Help Please:Upgrade Coax cable between Node 2i and Chord Qutest..?


I have a Bluesound Node 2i going to a Chord Qutest (with Teddy Pardo LPS) feeding a Belles Aria Signature Int amp driving Dynaudio S-40s.

I use a DH Labs digital Coax/SPDIF cable between Node and Qutest.
It is .5M and was $120 new.


Sticking to a budget of $300-$500 new or used, would I expect to hear sonic benefits from an "upgraded" coax cable?
If so, what would you suggest I look at?

(Not looking for a USB v Optical v Coax rabbit hole please...;-)

I'm using a 1.5M of the DH labs 750 and find it to be the best sounding coax I've heard to date, do to it's seemingly  complete lack of jitter. I used an Illuminations D60 back in the days but so much has changed in the digital world since then and DH labs and digital seem to give me the sound I'm looking for these days which is transparency,  harmonic structure and full conveyance of the frequency spectrum from top to bottom. I can say the same for there hdmi cable as well!

If had to try one today I'd try the D60.
By swapping cables you may  hear differences between SPDIF coax. An upgrade? There's no way to know until you audition some cables, and higher price is not an indication of better SQ. Although I found happiness with an expensive cable. 

I've auditioned Acoustic Zen, Cerious Technologies, Oyaide,  Audience, Wireworld; all good, all different sonically.

If you can use 0.5 meter, that's fine since length of digital coax influences the sound. Otherwise, recommended length is 1.5m or longer. This helps control jitter by preventing reflections of the stream within the cable. 

Find threads about digital cables in the archives.

I have been using a 1.5 meter Signal Cable coax between my 2i and DAC and it sounds fine.  Cost was about $50 a year ago.  Only coax I have used so I can't provide comparisons.
If you want to "upgrade" something, save your money and replace the Node 2i.  
Appreciate the responses - even the snarky ones. LOVE all these guys who think that Tidal sounds better if you spend more $$ on a "better" streamer.

NEVER has there been a written audition or test that shows how a Node is bettered by a higher $ streamer unless it is pimped with an LPS, etc. Can do that with a Node now.

...Ill wait...;-)

iFi Zen...?...that's funny. ...;-)

Looked at a Node 2i, but went for a Project Stream Box S2 Ultra, finally replacing my MacBook Pro. Didn’t need a Dac included.

Use a Mad Scientist Black Magic USB through a USB/SPIDF reclocker, with the Black Cat Silverstar.

The best thing to do is try a few.  I have had very good luck with Clarus.  The Crimson lists for $540 for .5M and is tremendous besting the Kimber and AQ cables I have here and is my new reference but only you can tell if you swap it into your system.  

PM Me if you want to demo it.  

NEVER has there been a written audition or test that shows how a Node is bettered by a higher $ streamer unless it is pimped with an LPS

Not true. Darko did a comparison and found the Node lacking versus better streamers from Innuos, etc. No getting around it — EVERYTHING matters in streaming just as in audio in general.


As for a digital cable, I’d recommend trying this for 60 bucks and if it doesn’t best your DHLabs cable just return it.  I prefer it to other higher-priced cables and find it to be very natural sounding without sacrificing detail, and it might save you some $$$.  If you try it, do pay attention to the directional arrows, which are faint and hard to see but very important.

@ianrmack - Zavfino cables are extremely well designed and fabricated and use top quality copper, which should noticeably improve things.

Also, to improve the performance of your Node 2i get a Zavfino power cable - you might need an adapter also

Bluesound products really start to excell if you couple them with really good cables - the thepoint where you can get rid of the Chord

Regards - Steve

I can attest to @williewonka comments regarding upgrading the power cord with Zavfino power cables, as I did just that this week, replacing the stock cable with a Zavfino Fina with an adaptor plug from Wireworld.  I immediately benefitted from a larger sounstage, increased transparency, bloom and dynamics.   It really made a significant difference and I highly recommend it.

I have done a lot of testing and experimentation with digital COAX S/PDIF cables.  I have owned the DH Labs D-750 cable.  It is a very good cable for the money, excellent bass.  However, you have two things going against you.  The .5 meter cable is just TOO SHORT for a good S/PDIF cable.  You really need 1.5 to 2 meters to avoid signal reflections back to the source transmitter (I always use 2 meter).  A short cable will cause a loss of high frequency detail and the music just does not sound right (reflections causing distortions in the digital square wave pulses).  The second reason is using RCA connectors on the cable.  Granted, I understand the Chord Qutest has BNC input which is great, but the Bluesound will only have RCA.  I have tested all sorts of RCA connectors for digital coax (the DH Labs D75, WBT Nexgen, Eichmann Bullet Plugs, Furutech Rhodium).  The DH Labs makes an OK rca plug, but with all RCA plugs, you have a loss of high frequency detail as well.

The best results I have had is from cables that have BNC terminations and used BCN-to-RCA adapters for RCA sockets.  The BNC combined with BNC-to-RCA adapter presents a closer impedance to 75ohm than just a raw RCA connector (which is closer to 25-30 ohms).

The Black Cat cables recommended may be a good choice.  If you can find a Nordost Heimdall at 2 meter, that would be a good choice.  The Heimdall has excellent bass and incredible depth of sound, but it is slight laid back in the upper mids/highs.  Excellent sound.  The Black Cat cables may have better resolution, but I have not listened to them.

Another cable that you could try (if you wanted) is the Oyaide DR-510 with the Oyaide BNC connectors.  They make a 1.3 meter version.  It is $315 retail, but you can find it on ebay from Japan sellers for under $200.  It uses a 20awg solid-core silver conductor.

Appreciate the responses - even the snarky ones. LOVE all these guys who think that Tidal sounds better if you spend more $$ on a "better" streamer.

Have you tried it?  If not, then you're the one "who thinks" and is being "snarky".  I'm not trying to be snarky, I was just trying to be as nice as I could in how I said it's dumb to spend $300 for a cable on a $500 mass produced streamer. 

You "think" that all digital sounds the same?  OK.

I tried all kinds of upgrades to the Node 2 - external DAC, power supply, better cables, etc.  It is capable of small improvements, but you can only take it so far and at some point you've spent as much or more as it would cost to have a much better digital front end. 

My initial move was from the Node 2 and a nice external DAC to a TEAC NT-505.  That was a nice step up in performance.  Currently I'm running a Roon Nucleus and an Aqua La Voce S3 in my main system and it rivals my analog setup.  Of course that's a significant step up in terms of cost from Bluesound, but the NT-505 isn't after you factor in all those cables, external DAC, power supply, etc.  I'd also look at the Lumin products.

It's your money though, carry on... however, if you'd like to spend your money more wisely and realize more significant improvements, then be open to suggestions from people that have actually gone through what you're contemplating.