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!



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.