the standard, in my mind, for sub-$1000k streamers – and then some. With smartphones and cars -- even though they might have years of service left in them --we reach a point where we want something new. So it is with audio gear. Like many, I got caught up in the hype of the latest Chinese streamer last year. At first, I was amazed at its level of detail. But with time I realized that the detail came from an overly bright top end, and that other frequencies, especially bass, were lacking. When I put the NODE back into my system, it was music to my ears. Over the entire spectrum, it was simply better. With the NODE the mids and treble still had plenty of detail, but they also had body and tone – and musicality. And let’s not overlook its excellent and rock-solid user interface software. All it lacked was the sexy touch screen that I never actually touched.

I also tried a $3k streamer last fall. It was excellent across the entire spectrum, but its overall sound was dry and analytical. I can’t claim the NODE was better, but in many ways, I preferred its more natural sonic signature, and in terms of price, there is no comparison. I couldn’t justify spending that much money for only minor improvements.  

So here’s to the NODE 2i. I will continue to keep my eyes open for a streamer upgrade that is reasonably priced and that is actually a noticeable improvement, but until then I’m going to continue to enjoy my NODE 2i without apology. Anybody else out there agree with me?


Agree w/OP. Had an original Node 2(?) then a Node. First one died (red light). Learned later it was an easy DIY fix: a power supply cap. Now I have two. Don’t use the Node DAC any longer, didn’t know about a streamer only version. 

I bought an Innuos Zen MK 3 to “upgrade” from my Node 2i, yet I still have the Node. I find myself using it far more than the Innuos mostly because I much prefer the features and stability of the BluOs app. The Node is a great product. 

Owner of a node 2i here.  Word on the street is that people are dumping their Aurenders and Wadaxs to purchase nodes.  

Our hobby seems awash with rave reviews of the latest, greatest streamer, but perhaps what’s missing are longer term analyses of performance, reliability etc, etc.

My Node 2i has unquestionably been my most cost effective and rewarding purchase in just under 40 years of being involved in this insanity we call Hi Fi.

I use my Node exclusively as a transport feeding my Benchmark DAC2 HGC and, even though I was very happy with it, like so many of us I fell prey to those gushing reviews of the Eversolo DMP A6 of about a year or so ago.

I didn’t sell my Node to fund the purchase of the A6, thank goodness, because while it is a lovely piece of kit in its own right, its sonic capabilities in that transport role were, I have to say, quite inferior to the very solid and balanced sound of the Node.

I eventually moved the Eversolo on and here I am, over six or seven years into Node 2i ownership (I've not been counting) and completely happy.

Given that streaming is the area of audio where technology should be influencing equipment more rapidly than any other component category, this is a remarkable endorsement of something that cost just under $500 at the time and, if anything, keeps getting better, as BluOS is now arguably unrivaled in its functionality and ease of use.

At the present time, it would seem that those of us who are using our streamers as transports to an external dac have little or nothing to gain from quite serious upgrading.

I’m sure that, at some price point or other, the Node 2i can be beaten as a transport. However I suspect that’s more money than I’d wish to throw at the "problem" and I’m reminded of the adage: "If it ain’t broke don’t fix it."

I hear nothing from the Node that even hints at the budget component it is. Bluesound should be commended for getting it so right with this product.

My node 2 has had interface problems many times over the years, it locks up and I have to uninstall the app and then reinstall it. When I change songs it used to change the music but the data would still be stuck on the same song, that has not been a problem after the last update, but after the last update the interface has a hard time staying connected to the wifi, I have to constantly tap on the looking for players.