Bluesound NODE_2i, adding a DAC?

I have a Bluesound NODE_2i and was wondering to those who have added an add on DAC did it help much with the sound and what DAC did you add?

Keep in mind I can't spend $1000's on a new DAC, something under $700-$800 at the most. Thinking about adding one before the end of the year if it would help.
Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
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Comments

  • I have a Node 2,and Node 2i.( I also have a Node N100) The 2 and 2i I run external DAC’s. With the 2,which is in my secondary system,I run a very inexpensive Beresford Bushmaster mkII. The biggest improvement I noticed was an increased 3D soundstage. The 2i is in my main system,and I’m running an older April Music DA100 Signature. Even with this being an older DAC,I notice better detail throughout,more air between instruments,and a much larger 3D soundstage. I would suggest going used. You won’t get the latest tech,but I feel you can definitely get much better sound. There is a very nice and highly rated Benchmark DAC1 for sale in our very own classifieds. I would give that very serious consideration,and 1/2 your budget. If I didn’t just purchase the Beresford,and two subs,the Benchmark would be in my home!
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    edited September 2020
    I got an adapter and put a bigger power cable on my Node 2i and that seemed to help the sound some. My concern on the Benchmark DAC1 is how old it is and I would think I could get a more current (used) DAC that would sound better and hopefully last longer. Is this right or wrong?

    Thanks for the advice and comments.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • Milito wrote: »
    I got an adapter and put a bigger power cable on my Node 2i and that seemed to help the sound some. My concern on the Benchmark DAC1 is how old it is and I would think I could get a more current (used) DAC that would sound better and hopefully last longer. Is this right or wrong?

    Thanks for the advice and comments.

    I did the same thing with the power cord. Pangea adapter and a Pangea AC14 which I will upgrade at some point. I agree with better performance with a pc upgrade.
    As far as the sound of the Benchmark goes,the DAC 1 is very highly rated. I am very new to the DAC game,however from everything I’ve read,for that price,it would be hard to beat. Another DAC on my radar in your budget would be a Denafrips Aries II. The Denafrips is a Stereophile class B recommended piece. I’m also considering the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital for $399. This is a Stereophile class a recommendation. It seems to get pretty good reviews from mere mortals as well! I may very well ask Santa for the Pro-Ject for Christmas.
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,514
    There's a Benchmark DAC1 in the flea market. Why are you still here?......go get it.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • steveinaz wrote: »
    There's a Benchmark DAC1 in the flea market. Why are you still here?......go get it.

    That’s what I said!
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • maxwardmaxward Posts: 823
    The recent The Absolute Sound review (issue 308) of the 2i seemed to like the sound as is, but also paired it with other DACs with great results. The Benchmark for sale here seems like a good idea. You could also try one of the Schiit DACs in your budget and return it if it doesn’t float your boat. I have a Micromega Mydac that I no longer use due to a change in my kitchen system. I have not yet tried to sell it here, but may do so soon. I’d be happy to loan it to you for a few weeks if that’s something you’d like to try.
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    edited September 2020
    I appreciate the offer, but I'm still trying to narrow down which ones I would be interested in. If you still have it and I decide that's one am interested it I will contact you, thanks again.

    The Benchmark concerns me some as no one knows how old it is. Yes Maxward, the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital has gotten some good reviews that I have read.

    BTW which DAC connection to the Bluesound Node 2i gives the best sound?
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • I personally use the coax out.
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • gyosagyosa Posts: 579
    edited September 2020
    Maybe look for a refurb Cambridge CXN V2 on their eBay store.
    It is well within your budget.

    BlueSound coax into the CXN would do it.....
    You might even ditch the BlueSound after hearing the CXN...

    Otherwise, I’d jump on the Benchmark for sale here..
    It would be perfect , and the price is certainly right !

    Bk
    Parasound A21 , Yamaha wxc-50 , Polk SDA 1c’s ( my first love .. ) , Kimber Kable 4TC, Sony 42” - BEDROOM

    B&K EX-442 ( it will go in my casket when I die ... ) , PS Audio 4.6 preamp ( old school , but it still jams on ... ) , Yamaha wxc-50 , Boston Acoustic voyager 7’s - POOL

    PS Audio Stellar S300 , Cambridge Audio 851n , Yamaha wxc-50 , Kimber Kable 4vs , Salk Supercharged Song towers ( difficult choice between these and my family if I had to choose ... 😩 ) , Sony XBR-A8F 65” OLED , Onkyo TX-RZ610 - DEN , MAIN RIG

    Onkyo TX-nr609 , Polk atrium 7 , Boston acoustic sound ware (4) , Boston acoustic sub , B&W center , Sharp 65” TV - PATIO

    DAYENS AMPINO ( thanks Verb ! ) , KEiiD streamer ( this was only 60 bucks ?? ) , Polk atrium 8SDi’s - KID’s BEDROOM


  • invalidinvalid Posts: 458
    TEAforONE wrote: »
    I personally use the coax out.

