Cambridge CXN V2 or Innuos Pulse Mini?

These two streamers popped up in a few recent threads and got me thinking about upgrading my Bluesound Node, so I would appreciate some advice.

Both are in the $1200 range which is about all I’m willing to spend on digital at this time, so I’m wondering which one I should get and will the difference in SQ be significant, or should I stay where I am for now? (My understanding is the DAC is key to good SQ, but I know zero about DAC brands/specs)

  • I stream only, mostly Tidal, then SirusXM, and I am auditioning QoBuz
  • I don’t care about MQA
  • I don’t need file storage or CD ripping
  • I’m reasonably happy with the BluOS app
  • Better library / favorites management would be nice
  • Input is ethernet cable
  • Output is analogue / RCA

Thank you!


Pretty sure the user experience will be less “good” than what you have now. There are people using multi thousand dollar streamers that still say Bluesound app is better. Sound quality would be subjective IMO if your using internal dac of the unit. 

IMO of course you would get a much bigger gain spending the $1200 on an external dac. 

Go with Innuos.  They filter down a lot of tech from their big $$$ streamers, and the newest version of their Sense app is getting great reviews and is free.  

I wrote a post that seems to have got lost in the ether.  I have the CA and used to own the Node.  The CA is much better SQ.  The apps are comparable.  Chromecast and AirPlay are nice features.  You can use the DAC with other digital sources.  You can even run the Node into the CA DAC for improved SQ.  You manage the playlists within the streaming service itself and just play them on the streamer.

Can’t comment on Innous,

@mahler123 thanks, I believe I did read your post.

@soix Thanks for the feedback - I read in a review of the Innous Pulsemini that some higher-res file formats required an external DAC - can you comment on that and do you know would that be the same with Cambridge

@mofojo Thanks, I did wonder the same - any suggestions on a DAC and what cabling would I need to connect the Node to the Dac? 

Thanks for the feedback - I read in a review of the Innous Pulsemini that some higher-res file formats required an external DAC - can you comment on that and do you know would that be the same with Cambridge

Yes, I believe I read the onboard DAC on the PulseMini is limited in resolution to either 24/96 or maybe 24/192. That wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me because I find even 24/96 to sound pretty damn good, and sorry but I’m unfamiliar with the Cambridge so really can’t help there.  That said, I’d only use the internal DAC until I could afford a good standalone DAC because it is such an important component in the signal chain, so I only view the onboard DAC of the PulseMini as a stopgap and nothing more. But that’s me. Hope this helps at least somewhat.

I had a Cambridge CXN and the sound quality was very good but the app was crap. I have no experience with the Innous but note that most users like their app. So unless Cambridge have made huge improvements to their app I would go with the Innous or maybe consider Aurender if any of their models are in your price range.

@soix it does help thank you

@mazian thank you

Based on the feedback I’m leaning towards adding an external DAC and staying with the BlueOS app.

I’m looking at the CA DACMagic 200 ($500) with a 60 in home trial OR the DENAFRIPS ARES 12TH anniv. ($1,100).

Which one would you get? (or neither, feel free to suggest something else)


Cambridge CXN is not great at all.   Bought it few years ago, used it for a week , I had to return it.  It doesn't sound great at all.  The unit is light and feel like nothing inside.   I returned it get my full refund and got the Lumin instead.   Its like night and day.   Cambridge tech support is worse !   I also tried the DacMagic 200M,  it has some buzzing noise and delay when switching from hi-res to MQA.   Their support took a week to reply me and said it is how the hardware designed and they will escalate the issue to the team.  That's all.  They didn't care.   I will never use their products again.  

Innuos and the Sense App is much better than the Blue OS app.

This is an okay starter DAC for $775.00 


Tried the DacMagic when it first came out to use with headphones. SQ was ok for the money.  Lots of features as well.  But ended up returning it and buying an Ares II and separate HP amp.  The Ares II is a far better DAC and imo one of the better units available for the $$$.

I have the CXN V2. it's actually a very good streamer and the Wolfson dac sounds great.  I'm partial to AKM dac chips and this is very close in sound. The app works good and if you listen to Amazon you can Stream with chromcast.  I have had only 1 issue and it was taken care of in a timely manner.   One month to repair and back. Also when you want an upgrade send it to Modwright and have the Truth Mod installed.  Takes it to another level. The CXN is also recommended by the owner of Decware.  With the mod you get an excellent dac and capable streamer for undef 3k. Check out my system and you will see the CXN. 

