Bluesound vs Sonos review: surprising result

(Hugo) #21

Just on it’s own. Sorry my usage for the sonos is (for the most part) isolated as a cooking accompaniment. So not too concerned about its integration with the rest of Roon.

So the Atom can be an easy Spotify Connect for my partner, an easy Roon endpoint over ethernet or (for <5% more quality) a DAC/Amp fed by an Innuous as an endpoint.

(BryanA) #22

Just my opinion, but I was curious just exactly how well my Node 2i performs. So I did a side by side comparison with my dCS Rossini and clock. Both were level matched with my Boulder 2010 preamp, both were then driving my Boulder 2060 and my Wilson Alexia’s. I used the best 3’5MM to dual XLR connector I could buy (I had to have one custom made and it wasn’t cheap - I figured I’m still giong to use the Node 2 to serve our whole house audio as one of the selectable zones anyway.

To my surprise, the Bluesound Node 2i was very engaging. Sure, there was some sibilance, but I was listening to it wondering if it was the MQA that was perhaps implemented better (I was streaming Tidal MQA), so I went with natively stored hi resolution audio. I had to be very nitpicky to find faults in the Node 2 (I may call it a Node 2, but it’s actually a Node 2i). It had transitions that were not as fast as the Rossini. The Low end was a bit muddy. Soundstage aslo flatter. But it was producing sound more like the Rossini than not.

For $500 vs $36,000, you wouldn’t guess that was the difference. And that something to commend. I had Sonos gear and tried a similar comparison a year go and found their CONNECT to be completely unlistenable. The Bluesound however was a very good performer.

For S&G’s, I also compared it with my Meridian Explorer2 This took a little more effort because I had use was the same for both units. The Explorer2 was not bad, but it did not perform anywhere near the Node 2. Again, it was a difference of sibilance (more with the Explorer2) and less impact, precision. The presentation seemed a bit thrown in there all at once rather than methodically extracted and painted on a canvass you were listening to. In other words, lack of imaging in the Explorer2. Bass was surprisingly similar,but I didn’t give that part a whole lot of listening. This was a one afternoon thing, not a week long project.

FWIW, I own all three still. Each has it’s purpose. I find the Bluesound to be the best streamer for the price out there. I’m also a big fan/user of Roon which made this comparison rather easy. I like the Node 2i so much, I bought two more and have them as extra zones and one in our vacation location. It’s day vs night with Sonos stuff so I dumped about 20 pieces of Sonos gear on ebay a few months ago.

I will say that the Sonos AMP was trying to sound more “warm” or “tube-like”, and for the most part i succeeded at that part. I think that’s what they’re going for, but it’s also a way to mask lack of resolution and precision. Those first, then the rest later is what they should have done in their engineering - and I still can’t believe they don’t support high resolution or MQA in their new version of their gear; I’m still scratching my head there.

(Michael Fanning) #23

The Bluesound Node 2 punches well above its weight. When I play MQA files I let Roon make the first unfold and then let the Node do the second unfold. Sounds damn good to me.

(Poorbadger) #25

Why do you have Roon do the 1st unfold vs the Bluesound? To apply DSP?


(Michael Fanning) #26

@poorbadger I rarely apply DSP to an MQA stream. By having Roon do the first unfold, therefore, I can preserve the DSP should I wish to apply it. In addition, on those rare circumstances when I do not access the Bluesound DAC for MQA processing, I get the benefit of the first unfold from Roon. In those circumstances, I am using the DAC in my Devialet Expert 200.

(Poorbadger) #27

Thanks Michael - understood!

(Serge Libotte) #28

Why do you need a Node when you have Roon and Devialet?
I really wonder?

(Michael Fanning) #29

Two reasons: 1) I use Spotify, which is not available on Roon or my non-RAAT Devialet, and 2) I get the second MQA unfold on the Node DAC.