    Does the node2i have the same connections as the node2 or does it have USB?
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    USB for zip or hard drive only.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,514
    I have a 2TB HDD connected to my Node2i, then coaxial to my Benchmark DAC2 DX.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • invalid wrote: »
    TEAforONE wrote: »
    I personally use the coax out.

    Does the node2i have the same connections as the node2 or does it have USB?
    Yes, the 2,and2i have the same connections. There are two USB ports. One is for service,the other is for a usb stick.
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,514
    edited September 2020
    The USB is an INPUT, not an output. Mini-Toslink and coaxial are available on the 2i as digital outputs.
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • The USB port is for external HDD. I don’t think a DAC can be connected thru that port. Unless I’m reading Bluesound’s online instructions incorrectly. It can be connected to a computer to read files.
    The USB port on under the ethernet port is for connecting to a storage device and the mini USB is dedicated to service.
    8zxq0yacdirx.png
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    So has anyone heard this one?

    https://www.schiit.com/products/bifrost-1

    Also anyone have any experience with the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 Digital?

    How would they compare with the Benchmark DAC1?
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,511
    @Milito are you streaming tidal? If so, do you use the masters with MQA? I don't want to get into a debate on MQA with my post but, i want to point out if you do use tidal masters with MQA, make sure whatever dac you do get is MQA compatible.

    All the suggestions mentioned here are spot on. Lots of choices.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse RCA, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 , W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004,

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac11,Aries Mini
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    I use Amazon HD. The Dac will probably be my Christmas present from my wife unless I get a used one.

    The Bifrost 2 multibit at $699 got some good reviews. I was wondering if anyone here has one and what they thought of it?
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,511
    What type of sound do you prefer? Warm, neutral, or a little bit more on top? Warmer Denafrips Aries II, Neutral Bifrost 2 multibit. I cannot comment on the Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 or Benchmark since I have not heard either one.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse RCA, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 , W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004,

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac11,Aries Mini
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    edited September 2020
    I would say warm to neutral. I want the music to be musical not sterile.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • invalidinvalid Posts: 458
    I wouldn't worry about MQA, a quality dac without MQA will sound much better than the dac in the bluesound with MQA.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,511
    invalid wrote: »
    I wouldn't worry about MQA, a quality dac without MQA will sound much better than the dac in the bluesound with MQA.

    While I agree with most of this statement, they do have many external dac's with MQA. Since the OP said he does not use Tidal, he is free to choose one without it. For Tidal users, MQA can be important to them. I have a couple of dac's. For Tidal I prefer my lumin since it does full MQA. I can hear the difference between the non mqa version and mqa version on my rig. For quobuz, it sounds better on my LKS dac. I was actually thinking of completely dropping Tidal soon but, thats a different subject.

    Anyway, since the OP doesn't use tidal or have a need for MQA, I agree with Invalid's statement.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse RCA, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 , W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004,

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac11,Aries Mini
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    Thanks for everyone's opinions. I'm looking for one that will sound good with my LSiM 705's and my Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • erniejadeerniejade Posts: 5,511
    I think any of the choices mentioned here will be an improvement and sound good on the 705's. I used to have the 705. They take well to any changes.
    Den: Lumin D1,Wireworld Silver Eclipse RCA, KEF LS50 Wireless, Velodyne SPL1200, Technics 1200, Denon DL160, Jolida D9,

    Living Room:,T+A PA 1530R,Wireworld Silver Eclipse SC, Tyler Highland H2, High Fidelity Reveal RCA, Innuos Zen MK3 , W4S recovery, LKS MH-da004,

    Have but haven't used in a while: LH Labs VI Dac, Cayin SCD50T, Grant Fidelity Tube Dac11,Aries Mini
  • kevhed72kevhed72 Posts: 4,416
    Milito wrote: »
    I use Amazon HD. The Dac will probably be my Christmas present from my wife unless I get a used one.

    The Bifrost 2 multibit at $699 got some good reviews. I was wondering if anyone here has one and what they thought of it?

