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Bluesound Node 2i


Tarheel
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On 4/6/2020 at 6:22 PM, Tarheel said:

Anyone use one for streaming?  Starting to wade into that end of the pool.  Hard wired not wireless and I don't have a smart phone.  $549 for the Node and the monthly Amazon HD at Prime rates or Tidal for the MQA.  Thoughts? 

Do It.

 

I had one hooked up with a McIntosh MA5300. But now I'm using the Bluesound OS card in my NAD M32. The Mac had hardly any connectivity - for my needs.

 

I love streaming Hi-Res from Tidal. Definitely a step up from playing CD/SACD via a player or ripped to a PC ---  or analog tape/LP (don't get me started).

 

MQA "can be" wonderful. However, you're still at the mercy of the recording engineer/producer. If what they "like" - you "don't like"....that's still what you will get. MQA, if implemented properly on a recent modern recording can make a huge difference in sound quality. If on the other hand, it's used on a 1970's Rock recording the result can be hit or miss. If the original recording is of dubious quality MQA won't help. It's just verifying that whoever was responsible for its authenticity "approved" it.

 

 

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7 hours ago, Tarheel said:

New to streaming as I may have mentioned.  Making my first playlist I ran into difficulty editing while using the Bluos app. Wanted to delete a song and was unable to do so.  Had to get out of Bluos and log into Tidal.  On Tidal I can edit but the sound plays through my lap top and not my main system.  When I go back to Bluos the edits worked that I completed on Tidal.  It's just a bit labor intensive.

Ideas?

 

I don't think you can do that - yet.

 

The Bluesound app with Tidal operates differently than it does with, say, the PC app. I find it easier to do my Playlist creation/editing on my PC.

Don't forget......the Bluesound app you're using on your "control device" such as a smart phone - is just that - a control device - for the Bluesound Node (or in my case the NAD Bluesound OS MDC card). The smart phone is not receiving/transmitting the data stream to the Bluesound Node/card (as it would in a Bluetooth situation - ie: Sirius XM)

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I wonder if now is a good time to ask. I have been using the Heos app on my Denon and Marantz AVR's in 2 seperate spaces for the past couple of years. I keep coming back to read about the Bluesound Node 2i as it continues to interest me. Can anyone with real life experience using both the Heos capable AVR's and the Bluesound devices tell me exactly why I could need/want/benefit from having both? 

 

P.S. I do not own any Apple products

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On 5/9/2020 at 4:59 PM, artto said:

 

I don't think you can do that - yet.

 

The Bluesound app with Tidal operates differently than it does with, say, the PC app. I find it easier to do my Playlist creation/editing on my PC.

Don't forget......the Bluesound app you're using on your "control device" such as a smart phone - is just that - a control device - for the Bluesound Node (or in my case the NAD Bluesound OS MDC card). The smart phone is not receiving/transmitting the data stream to the Bluesound Node/card (as it would in a Bluetooth situation - ie: Sirius XM)

Thanks artto....that makes sense and what I am doing now.

 

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On 5/9/2020 at 5:36 PM, 314carpenter said:

I wonder if now is a good time to ask. I have been using the Heos app on my Denon and Marantz AVR's in 2 seperate spaces for the past couple of years. I keep coming back to read about the Bluesound Node 2i as it continues to interest me. Can anyone with real life experience using both the Heos capable AVR's and the Bluesound devices tell me exactly why I could need/want/benefit from having both? 

 

P.S. I do not own any Apple products

While I haven't actually used HEOS, taking a look at it, it appears to be essentially the same thing as Bluesound. Bluesound is owned by NAD. Bluesound is an operating system. Bluesound Node is simply an outboard device that can connect to any brand receiver for online streaming directly from an online Hi-Res source like Tidal or Qobuz.

 

In other words you can use a Bluesound Node and stream Tidal via ethernet or Wi-Fi to the Bluesound Node hooked up to say a McIntosh MA5300 (or any other non Bluesound amp) via analog or digital. The Bluesound Node allows you to send your preferences to other "systems" around the house that are also Bluesound enabled, via additional Bluesound Node or are Bluesound enabled internally (ie: NAD M32 with Bluesound MDC card installed).

 

So, if you're committed to the Denon product line (HEOS) then you would have to add more HEOS components around the house (the same goes for Bluesound). At this time from what I've read so far Denon doesn't have an "outboard" HEOS device that would allow users to make their non-Denon non-HEOS components HEOS enabled. 

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Some food for thought as I have been coming at this a similar but different way. If you have not already done it check out Roon. It truly is the music lovers dream come true. I've been a SONOS advocate/fan boy for some time now. It is very had to beat for the sure ease of use and killer UI. But it did not really tick all the boxes for true high end music. I also have a NAD AVR with BluOS and a couple of DLNA devices with clunky interfaces. Multiple devices with different set-up configurations and different controlling apps of varying degrees for ease of use. Not really wife/SO friendly to say the least.....SONOS, yes any other device blank stare or eye rolls.

