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Advice needed on sound improvements

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DougK

Well-known member
Dec 8, 2013
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I've got Atlas Element Integra interconnects on my gear too. Guess what... they don't sound any different to the bundled interconnects which came in the same box as my kit :)
 
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Gray

Well-known member
Nov 27, 2015
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When I had a Node 2i on home demo, I tried it with the supplied cable, and it didn't sound great in my system. On my tt front end, I run a pair of Analysis Plus interconnects (from my Schiit Mani to the 172xs). So after initial disappointment, I :giggle::censored::D:giggle:swapped the cables and they actually made it worse. Then, I remembered I still had my old Atlas Element Integra lying around in a drawer (they're in the same ballpark as the Analysis Plus, price-wise), and when I swapped those in, everything changed for the better - quite noticeable, actually. This was apparent on both my Naim system and the Cyrus One HD I also had on home dem. My point is not that more expensive equals better (as proven wrong by the first cableswap), but that there are indeed differences. Expectation bias can work the other way as well - if you don't believe that interconnects can sound different, then you might not discern the differences. Doesn't really matter in the end, though, if one just lets their ears decide - if you don't notice the differences, all the cheaper.
Sounds like you'd be confident enough for the blind swap challenge then :unsure:
 

rainsoothe

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2012
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Sounds like you'd be confident enough for the blind swap challenge then :unsure:
Oh, defo. But can't happen 'cause of toddler. I also went for the cheaper speaker cable because it sounded better in my system - after a major change in speaker positioning - had upgraded from Naca5 to Tellurium Q Black 2, but when baby came along I had to give up the stands and place my speakers on furniture, which made them lose their boogie, so I reverted back to the Naca5.
 

SpursGator

Well-known member
Jan 12, 2012
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Up till now, a part of my favourite songs only available in Spotify which is lossy. I make it a priority to enjoy all my music regardless if it’s lossy or losseless and try to make them all sound nice from what I have.
When you pay for Spotify premium and get the 320k streaming, and run it through a good DAC, it sounds pretty darned good. I've listened to this combo a lot, and through some ridiculously high res equipment. Most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference vs. CD quality, and to the extent that I can hear the difference in A/B testing, I find whatever smearing is present in the Spotify compression to be very benign - not like the harshness of early CDs or anything like that.
 
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rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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When you pay for Spotify premium and get the 320k streaming, and run it through a good DAC, it sounds pretty darned good. I've listened to this combo a lot, and through some ridiculously high res equipment. Most people would be hard-pressed to tell the difference vs. CD quality, and to the extent that I can hear the difference in A/B testing, I find whatever smearing is present in the Spotify compression to be very benign - not like the harshness of early CDs or anything like that.
I thought that as well when I started my Spotify subscription, and I used it happily for two months for discovering great music, and also to have on the go. Then, I trialed Tidal and the difference was not negligible - through either my Naim system or the desktop that runs a Tascam audio interface with Yamaha HS7 and some old Sennheiser headphones. Yes, you can live with Spotify, but that's where I'd put it - in the OK category. If your system is revealing enough, the compression is pretty obvious, and instruments just sound like lesser versions of themselves.
 
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SpursGator

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Jan 12, 2012
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Then, I trialed Tidal and the difference was not negligible
Well, note that I said "vs. CD quality." The Tidal Masters streaming, at 96 kHz/24 bit - now THAT would be worth it without a doubt. The three SACDs I have managed to accumulate over a lifetime of collecting sound incredible.

The only reason I have not yet signed up for Tidal is that Masters (the only Tidal stream that improves on lossless FLAC, in which I have most of my music already) is so far only available on desktop and I do not have a PC in there. However, since I just got my absolutely wonderful office system running last week (Schitt Fulla +Schitt Aegir + PMC DB1i), I believe it's time. Thank you for the reminder Mr. Rainsoothe!

The little shudder he just felt was a wave of evil shade emanating from my wife.

- update - just signed up for Tidal hifi and full hi-res streaming is now supported on iOS and Android as well.
 
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Hawkmoon

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Feb 19, 2020
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Well, note that I said "vs. CD quality." The Tidal Masters streaming, at 96 kHz/24 bit - now THAT would be worth it without a doubt. The three SACDs I have managed to accumulate over a lifetime of collecting sound incredible.

The only reason I have not yet signed up for Tidal is that Masters (the only Tidal stream that improves on lossless FLAC, in which I have most of my music already) is so far only available on desktop and I do not have a PC in there. However, since I just got my absolutely wonderful office system running last week (Schitt Fulla +Schitt Aegir + PMC DB1i), I believe it's time. Thank you for the reminder Mr. Rainsoothe!

The little shudder he just felt was a wave of evil shade emanating from my wife.

- update - just signed up for Tidal hifi and full hi-res streaming is now supported on iOS and Android as well.
"Masters (the only Tidal stream that improves on lossless FLAC, in which I have most of my music already) is so far only available on desktop " - not sure what you mean? You can stream Tidal Masters in their full glory via a number of music streamers - I use a Node 2i which has a built-in MQA compliant DAC and the BluOS app, used on PC or IOS allows you to play Tidal Masters via the Node, so no PC needed
 

JamieG

Active member
May 14, 2020
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OJ6MHMQg.png

After what seems like an eternity, the Node 2i has finally arrived!!

Thanks to all the lovely people here for your guidance and meticulous advice. Been enjoying it for the past 8 hours :)

Here's my review:

Followed exactly the instructions and pointers given to me. Hardwire it to the internet at first, but later set it up via wifi as the device is automatically recognized for it to run its own updates. The only issue which doesn't contribute from the Node 2i is with the Lan port located from that wall isn't the primary point of my existing google mesh setup (I'll sort that out later) hence resort to setting up via wifi which is........like a breeze.

Hardware-wise, I utilized all the freebies cables that came along with it. BlueOs automatically sync my Tidal account which then sync all my song libraries and playlist to be functional in its OS. This enable me to stream from BlueOs itself instead of Tidal. However this convenience doesn't apply to Spotify.

Previously I stream music via Google Chromecast which isn't really compatible with Tidal as I often got D/C after playing a few songs. This issue doesn't occur with Node 2i despite streaming via wifi.

Sound quality improvement is greatly noticeable. To my amazement, I sat on the couch and listen to all my favorite music for at least 3 straight hours. I never expect it to sound so good. There's more clarity in the vocal part, and the transition between instruments is more define. The mid to higher-end certainly has more power. Prior to the Node 2i, when I play a high-res file, I need to turn up the volume to try to catch the details but often result in bringing discomfort to my ears. But with this Node 2i, those music has become clearer with less noise yet rhythmic which moves my heart more than my ears.

It has no problem streaming MQA file, it was so smooth which has become a bonus.

When streaming from Spotify, certain songs can be a little muffled, but when I do an A/B comparing the same song in Tidal and Spotify, the difference is bearable. Overall even Spotify sounds nice to me with the Node 2i. For Chinese indie music, I barely notice any difference.

In summary, it absolutely brings my current set up to the next level. Even my wife who joins me briefly listening to particularly Sam Smith - Lay Me Down.... gave her goosebumps.
 
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