    I had the Bifrost prior to my DAC1. The DAC1 is hands down a better sound and for sale here by yours truly. Im looking to upgrade to a DAC2 but need the funds from the DAC1. Also, I took the DAC1 out of my rig and went w just the Auralic mini's internal DAC. Listening to Orb without the DAC1 is very noticeable...in a negative sense. PM me and we can work something out if you are still the the market.
  • MilitoMilito Posts: 1,196
    Sent you a pm Kev.
    Yamaha RX-A2070, Music Hall A70.2 integrated amp, B&K 4420 Reference, Benchmark Dac1, Bluesound NODE 2i, HSU VTF-2 MK5, LSiM705, LSiM704, Douglas Connection Alpha 12AWG OCC Speaker Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha Analog Interconnect Cables, Audioquest Interconnects and Digital Cables, Douglas Connection Alpha 11 OCC Custom Power Cable, Cullen Gold and Crossover Series Power Cables, Signal Power Cable, Furman PL-8C 15 Power Conditioner, Fluance RT85, Parasound Zphono USB Phono Preamp, Sony 65" 900F, Sony UBP-X700, Fios.
  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,514
    There you go...
    Source: Bluesound Node 2i - Preamp/DAC: Benchmark DAC2 DX - Amplifier: Parasound Halo A21 - Speakers: PSB Imagine T2 - Cables: Kimber Hero XLR; Kimber 8VS Bi-Wire; DH Labs D-75 dig coaxial
  • Smart move!
    First Watt,Monarchy Audio,Aric Audio,Prometheus Audio,April Music,Wyred4sound ,Bluesound,Pro-Ject,Onkyo,Graham Chartwell,Nola,Hornshoppe,HSU Research.
  • maxwardmaxward Posts: 823
    If anyone’s thinking about a Node 2i, Audio Advisor is having a $100 off sale.
  • Joey_VJoey_V Posts: 7,864
    Node 2i is great.
    I use mine into my Emm.
    Joey's Gear:
    Current Gear:
    Primary:
    Digital: Torus RM15 -> Emm Labs TSDx/Bluesound Node 2 -> Emm Labs DAC2x
    Analog: VPI Avenger Reference w/ Rim Drive w/ ADS + 12" Fatboy Dual Pivot + Lyra Etna
    + Audio Research Reference 40th Anniversary -> Boulder 2060 stereo amp (w/ Audioquest WEL Signature) -> new speakers + JL Audio F113v2 x2
    Secondary:
    Rotel RA1592 Super Integrated -> Sonus Faber Olympica 3
    Tertiary:
    Oppo 105D -> Rotel RC1570 preamp -> Rotel RB1582 amp -> Focal Kanta 2


    Main speakers system evolution over the years:
    Klipsch Promedia 4.1 -> Axiom M22ti -> Sonus Faber Concertino -> Sonus Faber Concerto -> Polk LSi7 -> Polk LSi9 -> Martin Logan Mosaic -> AV123 Onix Ref 1 -> Martin Logan Vantage -> AV123 Strata Mini -> Martin Logan Summit -> Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor -> BW 802D2 -> Sonus Faber Stradivari -> Rockport Avior -> BW 802D3 -> BW 800D3 -> ???

    Old Gear:
    Speakers:
    BW PM1 (3.5/5), CM10s2 (3.75/5), BW800D3 (5/5), Rockport Aviors (5/5), Sonus Faber Stradivari (5/5), BW 802D2 (4.5/5), Martin Logan Summits (4.25/5), Martin Logan Vantage (4/5), Sonus Faber Cremona Auditor (3.75/5), AV123 Strata Mini (3.5/5), ML Mosaic (3.25/5), Onix Ref1 (3/5), Sonus Faber Concerto (2.75/5), SF Concertino (2.5/5), Axiom M22ti (2/5), Polk LSi9 (3/5), LSi7 (2.9/5)
    Source:
    Squeezebox 3 -> PS Audio Digital Link III -> Cary 306/200 CDP -> Cary 306 SACD -> EMM LABS DAC2X/TSDX
    Preamplification:
    Rotel RC1070 -> Rogue Perseus -> Cary SLP98 -> Cary SLP98F1 -> Cary SLP05 (sold and then repurchased) -> ARC 5se -> ARC Ref 40th Anniversary
    Amplification:
    HK AVR330 -> Rotel RB1070 -> Rotel RB1090 -> Plinius SA102 -> Cary 211FE -> Classe M600 -> Boulder 2060
    Subwoofer:
    Infinity Entra2 -> SVS 25-31PCi -> SVS 25-31PC+ -> Dual JL Audio F113v2
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