Node 2i + DDC Upgrade to PulseMini?

Currently I have a Node 2i streamer that feeds a Denafrips Hermes DDC. I have a budget of $2k max - a little less is better.  I am thinking about upgrading the Node 2i to a PulseMini.  My questions are  1) will the PulseMini sound better than the Node 2i + Hermes DDC?   2) If I get the PulseMini will it sound better if I connect it to the Hermes DDC?   3) Is there a better option for $2k or less?  I’ve read several threads on streamer options for $2k or less and it seems like the PulseMini is one of the better ones.  If the PulseMini by itself is the way to go I will use the Node 2i and the Hermes DDC for a headphone system.

Here's my system and room setup-

Hardwired ethernet to Node 2i.  Node 2i to Hermes DDC via coax.  DDC to Denafrips Pontus II via I2S.  Pontus II to Luxman 507uXII via XLR.  Luxman to Harbeth SHL5+ speakers.

The room is 23’-6”L x 13’-4”W x 8’-3”H.  The speakers are 1/3 of the room length from the front wall and 32” from the side walls. The listening position is somewhere between 1/3 and 38% of the room length from the back wall.  It roughly forms an 8’ equilateral triangle with the speakers.  The room is acoustically treated with GIK panels that includes 8’ Tri-Traps in the two front corners, two 2’ x 3’ x 7” deep Monster Trap panels on the front wall, three 6” thick Alpha absorber/diffuser panels on the back wall.  There are two 2’ x 4’ x 4” panels at the first reflection points. 

I provided the room setup so some of you might have an idea of how revealing my system is and whether a streamer upgrade will be of any benefit.  I like the way it sounds now and I enjoy listening to it.  Still, I think it could sound a little bit better.  Any suggestions or advice will be much appreciated!


What you should really do if possible is get a Pulse Mini and run that into the Hermes and then get an external LPS for the Innuos (not necessarily the pricey Innuos LPS as there are good ones that are much cheaper) and you’ll be at a higher level.  A cheaper alternative would be to get a LPS for the Node that will give you a meaningful performance boost although not likely on the level of the Pulse Mini with LPS.  Either way you want to keep running the Hermes with the Pontus to take advantage of the i2S connection that makes a big difference in performance.  Just my $0.02 FWIW.

My experience has been that streamer upgrades make a big difference if you have the system to support it, and you do. The Pulse would likely be a step up, though I have not heard it. My strategy is to aim a little higher than the entry level, and buy used. Either way, I think that a better streamer will be a benefit. 

I went from a Marantz avr HEOS app streamer to the Innuos Pulse Mini. Was by far the best upgrade experience I had made to date. The Zen LPSU made a great addition to the sound. There is comments about using a different lpsu, the factory says that if you use an off brand lpsu and they conclude that it bricked the box they won’t honor the warranty. Have heard others say that it is a marketing tactic. I guess if you are an electrical engineer or know one you might be comfortable saving a few nickels. Also if you can find a great dealer(Olsens HIFI Lynnwood WA) they will give you a %100 trade in for the Pulse upgrade within a year of purchase. Which is an easy thing because it gives you a reason to want to save for it. This Pulse is a beast. 

Haven't heard the Pulse Mini, but I did upgrade my Node N130 to the Innuos Zen Mini mkiii with the Innuos LPSU some time ago; that was a significant upgrade. I'm sure the Pulse Mini, would be a similar if not greater uptick in performance. My Node was modded with the PD Creative board and external LPSU, just for context.

I currently have my Zen Mini feeding a Denafrips Iris 12th into the Ares 12th-1, which has been a very pleasant surprise. The Ares/Iris combo was an experiment/exploration, and has kept my more expensive DAC off my rack; I'm sure your Pontus/Hermes combo sounds fantastic, especially with the rest of your system 

Good luck with your search, and Happy Listening 👍

Thank you all for sharing your experiences and good advice.  I will get a PulseMini and run it into the Hermes.  Any suggestions for a good third party power supply?

