Bluesound Tenth Anniversary Node X Review [VIDEO]

Manufacturer & Model
Bluesound Node X
MSRP
$749
Link
https://www.bluesound.com/products/node-x/
Highlights
Bluesound's BluOS app is best-in-class quality and functions flawlessly with all Bluesound components. Direct integration with additional services, such as Tidal offers options for your preference. The Bluesound Node hardware has always been rock solid and has continuously added new features and capability, but for the first time, the Node X includes a new, high-performance DAC inside.
Summary
We put a Bluesound Node X directly up against a Node 2i in the head to head listening test to see if we could hear a difference between the different DACs in everyday listening tests. Think we noticed a difference?
RWR 011 Bluesound Node X copy.png


For the past several years, I've used a Bluesound Node 2i as my primary audio streaming device, and I've loved it. I was looking for a way to stream digitally to my Jolida 202BRC tube integrated amplifier I use for vinyl playback, and I wanted Apple AirPlay capability. The Node 2i fit the bill, the price was right, and it's been a constant staple in my 2-channel system ever since, without fail, without complaint.

I skipped over its replacement, the Node, but earlier this year, Bluesound released the 10th Anniversary edition, the Node X, and all I've heard about is the vastly improved DAC in the X. Since I've connected to a tube integrated amp since I bought it, I've been using the Node 2i's internal DAC (without complaint, I might add). So perhaps the Node X would mean it's time to upgrade, right?

Well Bluesound was kind enough to provide me with a review sample of the Node X to evaluate, and I was able to test it head-to-head against my Node 2i. I connected each to the Jolida with an identical set of RCA cables, used the fantastic BluOS app to create a zone containing the two devices so I could playback music from the same source to both Nodes simultaneously and do a blind test switching back and forth between the two seamlessly.

How did it fare?

Check out my video review of the Bluesound Node X on YouTube!




Bluesound Node X
  • ESS 9028Q2M DAC
  • Processor: ARM® Cortex™ -A53, Quad-Core, 1.8GHz per core
  • Dual band Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and support for 2-way Bluetooth aptX™ HD Bluetooth
  • HDMI eARC connectivity
  • Digital, optical and analog input/output options
  • Wired and wireless headphone outputs
  • Dubwoofer outputs
  • THX Achromatic Audio Headphone Amplifier (THX AAA™) technology
  • Supported Audio Formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, WMA-L, OGG, ALAC, OPUS
  • Supported HiRes Audio Formats: FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF, MPEG-4 SLS
  • 24-bit, 192kHz
  • App Support: AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Roon-Ready
  • Music Service Direct Integration: Click Here for Current Listing
  • Amazon Alexa Skills

 

Todd Anderson

Editor / Senior Admin
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Jan 20, 2017
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9,252
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Preamp, Processor or Receiver
StormAudio ISP.24 MK2
Main Amp
Emotiva XPA-5
Additional Amp
Emotiva XPA Gen3 2.8 multichannel amp
Other Amp
Denon X8500H
Computer Audio
AudioEngine A2+
DAC
THX ONYX
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Kaleidescape TERRA, OPPO UDP-203, Panasonic UB9000
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GoldenEar Technology Triton One.R
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GoldenEar Technology SuperCenter Reference
Surround Speakers
SVS Ultra Surround
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SVS Ultra Bookshelf
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dual SVS SB16s + dual PSA XS30s
Other Speakers or Equipment
Behringer 1124p; Aura Bass Shaker Pros; SuperSub X
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JVC NX7
Screen
Seymour Screen Excellence, Enlightor NEO AT Screen
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iFi Audio Zen Blue
Streaming Subscriptions
Qobuz, TIDAL, Spotify, ROON
Other Equipment
LG Electronics 65-inch B6 OLED, Sony 65-inch X900F, ZeroSurge 8R15W x 2, ZeroSurge 2R15W x 2
Great review... interesting conclusion. I think you're probably spot-on about hearing differences between the older and newer models. Unless there's something going on (noise floor lower or some sort of filter applied), they both should sound spectacular.

:nerd:
 

Travis Ballstadt

Administrator
Staff member
Thread Starter
Joined
Jul 26, 2017
Messages
1,129
Location
Seattle, WA
More  
Preamp, Processor or Receiver
Anthem AVM60
Main Amp
Emotiva BasX 5
Additional Amp
Emotiva UPA-500
Universal / Blu-ray / CD Player
Kaleidescape Strato C/Terra 48TB/Compact Terra 6TB
Front Speakers
NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema
Center Channel Speaker
NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema
Surround Speakers
NextLevel Acoustics Reference Cinema
Front Height Speakers
NextLevel Acoustics Angled Satellite
Rear Height Speakers
NextLevel Acoustics Angled Satellite
Subwoofers
SVS SB2000 x2
Video Display Device
JVC DLA X790R, Lumagen Radiance Pro 4240
Screen
SeymourAV Proscenium 124” diagonal 2.40:1
Remote Control
Unfolded Circle Remote 2, powered by HomeAssistant
Streaming Equipment
PLEX Server, AppleTV4K, Bluesound Node2i
Streaming Subscriptions
AppleTV+, Amazon Prime, HBO Max
Satellite System
They still have those?
Other Equipment
Rega Planar 6, Rega Exact2 cart, Rega Aria Mk3 Phono Stage, Jolida JD202BRC, Rega RS-5 Speakers (2-channel system)
Great review... interesting conclusion. I think you're probably spot-on about hearing differences between the older and newer models. Unless there's something going on (noise floor lower or some sort of filter applied), they both should sound spectacular.

:nerd:
I really expected to hear a difference with the DAC. Not that I am complaining about the sound in mine, but all the reviews I'd seen talked about all the improvements in quality because of the DAC. But none of those reviews were a head-to-head comparison.

I still love my Node, still recommend it to anyone who asks. But I didn't hear the improvement in the new DAC.
 
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