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!


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