Bluesound products to add to hifi satisfaction?

I have a hi-fi system of moderate quality and price point. I actually have two systems. I would like to improve the sound and functionality of my digital music playback by adding a Bluesound Node 2.

I have an external HDD connected to an older Macbook Pro running Itunes with my library of ripped CD music and I also use Spotify on my Iphone 5s on a Pure I-20 dock as my music sources.

The rest of my system is digital, I don't run a turntable.

Currently I have a Parasound A21 and P3, Shiit Audio Bifrost Uber DAC, Iphone on a Pure I-20 dock running Spotify with Magnepan MMG speakers in one system. I have a Line Magnetic Audio 216ia (integrated tube amp) with a Benchmark  USB DAC1 and Rega Apollo CD player and the Pure I-20 dock with Iphone running Spotify with Vandersteen 2CE Sig II speakers in the second system.

Now on to the question. Would adding the budget friendly Bluesound Node 2 allow me to simplify my digital system by combining my library of music on HDD and having one place for Spotify streaming... the Node 2. Would the sound quality improve as well?

The Node 2 at $500 seems to be an incredible deal for a HQ streaming device 24/192.

Am I missing something??
Well, I love my Node 2 and I think it's a steal at it's price-point. Purchased back in April, the Node 2 replaced my well-appointed Mac mini (quad-core i7, 16GB RAM, 256GB SSD) based system and I haven't looked back. The Node 2 sound equals or surpasses the Mac mini in every way. (I have licenses for Amarra Symphony w/iRC, Audirvana +, Pure Music, Fidelia Advanced, BitPerfect, and JRMC.) I rarely use Spotify but when I was paying for it and used Spotify Connect it was a nice feature. Spotify (free) using Bluetooth works quite well and sounds pretty good. Will it be a good purchase for you? I wouldn't hesitate to recommend giving it a trial run. 
I'm quite happy with my Node2 as well but Auralic Aries mini also looks like a good product, at least on paper. Anyone out there owns one? You may also want to give Tidal HiFi a try. Free trial for one month.
Hello kalali and 2psyop - I’ve got an Aries Mini. Might have been happy with a Node2 though I think I had some concerns about whether it did USB out and ability to handle hi rez files. Anyway, another A’gon member (jond?) recommended the Aries Mini. At the time it came with a 1 year Tidal subscription. Seemed to have the functionality I wanted, so I jumped. Got it from Audio Advisor. They offer 30 day returns. Been very happy with it sound wise BUT a few "caveats" you might want to be aware of. When first received, coax out direct to a Gungnir DAC playing ALAC files from hard drive sounded kind of thin. Went with USB out into a V-Link 192 and from there to the Gungnir and the sound quality improved markedly (the V-Link is NOT up sampling, by the way). And I do mean markedly. That’s the way I run it now (the same way I had been running using my MacBook Air/iTunes/BitPerfect and external hard drive as music server). Very pleased with SQ. Haven’t gone back to re-try coax direct to DAC, though. Some have recommended changing out the power supply from the as-supplied switching wall-wart to a linear power supply. Aries sells one for ~$300. There are other domestic 3rd party LPS even more expensive. Ebay options from China exist (see Duster’s comments on Audio Asylum). These are less money and look well made. I went with an iFi iPower (a very low noise switching power AC/DC converter) from Music Direct. $50 bucks with 60 day return option. See in depth iFi white paper on Computer Audiophile. Supposedly improved power/LPS enhances the bass. Can’t say whether that is true or not with the iPower but I find bass quantity and quality excellent. If the iPower does anything "better" it seems to have enhanced clarity and ambient cues without adding any harshness. Overall, excellent sound listening through the Aries Mini... full bodied, extended and non-fatiguing. Another comment is that the Aries Mini is not "Roon ready" and based on the reading I’ve done, Roon does not appear to be in the plans for Aries devices (things might change, don’t know). The Lightning DS app (control software for the Aries Mini) is easy to use and works well from my iPhone. Works from an iPad too. Last I read development for use with Android devices had stopped. If album art is important to you, be aware it’s pretty hit or miss when accessing ripped CDs on hard drive with the Aries Mini. Other track info is there. Just not album art for all CDs, though it is all there when accessed via iTunes on the MacBook Air. This is what I’ve learned owning the Aries Mini for the last few months.