 

Enter Roon, in one absolutely killer app it pulls all the devices together and makes them so easy to use my wife says they are "Carol Proof". Roon actually helps you discover so much you already have, have forgotten and find new, like-minded, stuff.

 

Roon is controlling all my SONOS devices, my BluOS/NAD, Oppo 203, newly acquired stand alone DAC all with an application that makes me want to listen and explore music like I was 15 years old all over again. If you lean toward the Klipsch-forum-crowd (cheap) you can run it on an old laptop you probably have lying around gathering dust and a free, trial subscription. If you are a money is no object kind of guy (I see him frequently on the What I got today thread) there are purpose built "controllers" and "Roon Ready" devices you can drop thousands on.

 

The single feature of "Roon Radio" makes it worth every penny....not a streaming service of any kind. But an algo or machine learning that plays similar music in your collection (or connected streaming services). Once you figure out the basic it has room to grow with DSP and all sorts of things. Different accounts for family members on the same system in your house no additional cost.

 

I looked into Roon briefly a couple of years back and passed after reading a few reviews and poking around their site. My loss as I feel I've missed out on a couple of years of fun and enjoyment. It's like hearing a pair of Heresies in your late teens for the first time....PWK sort of life changing stuff, no lie!

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I've heard a lot of good things about Roon. An NAD/Bluesound guy at AXPONA last year was explaining it to me. He really loved it. I guess my main issue is another subscription to pay.

 

But, if you want more of the pictures/graphics that typically went along with physical media I suppose it's a good start in that direction. Usually what I'm looking for is more documentation about the recording - recording/mastering engineer, recording location, equipment used, etc which usually wasn't mentioned on most commercial LP anyway.

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15 hours ago, artto said:

I've heard a lot of good things about Roon. An NAD/Bluesound guy at AXPONA last year was explaining it to me. He really loved it. I guess my main issue is another subscription to pay.

 

But, if you want more of the pictures/graphics that typically went along with physical media I suppose it's a good start in that direction. Usually what I'm looking for is more documentation about the recording - recording/mastering engineer, recording location, equipment used, etc which usually wasn't mentioned on most commercial LP anyway.

Roon only supports Tidal and Qobuz for streaming and you have to pay for the subscription so it 9.99 + 23.99 per month. Hm, a bit expensive. 

 

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1 hour ago, ILI said:

Roon only supports Tidal and Qobuz for streaming and you have to pay for the subscription so it 9.99 + 23.99 per month. Hm, a bit expensive. 

 

 

Try it for 14 days. You will love it. It's like saying breathing is expensive. Roon is a life's necessity.

 

I'm not streaming so no expense there.  Large digital library in house. Old guys like to have things not rent them, even if just bits on my network. Roon has lifetime purchase so one and done, like buying a piece of gear. No monthly cost after the initial pain.

 

Maybe it is:

Boomers = physical media

GenX = home network/storage

Millennials = subscription 

 

I've yet to see any music software/interface that is worth a darn besides Sonos and Roon. All the rest are truly terrible. Designed by engineers not UI UX people. Roon truly gets the user experience. Disney Land for music nerds.

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10 hours ago, ILI said:

Roon only supports Tidal and Qobuz for streaming and you have to pay for the subscription so it 9.99 + 23.99 per month. Hm, a bit expensive. 

 

Expensive?

 

For the "record" (pun intended) I figure I was spending at least $300 to $500 a year on vinyl and CD.

 

Tidal Hi-Res/Masters costs $240/yr. And at this time I already get almost everything I already have on vinyl and CD, plus millions more tracks, plus videos and other goodies that I'll probably never use. But for me the real reason was sound quality.

 

The Roon pay up front "lifetime" option is $699. The problem with this is - just like a "lifetime warranty" it's only good as long as the company exists. And with the kind of technological rate-of-change we see today I have to balance that with how many "Boomer Years" I may have left.

 

I have to admit I don't like the subscription/rent thing either. But just like with, say a car, at this point in my life it makes no sense for me buy another one. I can lease (rent) a nicer one for less than buying it. I drive so little now I'll have positive equity at the end of the lease which gets rolled over into the next lease further lowering the payment.

 

And so it now is with audio. Less cost to rent than own. In return I get more music. I can spend more time listening to music (as opposed to looking for an LP, cleaning the stylus and vinyl, etc). Better quality sound. More convenience. I get to spend the balance on more gear or instruments (or my other vice, model railroading).

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6 hours ago, artto said:

Expensive?

