Ok now I am frustrated with streaming

Help me out here please. I was really enjoying getting into streaming. Just purchased a Node 2i 2 weeks ago and have been enjoying it. Testing Tidal and Qobuz, leaning toward Qobuz. I was testing both wifi and ethernet connection. I seemed to pick up some noise and distortion on what I thought was the ethernet so I have been listening on wifi. I really enjoy finding new music on the streaming service. Tonight I was enjoying Sierra Hull because I listen to a lot of Alison Krauss. I was listening to Sierra Hull's new 25 Trips album and got to track 7 Escape and I heard a bunch of static/distortion, almost like a blown tube, except I have solid state equipment. I switched to Tidal to see if it was a problem with the Qobuz stream and same thing. Hooked up my MacBook pro to rule out a problem with the Node 2i, same thing. Now I am listening to Clapton's Unplugged and I hear the same thing. Is it my internet? I have a brand new modem, a Motorola MB7621, and a brand new Asus AC3100 router. I did a speed test and we are getting 237 mbps. My daughter was watching Netflix on a TV upstairs at the time, when she was finished I did a reboot of the cable modem and reboot of the Node 2i and then it was fine after that. I listened for about an hour after that. Is it my internet speed? Do I need to call Comcast/xfinity and up my speed package? Is it something else? Its getting frustrating and its not supposed to be like that, I am at the point where I may just send the Node back on the return policy and stick with CD's. 
You are at the mercy of problems down the Internet pipeline! Said problems are out of your control! That is why I prefer good old fashioned physical media (LPs, CDs and DVDs). 
Ethernet does not operate in real time.  It transmits data in packets, but it is not music since timing is not attached to it.  The only way Ethernet (or USB) can change the sound is by injecting electrical noise (by physical connection).

Hope you didn't get rid of all your CD's. Too many friends of mine did, and now they have given up on being audiophiles and use streaming simply as a convenience factor now. Some have gotten into HT instead.
They don't even sit down in the sweet spot anymore for the best imaging it's more for background music.

Cheers George
You could try setting priority to the streamer in the router. It might be giving priority to the video streaming which could bottleneck the Node2i. 

Thank you... +1  for good old fashioned physical media (LPs, CDs and DVDs).
Streaming music, even high res files, doesn’t really require that much bandwidth - nothing near streaming video.  And, you’ve got pretty good speed, so I’m skeptical that’s where your problem is.  Are you sure it’s actually in your digital stream?  When you’re getting the noise, have you switched to other sources to see if it’s present?  A cap going on some of your solid state gear, a loose wire, or a cable going bad would all make that type of noise.  Or, it could be something going on with your streaming as you suspect. But, don’t give up on streaming just yet until you know.

My $.02
You could try setting priority to the streamer in the router. It might be giving priority to the video streaming which could bottleneck the Node2i.
You obviously don’t have kids. 

Thanks everyone. Yes, I know good old fashioned CD's are the way to go and no I did not get rid of them. I don't want to give up on streaming yet as I was really enjoying it, it sounded better than CD in some cases and I enjoy finding new artist. So is my 230 mbps fast enough for audio and both video if my wife or daughter are watching Netflix at the same time? I can increase that to a 600 mbps package for not that much more with my ISP.
@mgrif104 That is my next step, I was actually thinking about that lying in bed last night because my Classe Amp and Preamp are nearing 20 years old.
...  is my 230 mbps fast enough for audio and both video if my wife or daughter are watching Netflix at the same time ...
Yes, easily.
As djones51 pointed out, try setting high priority to the streamer in your router. In five plus years, I did not experienced a single glitch while streaming through Tidal or Qobuz.

You already know the advantages of streaming, please don’t be a caveman like georgehifi and roberjerman....lol!

Excellent sound quality that is available from Qobuz and Tidal REQUIRES all components to be working 100%.   This includes the streamer, hard drives, modem, router, switch box, Internet signal strength, all other Internet components, DAC, external ISP amplifiers, cables and everything else.   Unfortunately, if some of these components are not working correctly, you are going to get poor streaming results, distortion and poor sound quality.    

Any streaming service (Tidal, QoBuz, etc.) requires a fully operational network.  This means your modem, router, Internet cable signal being in range and all other related parts must be working correctly.  

