Bluesound Announces Upgraded Node and Powernode
Bluesound has upgraded its Node 2i and Powernode 2i and returned to their original nomenclature.
Bluesound's Node music streamer and Powernode streaming amplifier have both been given the next-gen treatment, including new DAC designs, more powerful processors, and touch panel controls with handy preset shortcuts.
The new Node (above), the successor to the Applause Award-winning Node 2i, is a hi-res music streamer that can work as a streaming source plugged into your hi-fi or, alternatively, add some powered speakers for a compact streaming set-up.
The aptly-named Powernode (below) has amplification built-in, meaning that it's all set for some regular hi-fi speakers to create a minimalist streaming music centre. The new Powernode ups its output from 60 to 80 Watts per channel into 8 ohms.
The new brain of these new Bluesound offerings is courtesy of a Quad-core 1.8GHz ARM Cortex A53 processor. Meanwhile, the audio upgrade comes in the form of a 32-bit/384kHz premium DAC, which is good for decoding hi-res 24-bit/192kHz streams and dealing out unfolded MQA files.
As well as dual-band wi-fi and Gigabit Ethernet, feeding the new DAC are coaxial, optical, USB Type-A and, HDMI eARC inputs. There is also two-way aptX HD Bluetooth. This means that not only can you sling music to the Node or Powernode from your mobile device, you can also connect Bluetooth speakers or headphones to the Bluesound component for totally wire-free listening.
The optical inputs - Node (below) gets one, Powernode (above) gets two - also double up as stereo analogue ports. Naturally, the Powernode is also rocking some substantial-looking speaker binding posts, whereas the Node has RCA and coax outputs. Both models have a dedicated subwoofer output for when you need more bass.
Thanks to the Node and Powernode's networking chops, and Apple AirPlay 2, there is support aplenty for all the expected streaming services, including internet radio and the option to work in a multi-room, multi-speaker environment with other BluOS kit. Additionally, and we really do like the BluOS ecosystem, the Node and Powernode are also certified Roon Ready, so you get the best of both music management worlds.
As well as the BluOS controller app and the snazzy optional RC1 remote control, there are onboard touch controls via a touch control panel that now features five preset shortcuts. If that is all too tactile for you, the Node and Powernode can be voice-controlled using voice assistants such as Apple Siri, Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.
The Bluesound Node costs US$549, and the Powernode priced at US$899, with both available to pre-order (selected markets) in black or white with shipping expected in June 2021. For Asia, shipping is expected in July-August 2021.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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