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Bluesound Node 2i Wireless Multi-Room Hi-Res Music Streaming Player - White - Works with Alexa and Siri
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- Connect to any existing stereo amplifier, AV receiver, or powered audio system
- Featuring digital and analog input/output options, Headphone stereo Mini jack, subwoofer RCA mono
- Seamlessly stream music from a CD player or turntable through the NODE 2i to other Blue sound players
- Simple setup directly inside the user-friendly BluOS Controller app, easily expandable
- Stream directly from Apple devices with Airplay or ask Siri to play songs & playlists from Apple Music
- Control music wirelessly with the intuitive BluOS Controller app; Plays music from network shares on the following desktop operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP, 2000, Vista 7-10, Apple Macintosh 7-10
- Works with Alexa and Siri allowing you to control and play music hands-free with voice command
Product detailsColour Name:White
- Is Discontinued By Manufacturer : No
- Product Dimensions : 62.51 x 24.99 x 31.78 cm; 2.34 Kilograms
- Date First Available : 1 October 2018
- Manufacturer : Lenbrook Group
- ASIN : B07H2369R2
- Item Model Number : NODE 2i WHT
- Customer Reviews:
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Connect the NODE 2i easily to any existing stereo system to unlock and discover a universe of audio even your own digital music library held on a computer, smartphone or own high fidelity Sonic domain.
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My first impressions upon unboxing the black version of the 2i is that it looks appealing to the eye and feels quite well put together. It has a modest footprint. I am using the 2i connected direct to my amp and floor standing speakers via the phono outputs on the 2i. First impressions using Amazon Music HD streamed direct from the BluOs app on an IOS device were that the 2i has a decent DAC (it is Burr Brown) – the sonic signature to me is detailed and relatively neutral with that slight Burr Brown warmth. Compared to the DAC in my Yamaha WX-AD10 streamer (also Burr Brown) I would say the 2i is able to resolve more detail and is a bit more clinical and neutral – the Yamaha had a warm, trademark Yamaha sound to it – not unpleasant, just different and a bit less transparent than the 2i. So sonically, this is a nice performer – I have read, and agree, that there is little point trying to feed an external DAC from the 2i via optical or coax unless the external DAC is £500+ because the built in DAC performs so well. You also have to be careful as feeding an external DAC and just using the 2i as a streamer to feed it, could result in you not6 benefitting from the high res music capability of the 2i, unless your external DAC is fully compliant with MQA etc.
So far the 2i has performed flawlessly with no dropouts – I appreciate the integration of Amazon HD into the BluOS app so that the 2i can stream Amazon UHD tracks at full resolution (something you can not do on my Yamaha, which requires use of bluetooth or AirPlay, both of which limit the resolution). The BluOS app also has full support for Tidal. While I have read some critique of the BluOS app, for example regarding its implementation of Amazon Music HD (which can be accessed direct from BluOS), this seems unfair since BluSound are limited by what Amazon release to developers via their Amazon Music HD API. All in all, while the BluOS App that is needed to control the 2i can at times appear a little clunky, it has been reliable for me on my iPhone 8 and iPad Pro (both using latest IOS and with the app updated to latest version).
Niggles? Documentation is sparse and doesn’t really explain the app very well. You have to buy the remote separately – some moan about that but tbh, since I control the 2i from the app on my phone or tablet, this is surely superior to a remote anyway?! Price ? I can’t quite decide whether it is a bargain, a fair price, or a bit expensive – my Yamaha WX-AD10 does not natively support Amazon HD on its app, but it does support Tidal, and it cost less than £200. The DAC in the Yamaha sounds very sweet to my ears with a warm almost vinyl sound that I really like. But no native in-app support for Amazon HD within the Yamaha MusicCast app means I had to go for the 2i, so that is a point in favour of BlueSound, who to their credit seem to be updating their app to maintain support for Amazon HD as Amazon tweak their API and their app. Also a plus for the 2i is that it sits well below the price of some other streamers from the likes of Cambridge Audio for example.
In conclusion, for what I use it for – streaming Amazon HD, this is an excellent bit of kit – with a well-mastered high res album streamed from Amazon HD, the sound quality is really superb, even for audiophile ears. Users who use Tidal's highest level MQA content with the 2i report it sounds great with such material. And with the ability to output to an external DAC, if you have an MQA HD capable expensive DAC, I dare say you have that option to just use the 2i as a ‘digital transport’.