At the beginning, I had serious router issues and several Internet Service Provider (ISP) issues requiring several house calls to repair.  My first router dropped packets and my 2nd router could not handle the streaming load.  My third router, Luxul XWR3100 and XAP1510 KIT, is now working fine.

As was noted above, streaming issues concerning instability, distortion or sound poor quality, usually mean something is wrong with your network.  My ISP Tech updated my in-house cables and corrected the wiring in my outside junction box.

Yes, I had instability and distortion issues caused by a corroded outside ISP junction box and issues with an ISP down-stream amplifier.  My cable signal strength ALSO needed adjusting (this issue caused most of my instability and poor sound quality issues).

Streaming requires these parts to be OPERATING at full capacity.  If you have instability issues, I suggest you investigate all the areas mentioned above.   No, it is not easy and requires a cooperative ISP Tech to help identify and correct these issues.  You should also confirm your modem can handle the streaming load.  If it is old, you might need to replace it.  

Once your network is correctly operating, you should be able to successfully stream these services.  Unfortunately, I had all the above issues and it took me several weeks to get everything corrected.  I am now streaming Tidal and Qobuz perfectly with no drop outs or related cable signal issues.  Sound quality is excellent.

It is not easy getting all these parts working.  You have to have patience and contact your ISP for assistance, when needed.  I fully explained my streaming instability issues were impacting my listening to my music and the ISP Tech knew exactly what was needed.  I suggest you start with your router first and then your cable company.  As I stated above, every single part in the streaming chain needs to be confirmed it is working correctly.

My Qobuz sound quality is now excellent and I  enjoying their hi-res albums very much.   Streaming and poor sound quality issues need to have the above mentioned components checked AND, if needed, an email to Qobuz for additional assistance.  Musical streaming is complicated because of the many moving parts that need to be working.  Sometimes it is not plug and play and requires additional research and efforts to get everything work.    Please do not give up.

I hope the above helps.  


I''m confident the technology will improve as time passes and your issue will be overcome.

In the mean time, appreciate the convenience of streaming and enjoy the music.
“I’’m confident the technology will improve as time passes and your issue will be overcome.”

Streaming technology is already matured. It just a matter of making sure your Ethernet connectivity is up to snuff. As I pointed out in my earlier post, I have been enjoying streaming over 5 years without any fuss.

I own Bluesound Vault 2 and it’s a plug n play device and they provide great customer support to anyone who is not tech savvy.
Thanks everyone. My big question is this: When digital streamers have an issue with signal, what would be the result in sound? I would not think it would sound like distortion or a slightly out of tune radio station. I keep thinking now it may be my old amp failing. My router is brand new and one the fastest that Asus makes as well as my Motorola cable modem.
... When digital streamers have an issue with signal, what would be the result in sound? ...
jmphotography OP
When digital streamers have an issue with signal, what would be the result in sound? I would not think it would sound like distortion or a slightly out of tune radio station.
That’s exactly what it sounded like to me.
I keep thinking now it may be my old amp failing.
Put your CD player back on the system and see if that’s still the case

Cheers George
Though I understand the point of having either discs or LP's, streaming music is so much more convenient, and the library nearly unlimited.
@hgeifman  makes great points.
My Verizon Fios service had issues for more than a year. Luckily, a good tech realized that it was something at the main terminal-They replaced just about everything inside my home, as well as on the street.

Streaming music is still pretty new, so things are going to happen that unfortunately will take time/patience to rectify.
Despite this, I believe it will become as good or even better than discs or LP's.
Network bandwidth issues usually result in delays while playing. Never heard it cause distortion. Been streaming happily for years now. WiFi can be obstructed by objects in the signal path and of course weak signal can cause issues. Laptop should tell you how strong WiFi signal is at a particular location. Try moving things a bit if possible and see if signal strength changes. In any case never heard of weak WiFi resulting in distortion. Should be all or nothing.  Always possible lights, microwave oven, etc impacts WiFi signal but again never experienced distortion as a result. 
Make sure source devices are delivering proper line levels.  Any volume control on play?  Try a different non streaming source device as a test maybe or try a different input on preamp if available. 
Most of the hi end sites avoid wi fi for the best results, but offer it as a feature.  Suggest going hard wire.  If it still distorts, there is something else wrong.
I agree with Mapman. Wifi problems shouldn’t be causing distortion.
When I experience internet/wifi problems, the signal simply cuts out.
I hope you held on to your old router and modem. Swap in each of the older components, one at a time, so see if the problem can be isolated to either your new router or your new modem.
Then, if possible, swap out each of the other components in the signal path, one at a time. ( I realize that swapping out the DAC might be tough, as most people don’t have more than one DAC lying around. If necessary, you could pipe an analogue signal directly from your streamer / computer to your pre-amp. )