 

For the "record" (pun intended) I figure I was spending at least $300 to $500 a year on vinyl and CD.

 

Tidal Hi-Res/Masters costs $240/yr. And at this time I already get almost everything I already have on vinyl and CD, plus millions more tracks, plus videos and other goodies that I'll probably never use. But for me the real reason was sound quality.

 

The Roon pay up front "lifetime" option is $699. The problem with this is - just like a "lifetime warranty" it's only good as long as the company exists. And with the kind of technological rate-of-change we see today I have to balance that with how many "Boomer Years" I may have left.

 

I have to admit I don't like the subscription/rent thing either. But just like with, say a car, at this point in my life it makes no sense for me buy another one. I can lease (rent) a nicer one for less than buying it. I drive so little now I'll have positive equity at the end of the lease which gets rolled over into the next lease further lowering the payment.

 

And so it now is with audio. Less cost to rent than own. In return I get more music. Better quality sound. More convenience. I get to spend the balance on more gear or instruments (or my other vice, model railroading).

 

Besides the price, what is Roon's most important advantage compared to a Qobuz or Tidal or Spotify subscription? 

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19 minutes ago, ILI said:

what is Roon's most important advantage compared to a Qobuz or Tidal or Spotify subscription? 

 

It's meant for your personal music library? the subscription services are merely streaming augmentations to fill the gaps. If you don't have a personal digital library, there's no reason to deploy Roon.

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"Besides the price, what is Roon's most important advantage compared to a Qobuz or Tidal or Spotify subscription?" 

 

I personally haven't used Roon yet. But from I understand (so far) is Roon ties all the apps, subscriptions and any other online media or your local area network files from computers or other servers, it ties them all together to be accessed/controlled from one place (Roon). Roon apparently goes out and collects all the pertinent metadata and organizes it for you (your media). For those who miss the cover art and other written documentation that was originally supplied on LP, and to a lesser extent, CD, Roon (I think) pulls all that together for you automatically, seamlessly in one place.

 

Personally, I think the subscription sources will eventually have all this too. I've only had Tidal for a year and there have been lots of changes/improvements. The search function can still be a bugaboo. It's not "smart" enough yet. Sometimes I have to word the search in a very specific way to find something because of the way it's categorized/catalogued and not cross referenced. If I type in "Telarc" for instance to see all Telarc recordings nothing correct comes up. Same thing with "Tricycle". Tricycle Flim & the BB's is not going to come up. If you misspell "Flim" & the BB's as Film & the BB's - nothing.

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I originally thought like @artto it was more or less enhanced cover art. It is endless data and information. Each artist/album/track you select has a wealth of info you never even imagined existed. Think Wikipedia for all your music but with the slickest User Experience you have ever, well....experienced. Ever find yourself flipping through the channels and see a program about a band and then realize you wasted an hour listening to how the put down the tracks and who the producer was and why they fought over lunch in the control room? In addition to the artist and history lessons, how about knowing what is happening to your precious music as it moves from one piece of gear to another? Give this link just a cursory 5 minute skimming:

https://kb.roonlabs.com/Signal_Path

 

Everything is very friendly and intuitive. Its one of those rare things in life that just works and makes you smile.....like beer.

 

It has a "discovery" feature that I defy any true music lover has the ability to not say "Oh my god that is effin' cool"

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1 hour ago, rplace said:

I originally thought like @artto it was more or less enhanced cover art. It is endless data and information. Each artist/album/track you select has a wealth of info you never even imagined existed. Think Wikipedia for all your music but with the slickest User Experience you have ever, well....experienced. Ever find yourself flipping through the channels and see a program about a band and then realize you wasted an hour listening to how the put down the tracks and who the producer was and why they fought over lunch in the control room? In addition to the artist and history lessons, how about knowing what is happening to your precious music as it moves from one piece of gear to another? Give this link just a cursory 5 minute skimming:

https://kb.roonlabs.com/Signal_Path

 

Everything is very friendly and intuitive. Its one of those rare things in life that just works and makes you smile.....like beer.

 

It has a "discovery" feature that I defy any true music lover has the ability to not say "Oh my god that is effin' cool"

How are you running it..what hardware?  Can you tell me from point A to where/how it plugs into your system? 

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1 hour ago, dwilawyer said:

How are you running it..what hardware?  Can you tell me from point A to where/how it plugs into your system? 

 

Lots of ways to skin this cat. I have two identical servers in a rack in my temperature controlled garage office. One is a storage server for all of my NAS and media needs. The other is just running Windows Server 2019 (as of this moment. Was running ESXI last month).

 

In my audio rack in the house I have a raspberry pi4 running RopieeeXL with the hifiberry digi+ pro for digital coaxial output straight into the AES/EBU input of my Yamaha SP2060.

