Bluesound Node 2

I'm a complete newbie in the digital space, not counting CD players of course. I'm also on a path to upgrade my system from other various angles, mostly preamp and speakers. All that said, I'm currently using a Bluesound Node 2 with a hifi Tidal subscription. No computer files or hardwired USB connections. My first question is where does Bluesound fit in the digital wireless streaming quality hierarchy. And a related question is what would be a good upgrade path, again assuming only wireless streaming as the source. I see a lot of high end DACs out there, some several thousand dollars and wonder if those are only used for connection to a laptop and running computer hirez files, etc. Not a whole lot about wireless streaming. All in all, some guidance in the digital wireless streaming space would be appreciated. Thanks.
I use Bluesound.  I started with the Vault 2, subsequently added a Node 2 for a system in another room, then a Pulse Mini for my kitchen .
  Do you have more than 1 system?  The Node was intended to be part of a whole home unit, similar to Sonos but better quality.  If you do I would but the Vault and rip your CDs with that.  It is possible but not easy to integrate the Blu Sound with another Source of files, such as a PC.  Since you haven't started saving music to another system I think you will find it easier to keep it all under 1 roof
. If you only have 1 system, and you want to rip your CDs, I would suggest buy the Vault anyway and sell the Node.  You will take a slight beating on this but since you already like what the Blusound sounds like with Tidal this is still an easier and potentially less expensive than going the PC route--and certainly less frustrating .
Thanks. I actually don't have much of a need to store my existing CDs in a separate storage device mainly because I can listen to almost all of those CDs using Tidal. At this time, I'm primarily looking to upgrade to another device that can play the Tidal-sourced content with higher quality audio. Of course it also needs to provide a simple user interface - similar to the Bluesound app, to access Tidal selections, etc.  Unless I'm missing the details, the majority of the high end outboard DACs or even the high end preamps with a built-in DAC only seem to support hardwire/USB connectivity for content retrieval.
@mahler123, @kalali...sorry to hijack this thread, but I have a quick question.

On the Bluesound Node 2 using Tidal, does the Artists folder, list your saved (favorite) Artists in alphabetical order?

OP--it sounds like you just need a better dac.  The DAC in the Node is good, better than the dacs in the receiver that mine is hooked up with, but the Node 2 costs around $500, and that doesn't leave much in the budget for a high quality dac.

From the first post you appear to be a newbie, so if you don't understand what I am talking about, don't be afraid to say s  

  However, one cause for pause...Tidal is supposedly going to add a lot of MQA content, and Blue sound dacs are MQA compatible.  If that is important to you, then you might want to use the Bluesound Dac.  My suggestion would be to upgrade to a better DAC now, and if MQA ever actually hits the market place, you can always switch on your preamp between the two dacs .

  Again, if you are trying to figure out what I've just written...don't be afraid to ask.

mofi--regrettably the answer to your question is no, the favorites section tends to be helter skelter.  However, blusound itself keeps alist of Artists

in alphabetical order.  I listen primarily to classical music so the bluesound organization scheme winds up being haphazard, but it probably works well for non classical

I would agree with mahler123 that an external DAC is the way to go. I use an Auralic Aries Mini which I suspect is pretty much on par with Bluesound quality wise and it benefits tremendously from running into my standalone DAC. Definitely check one out and if you have a budget and want specific recs let us know.

Thank you guys again for your great input. I feel I'm really spoiled by the ease of using the Bluesound/Tidal combo to play any music I like, or don't like, from my mobile device. It has allowed me to explore the music genres that I never knew I liked this much. I have also used this opportunity to educate myself about various audio coding formats out there just to keep up with what some of you guys talk about. We have a brick and mortar hifi store nearby and I might stop by and see if they'd let me borrow one of their high quality DACs for a few days. This would at least help me decide where to focus for the best bang for the bucks upgrade path in my audio chain. Maybe after all, this piece is not the weakest link in the chain. My current set up is:

Bluesound Node 2 -> NAD C165BEE (MP input) -> McIntosh MC2200 -> ML Aerius I.

I also have a Vincent SP-331 amp being fed from the second preamp out port driving a pair of Definitive Technology BP20s in an adjacent room.