If your problem isn’t caused by a bad signal coming in from the ISP, you’ll find the problem this way. Stick to streaming. It’s definitely worthy it ! 
Fixed or Variable volume selected on your Node2i?  (be sure it's Fixed).  I know it sounds dumb to check... but just check.  jcder and Mapman are on point.  SQ won't really vary if things are working.  They will just stutter and cut.  (been there, done that, swapped my DNS pointers to Google's DNS direct ( and  

You sound like you've got a signal path issue.  Would almost wager on your low voltage side...
It certainly could be a setting issue I’ve never experienced with my Node2. It sounds like it certainly could be your bandwidth. I’ve never had an issue streaming even the highest bit level MQA over WiFi with my Node2. Particularly HD, or even worse 4K, video streaming takes a huge amount of bandwidth. I would either prioritize traffic on your router or up your bandwidth package. In the meantime, you could test their theory and mine and take advantage of Tidal or Spotify offline mode so the songs are directly on your iPhone or laptop’s local storage, for instance. Just make sure you change the settings to the highest audio quality level that you can accommodate with the storage available on your device. I use this mode pretty often, particularly on road trips, where I know the data download bandwidth is going to be spotty at best. If you still have issues with particular songs this will eliminate your bandwidth as the culprit.
Everybody here is guessing what could be wrong, why not look at your network stats to see if you have any issues. Also, you can call your network provider to have them run a trace to your house to see if they see any errors. When you say you have 200Mb speeds, is that what you are paying for or are you doing a network speed test? 2 different things.
Is your internet connection copper, wireless, or fiber? If it’s copper, you could be running into issues after work hours because more people are fighting for that bandwidth, same for wireless. Fiber is the way to go if you want the most reliable, noise free connection possible. 
OK, so tonight I listed for a little over 2 hours and everything was perfect and resulted in a great listening session. Working from home right now has its privileges. Spent my whole lunch hour on the phone with both Xfinity and Asus. First Xfinity ran some test and did see some errors. I ran a speed test as well as Xfinity asked me to run one while on the phone. It was 212 mbps. At night both my wife and daughter may be streaming Netflix, and they both were last night when I had issues. Xfinity suggested for like $12 more month I could up the speed to 400 so I did, thats pennies a day. Asus helped me with some QOS settings to maximize priority to the Node. Ran a new speed test and now we are at 400 mbps. So tonight I was listening to Qobuz on the Node 2i via Ethernet with the CD player on standby, both my wife and daughter were watching netflix and I had no issues. Tonight was one of the most enjoyable sessions, listening to a couple new artist, everything sounded clear, detailed and wide open.
I am not sure exactly why type of line we have from Xfinity. We are in the country, rural area, our area is new construction, less than 8 years, homes are all on like 2 acres so its not congested, but I don't know how much that effects things.
@andrewkelley no, I am just using the DAC in the Node right now. Eventually I plan on adding a DAC
“I’’m confident the technology will improve as time passes and your issue will be overcome.”

Streaming technology is already matured. It just a matter of making sure your Ethernet connectivity is up to snuff. As I pointed out in my earlier post, I have been enjoying streaming over 5 years without any fuss.

I own Bluesound Vault 2 and it’s a plug n play device and they provide great customer support to anyone who is not tech savvy.
Having proper ethernet connectivity is part of the streaming process. Currently, proper connectivity is not assured. The technology fails sporadically.

For example, I have dropouts streaming TV content from Spectrum. There is a fault in the system and the fault is not in my house. I choose not to rely on such a system for my music enjoyment -- I do not stream music.

