Bluesound Node 2i


(Ethan Garner) #42

Airplay 2 is Finally coming to bluesound.

Bluesound’s Generation 2i Speakers and Home Theater Systems to Receive AirPlay 2 Update on December 11


(Tino M) #43

Hello all!
As far as I have undertood, almost all Bluesound Gear is able to accept an analog input, and is able to stream it to other Bluesound units.
Now I wonder, if I have Roon controlling Bluesound Gear, is it possible to stream that analog input to other than Bluesound Roon endpoints, eg a Raspberry Pi?
Thanks!


(Chris ) #44

You can group Roon Ready endpoints from different manufacturers. RAAT protocol.
You can group Meridian with Meridian, Sonos with SONOS etc but not Meridian with Sonos or RAAT endpoints.
I have a Meridian endpoint feeding the optical input on a Pulse Mini that I can connect wireless or wired to my Pulse flex. Whilst another Meridian is grouped to the first and I get perfect synced results.

Has that made it clear?

If you have Bluesound, you don’t need a raspberry pi to feed Roon to it.


(Tino M) #45

Thank you, but I think that was not my question. Let’s do it this way… Hypothethically, because I do not have that gear yet:
I have a RPi endpoint in the kitchen. I want to stream an analog source into the kitchen and to the bathroom, where there is a bluesound loudspeaker.
The analog source is in the living room, together with a Node2i, feeding the node. I know that I can listen to that analog source in the bathroom, but…
can i group the bathroom and the kitchen to listen to the analog source?


(Chris ) #46

Are you asking, Can I group a Rasbery Pi with a Bluesound Node in Roon?


#47

I think the question is in effect whether one can group a Bluesound initiated stream with a Roon RAAT stream? In which case the answer is no, though it’s a neat idea. The Roon way to solve this is via an internet radio stream from the analogue device - there’s some posts around about this somewhere.


(Tino M) #48

Well, OK so there are three questions:

  1. Can I group a Bluesound Roon Endpoint with an RPi Roon Endpoint?
  2. Some Bluesound gear allows for an external (analog, Bluetooth, optical digital) input instead of playing music from the server or stream. Can I manage that input in Roon?
  3. IF i use that external Input, and IF I can group Bluesound and RPi Endpoints, can I direct that input to other than only Bluesond endpoints?

Did I make myself clear?


(Tino M) #49

Thanks. I’ll have to look out for those Posts…

Of course I could do it using exclusively Bluesound devices (and ditching Roon for that), however, those speakerless “Endpoints” are too expensive for certain applications :frowning_face:


(Tom Keenan) #50

[This will be a response primarily to the original post …]

I’ve been using the Node 2i for almost 2 months now.
For the most part, I like it, but with a couple of caveats.

First, the negatives.

  1. I’ve yet to determine the easiest, most reliable way to keep playback in sync across multiple rooms. If I group two players from within Roon, they tend to fall out-of-sync. If I use the Bluesound software to group them, they don’t, but then at least one of the endpoints may become invisible to Roon after grouping/ungrouping/re-grouping in the Bluesound application. There are so many possible configuration paths (involved in grouping ROON/Bluesound, devices, etc.) that it can be hard to test or troubleshoot them all.
  2. I haven’t yet figured out the best way to share and manage playlists across Roon, iTunes, and Bluesound software. One can expose iTunes playlists to both Roon and the Bluesound app, but then you cannot modify them from Roon. You can create new Roon playlists, but I haven’t found a way to expose them to the Bluesound app. If you use only the Roon software, this won’t be an issue.

Now, the positives.

  1. IMO the price is reasonable for what you get, compared to some alternatives (such as the Naim Unity).
  2. IMO the sound quality is superb, although I don’t know how much of that to attribute to the Node vs. the rest of my system (Peachtree Nova 150 integrated amp, Totem Arro speakers). I’ve noticed a few complaints, and can’t verify what others are hearing, but would encourage them to experiment with inputs (I use coax mostly) and with Roon DSP before giving up on the Node. I’ve listened to a few wonderful MQA recordings with analog input to the Nova amp, but usually use coax and rely on the Nova’s built-in DAC (with some small Roon equalizer adjustments in the path).
  3. I love the ability to use a physical IR remote control with the Node instead of having to go into computer software every time I want to pause or skip a track. Controls are configurable from within the Bluesound application (basically, you indicate the function you want to assign - such as play/pause - then point your IR remote at the Node and press the desired button.)
  4. The form-factor is small and unobtrusive.

Now, if the Node had been priced much higher than $500, I might have continued longer using my Mac Mini (where my Roon Core resides) wired directly by USB to my Peachtree amp. That was a simple, reasonably reliable and easy-to-use system. I heeded various recommendations to separate the endpoint from the Core. I’m not sure I’m noticing a significant improvement in SQ or system stability/reliability. The remote control (and buttons atop the Node) are nice to have, but the system is now more complex (both in terms of software and also the cord plus box clutter). But I haven’t attempted a careful series of A-B tests comparing playback with/without the Node in the loop.


