Sonos Connect vs Bluesound Node 2 - My Personal Experience



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It is a scientific fact that without level matched double blind testing, all audio comparisons are subject to bias. That doesn't mean they are useless, but they are more a statement on what price, looks, name brand, advertising claims, gaudy specifications, etc. you prefer, rather than just the audio. Kumar is stating that more than likely, like most hyperbolic differences in audio playback gear (besides speakers), these night and day differences would disappear under the proper testing conditions.

Agreed, for me only speakers make obvious difference, even in a non-blind, not level matched audition. I could never justify the high cost for amps, cd players and the like, I can only hear clear difference with speakers. For me most Sonos speakers sound very good (not just "good enough") and if sonos had the plethora of inputs and outputs of a usual stereo (or God forbid) AV amps, I would never buy any amp ever again. With Sonos I simply stop analyzing the gear and listen to the music.
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Given the recent news I am now in the market for a non-Sonos device to replace my soon-to-be obsolete, or at least no-longer-supported, Sonos Connect. 

I have considered the Bluesound Node in the past but have never pulled the trigger. A couple things I like about Sonos: (1) the queue. Unlike the Apple Music/Spotify “up next”, the Sonos queue lets you easily go back as many tracks as you like in the queue. I have never liked the way the queues behave in Apple Music or Spotify. (2) The Sonos Connect does not require my phone/iPad/computer to even be powered on once I have a queue in play.

How does the Bluesound Node compare to Sonos with regard to my above points?

Thanks in advance.

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I would LOVE to use my Sonos Connect over my Bluesound Node 2, but I can't get over not being able to use lossless and MQA formats from Tidal.


The CONNECT will happily handle lossless streams, including those from Tidal. MQA will not deliver discernibly better audio quality than lossless, assuming the source material is the same, although there are plenty of snake oil salespeople who’ll vehemently claim otherwise.

 

Completely wrong and you could not have heard MQA through a good headphone amplifier or dac or external dec as we are discussing here.  With good speakers of course.  Most detractors have never even heard MQA and yes I know all the pros and cons being battered back and forth.

Also Sonos obviously does not handle lossless above Rebook.  Compared to the (new)Sonos Amp the Powernode 2i with Revel Concerta 2 speakers sounds obviously and noticeably better in Redbook let alone MQA or Rires.  Plus the Powernode 2 is Roon Ready which offers quite a few benefits over the Roon/Sonos implementation.  Defiantly better detail and range all the way through.  Sonos seems to be doing a weird combination of trying to sound warm but with too much treble on pretty much all of their offerings.  The Powernode 2i costs more but offers dramatically more.  One big loss though is it can’t do wireless rears like the Sonos Amp which could be a dealbreaker for a lot of people and understandably so.

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I would LOVE to use my Sonos Connect over my Bluesound Node 2, but I can't get over not being able to use lossless and MQA formats from Tidal.

The CONNECT will happily handle lossless streams, including those from Tidal. MQA will not deliver discernibly better audio quality than lossless, assuming the source material is the same, although there are plenty of snake oil salespeople who’ll vehemently claim otherwise.

Completely wrong and you could not have heard MQA through a good headphone amplifier or dac or external dec as we are discussing here.  With good speakers of course.  Most detractors have never even heard MQA and yes I know all the pros and cons being battered back and forth.

This sort of testimony exists for all kinds of things in HiFi and endures right up to the point where one tries to obtain proof under properly controlled conditions, at which point differences evaporate. However, if you think it sounds better, then enjoy the illusion -- there’s no harm in it.

If you can provide evidence of MQA’s superiority over the same source recordings in CD/lossless, under controlled ABX testing, then please provide a reference. (You’d have thought that Meridian/MQA would have done this, right? To demonstrate the validity of their claims. Apparently, they didn’t.)

MQA is subject to Meridian’s remastering, so it probably does sound better.  But more than likely that has nothing to do with MQA and everything to do with the remastering.  Unfortunately, this cannot be tested because (Surprise! Surprise!) MQA’s DRM does not allow it to be downconverted to 16/44.1. 

How convenient . . .

Though I would like to see what it sounds like put through an ADC conversion of the analog output, with the digital converting to 16/44.1.  But I highly doubt you will ever see Meridian interested in such a test.  

I would LOVE to use my Sonos Connect over my Bluesound Node 2, but I can't get over not being able to use lossless and MQA formats from Tidal.


The CONNECT will happily handle lossless streams, including those from Tidal. MQA will not deliver discernibly better audio quality than lossless, assuming the source material is the same, although there are plenty of snake oil salespeople who’ll vehemently claim otherwise.

 

Completely wrong and you could not have heard MQA through a good headphone amplifier or dac or external dec as we are discussing here.  With good speakers of course.  Most detractors have never even heard MQA and yes I know all the pros and cons being battered back and forth.

Also Sonos obviously does not handle lossless above Rebook.  Compared to the (new)Sonos Amp the Powernode 2i with Revel Concerta 2 speakers sounds obviously and noticeably better in Redbook let alone MQA or Rires.  Plus the Powernode 2 is Roon Ready which offers quite a few benefits over the Roon/Sonos implementation.  Defiantly better detail and range all the way through.  Sonos seems to be doing a weird combination of trying to sound warm but with too much treble on pretty much all of their offerings.  The Powernode 2i costs more but offers dramatically more.  One big loss though is it can’t do wireless rears like the Sonos Amp which could be a dealbreaker for a lot of people and understandably so.

My experience as well. Sonos seems to have a sound flavour of exaggerated bass, thin midrange and spiky treble. I had a home demo of the new Sonos amp a while ago. Functionality, features, form factor, ease of use are all excellent. Sadly I could not get used to the harsh sound. This was no abx test but I experienced some discomfort after about 15 mins. I found the midrange thin with a lot of boomy bass below it. The treble is sharp. I reduced treble by 3-4 clicks to deal with it but then the bass was even boomer. 3-4 clicks down on the bass as well. I was using airplay 2 to stream local lossless tracks and noticed what you indicate. Using the Sonos app resulted in warmer and slightly less fatiguing sound ( heavy eq adjustment still needed though). I prefer to use airplay 2 though so I did not keep the amp.

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