 

So I've got the music stored on my NAS. Roon server is running on the 2019 box, as is HQPlayer. Roon sends the signal locally to HQP for resampling. Then HQP sends the PCM signal over to the raspberry pi and on to the digital XO. Since there's no preamp in this signal chain I use the software volume control within Roon. I control everything from the Roon app available on iOS, windows (laptop), etc. Except for the control devices, everything is hardwired over gigabit ethernet.

 

The server config you see below is absolute overkill. I've got the server mostly idling on other tasks, and even with conversion from uncompressed wav files over to upsampled PCM it's barely touching the CPU/RAM. It was a proof of concept - A1UC spent a shitload of money on a dedicated device with similar specs to run the Roon server function in his audio rack and i wanted to see what impact such a configuration might have. My gear is out of the building entirely, so I don't have to worry about expensive boutique cooling and noise reduction efforts - fundamentally the performance is the same and my endpoint is so far removed from the signal processing chain that there's no impact there. And since I've got the gear not being used for anything else at the moment I've just decided to leave it in place and use it for a bit, even though it's overkill.

 

image.thumb.png.62b40430b434318e69ec7b8118469c57.png

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7 hours ago, artto said:

Roon apparently goes out and collects all the pertinent metadata and organizes it for you (your media). For those who miss the cover art and other written documentation that was originally supplied on LP, and to a lesser extent, CD, Roon (I think) pulls all that together for you automatically, seamlessly in one place.

 

Personally, I think the subscription sources will eventually have all this too. I've only had Tidal for a year and there have been lots of changes/improvements.

 

Before I migrated from Qobuz to Spotify Family (Qobuz doesn't have that kind of account), I was a year with Qobuz, and the Qobuz player brings a lot more information about the music to the consumer, compared to Spotify. They also have a great portal on the internet with reviews etc. As far as I know, Spotify doesn't have this.

 

Question: Where does Roon get all this information about the music? Who wrote this, or is it a case of 'data leeching'? At Qobuz, at least every review has its author's name. 

Can they do this, legally, are they paying the writers royalties? Not much is found about that on roonlabs.com 

 

 

 

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11 hours ago, dwilawyer said:

How are you running it..what hardware?  Can you tell me from point A to where/how it plugs into your system? 

 

It's software installed on a computer, that organizes your music and plays it back over just about any connected device. Mine is an old laptop on a network that is mostly hard wired. Multiple music systems and a phone or computer to interact with it. It doesn't really plug into one device so much as it sees every device and enhances them.

 

Roon has 3 "things" core, control and outputs.

 

Core is the brain you only need one. Install and forget about it.

 

Control is how you use it, phone laptop, desktop, tablet the thing you browse your music and interact with. You could have one or many.

 

Outputs are your music devices. DAC, streamer, Blu-ray player, computer, phone, TV, AVR

 

It could be as simple as all 3 of those things on one computer. You browse your music on the app, the software curates it for you and plays back via your computers speakers.

 

Mine is throughout my entire house. I've got wireless speakers in the form of Sonos in kitchen, bedroom, deck, out at the pool. I've got a 5.1 system in my living room and a dedicated HT/music room with 7.1 in my basement. Roon now controls them all rather than multiple systems, remotes/apps.

 

You can buy a purpose built device to run  core or install it on a old computer you probably already have. I'm running it on an old laptop circa 2012. My music files are on NAS on a home network. Most of the network is older cat 5e cable and some wireless devices. 

 

You point core to your music files and subscription services. It sets up just as beautifully/easily as you use it. Super intuitive. It updates and backups itself. You sit back, forget about tech-shit and get back to enjoying music, but now you have a personal assistant that is at your beck and call to endlessly delight you with all thing that matter about *YOUR* particular music collection. Not bland, generic data but entertaining tidbits you never even dreamed were at your fingertips. 

 

It's the single best thing to happen to music since the electric guitar....if you care about music. If you just want noise while you are going about your business.... probably not for you. For me it is a substitute for reading a book, watching TV or even exercising. It's a total time suck in best possible way.

 

 

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7 minutes ago, rplace said:

 

Not bland, generic data but entertaining tidbits you never even dreamed were at your fingertips. 

 

It's the single best thing to happen to music since the electric guitar....if you care about music. If you just want noise while you are going about your business.... probably not for you. For me it is a substitute for reading a book, watching TV or even exercising. It's a total time suck in best possible way.

 

 

 

I do care about music and I like to read about it too. So that makes me wonder: if it is 'not bland, generic data', they must have editors and writers etc. But I can't find anything about these people on the roon website. Why are they 'hiding' this from the public? If it was something the company really invested in, they would put this on their frontpage and use it as a sale argument... Qobuz does it. 

But not Roon, they mostly focus on 'their partners' and the 'technology'.

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