I have the N130 with a Teddy Pardo LPS and am using a Silversonic Mirage USB cable to a Pontus ll and it sounds great.  I just bought an Aurender Streamer and YES, it sounds better, but I don’t think the juice was worth the squeeze. I’d say the BS Node 130 sounds at least 80-85% as good.

How noticeable was the improvement with the Hermes and what cables are you using?  I found that the $300 AQ power cords are far better than the stock cords and they are always on sale for half price somewhere.

All the best.


I have the Node 2i and a have been thinking about adding a LPS for about as long as I have owned the 2i, but am long on procrastination.  I have read a number of reviews where the purchaser of the LPS for the node said the increase in sound quality was readily noticeable, and others where the increase was reported as incremental at best, or even if I listen for it I can sort of hear it.

Do you mind sharing your experience with obtaining the LPS for your node?  Thanks


So I bought the N130 as my Christmas present to myself and it worked and sounded good.  A few months later I bought a Silver Sonic Mirage USB cable and it made a small, but noticeable difference.  In July, I bought myself a Teddy Pardo LPS and it made a very noticeable difference in the bass,  and a smaller difference in the midrange and the high end. Smaller, but definitely noticeable. Nothing was boomy and nothing was overly bright. I want to say it was kinda like clicking the loudness button on an older receiver, but not as hit you over the head enhanced. The sound was cleaner and a had a bit more punch to it. I used it with two different sets of mono blocks, two different preamps and a Hegel H390 and it sounded really good with all three setups.


I want to say it was kinda like clicking the loudness button on an older receiver, but not as hit you over the head enhanced. 

That is a great explanation I can understand.  Thanks!  I will be rolling around to purchasing a LPS for the node or follow the path of least resistance and purchase a new streamer.  For my level of gear the node has served me faithfully. 

I appreciate hearing about your experience, as the only other streamer and DAC I have heard was recently via my first visit to a stereo shop in years (live in Vermont).  The system I heard had top of the line MSB streamer, DAC and preamp, dual mono Macs and a pair of SF Lilium speakers.  Thank you Fidelis Audio in Nashua, NH for your friendly atmasphere and people.       


When I added the Hermes the sound seemed to be more detailed.  I didn't like it at first because I felt it took away some of the warmth. But it also removed occasional  harshness in the upper registers of female vocals and sax. Within a couple of weeks I made the adjustment and everything sounded fine...warm and detailed.

I upgraded to the Pulse Mini back in November 2023 and couldn't be happier. I power it via the Innuos LPS, but there are other LPS products for a few hundreds less that will get you to the same place. My Pulse Mini feeds into the DAC within my Naim NAC N272 Streaming Pre-Amp. When Naim and Focal joined forces about a year ago, it made attempting to keep the Naim App [with a lower bit-rate than the current Focal/Naim App] alive more of a headache that it was worth.

I concur with Soix's thoughts on putting the Pulse Mini into your rotation.

My son has a PowerNode and he's used my system and believes the Innuos Sense App is heads and tails superior to the BlueSound in usability. It does what it is intended to do without drops and other issues that occur with lesser streamers. Ethernet hook up with the Pulse Mini will get the best input.


Should you later move to a DAC / Clock that takes higher bit rate input via USB, the Pulse Mini has got you covered for that step as well.

Thank you, northbeach.  I think we now have a consensus that the Pulsemini is the way to go for me.


No, I didn't.  There were enough negative opinions to convince me to be happy with what I have.


You are making the right choice. Get your new streamer, use USB to the Hermes, I2S out to the Pontus II. You'll end up using the oven controlled crystal oscillator (OCXO) in the Hermes as the Pulse Mini does not have the USB re-clocker used in their other models.

Make sure to get a Teddy Pardo external linear power supply (LPS), I then think you'll have a terrific set up.


I will do exactly as you have suggested.  Thank you for the vote of confidence and the advice to use USB instead of my current coax.  Much appreciated!

Thank you all for your help. I feel very confident moving forward which is not the way I felt three days ago.  I am very appreciative to all of you for taking the time to share your experiences and point me in the right direction.