Should I add an external DAC to my Bluesound Node 2i?

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I’m Considering a DAC upgrade for my Bluesound Node 2i.  Budget is $500-$700, and happy to shop used.  Anyone have recommendations that pair well with the Node 2i?

My current setup is Heed Obelisk integrated amp, and Totem Rainmaker speakers.  Sources are Tidal HiFi/Masters and a collection of redbook quality FLAC files.

Leaning towards components that are compact or half chassis.

Thanks!
Matthew

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Yes. If it sounds better.

First ports of call could be Chord Mojo (for more detail exposure) or Schiit Bifrost Multibit (for a chunkier, ‘happier’ sound).

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Thanks, John.  Appreciate your reply.

I’ve always thought of the Mojo for portable or computer desktop applications, but never in a stereo system.  Considering the cost, and excellent reviews the Mojo gets, that might be great solution using Toslink in and fixed output to the Heed.

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If I’m not particularly chasing MQA, but happy with Redbook quality, are there worthy higher end DACs, that might be 3-5 years old, running around $700 on the used market?

Or should I focus more on the latest technologies to out perform the Node’s internal DAC?

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Your Bluesound Node 2I will take care of the first set of unfolds.   So if you are listening to MQA via Tidal, that will still get you as far as 96K using a non-MQA outboard DAC.   So one way or the other, I wouldn’t be too concerned about whether the outboard DAC does MQA.  So much of what a DAC provides is based on its implementation, especially its op amps, and not the chip set itself.  So even very high quality DACs that are over 5 years old may well be worth considering if they should fall into your price range.   I currently employ a Bryston BDA-1 fed by a first generation Bluesound Node.   The BDA-1 first appeared around 2009 as a $2000 item.   If you come across one of these in the $700 ballpark I think you’d be very happy with it.

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Thanks, Jazzman.

Good information here.

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Hi Matthew

I had this same question myself.

I have a Bluesound Node 2. For a long time I used the internal DAC but wondered if I could get better performance from it. I bought a Chord Mojo for headphone listening and also tried it as an external DAC. It added a touch more detail but not enough for me to incorporate it into my set up permanently. Then I got a Roksan K3 DAC on a really good deal. This made a big difference, adding detail, creating a wider soundstage, and animating music with more bounce and energy than the Bluesound delivered.

If you get the chance, I’d definitely recommend auditioning some DACs with your system to see if it makes the same difference for you.

Dan

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Hi Dan,

Appreciate your reply.  I actually have a Mojo on order through a local dealer.  I’ll see how it does in my system.

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