Feeling bluesy or kind of blue or any type of music genre for that matter? Then that nodes well, because we may have the tonic you're after...read on.
Turn your Hi-Fi into an intelligent 21st century all singing all dancing triple threat*. Bluesound is now on sale and available for demonstration in Manchester and we couldn't be happier. *Broadway speak for someone who is multi talented.
Here we take a look at the Node 2 streamer. With all the usual connections you would expect from a mid to high end streamer, optical, coaxial, analogue audio out, subwoofer out too. And of course a digital and analogue input. With a 1GHz ARM cortex processor as its brain, the speed of Bluesound never ceased to impress, loading album art, playlists and Hi-Res media to multiple devices is flawless. Having plenty of inputs and outputs means there really are no limitations to the Node2's capabilities. Stemming from a partnership with NAD, Bluesound has evidently taken on board application advice from NAD, who have been in the audio business since 1972.
Hi-Res audio in all your rooms simultaneously is Bluesounds unique selling point, and MQA is one of the options available via Tidal. MQA Tidal streaming is simple and rewarding. The Bluesound app is speedy and intuitive, you are free to edit and manage playlists on the fly, whilst browsing MQA selections. Being able to easily demonstrate back to back red-book 16bit 44.1KHz, to 24 bit up to 192KHz, tracks felt more immersive and dynamic. Roll-off and reverb from snares, claps and vocals seemed to hang on just a moment longer compared to that of CD, sounding far more natural and almost painting the picture of the room in which they were recorded in your mind.
In regards to the app, there are really no complaints from us. In fact we all agree that it is very evident that a lot has been invested into the development of it. Locating our files from our NAS with ease, as well as other album suggestions on Tidal in the same window offered trouble free and seamless streaming. Combined with a little emoticon indicating the resolution of the file type currently playing, this kept us informed of the tracks we were playing in real time without having to open the 'Track Info' page. This made demonstrating CD vs MQA quality simple and eye opening too!
Overall though, we were impressed with how the Bluesound makes the most from its software, and in this digital age of iPhones and tablets, applications and Airplay, it is easy to forget about the hardware side of things. Bluesound breaks down this barrier between software and hardware with a solution so simple and innovative it is almost charming. Being able to code your Bluesound to work with any IR remote for example, the ability to assign functions on your TV remote to control the volume of your BlueSound, Pause, Play, Power off and on, let's say someone calls you while you are listening to music through the BlueSound but have the TV on in the background, you use the TV remote to pause the the music, while you take the call. This, simply put, is a lovely feature. Hats off to Bluesound.
We have a healthy selection of Bluesound streaming products in Manchester, from the range of all in one wireless speakers like the Pulse 2 and Pulse Mini, to the amplified version of the Node2 the PowerNode 2 integrated amplifier and also the Vault 2 which lets you rip your CD's and store your music on the 2TB music server.
Feel free to pop in and ask Simon, Munir, Mike, Dave and Haden to get rid of your blues...
Bluesound Hi-Fi products are available from the following branches of Audio T:
Cheltenham, Manchester, Online, Portsmouth