Best upgrade path from a Bluesound Powernode 2i

Pokey

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Mar 18, 2020
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Hey guys, I could need some help.

Last year, I did buy B&W 805 D3's after listening to them for almost two full afternoons at a great Hi-Fi-Dealer in Glasgow. I also wanted an integrated amp, but the only one they had in stock was an Auralic Polaris. While it did sound fine, I just couldn't stand the design or the app, so I decided to just order an amp somewhere else. Since budget was a little tight right after purchasing the speakers with stands, I just snagged a Powernode 2i – it's reasonably cheap and does (almost) everything I want.

However, the sound is "just" alright – the higher end is a little harsh on some songs, and overall it sounds just a tiny little bit flat. So I want to upgrade. But space is limited, so I want to keep it down to as little boxes as possible – if at all possible, I don't want to use an external streamer, an external power supply or even a phono pre amp (I'm using a Cambridge Audio CP1 to connect my Rega P3 right now). Oh, and I also use a B&W PV1D sub. So these are the options I'd be okay with from a feature / price / size point of view:

  • NAD M10
  • Hegel H120
  • Naim Uniti Atom (though 40W seems on the low side)
So my question is: Did anyone hear any of those amps, maybe even compared to one another or to the Powernode 2i, and would be so kind to share the impressions with me? Please also feel free to recommend other products which I might have missed, as long as I don't need more than two relatively compact boxes (including the phono stage).
 

knaithrover

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Nov 24, 2013
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I don't have any experience with the amps you mention but I 100% agree that the Powernode is flat and just alright. I loved the one box functionality of it but found it very boring indeed. Moved it on after 2 months
 

Pokey

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Mar 18, 2020
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Thanks for confirming what I hear with the Powernode, all insights are very helpful to me! I'm super interested in what I'll find when I A/B test the Powernode vs. whatever I'll be going for, but I can't afford to buy five expensive amps to test them unfortunately.
 
No £800 streaming amp is going to sound any good with a high quality, revealing pair of £5k loudspeakers. I’ve had the PowerNode singing with a pair of floorstanding Ophidian Mambos at £2k, and quite the opposite of flat. Amplifiers and speakers, as I’ve said in other threads, should be auditioned as a pair, even if they’re not being purchased at the same time - if you’re set on a particular pair of speakers, audition some amps with them to make sure you can afford an amp that’s needed to do them justice.

A natural progression from the PowerNode would probably be a NAD M10, or maybe even the Atom, but the Bowers & Wilkins do demand high quality amplification, and because of that, I’d say the Hegel H120 would really stand out over the other two with 805s. I’m currently using a H120 with a £6,000 pair of standmount speakers - something the other two options will fall quite short if paired with. There aren’t many £2K amps that will compare to the Hegel in what it is capable of, and it’s digital board is the same quality as the H190.
 

rainsoothe

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Apr 30, 2012
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I'd say Hegel H120 upwards too, and for the minor price difference, the H190. Moon Neo Ace also worth considering, or Naim Uniti Star or Nova.
 

Pokey

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Mar 18, 2020
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Thanks for your suggestions. I get the feeling many can vouch for the sound quality of the Hegel amps, so I'll probably listen to one of them compared to a NAD M10 to make the decision. The feature set and the design of the M10 are just too good to ignore that amp completely, so I have to give it a chance at least.
 
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Will1962

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Jan 23, 2020
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If you can I would try and stretch to the Hegel h190 I've owned mine 2years and love it a great dac and streamer to. I run mine with Buchardt s400 and dual Rel subwoofers great sound you can listen to all day without fatigue.
 

