Bluesound Node 2 to NDX? Risky?

Hi, I am using a Bluesound Node 2 into a Chord Qutest as a source for my 282/250DR. It sounds really good, using FLAC files off a SSD. I don’t stream other than internet radio.
I like the Bluesound but am often told that it is weak compared to the other components. I figure an ND5XS2 is a possibility, but a dealer that I have used before has a used NDX at a decent price. Of course, a quick google warns me that it is not great for streaming (which I am a bit naive about). I guess I could look at Tidal or Qobuz in the future, and perhaps the NDX would not work with those. However, as a digital front end, feeding FLAC files from USB into the Qutest, would this step up from the Bluesound? Or, do I wait for a used ND5XS2?

The Node2 is fine - if you were using its analogue outputs then i’d agree it would be outclassed by the rest of the system but used as a digital source into the Qutest it should work well. Whilst the NDX makes a fine S/PDIF source (I enjoyed mine), it’s a bit old now and will hold you back if you decide you’d like to explore streaming in the future, so it may not be the best move.

Sorry if my original post was not that clear. The NDX would replace the Bluesound and feed into the Qutest. Thus I would rely on the streaming capabilities of the NDX.

My advice would be to go for a current generation streamer, especially if you intend to use Tidal or Qobuz.

With the older streaming tech found in the NDX, NDS, ND5XS and NACN272 Tidal is prone to buffering issues and Qobuz won’t work directly - you’ll need something like a Bluesound to get Qobuz into the streamer. An alternative like Asset UPnP on a Rasberry Pi will do a similar job to Bluesound providing a means to run Qobuz into an older tech-based Naim streamer.

ND5XS2, NDX2 and ND555 don’t have these limitations.

Just been offered an ex demo NDX2. Same question, if just used as a streaming transport, does it beat the Bluesound Node 2?
Of course, it might also replace the Qutest!
Much more tempting.

Can you loan it to try first ?

Will the dealer let you return it after you’ve had a chance to demo at home?
I like my NDX2, but if you keep the Qutest, you might be just as happy with an ND5XS2 as transport.

how do you connect the node to the qutest

the NDX and NDX2 use a proper 75 ohm SPDIF output (BNC) and that would be audible improvement compared to the RCA out of the node.

The Naim streamers are much better that way as they are less noisy. and the performance of any DAC is often a factor of the source that is driving the DAC.

Whether you prefer the sound/music of NDX2 analog outputs over the qutest that’s another matter altogether.

Indeed, and dealer is loaning me his demo ND5SX2 for a home test. The deal is that after a few days, I send him back the ND5SX2 or the Bluesound plus cash.
Let the fun commence. I am hoping that both read the music files off the SSD with the same file structure or else my demo weekend could be a frustrating slog on the computer.

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If you attach a USB drive to the ND5 and view it through the Server input, you will be able to browse the music through its metadata rather than the file structure. I presume the Node can do the same.

I tried a Node 2i this week and sent it straight back.
It’s frankly rubbish as a source compared to Naim streamers.
You have a treat in store.


Thanks for the advice. The music is in FLAC format, and arranged on the SSD in artist and album hierarchy, which the Node 2 takes and creates its own internal version; takes a couple of minutes on first power up. As usual, the only tricky point is that album artwork might, or might not, show up. The Node 2 has a size limit for album art, but even then it can sometimes throw a hissy fit and refuse to accept it and I have never found out why. However, I stopped messing once I hit around 90% success and it will be interesting to see how the ND5 gets on with it.

Thanks, my dealer also stocks Bluesound and was less forthright but of the same opinion. My curiosity is how I like the internal ND5 DAC compared to the Qutest. I do have the luxury of having both wired up and switching between them, depending on my mood!

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Not my experience at all with the Node 2i into my setup quite the opposite it’s an excellent product feeding a Naim 272.

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I’m very satisfied of my Bluesound Node 2. When I had the SN2, the difference with my CDX2+XPSDR was minor, but now with 282+250DR, Bluesound show off less quality than before compared to my CDX2+XPSDR.

Are you saying that improving your amp made you realise that your Naim source (CD) was better than the your Bluesound Node 2i?

If so, then why are you very satisifed with your Bluesound Node 2i?

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Excellent means it excels - i.e. it is exceptionally good as a streamer.

Compared to what?

Would you prefer a BS to any current Naim streamer (ignoring price)?

BTW, did you see the Hans Beekhuysen video where he reviews the Node 2i and says that it does not belong in good systems like his system 1?

Did you see the Darko video where the best thing he can think of to say about the Node is that allows you to ‘escape the world of crazy’ i.e. having cables and separates - i.e. escape the world of hifi into the world of crap sounding convenient ‘lifestyle’ products?

My guess is that you will soon get rid of it, Hifiman… :wink:

The SQ uplift you get with the best hires Qobuz tracks is utterly crushed and much more than cancelled out by the downlift in SQ you get from having a worse streamer than the 272/555DR.

Before you deny this, please perform the ABA test to make sure.