(Yiannis Kouropalatis) #51

Great feedback and insight Tom :slight_smile:

… in case it makes you feel better, your box count (and cable clutter) is super neat compared to mine (amplifier, dac, av receiver, Allo Digi one, Sonos connect, Apple TV). I manage to hide most cables but a peak behind my tv cabinet results in shock :-o


(Tom Keenan) #52

Here’s one approach (one that seems to work for me) to playing 2 Bluesound endpoints in sync from Roon:

  1. Reset your Bluesound endpoints by unplugging/replugging them
  2. From within the Bluesound application, Group the devices. Start with the one that you want to keep visible to Roon, then add the second one to the Group.

This seems to create a Master-Slave relationship, with only the Master device visible to Roon. Play that device in Roon, and the other one will play in sync. Then you also can toggle the Slave playback on/off using the buttons atop the Bluesound device. But I haven’t yet tried all the possible control sequences involving Roon, Blue devices, IR remote control, software v. hardware buttons, etc., to see if everything still stays in sync.

At any rate, for me, “in sync” means not only that music plays in sync from 2 (or more) devices, but also that controls play nicely together from multiple devices. I’d say the Node 2i isn’t quite there yet, especially for customers who want multiple users to be able to keep the system in sync, as easily and predictably as controlling household lighting from 2 different switches.


(Tom Keenan) #53

[follow-up to my last post]

Let’s distinguish between what I’ll call (1) “playback sync” and (2) “control sync”. #1 means that when you send music to 2 different endpoints/zones, the music plays in sync (with no lag). #2 means that music selection (and possibly some other controls) works logically across 2 or more devices (so, for example, if I change the selected song/album, the change is reflected on all grouped devices.)

I’m finding I can get #1 (if I define groups in the Bluesound application) OR #2 (if I define groups in the Roon application), but not both together.
The work-around, I suppose, is to (a) select music in Roon (b) establish a new group from within the Bluesound app ( c ) un-group at the end of the session. Do a-b-c for every multi-room listening session. Seems pretty kludgy, unless I’m missing something (a procedure other users have discovered).

Steps a+b alone wouldn’t be very inconvenient to do occasionally, but if I don’t also do step c at the end of a listening session, the Node 2i will keep playing the same program. It won’t recognize when I’ve switched to another program (song/album/playlist) in Roon. For the sake of playback sync, I’ve lost “control” sync.


(Frans) #54

Sorry Catman, but i definitely disagree with your statement about the poor DAC in the Bluesoud NODE 2, listened to various DAC’s 4 times as expensive (Lumin, Niam, T&A) and yes they are better but definitely not 4 times. I consider the Bluesound and its dac great value for your bucks.


(Yiannis Kouropalatis) #55

Just to add to the thread, here a potentially interesting review with measurements for the Node 2i:

Not sure how valid the testing is but it is worth checking out as it is the only one I found that attempts to measure the dac performance.

Cheers


#56

I guess these things are quite subjective. However, I’ll stand by my judgment. I have it set up three ways, and in all the configurations, the native DAC comes last. As a streaming option, the Node 2i is outstanding.


#57

Interesting. I did not use TOSLINK, but nevertheless, there is a definite audible difference between it’s native DAC and a good external DAC. But as a streamer bypassing the signal, it is fantastic.


(Frans) #58

Agree with the personal preference angle and thxs for sharing the experience with the node2 i … ill give it a try.


(Coltrane) #59

Hello everyone,
I am new to music streaming and I would like to build a home network from scratch (with a small budget). I read many positive comments on the Bluesound Node 2i and would like to buy it as a streamer. I am not interested in multi-room. Maybe there are other streamer options?

So far I only have speakers, a Denon amp, and my Dell XPS laptop, which I have used as a core to try out roon. In the future I’d like to replace the laptop with a NUC and ROCK. But that has to wait.

My question: Can I just buy a Bluesound Node 2i and wire it with ethernet to my laptop (core), and then use the analog out to plug it in to my amp? I would use my iPhone as a remote.
Would that be enough, or do I need other hardware? Would that be sonically fine and similar to me listening to CDs?

Thanks for advice.


#60

you can’t connect the node directly to the laptop via ethernet.

you can connect to the node to your network, via ethernet or wifi, and then stream directly to it from your laptop (core).


(Coltrane) #61

Ok thank you. So I would connect my laptop to my router via ethernet, and the node to the router and then further into the amp?
At the moment I am using wifi at home, but when my laptop functions as a core, I would prefer to use ethernet.

When I am not interested in Tidal or any other online streaming service, nor multi room, is there any other option for me?

Thanks.