This is my review of the brilliant Bluesound Powernode 2i. I’ve had a bit of luck. My Naim Uniti 2 has packed up, claiming it is “Too Hot”, the luck being this Bluesound Powernode 2i has been running in the garage for the week or so before my holiday. So I’ve come back, switched on the Uniti 2 which is still “Too Hot” and have swapped in the Bluesound Powernode 2i with little loss of experience, indeed, as I argue below, the increased functionality in the App, the HD Bluetooth, and all other things leave me in a none the worse state as I ship out the Uniti 2 for repair. As an already converted Bluesound fan, having been there at the launch five or six years ago, I feel I am rather lucky at this point.
The Bluesound Powernode 2i is an 80W per channel streaming amplifier with full digital support and plenty of analogue options should they be needed. The Bluesound Powernode 2i, supports all the usual interfaces you can think of including things like Alexa, AirPlay 2 and Roon. It is well built, connectivity in my experience is excellent and in the light of the above, I think I may be in the market for one of these, particularly in matte black. There are two of those combination 3.5mm jack inputs that take either optical input or a line input from a CD player or maybe a turntable. I’ve listed the Specification after the conclusions.
As I think I referred to with the Node 2i, these products have a high-quality finish, my sample is in matte black and it has the understated look I liked so much with the Node 2i. It is clearly jam-packed with technology and it has a weight and heft to give you the feeling of power. Connectivity-wise, as with the Node 2i, I have had no trouble in connectivity, to the point where I thought I would record the process on this occasion.
Get out of box, plug in, etc
Firmware upgrade required
Play music from Tidal
Not bad I’d say (though the App was already on my phone with Tidal passwords etc. and I’m hard network wired).
I’m using a pair of excellent T+A Pulsar ST 20 speakers, bi-wired, with Atlas Cables. I have a Bluesound subwoofer connected using the sub-out from the back of the Powernode 2i. The speakers are rated at just 4 Ohms so there are bags of power being delivered to the output.
The Powernode arrived, new and sealed so out of the box I had to run in the Powernode 2i rather improbably with a pair of wonderful Kanta No.1s. This was no hardship at all, and indeed, out of the box, the sound was tight but loving.
I’ve slightly harshly put the Powernode in place of my aforementioned but knackered Naim Uniti 2. I am bound to say I was expecting a dip in sound quality, but this has not happened, the output is strong, lively and in comparison to the Uniti 2 really very good indeed. I would go so far as to say, as a slightly feature jaded Naim user, the functionality and user-friendly nature of the BluOS App presents a better experience. Let’s face it, music is an experience. All this, with fantastic Bluetooth connectivity (my Uniti 2 is the old one without Bluetooth) and performance at a quarter of the price.
There is an RCA output to a sub that works nicely. What more can I say, low-end frequencies are delivered effortlessly?
The Bluetooth is the latest 5.0 aptX HD wireless built-in BT which has the ability to transmit and receive. With my Pixel 2xl pairing was as easy as you would want it and I spent a fair amount of time finishing off the Hacked Minidisc collection from Radiohead. As I said with the Node 2i, the BT is as good as it gets and the same performance is here. The resolution is of note here for the format.
I still have the brilliant Node 2i which is in another room hooked up to a Music Receiver on the same WiFi network. It is superb, the multiroom functionality is superb and the App is faultless, so far.
I’ve got a pile of 24-bit recordings on a USB stick. I usually have a good listen to OK Computer in a 24-bit resolution. Clarity, resolution, and timing are perfect for me and the App controls the process very nicely indeed.
You could rig up a turntable using a mini-jack input to the back of the Powernode 2i. I would prefer a straight RCA style terminal but this is not here and I’m sure a 3.5 mm jack input is fine.
I am very comfortable with the BluOS App since I have an original Node in almost constant use so I am very familiar with the TuneIn, Tidal MQA and all of the features. With this Powernode, this functionality is perfectly accessible. I’m not into Amazon Echo, Alexa etc, but all of this functionality is available on the App and in the Powernode 2i. I’ve not really used the alarms but I realise how much fun that could be.
With the apparent demise of my Naim Uniti 2 I should be in a bit of a music equipment downer but this Bluesound Powernode 2i has chased my blues away, it is a fine bit of kit and where I may have been speeding to Music Matters to fix my Naim box, I’m feeling pretty relaxed about it and it can all wait until I’m next in Stratford!
It also reinforces my view that the Naim streaming I have does need an upgrade (MQA, Roon, etc.) and it all seems a long way away. Where Moon by SIMAudio has all the upgrades and Bluesound has the same plus a bit, Naim appears to have none of the new ‘stuff’ I may think I want.
This is an easy “Highly Recommended” from hifiandmusicsource.com, this is an excellent bit of kit, if you are after an understated hi-resolution solution in one box, I would certainly recommend the Bluesound Powernode 2i.
The BluOS App
Plenty of power
At least one RCA input for a turntable
The Full Spec is here on the Bluesound Website, and presented below. This is the 2i version from Bluesound, the key features for me from the spec list are a hefty 160W into 8Ohms and an array of file formats and cloud partners, like Qobuz and Tidal as well as the integration partners such as Roon, Alexa and AirPlay 2. This really is a fully specced and flexible device.
Supported File Formats
MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC, OPUS
Hi-Res formats – FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF
60 Watts x2 into 8ohms
Native Sampling Rates
32 – 192 kHz
16 – 24
SNR – 110dB
Distortion, THD+N – 0.005%
Supported Operating Systems
Plays music from network shares on the following desktop operating systems: Microsoft Windows XP, 2000, Vista 7-10, Apple Macintosh 7-10
Free Internet Radio
TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, Calm Radio, Radio Paradise, Slacker Radio
Supported Cloud Services
Spotify, Amazon Music, TIDAL, Deezer , Qobuz, HighResAudio (VAULT Required), Murfie, Napster, KKBox, Bugs, Taihe Music ZONE, SoundMachine.
Control4, RTI, Crestron, URC, push, iPort, ELAN, Lutron, roon, Amazon Alexa Skills, Airplay 2
Gigabit Ethernet RJ45
Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac, dual-band)
1 x Type-A port for connection to USB memory sticks (Fat32 or NTFS formatted) and supported peripherals
1 x Type-B (mini) for product servicing
Combo – TOSLINK / 3.5mm
Headphone output – 3.5 Stereo
5-way speaker binding posts
Subwoofer output – RCA
Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD wireless built-in
Two-Way (transmit & receive)
Universal tri-pin AC Cord input (100 – 240AC)
Mobile Operating System
BluOS – Free Android and iOS App Available Online at Google Play and Apple App Store
Simple top-panel touch controls.
IR Sensor built in – Front panel
ARM® CORTEX™ A9, 1 GHz
1.72 kg / 3.8 lbs
220 x 70 x 190 mm
8.7 x 2.75 x 7.5 in
Power Consumption (Idle)
2x AC power cords (Europe & North America)
Toslink Optical to 3.5mm Mini Adaptor
-10° C to 50° C, 20% to 80% relative humidity
0° C to 40° C
Available in White or Black Matte
Out of the Box
Here are a few snaps of the unboxing.