I believe these issues will be resolved in time, just like my Windows software doesn’t crash like it used to.
Speed probably isn't the issue (it all depends on how much you are using the network/internet in your household, streaming music/movies/on demand stuff/YouTube, but to find out, run a network speed test and capture the ms it takes to ping as well as speed), its the quality of your connection. If you have a lot of packet drops, your data packet will have to be resent, and when this happens, the timing can be off or you will get dropouts. Next time it occurs, check your network stats and get your ISP to run a trace, catch it while you are having issues.
Once you get your network working on a consistent basis, look for a dac with a built in ethernet connection which can also be used as a Roon endpoint. You do this, you won't need your node2 any longer. Run Roon on a computer with all your ripped music and/or Qobuz/tidal access, and a network dac and you are done
Can we assume your Node 2i is plugged directly into the router with a good cat7 cable? Or, if you are going through a switch,  is it a good quality gigabyte switch and cat7 cables all the way?
I would play analog sources for a while to see if the problem returns, to rule out the preamp & amp. Also, upon hearing the issue when streaming, switch to a in-progress analog source quickly to see if the issue carries on or stops.
I have seen a few gigabyte switches do unexplainable, weird stuff...could try swapping out the router or switch.
Do you have a way to stream that doesn't involve the Node 2i? If you can stream from a phone or laptop via Bluetooth, USB or even a 3.5mm stereo cable...try some extended listening to see if it eventually deteriorates too. Try it with your Qobuz, Tidal and even Youtube...to eliminate the 2i's streaming functionality or to pin the issue on it.
@mwinkc I am running the Node 2i plugged into a wall jack. The wall jack is Cat 5e which I installed myself 8 years ago when our home was being built and it runs maybe 40 ft up to the closet one floor above where my router and modem are located. I don’t use a switch, I am running a brand new Asus AC3100 router and it has a few ports, but I am only using 2, one for the Node and one for my work computer. My modem is also brand new, Motorola MB7621.
The other night when was happening I plugged my MacBook Pro and streamed from it and experienced the same issue, so we can rule out the Node. I did not have the CD player hooked up at the time otherwise I would have tested using a CD. After I sent a refresh signal to my modem it went away.
Or, you can buy a Google Chromecast for $35 and plug it into an HDMI port and "cast" through Wifi whatever you want. It will only be 16/44.1 though.
I've read hints that Google will be coming out with an updated Chromecast that will support 24/96 like their old Chromecast Audio did. But you'd have to use Qobuz as TIDL(which I use) will not cast beyond "HiFi" due to MQA licensing b.s...

But, I do have a home theater processor that has HDMI ports so maybe it's different.
I get distortion on specific streams also when streaming from TIDAL via ROON.
I have come to the conclusion it is embedded distortion as a result of DRC.
Most recordings have been compressed so much during mastering that distortion is inherent in just about every recording.
CD's are not the solution , they are part of the problem. So are digital downloads .
First pressings of vinyl seems the best consistent  SQ
As a post script check out Bruce Springsteen TRACKS.
Disc 4  Track- Over The Rise.
I detect zero distortion.
Been streaming for 5+ years (still have CDs but don't use much now) and zero issues - but, I have been obsessive/compulsive over my setup top to bottom. I even invested in a custom ethernet switch with internal clock and separate power supply. IMHO all the components in the digital string must be regularly optimized. So the convenience of streaming comes at a cost in O/C behavior, but then that's no different really than the analog-only folks who do the same thing with their rigs.

Except I have MILLIONS of high rez files at my fingertips - and thus never a day passes that I don't stumble on some hidden auditory diamonds.
I’ve been streaming with several streamers since 2008. I’ve never experienced distortion or dropouts. I’ve always found wired Ethernet sounds better than WiFi, by some distance. I’ve been researching improving sound quality for wired Ethernet and eliminating RFI and unwanted noise picked up in the cables. This works really well and in my opinion an essential bit of gear to put between your streamer and Ethernet wire. Www.networkacoustics.com
Is not the speed is Comcast 
whenever you’re signing up they ask you how many Devices are you going to use for example if you say 2  then they’re going to prioritize Those two that’s it Or if you say 5 then they’re going to recommend different speed 
kind of bs but it’s what it’s 
my speed is 200mb i can stream MQA and wife watching  movies Son watching tv shows on Apple TV 4K Whiteout any issues 
I get distortion on specific streams also when streaming from TIDAL via ROON. I have come to the conclusion it is embedded distortion as a result of DRC.
What is DRC?
Get an ifi SPDIF PURIFIER 2 when you get an external DAC...beyond words what this can do for your streaming!  Also, if you can find an MIT Magnum digital cable for the connection to your Node 2, get it...streaming will sound more like vinyl without the drawbacks!!
FWIW I have been using either hard drive media or streaming for the last few years and left my CDs in storage since moving over a year ago. I started with my own rips and FLACs and still prefer those to streaming when possible, but the majority of my listening is streaming. First couple years were Tidal because Qobuz was horribly unreliable for me here in the States but it's been better lately. I still subscribe to both services as well as Spotify for convenience/catalog and since it's a relatively small price to pay for so much music (plus I hope it helps artists even with the pittance of royalties). Dropouts and noise are exceedingly rare for me and I never get any weird distortion - that sounds more like a potential software/hardware issue with the Bluesound? I'm interested in getting a Powernode (just got one for my brother) so I hope they are reliable.