Looking back I see that your question was about Tidal on Blusound. My answer pertained more to Blusound itself.
  I did try the free trial of Tidal and for me, it was simply awful, but I listen to Classical, and Tidal doesn't seem to care about Classical
mahler123 - Out of curiosity, when you say awful do you mean sound quality of the user interface? I do occasionally listen to western classical selections in Tidal and in most cases I find the SQ worse than a standard CD. The jazz selections, especially the newer recordings sound much much better. That is also true for other genres and I attributed the disparity to original recordings quality. I'm now wondering if they stream certain selections or even genres at lower resolution rates than others. I wish there was a way to know at what rate the content is being streamed. Maybe there is...
Yes, I meant the interface .  Another poster here described the Classical Interface on Tidal as appearing to have been designed by a Chimpanzee ; that is probably an insult to chimpanzees. Fwiw I didn't think the sonics on Tidal were anything special.  A great streaming site for Classical is ClassicsOnline.
I would agree the search function for Tidal leaves something to be desired but not really an issue for me as I don't really listen to classical. Much easier searching non-classical music on Tidal.
As an experiment, I hooked up my Node 2 directly to my amp which is as older McIntosh MC2200 with separate channel gain controls. It sounds great, actually sounds a little more open when compared going through the preamp. Node 2 is literally a preamp itself allowing a subwoofer connection. Using the mobile app, you can control bass, treble, etc. Anyway, you guys with a Node 2 should try a direct connection and may just be pleasantly surprised.
The Bluesound Node 2 is fantastic. I've had mine for a couple of months now. It has become my primary source. I use it connected by Ethernet to my router and its analog out to my integrated amp to stream internet radio and my music library on my iMac. The dac in it is very good and it sounds great.

I had been using mine for streaming Tidal through Wifor several months and had it connected to my preamp but about a month ago I started using it as a preamp/DAC and have go right into my amp. I think it sounds a little better this way. I might get a very basic switch or a passive preamp just to be able to switch between source components. It's even driving my active subwoofer quite well. All in all, its a real nice little gadget.
It's a great toy. Even though I don't have my music on files, it's just the most fun piece for Internet-radio streaming. I have mine connected via digital coax to Marantz sa8004 SACD player's dac. Sounds much better than when connected directly to my preamp.
Those of you who own a Node 2, or any other DAC that can stream music wirelessly, have you tried a comparison in the sound quality among these configurations: 1) wireless streaming using a service such as Tidal, 2) stream the same source using hard-wire connection to the router, and 3) playing high resolution music from a laptop via USB? I'm particularly wondering if I'm losing some sound quality by streaming wirelessly vs. having my Bluesound directly wired to my router. Thanks.
According to the Roon Labs website the Node 2 will be Roon Ready soon. Another reason to try this great affordable streamer. Also, it sounds fantastic.


Will the Roon upgrade be pushed to existing units or only on new models? Also, has anyone tried using the USB port to play music from a computer? So far I've only used mine for wireless streaming. Thanks.

It is my understanding that Roon is software and Bluesound would provide an update which would make existing Node 2 streamers "Roon Ready".

According to Bluesound; the type A USB port is for "connection to USB memory sticks and supported peripherals" and the type B port is for "product servicing".

It is also my understanding that you cannot connect a computer by USB to the Node 2.

I am really looking forward to the BluOS update to support Roon. I will also give credit to Bluesound because their BluOS is extremely good itself. Bluesound has really impressed me by keeping things up to date and their customer service is outstanding.



"It is also my understanding that you cannot connect a computer by USB to the Node 2."

This line should read; ".......cannot connect to a computer by USB to the Node 2 to play music."
Thank you guys. I'm also quite impressed by both their product as well as their customer service. It is practically a complete preamp/DAC, even with a subwoofer output, of course with the limitations noted above. They spent literally two hours on the phone with my wife to help her set it up while I was away on a trip. 
back to the question of how does it sound in the hierarchy of streamers? Meaning, using it as a streamer only and by passing the internal DAC in favor of an external DAC. I know there is a debate that streamers shouldn’t really have a sound signature, their primary purpose is just functionality and features, but from doing a lot of reading it seems people do hear a difference in sound quality from streamers. Otherwise why would anyone pay several thousand dollars for an Aurender streamer  like the N10 if you can get pretty much the same functions from a much cheaper streamer?
I think Dar Ko might be closer to answering this question than most. He often makes direct comparisons and you may want to check out his reviews.
I’m Bluesound smitten!

