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Bluesound NODE (N130) Wireless Multiroom Streamer w/HDMI e-ARC
TheNode (N130) retains all the original functionality of the Node 2i with the small addition of the HDMI eARC input. Since the Bluesound ecosystem works seamlessly with other Bluesound devices, now is the perfect time to get an amazing music streamer for even less.
Sonically, the Bluesound New Node has a combined analog / optical digital input and a USB port so it can act as a digital preamplifier in your system if you want to configure it that way.
BluOS - The real star of the show when it comes to Bluesound streamers is BluOS. The BluOS app is one of the most intuitive and well-thought-out companion control devices for any streaming device out there. It automatically recognises the device on your network, easily connect and integrate your music streaming services, control your devices, music settings, and much more. Bluesound has made an application with one of the best user experiences for a music streamer, and that's worth the price alone.
Music Streaming - BluOS has an incredible number of music streaming services you can integrate in your menu for easy access to all your favorite music:
Tidal, Qobuz, Spotify, Internet Radio, Amazon Music, Bugs, Calm Radio, Custom Channels, Deezer, IDAGIO, iHeartRadio, KKBOX, LiveXLive, Napster, nugs.net, Neil Young Archives, Qsic, Radio Paradise, RADIO.COM, SiriusXM, SOUNDMACHINE, and TuneIn.
Voice Control - The Bluesound Node now implements compatibility with voice assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google. This makes controlling the Node and searching your music library that much easier.
Great Connectivity and Compatibility - The app controller is compatible with iOS, Android, Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, and MacOS 10-11. One thing to make note of here about the USB 2.0 port is that (as it stands now - 6/28/21) the USB port is for external storage only. Bluesound has announced that there will be USB audio transmission with a future update. At the time of this review however, there is no such update. We have no indication of when this update will occur, so we would recommend waiting for the update if you are primarily wanting to setup the Node for USB audio in your sound system.
I/O (input/output) remains good in the rear of the device:
- Mini TOSLINK / 3.5mm stereo combo
- HDMI eARC
- Analog stereo RCA (fixed or variable)
- Coaxial RCA
- TOSLINK digital optical
- USB Audio 2.0.
- 3.5mm stereo out (front of device)
Bluesound includes an RCA out Network Pairing to a PULSE SUB+, allowing for the connection of a subwoofer. The addition of eARC is nice, as newer smart TV's implement the boost in bandwidth and speed. Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) enables you to transmit the original full resolution audio signal through an HDMI cable and reproduce the best sound without compromise. As most audiophiles know, higher quality audio is always desired and the inclusion of eARC on the Node makes it much more compatible as a media center hub.
The Bluesound Node utilises a 32-Bit, 384kHz Differential Output design digital-to-analog converter. Its a very resolute DAC and certainly up to the task of handling your high resolution audio with ease. I would recommend connecting the audio output to your favourite DAC for an even better sonic experience. You'll have better performance from a standalone DAC than you will from an all-in-one unit any day of the week, but if you are looking at just the unit alone, you won't be disappointed. The amp section will also be sufficient for most use cases, but if you have a pair of very power-hungry headphones, you will likely need an additional amplifier. The addition of Bluetooth 5.0 is a welcome one, meaning that you'll have longer distances for devices and stronger connections. The Node utilizes aptX HD (2-way) for wireless audio transmission, which is capable of streaming your high resolution music over Bluetooth connection.
Wireless Audio Support:
- Dual band Wi-Fi, Gigabit Ethernet and support for 2-way Bluetooth aptX HD Bluetooth ensures music playback without interruption.
- Audio formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, MQA, Dolby Digital 5.1.