I have the Bluesound Node, the Cambridge Audio CXU  (a universal disc player with Wolfson DAC chips), and an Ares II.

I haven’t done the research to compare the DAC of the CXN and the CXU. The DAC of the Node is comparable in SQ to that of my CXU. I think the Ares II may be a little better, but it’s not a huge upgrade IMO. It does however let me see what the incoming bit rate and sampling rate are of the files I’m streaming, and I like that. It also allows more flexibility in managing the processing, since you can choose between oversampling/non-oversampling modes and two different digital filter choices, and this is worthwhile. After getting the Node and Ares II I upgraded my cables from preamp to power amps and speaker cables, and with the increased transparency I might be able to detect more of a difference between the Node’s DAC and the Ares II. But I don’t plan to spend more time making such comparisons.

You might want to consider if your amplification and speakers deserve an upgrade more than the streamer (but I don’t know what you have there), even if $1200 won’t get you much of an upgrade. But perhaps it’s worth saving up more to upgrade them than upgrading your streamer?


I have no comparison, but am happy with the Cambridge. Being part of several audiophile forums, I read up quite a bit on streamers. Steve Deckart, owner of Decware uses the CXN as his reference and swears by it. Members there use it as well. so I tried it and it sounds great. Started with Apple Music, which requires the StreamLogic app to stream Airplay. I thought it sounded pretty decent. Had some skips due to streaming via Wi-Fi, guessing that was the cause. Now I ran a land line and have Tidal, which the cxn is ready for so no app required. Sounds fantastic. 

@earthbound   I agree. Besides, Dan at Modwright wouldn't waste time on modding anything that wasn't a good fit for his expertise. 

I used to have the Bluesound Node and a CA DacMagic.  It sounded pretty good.  I switched to a small green computer ultraRendu, which sounded much better than the Node and works well with Roon.  I then got a Denafrips Pontus II DAC and the combination sounds very good.  I would suggest adding an external DAC first, then go from there.  It’s a fun journey

@drmuso I understand your perspective. Check out my virtual system - I think you will agree the Node is the weak link. Should I spend $1200 on a new streamer or an external DAC to enhance my $500 digital investment (not including interconnects) is the question. I may be disappointed.

Anyway, I appreciate all of the thoughtful and very helpful points of view.

Hey Knighttodd. I think you’re right regarding Dan. I had the mod done and finally put Amperex in last week. It’s a different dac now. Much happier. I also have the Topping d90 for the more accurate, perhaps digital sound. Nice to have each end of the spectrum. Going to run the tube dac for January and let it break in. 


Cambridge Azure 851N sound much better than CXN 

851N sounds better than Pontus II in my system 

you can get a used 851N from 700-900

Innuos makes excellent products, and I can tell you from experience the Sense App is much better than the Blue OS app.


I’m not familiar with the components you have, so I can’t really judge if the Node is actually the weakest link. But some Audiogoners and pro reviewers have compared the Node’s performance to much pricier streamers (the TAS review of the Node 2 said it was comparable to streamers with an extra 0 behind the price; and I believe the newer Node is significantly better than the Node 2 in SQ).

If you’re dissatisfied with the BluOS app, that might be a good reason to upgrade; on just a sonic basis, I suspect if you went for a used, high-performing DAC you would be more likely to hear a benefit than upgrading the streamer.

Also, consider upgrading the PSU of the Node;  I just got an email from Vinshine Audio about their upgrade:



I’m not familiar with the components you have, so I can’t really judge if the Node is actually the weakest link.

An honest statement - but to put in perspective, the Node is 1.5% of the total investment. (I realize cost isn't everything but the rest of the system is pretty sweet)

I've decided to add the Black Ice tube external DAC to the Node - they offer a 45 day no risk trial.

Thanks a lot for the link to the Node PSU upgrade - I will definitely take a hard look at it. Voiding the warranty is a minor concern. btw I emailed back and forth with Alvin as the Denafrip ARES 12th was on my short list. He seems honest and definitely responsive. I may end up with the Dena if the Black Ice doesn't do it for me. 

A correction to my last post.  The video from Vinshine Audio is about an LPS upgrade that apparently is made neither by them/Denafrips or by Bluesound.