I started with the Powernode to replace-downsize my A/V system

Upon hearing it I immediately went out and bought the Node 2 for my Audio system - wow what a difference

I’ve just purchased the Pulse Mini for outside music - again, what a great component

If you have not done so - treat your Blusesound products to good power cables and interconnects - you will be rewarded with an amazing performance.

Power cables make the most significant improvements - the salesperson in the store could not believe the improvement when i took my power cable in to audition the Pulse Mini. The look on his face was worth the effort of a second visit, with my power cable in tow.

williewonka.  are you using the internal DAC with your Node 2 or an external one?
@klone - I'm using the DAC in the Node 2 with good cables on the analogue outputs

I had a Bifrost with the 4490 mod + v-link192, but the Node 2 with the same good cables trounced the Bifrost, so I sold it.

I thought the Bifrost combo was good, but the Node 2 is an exceptional perofrmer and incredible value.

I now sure that the standard computer USB interface is not really meant for  high end audio - unless you buy one of those specialty USB boxes, but that's a lot more expensive.

It would be interesting to hear the Node 2 with a really good DAC - like the Ygg'y, but that's not in the cards while I have sound this good.:-)

It would be interesting to know what type of DAC the Node 2 uses

I'm listening to the Pulse Mini as I type this and the details, balance and clarity are outstanding. I've actually reduced the bass by 4db and it's still powerful

Perhaps I'll get another one and link them as a stereo pair - yowzer ! :-)

Thanks, williewonka!  Your comments are very helpful.  I am seriously eyeing the Node 2 for my 2018 audio purchase, if I am still employed.
Hey williewonka - exactly which power cable made such a difference in Bluesound output quality?  
@wgutz - the cables I use are a DIY cable with a Helix geometry that I have perfected over the last couple of years - see link below

If you are not into that level of DIY you could simply take a piece of 12 or 14 guage extension cord, remove the outer sleeve and then braid the three internal conductors and add IEC connectors - that works much better tan the stock cable.

I use the IEC C7 figure 8 connector below on my cables - it should make some improvement on a standard power cord

Otherwise you could simply buy a cable from one of the reputable cable companies.

- Signal Cable
- Pangea does a nice one with the C7 plug - see
Whats the difference?
- The HELIX Power - provides superb imaging, deep controlled bass, exceptional clarity.
- The braided extension cord - is better across the board than the stock cable, but lacks the finesse of the helix geometry
- A larger gauge power cord with the IEC above should also provide some benefit - mainly better bass control

If you can find a cable with a similar helix geometry in a commercial product I'd opt for that, but the only one I know of that has a variation on the Helix geometry is from Nordost and costs more than the Node-2 :-(

Anti Cables does a braided cable, but it does not come with a C7 Figure 8 connector

I would recommend not using an IEC - C7 adapter they are OK in a pinch to try different cables, but not a final solution
Hope that Helps

I will give it a try (DIY) as soon as I finish my re-tile of the shower, a non-audiophile endeavor. Thanks for your thoughtful response. 
I have a Bluesound Node 2. It replaced an older Logitech Squeezebox that was glitchy but worked fine. I like the sound of the Node 2 and with it:
1. I can bypass using my Macbook Pro computer to play music stored from Itunes on my HDD. Now I can play that same stored music directly streamed to the Node 2 into my stereo and use my Iphone as the controller.
2. Additionally, I can stream music from Spotify or Tidal
3. I can also try MQA files on Tidal.

2psyop:  Did you use the DAC in the SBT, or anexternal DAC?  Do you use the Node 2's built-in DAC or an external DAC?  How would you compare the sound of the SBT to the Node 2 in your system?  TIA.
Streaming via the node 2 requires attention right from where your ISP enters the premises.

I used a Node 2 and slowly paid attention to Fibre modem, router, switch, media converters.

The Node 2 streaming tidal hifi through the dac section of a top tier cd player is almost indistinguisable with cd playback.

