Shunyata Venom RCA vs Bluesound Node 2i stock rca

Has anyone noticed a worthwhile improvement in sound quality by upgrading the rca cables with a Bluesound Node 2i? I compared Shunyata Venom rca with the rca cable that came with the Node 2i and to my ears the stock rca cable sounded better with my stereo. I have the Node 2i connected to a 1986 Denon DRA-25 with Blue Jeans speaker cables through 1986 Klipsch kg2 bookshelf speakers. The only other component I’m using is a Monster Cable HTS 1600 Home Theater Reference Power Center. It sounds good. But I’m curious to know what would be the next step towards a worthwhile investment in sound quality. I’m streaming TIDAL through ROON from a 2013 iMac over Wifi.  Thanks.


Are you sure you heard a difference? Did you do some blind trials? Sighted listening does not count because seeing the object under test leads to biased judgements.

I wouldn’t worry too much about the RCA interconnects at this point. I think you’d get more out getting a new DAC, a linear power supply for the Node, and using a Wi-Fi extender or Mesh system so you can run an Ethernet cable from that to the Node. Each one of these will probably yield nice improvements, and they’d be additive as you implement more of them.

I’ll just add that you’re using older midFi components including an AVR that will limit the extent to which you’ll hear the benefits of the above upgrades.  Personally I wouldn’t throw too much $$$ into this and would focus rather on upgrading your components if you’re really looking for better sound.  Otherwise, just sit back and enjoy what you have.  Just my $0.02 FWIW.

I think you gotta live with it in the system for a while. You might hear a difference with a quick A - B comparison but it would be very logical for that to be affected by your expectation that you will hear a difference, just like @jasonbourne71 mentioned, and seeking/paying attention for what stands out. That can be very subjective and in my experience results might switch on you.

In my experience there’s little doubt that the interconnects can make a big difference, but whether it is an improvement or just a change in the frequency response in some part of the range can be a challenge to determine.

@jasonbourne71 I have a question for you - not trying to start an argument - have you ever tried swapping any wires in your system? I’m curious what you’re using and how you arrived at your setup. I was a cable agnostic until an unexpected encounter plainly demonstrated a difference between my standard interconnects and another pair. I was irritated to find that power cords made a difference, a power conditioner made a difference, interconnects and speaker wires. I am glad I had this experience, as my system sounds much better than it ever did before. I kind of kick myself that I spent so many years listening to wires that were negatively impacting the sound of my system.

I kind of kick myself that I spent so many years listening to wires that were negatively impacting the sound of my system.

@markusthenaimnut  Nah.  Pat yourself on the back and Goodonya for keeping an open mind and having the confidence and courage to trust your own ears.  Many here never manage that and they need to have numbers or experiments tell them what can sound good and rather waste their time telling those of us who clearly hear differences that we’re just kidding ourselves.  Obviously you now know different and are reaping the significant and ongoing benefits of your efforts. 

I wouldn’t bother with cables for that system. Not yet at least.
Better and more transparent cables will just highlight some of the drawbacks up and down stream. BluJeans cables should be fine. 
If your Denon amp works good, look into upgrading speakers. 

@jasonbourne71 Did not do any blind trials.  How do you do that?  
@soix What would you recommend replacing my AVR with?  Also, which LPS and ethernet cable would you recommend?  

**Thanks to all who responded to my questions!  I really appreciate it!


What would you recommend replacing my AVR with? Also, which LPS and ethernet cable would you recommend?

Well, these are huge questions, and it really all boils down to what improvements you’d like and what sound characteristics are most important to you — and how far you wanna go with this in terms of budget. I’d start by thinking about and communicating these crucial things first before focusing on specific equipment and you’ll get some really good recommendations here. Not to be mean, but your current components owe you nothing, and if I’m you and you’re after better sound it’s time to cut bait, clear the decks, and start over completely — and yeah, that includes speakers too. It’s a great opportunity and a fascinating learning experience if you’re up for it. It should be a labor of love that can reap wonderful rewards for many, many years to come. Sorry to be a bit sappy here, but good audio is nothing if it doesn’t get at least a bit emotional. Anyway…

Well, my budget is small. So, I’d like to optimize what I have for now in a way that would be applicable for the future. Even if it’s one step at a time getting the best price whether it’s used or new without being frivolous.  That’s why I asked for recommendations of what you suggested.  If I’m making a purchase that I don’t have the cash for I usually find a way to finance it with zero or minimal interest.  

These Focal Aria 926 are great especially at this discounted price

Upscale offers financing so grab em while they’re still available. 

I’d like to optimize what I have for now in a way that would be applicable for the future. Even if it’s one step at a time getting the best price whether it’s used or new without being frivolous.

Got it. Ok, if it was me I’d focus on choosing new speakers first and then choose an integrated stereo amp that can drive them properly and mates well with them sonically. I’d do this first because not only will they give you the biggest and most noticeable improvements but also will put you in a much better position to hear differences in upstream sources as well as any cable changes that your system at current probably doesn’t have the refinement and resolution to fully discern. After that I’d get a separate DAC (and a good digital cable like DH Labs, etc.) that’ll be much better than the one in the Node and make a nice improvement, and then I’d either upgrade to a better streamer or at least get a separate linear power supply for the Node. Only after doing these things would I focus on cables as any of the above will likely yield bigger and more meaningful improvements. And as you mentioned, the great thing is you can upgrade over time piece by piece and enjoy/appreciate each improvement every step of the way. Not saying this is the best way to proceed and I’m sure others may differ, but this is absolutely how I’d approach it if I was in your shoes. Hope this helps a little, and best of luck in starting the process and building a great system.