Between playing ripped CDs and listening to Tidal through the Aries, my CDP has gotten little recent use. Oh, one more thing...I was a big Spotify user (Spotify’s library is much more complete than Tidal’s and you can sort by artist in Lightning’s Tidal/My Favorites, not just by album title). You can access Spotify with an Aries Mini but not directly through the Lightning DS control app. I access it via the Spotify app on my iPhone from the Airport Express router and then share that with the Aries Mini device. Works fine. Given that you can actually install in the Mini chassis a hard drive loaded with ripped files and also use the device for streaming Tidal (or Spotify) as well as access dozens of internet radio stations (something I’ve barely explored yet) makes it a very tidy package. Does it sound better than what I had been using? i.e., MacBook Air/iTunes/BitPerfect & external mechanical HD and long USB cable into V-Link (MacBookAir has internal solid state flash drive). I think it does. Glad to eliminate the 3 meter USB cable. Also, with the previous set up, I could not hear much difference between Tidal and Spotify. I certainly hear improved sound now with Tidal from the Aries.  There are potential reasons for this improvement OTHER than magic from the Aries, but I don’t want to take the time to detail those now. At the very least, however, I’m no longer having to use my MBA to listen to music and I eliminated the long USB cable run between listening position and V-Link.

A 3rd option does exist. An A’gon member I know recently got a Gen III Salk Streamer. It works with Roon if that is important to you. I believe he is happy with it.

Good luck in your buying decision.

Very satisfied Bluesound Node 2 user as well. It has great sound with its internal DAC, great BluOS, build quality and customer support.

The sound quality for me with the Node 2s internal DAC is so good that I haven't used my external DAC since I began using it. I use the Node 2 connected via Cat 6a Ethernet cable to my router.


Thanks for the feedback. Ghosthouse- that was a great review of the Aries Mini. You might want to post it as a stand alone review of the product for everyone to see. I have ordered a Bluesound Node 2, since I need something that streams and will integrate my Itunes ripped library on HDD. I hope? that it will read my drive without too much fuss. I will dig deep into the Bluesound website forum for the best setup. Perhaps later I can give a review.
You are welcome 2psyop.  Might re-post that Aries Mini info as you suggest.  I did not know all that much about it when I got it.  The whole computer/ streaming thing was/is still pretty new to me.  I expect you will enjoy the BlueSound Node2.  The Aries Mini read very quickly my ripped CD iTunes library that was on a 2TB Seagate External Hard Drive.  A little over 400 CDs took maybe a minute or two at most.  As mentioned, only "complaint" is about the album art.  I think there's a fix for it but not worth the time.  It really doesn't bother me all that much since key information (individual track names; times) is shown.  I also like that you can click on the name of the track that's playing and get an expanded view that'll give the file type, resolution and speed.  Navigating between my iTunes library and My Favorites in Tidal is very fast.  Good luck with the BlueSound.  Checkout Computer Audiophile if you have not yet.  Believe there are some very positive comments about it there.

2psyop - I had an iMac running iTunes for library management and Audirvana for actual streaming of my songs from a NAS drive. The iMac was connected via USB to a Musical Fidelity V-Link192 that in turn was connected via SPDIF (wire) to a Bifrost DAC - with a NAIM 5i MKII as the amplification

I’ve since replaced the iMac/V-Link/Bifrost with a Node 2 - connecting via ethernet directly to the NAS drive.

Reliability has improved, although I did experience a few dropouts of 24/192 tracks when connected via wi-fi, but that was on a day when voip phone and VPN was very active.

Sound quality was marginally better with the Node 2, but then it’s only had a few hours burn in compared to much longer on the previous setup - I expect it to get much better.

The Node 2 control interface is not quite as flexible as iTunes, and some functions, like creating playlists, is a little more awkward.

is it perfect? - not yet.

But I won’t be going back any time soon

BTW - the Node 2 sound quality improves when good IC's and PC's are used

I'm the one who recommended the Aries Mini to Ghosthouse, glad your still enjoying it so much, and agree with what he says, with a few of my own observations. I never had an issue going straight to my DAC via the coax spdif output, obviously totally different system and Dac and digital cable. I went with the Sbooster power supply $370 from Acoustic Sounds and got a nice increase in sound quality. One of the biggest difference makers for me is the Aries can run on the much less crowded 5ghz band and I experience virtually no dropouts.  Also in case this wasn't clear you can put a ssd in the Aries but you can also, and I do, stream from an external hard drive or NAS wirelessly.  It sounds like the Aries and Blue Sound are both good devices so either way I'm sure you'll be happy.
As of today I'm limited to 5 skips an hour on my node 2 when using Deezer. This does not happen when I am using the Deezer app on either my phone or ipad. Anyone else have this issue?