Has Anyone Compared the DAC On a Bluesound NODE 3rd Gen to a Separate DAC?

The Gen 3 NODE has an upgraded DAC.  Just wondering what differences there might be in a separate DAC.


@tcotruvo I have a Bluesound Node (gen 3) and the internal dac is pretty good.  It was not quite as good as my old Arcam irDAC, but reasonably close. It is nowhere near as good as my current Chord QuteHD dac, but that is not really surprising.  That said, I really enjoy using the Node as a dedicated server and streamer for the Chord.  Functionality and sound quality of the Node used only as a source are both excellent.

Adding an upgraded power cable improved the sound quality of both streaming/server functions and the Node’s internal dac, and its seems others have had success adding and external power supply/kit.

I have been experimenting with different digital coax cables from the Node to the Chord, and through blind tests I have (unfortunately for my pocketbook) yet to find a ceiling on the improvements each step up the quality ladder provides up to several multiples of the Node cost.  My recommendation is to find a good dac to pair with the Node, and then experiment with different cables and power supply as your budget allows.  You will be amazed.

@knownothing Thx for your comments! Since my original post I have added the PD Creative power adopter, an LHY linear power supply, an SMSL M400 DAC and a fiber optic link in my Ethernet connection. The sound is very good, but I’m not sure I can accomplish much more improvement in my room with all the windows and bare concrete floor. Maybe some type of room EQ might work, or it might not. I would try that before I invest in cables.

The DAC in the latest node is definitely an upgrade over their previous DAC.  If you use an external DAC then it sounds the same as the old Node into an external DAC, as they didn’t do much to the transport section 

@tcotruvo understood. My living room has similar issues with lots of windows, plaster walls, tile fireplace and hardwood floors.  I had difficulty getting a system to sound right there.  But, jitter in a digital signal can present as glare or shrill treble, and taming it can provide significant benefits across the board.  In addition to room correction, I might suggest you try a Nordost Blue Heaven digital coax out of your Bluesound. It is not astronomically expensive, it has great PRAT and musicality, and the treble is just slightly under emphasized compared with the bass and midrange.  It is not the last word in detail, but it might pair well with your dac and room.  I am going to guess the Nordost Silver Shadow mentioned previously in the thread would sound similar.  

Another way to tame jitter is to get a reclocker like an iFi iPurifier 2.  I use one with my Node, and it provides smoother sound overall and incredible spatial order and detail, and the benefits multiply as you upgrade coax cables.  I highly recommend if you try the iPurifier 2 that you also get iFi’s iPowerX supply which is only $109 and takes the sound to another level.  

Good luck,


I notice that some vocals do not seem very ‘present’, but seem to get lost in the background.  This varies by recording, as this is sometimes very marked, while at other times the vocals are great.

@erik_squires In response mentioned that, “It’s a common symptom of narrow, but tall peaks in the mid-bass or bass. Clipping them with an EQ/DSP is often the answer.”  So that would be my next project when I have more time to delve into it.

@knownothing Are you using a coax out of your Node to your Chird DAC?  Instead of USB?