I usually have my streaming DACs/endpoints wired with Ethernet but have used a WiFi bridge without issue. My network is admittedly pretty solid with Ubiquiti gear and usually gigabit broadband but I've operated fine with lower service levels. 100mbps is more than sufficient unless you are simultaneously streaming 4k UHD or have tons of clients (e.g. kids as someone pointed out).
Why does poor digital audio signal cause dropouts and poor digital video signal cause pixelization but no dropouts?
@taww - no it was not the Bluesound, I also plugged my MacBook in and was streaming Tidal and Qobuz and it was doing the same so that rules out the Bluesound 

If any volume controls are in play with any of the sources, would suggest lowering them and see if that helps. If the node device has an explicit setting for line level only (volume control bypassed) use that and set volume with pre-amp only.

Two high a voltage to the input of the pre-amp can result using source devices with volume controls and that WILL produce distortion if too high.

I’ve experienced it connecting a Chord Mojo DAC to pre-amp with volume control in play. That device has an explicit setting to bypass the volume control and output proper line level voltage only.

Probably no option like that using a laptop or other home computer. In that case just lower the volume enough at the source so no distortion is heard.
My background is as a senior VP in high-tech in Silicon Valley in the networking industry, now retired early.  I’d be very surprised if your distortion description was due to your internet feed from Xfinity.  At least not from your description of the way the sound changed.

It literally sounds more like a hardware issue such as a cap, bad cable, or something else that is injecting an analog, not a digital component, causing the distortion.  If it was in the internet stream such as dropped packets, it would be more likely exhibit itself as delays, dropouts, etc.  BTW... your downstream speed in the 200+ mbps is far beyond what you need to stream music and Netflix.  Again, if your audio and TV were competing for bandwidth, it would be more in the way of delays and dropped packets, again not giving the kind of audible distortion you’re describing.

I would try my best to swap out hardware as a test to get the internet out of the equation first.  You’ve got enough “moving parts” in the chain that I feel you should get it down to a simple setup with your CD player, preamp, amp and speakers.  Run that for awhile and see if you hear any distortion.  If you do, then get your gear diagnosed, especially the old amp which may have leaked a capacitor or two in it’s 20 years of loyal service to you.

Best of luck


Here is a link from QoBuz and chart from Netflix describing the resources needed for streaming various content.  You are well within the range needed to power multiple 4K TV’s and Tidal or QoBuz.  You probably could do 8k content if you wanted to without any ill effects.  

You can spend your money to increase to 400 mbps but it shouldn’t make any difference in your result.



These are the recommended internet connection speeds to stream movies and TV shows on Netflix:

  • 0.5 Mb/s to view standard definition movies on a laptop computer. While you can stream Netflix at speeds of 0.5 Mb/s, the quality is grainy on a large screen, much like watching an old VHS movie. Netflix recommends at least 1.5 Mb/s.
  • 3.0 Mb/s to view standard definition video (480p) on a TV.
  • 4.0 Mb/s to view high definition video (720p, 1080p).
  • 5.0 Mb/s or more for the best 1080p experience.
  • 15 Mb/s to stream 4K (but 25 Mb/s is preferred). Also recommended is a 4K Ultra TV with an HEVC decoder.

I have a node 2i...sound is great, but I only stream my library over my household network; none of the subscription services.  My internet speed is 100mpbs and I have no problem streaming video on two larger tvs