UPDATE: I just tried the Node 2i output via digital Coax to an Arcam irDAC-II - all I can say is WOW. That DAC can be had for around £250 used (it is discontinued) and it really opens up the soundstage and gives some typical Arcam clarity and warmth compared to the DAC built into the Node 2i
Q. Is this a true hi-fi quality component?
Yes absolutely, lots of audiophiles use this product as a streamer and connect it up to their expensive DACs
Q. Is this a one box streaming solution ?
A: Yes and no. If you have a hi-fi already, then yes, connect up the Node 2i via its RCA outs to a spare input on your amplifier/receiver, and you are good to go, as long as though you have wi-fi or can connect direct to your router
Q. Does it matter whether I use wi-fi or a cable connection (ethernet) to my router?
A: Many happily use wi-fi but a wired connection using a decent cable (e.g. cat 6) is usually more stable
Q: Do I need decent internet speeds ?
A: Kind of, yes, because if your internet drops out a lot or is slow then you won't always get the HD streams to work well
Q: Can I connect this to my existing DAC?
A: Yes, via either optical/TOSLINK or coaxial, but note that (1) COAXIAL is needed for the highest bitrate HD streams and to pass through MQA streams for full MQA decoding in an MQA compatible DAC and (2) if your DAC is not MQA compatible you will not get full MQA decoded tracks - you will hear the MQA tracks but not necessarily at their best.
Q: should I care that this does not have an LCD display?
A: not really - you use an app to control it, so whether you are using a phone, tablet or PC/MAC, your display on those devices is going to be miles better than any tiny LCD display on the streamer anyway
Q: is there a remote?
A: No but you can buy one. But why bother as you use the app to control it anyway?!
Q: is the interface really bad, I read a lot of bad reviews?
A: Nope, it's been through many iterations now and it's rather good, especially with Tidal. With Amazon HD it's not great but that's Amazon's fault
Q: I don't get full HD at max bitrate when I send a stream to the 2i from Tidal or Amazon apps on my phone.
A: That's because you MUST use the BluOS app instead, to access services like Amazon HD or Tidal, and then you will get the full support for high def bitrates
Q: Does the 2i store my CD rips?
A: No, you need the Node VAULT for that
Q: Does it have an amplifier built in?
A: Only a headphone amp. If you want one with an amp built in, get the POWERNODE instead of the Node
The Node 2i would occasionally just disappear from the app for no apparent reason. I would have to unplug and reboot to get it back.
I use Roon and Bluesound markets their products as 'Roon Ready'. Unfortunately this is not the case. Syncing with my other Roon zone (Win 10 PC) was impossible. Syncing with my other Bluesound speaker (Flex 2i) was impossible. The music would start and quickly go out of sync. Bluesound has very reluctantly recognised this as an issue and stated that they intend to fix this. This was 14 months ago and the problem persists.
EDIT (April 2019): Bluesound has just released a firmware update which should fix the above issue. I am not able to test as I no longer have the node 2i but forum users indicate the issue is finally fixed after 16 months.
The BluOS app was sluggish-slow, especially so when using the Desktop version (Windows 10 and Mac). In comparison, the sonos app experience feels a lot snappier and easier.
Trying to group the Node 2i with a Flex 2i was very slow. Tapping 'ungroup all' takes 5 seconds before anything happens. Sometimes more. Launching the BlueOS app takes at least 5 seconds before the speaker and Node 2i appear.
The volume control bar on the iOS app is not user friendly. Sliding the volume bar results in 'jumps' as if the slider cannot stabilise. On top of that, it lags making volume changes quite uncomfortable.
Volume level difference between Optical and Music streaming was problematic. I connected the optical cable from my TV to the Node 2i input. I needed to turn the volume up to 75-80?% for TV watching. This high level would remain after optical was deactivated. As a result, switching to music streaming (after TV watching) would result into a full volume blast and lots of panic - rush to turn the volume down.
The EQ seemed quite detrimental to the sound quality. Once tone controls are activated the sound seemed even less dynamic than before.
Setting up network shares proved impossible to get right. I engaged with Bluesound customer care to get it to work. Quite a lot of back and forth and in the end a share was established but resulted in buggy playback (interruptions) and with 40% of tracks missing.
Bluesound customer service tended to blame my network as a default response, despite a lot of the problems having been previously identified as Bluesound bugs.
I wanted to like it but had to return. Sonos is still the comparatively smooth experience overall. A sonos connect + external dac is the way to go if one does not care about high resolution files.
The player sounds good. It does not sound as good as Aurender N10, but that is almost £9000 and the Node 2i costs £500 and I am more than happy with the performance at that price point. This player won the What Hi-Fi best streamer under £500 award 2018 and by my ears, deservedly so.
I've been streaming HD and Ultra HD from Amazon all day and it knocks my Sonos Connect into a cocked hat. Like most electronic equipment I am sure the sound will improve with burn in. For full disclosure , I am not using the supplied RCA cables but some Van Den Hul "The First" that I've had for many years.
Perhaps the result of ignorance and mismatching of components on my part- entirely possible.
Your mileage my vary.