ConclusionThe new NODE shows that Bluesound is particularly serious about the product line. It plays a little better again but also offers a hdmi-eARC input, which is very nice for users who want to use the NODE as a central hub. Add to that a fine app and you'll understand that we highly recommend this one! Alpha Approved!
We’ve always been enthusiastic about the performance of Bluesound products. In fact, in our opinion, there is no bad Bluesound product. The software is also very pleasant to use and gets better and better. It is also one of the few ecosystems where it is possible to affordably step in and grow to serious heights. Start with a NODE and eventually grow into a Master Series, for example.
Installing the new Bluesound NODE is no different than with any other Bluesound product. It’s a matter of plugging it in, opening the app (if you don’t already have it, just download it on the phone or tablet first), and then following the step-by-step plan.
Does the app not yet detect the new NODE? Then check to see if a new player has been found by tapping the home-button in the upper right corner and choosing “add a player”. Still nothing? Perhaps the new player is not in the same network. This can sometimes happen if you have installed your own router ‘behind’ the router of the provider. Check which wireless network you are connected to. And check on which network the new player is connected.
If the player has been found – and luckily that is most of the time – you only need to name the new player and add a library. If you only have a service like Tidal or Qobuz, you can add the service by tapping the dashes (hamburger menu) in the top left corner and choosing Music Services. If you already own a Bluesound product, all settings will simply be synced.
Streaming can of course also be done via Spotify Connect or bluetooth. TuneInn and Calm Radio are also available.
We did not work with ROON, but during our review the new Bluesound NODE was ROON certified, making it an option as well. ROON works wonderfully, of course, but with the BluOS app it’s really not necessary. Unless of course you have multiple brands and players in your home and would like to use one app for all of them.
A new product does not always have to sound better. They can also just add additional features. Or the appearance may have been addressed. In this case, the look is practically the same. But of course we immediately see the extra e-arc hdmi port.
What about the playback? Well… that has also taken a leap. Is the difference gigantic? No. But it is audible in more calmness, a little more layering and detail and – most noticeably – more body in the mid-bass and bass. This provides a little more ‘chest’ in vocal work. Some viewers of the sample video indicated that the high area was less open. It seems that way at first. And we also had our doubts for a few tracks. However, it is mainly the edge that is gone, making it seem like there is less high energy in the new NODE. Combine that with a little more warmth in the mid-bass and bass end and soon you draw the conclusion that air is missing. But it isn’t.
Especially with more complex pieces, one notices that the new NODE simply maintains more control. And does not lapse into roughness and sharpness. Especially with cymbals. We hear it well with Space Cowboy and Sapiens by Gazpacho. There it sometimes gets wild and when we switch inputs we hear that the new NODE maintains more controll and overview. Again, it is subtle. But it is audible and reproducible. Still a great performance considering the fact that the price has remained the same.
This trend of control and insight continues in songs like Adele’s Lovesong where the guitar is easier to follow and Emanuel Santarromana’s Opéra where the space is created with just a little more conviction. These are pleasant improvements that ensure that the Bluesound NODE remains a master in this price segment. Both in terms of app and functionality as well as sound quality. Quite impressive after all these years!
For sale here
The new NODE is for sale here:
Bol.com: Bluesound node white
Samples and video
Download lossless samples here