I have 99% stopped spinning discs in the last 2 years.
I might add that i also use a mutec mc3+ to reclock the output from the node 2 to get where i am at.
Has anyone on this thread or otherwise had an opportunity to compare the overall sound quality (DAC and analog stage) of the Node 2 to the Oppo UDP-205? If so, what are your impressions?
I compared the Oppo 105--and perhaps you are not interested in that-to the Bluesound Vault 2, which I believe has the same DAC chip as the Node 2.  The Oppo is better but it was subtle.  Presumably the 205 would widen that gap a bit.
it should be noted that the price difference between the Oppo 205 and the Node 2 is almost a grand.  If you don't need the other functionality of the Oppo, I know which way my wallet would lean...
gdhal - also, assuming the UDP-205 uses the same DAC and streamer as the Sonica DAC, the UDP-205 may lack gapless playback, like the Sonica.  This can be addressed with a software upgrade via the net, but so far, I don't see such an update coming from Oppo.  Also, if you are going to rely on the Oppo's streaming capabilities, you may want to compare the Oppo streamer UI to that of the Node 2.  I don't even know if the UDP-205 offers a phone app controller for streaming like the Node 2 does.
Thank you @mahler123  and  @bondmanp

I already have the UDP-205 and am quite happy with it. I'm just curious as to the Node 2 as it may sound different, given that it has a different DAC. The UDP205 uses an ESS Sabre 9038 pro dac and I believe the Node 2 uses a Burr Brown PCM5122.

By the way, the UDP205 does play gapless.

I'm not all that interested in streaming, but am not dismissing that option either. From what I read the Blue Sound may be better in that department. 

Here is one downside of the Node 2 compared to the UDP205. If I insert a USB flash memory stick in the Oppo, and it only has flac or wav files at the root level folder, I *can* select and play those files without any video interface. In the case of the Node 2, their tech support responds "You will need to select which file you want to start the playing with on our BluOS app whether it is on Android, Windows or MacOS and once that is done you can use the hardware buttons on the Node 2 to start playback, skip songs, change the volume etc."

If I were to purchase the Node 2 no doubt I would have some redundancy in my system from a source perspective. But at the affordable price point of the Node 2, it has me thinking "why not".
I also own a Bluesound system.....also started out the  vault 2 and Node 2 for my living room.  Plans are to add a power Node 2 for the3 season porch on the desk (will also cover the deck itself, a Pulse 2 (to move around when needed and another Node 2 to connect the 2 channel system in my main listening room in the basement.My "take" on the Bluesound is it is a very well designed whole house wireless music system.  How the sound quality is pretty good but does depend on what type of music files one uses.  It pretty much took me all of last winter and into early spring to "digitize" my whole music collection (vinyl LP's  approx 600 LP's, my CD collection 2490 CD's).into FLAC files.
Bluesound make it a alot more easier to locate & play an album or a track. with  pretty good sound quality but I still use my main music play back system in the basement for my "serious" listening (LP's & CD's).  I will say I have not ventured into high rez music files yet and at tis point do not know if I ever will with 44,000 + music tracks in the system I think I am pretty well set now......LOL.  But do want to say I am more than happy with the Bluesound system being my first venture into wireless music systems and will also state that any serious music listener/fan should own one.
I also use a Node 2 as an only source in a bedroom system to stream Tidal (MQA whenever available) directly to my amp from my router.  Same or similar setup as the OP appears to use.  I too am extremely impressed.  SQ is better than streaming through an Oppo 105 or other digital sources that I have also tried.

I also am very interested to see (hear) if anyone has used an outboard DAC to improve the sound quality from the DAC built into the Node.  None of the previous responses seem to address the OP's original question.  If anyone has had any luck with an outboard DAC, please let us know which one(s) you have tried and what the improvements have been.  Also, does anyone know if you can connect the Node to transmit the necessary 192 signal for MQA?  My understanding is that the Node would unfold the MQA and then an outboard DAC could be used to improve SQ. Is that accurate?
The Bluesound Node 2 in my system links the FLAC ripped and verified music library stored on my NAS to an all tube sound system. The Node 2's interface software is run on an Android tablet which is adds convenience. An audiophile friend Bluetooth's his smart phone to the Node 2 to share new music with me (which has led to more than one purchase). One useful feature is shuffle which plays music I rarely listen to anymore. It's like accidental reunions when running into old friends! Good times. There's a lot of very cool, gee-whiz stuff in this tiny box!