I thought about moving away from the Node and ended up getting a better DAC and a better USB cable.

+1 for keeping the Node and investing the funds on a nice DAC and USB cable.  There is a lot of performance still left in the Node for you to uncover and the DAC will be ready to go once you retire the Node.

Macg19, I actually just posted this on another thread 5 minutes ago:

Two DAC recommendations: Denafrips Ares 12th, or the Musician Pegasus. I have not heard the 12th Anniversary Ares at $1,000, but seems to improved quite a bit over the Ares II.....which I have auditioned in my system and really enjoyed it. I did end up buying the Denafrips Pontus II at $1,800.

I have heard the Musician Pegasus as well, and it also is a great value DAC at $1,100......would have been a close call with the Ares for me, had I not heard the Pontus II.

I'm also probably going to buy the upgraded power supply kit below, as soon as I talk to the owner Alvin Chee.....also the importer for Denafrips


@vthokie83 I read your post last night from my phone, and coincidently Alvin emailed me 5 minutes after your post to confirm the kit does fit the current (N130) Node. (I just clicked the link you posted and there are options to select the Node model that I did not see yesterday)


Alvin got back to me as well, ordered the PSU upgrade with the LPS this morning 

Another happy customer with the Node 2i w/LPS upgrade into Pontus II. 
Waiting for next gen streamers to come out with i2s output as it’s reportedly a better way to feed the DAC and don’t really want to have to add another box/DDC to get it…

Burtlake, but the Iris DDC is so sweet between the Node 130 and Pontus using I2S

Careful on this one LHY Bluesound PSU Kit.  Just recieved mine and the jumper that fits between the Node mother board and new ps board is not long enough to make a connection.  Already emailed them and waiting on a reply.

Heard back already.  All is good.  Nice improvement. Noticing blacker background and firmer bass.  I used the PD power supply modification on another Node a while ago.  Aesthetics of the LHY and the way the Node back panel is closed off  is a definite improvement over the PD.

Installed the LHY PSU upgrade with linear power supply yesterday. This is a really nice, significant upgrade for $280.

Instructions were very good. Took maybe 15 minutes. Opening and closing the lid was the hardest (scariest) part.

I have the Cambridge CXN v2 paired with Benchmark DAC3B.

Sound is excellent.

I'm a bit late to this discussion but have been on a similar journey. I have the node 130 with the LHY LPSU into Denafrips Venus II DAC via coax. I also use roon lifetime subscriber. Disadvantage of node: usb out no good with roon. Advantage: hdmi arc means I can hook up my TV, BS app great for radio via tunein, Radio Paradise, Deezer, Qubos, Tidal, Spotify, Amazon etc.

Flexibility and feature richness of BS Node keeps me changing to anything else for now. Oh and all works great with Android where many competitors don't.

Many current Cambridge products are getting top grades in reviews, including that streamer.  

I moved to an Evo 150 about a year ago and love it. Also learned some things along the way and found the reviews to be reliable indicators of what to expect

Most proprietary streamer apps seem ok but are pretty barebones . Cambridge is no exception. Most people will use other streaming apps that are more popular and are way better, like Roon, etc. I use Plexamp which is similar in its ability to help one navigate the music choices.

App functionality is important to me to be able to fully enjoy the benefits of streaming. That varies widely from product to product and app to app but good news is there are many choices. Sound will vary also but it is hard to find a bad sounding streamer these days. More just personal preferences.

Also the inputs supported are important and will vary. You may need or want certain options there that help decide. Personally, any streamer I buy at this point must support latest USB, AirPlay, and google cast protocol versions. That is a key differentiator of sound quality. Bluetooth is also a nice to have for added flexibility when needed. Best to stick with newer products regardless of company with streamers probably more so than any other component because the technologies that go into them continue to evolve.

Just as a reference, The Cambridge Evo does it all as a streamer and amp. It’s like a Swiss Army knife for good sound.

Regarding support, I had some questions regarding the Bluetooth with my Cambridge Evo and their support via email was very responsive.

However, when you buy, buy from a reputable vendor that offers good customer service overall when needed, including returns. I bought from Crutchfield and can easily recommend them.  Between vendor and Cambridge support all the bases should be well covered.

@mapman I ended up with a Black Ice Tube DAC and NOS Mullard tubes - very happy. Did a whole bunch of tweaks as well. All listed under this thread A Skeptics Digital Upgrade Journey