The Bluesound's DAC is decent, though it lent a certain brittleness to my main system's sound. The brittleness wasn't noticeable on my less resolving retro-gear office system. The Node 2's hardware is fairly well thought out and the unit has a variety of output connectors. Connecting the Node 2 via coaxial digital audio cable to the digital input of my Opus 21's CD player's DAC cleaned up the brittleness nicely. For serious listening I still use the Opus. It just sounds more analog.

Unfortunately, though the hardware is sound (pardon the pun), it comes with an inexcusable downside. In the three years the Node2 has been in my system there have been three of what I consider P2 issues with their software/firmware. The factory tech support group is 0-for-3 in resolving them. Given the nature of the problems I will cut them some slack, but their inadequate responses exposes a lack of sophistication in their tech support group. Even that can be forgiven to a certain degree.

What can't be forgiven is that when they ran out of simple suggestions (and nothing I hadn't already tried), Bluesound resorted to blaming the end user for the problem. Their condescending attitude and comments did little other than to add fuel to the fire. That I eventually found workarounds for each of the problems on my own emphasizes Bluesound's tech support's ineptitude. To be clear, I'm not doing anything outside what Bluesound CLAIMS to support in their product specifications. Someone with a simpler setup or problems might be happy with their service. I'm not.

By profession and avocation I am a techie with deep and wide experience. I recognize and appreciate good support. As a downside, those leave me sorely disappointed with any vendor with poor technical service. Even moreso with tech who haven't been trained in how to work with customers. Luckily, I rarely encounter this kind of problem.
For now the Node 2 remains in my system. It's even playing right now. For me it's been a mixed bag of good and bad. YMMV.
2psyop: Did you use the DAC in the SBT, or anexternal DAC? Do you use the Node 2’s built-in DAC or an external DAC? How would you compare the sound of the SBT to the Node 2 in your system? TIA.

Sorry for the very late reply!!! I did use the original SB dac. not the SBT. I have used both the Node 2 DAC and an external DAC with it. The sound of the Bluesound Node 2 is much better than the SB. The Node 2 playing MQA files is very very nice. The Node 2 playing with an ext DAC is also very good, but BS Internal DAC with MQA still the best sound. I think the Node 2 as a budget streamer/DAC is an exceptional value. My experience with the customer suppport has been outstanding. They have been able to help me with many issues.
I use the Node 2 to play these kind of audio files;
1 Straight streaming of Tidal and Spotify albums via Benchmark DAC
2 Streaming of Tidal MQA albums via Node 2 DAC
3 Wired streaming of AIff files on Western Digital MyCloud HDD through Benchmark DAC
4 Wireless streaming of AIFF files on Western Digital MyCloud through Benchmark.
Am revisiting this discussion to add extra detail for future researchers.
I recently upgraded the (above referenced) Bluesound Node 2 to a Simaudio Moon MiND2. Both were run through the same DAC (Resolution Audio Opus 21) for comparison.
The Bluesound has decidedly better software and overall better firmware.

The MiND2 is three times more expensive than the Node 2. It requires a DNLA server (also not an issue) and can interface with products like Roon. It's a very well built product.

Pick the poison based on your desires.

The difference in the sound between the two was eye opening. Yes, the MiND2 is three+ times the cost of the Node 2. The MiND2 also doesn't include a DAC (though the Node 2's DAC isn't worth writing home about). The sound of the MiND2, and isn't that the teller, more than eclipses that of the Node 2. Even on a cost comparison basis. The MiND2 simply has SUBSTANTIALLY more of all the things audiophiles want: air, dimension, clarity, etc. This observation has been acknowledged by other with experience with both products.

But let's be fair. The Bluesound Node 2 is a good bang for the buck buy. In spite of certain support issues, it opened the door to my converting to a full digital front end (remote NAS storage. music server, DAC, etc.). A result with which I am very happy. Changing to the Moon server and a Benchmark DAC completed that move.

If you're just starting down the path of setting up a full digital front end, the Node 2 is a good, reasonably low cost starting point. If you're somewhat technically competent or have friends who are, or don't have an inordinately sophisticated network, you may be happy with Bluesound's support. Just don't plan on using their support for more than just the basics. 
Depending on the resolution of your system the Node 2 might be a good landing point. Just know that there are better options if you can stretch a bit.