Roby

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Jan 17, 2012
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All in one's not really my seen but auditioned some naime products was always impressed en was a really good moment
my amp is 35w an more than enough

Roby
 

MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
the Bowers & Wilkins do demand high quality amplification, and because of that, I’d say the Hegel H120 with 805s. There aren’t many £2K amps that will compare to the Hegel in what it is capable of, and it’s digital board is the same quality as the H190.
Well Peachtree Audio's nova300 @ £2349 will take the 805D3's in its stride as the nova300 or the nova500 @£3499 have been designed to drive and keep in check resistive loudspeakers such as the 800 Series, Wilson Audio and Magnepan, etc.

***** to the OP - streaming modules for the nova Series should be available anytime soon *****
 
I’m replying directly to the OP’s original post, and within the parameters of the three options he’s asking about. Having said that, as I’m currently using a H120 with some £6,000 loudspeakers, I’d put Hegel up against any equivalently priced option from any manufacturer, particularly with the H120 being the same quality digital board as the £3200 H190. Streaming included in that price too, not an extra.
 

Pokey

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If you can I would try and stretch to the Hegel h190 I've owned mine 2years and love it a great dac and streamer to. I run mine with Buchardt s400 and dual Rel subwoofers great sound you can listen to all day without fatigue.
I'm not sure what I'd get with the H190 over the H120 though? I don't need any more volume since the Powernode 2i with it's 60W is already plenty loud enough, and the amp itself seems to be almost identical except the power rating?


Well Peachtree Audio's nova300 @ £2349 will take the 805D3's in its stride as the nova300 or the nova500 @£3499 have been designed to drive and keep in check resistive loudspeakers such as the 800 Series, Wilson Audio and Magnepan, etc.

***** to the OP - streaming modules for the nova Series should be available anytime soon *****
The Peachtree nova300 looks interesting too, and the built-in phono stage would save me another box. Isn't it problematic running a 300W amp with speakers that shouldn't be run with anything above 120W according to their manufacturer?

I’m replying directly to the OP’s original post, and within the parameters of the three options he’s asking about. Having said that, as I’m currently using a H120 with some £6,000 loudspeakers, I’d put Hegel up against any equivalently priced option from any manufacturer, particularly with the H120 being the same quality digital board as the £3200 H190. Streaming included in that price too, not an extra.
That's what I thought. The Hegel's streaming seems pretty restricted though – it doesn't support anything higher resolution than AirPlay, and it doesn't seem to have built-in Wi-Fi, which means I'd need to run a separate router, which is again an additional box.

Having said that, after hearing so much praise for the Hegel amps, I really have to try the H120 myself to see if it's worth the feature trade offs compared to the NAD M10 (no DIRAC support, very limited streaming, bigger, no programmable IR receiver).
 
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Power ratings are a guide - you’ll find that some amps might not seem that powerful on paper, but they “feel” quite different in practice. Most of the amps you’ve mentioned are Class D, whereas the Naim and Hegel are Class AB, although comparing similar power outputs between Naim and Hegel will open your eyes. As for the difference in power between a H120 and a H190, even if you don’t use the 150wpc vs the 75wpc, you’ll certainly hear the difference in drive with the 805s.
 
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MUSICRAFT

Well-known member
The Peachtree nova300 looks interesting too, and the built-in phono stage would save me another box. Isn't it problematic running a 300W amp with speakers that shouldn't be run with anything above 120W according to their manufacturer?
As long as you keep keep the volume in check then the 805 D3's will work perfectly well with the nova300.

Fwiw, over the last week at home i've been using a 400w amplifier (more on this later) with the speakers specified to handle 150w. Zero issues :)
 
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MUSICRAFT

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Fwiw, over the last week at home i've been using a 400w amplifier (more on this later)
I'll keep this as brief as possible.

I was asked by a client to visit him because he wanted to show me and listen to his new single chassis £3k amplifier which according to our client"wipes the floor clean" with his DAC and pre amp/mono amps costing many times more.

First, we heard the DAC, pre amp/mono's and B&W 805's with a B&W ASW675 sub. This system sounded pretty damn good to me (y)

Next, the DAC and the pre amp/mono's were substituted for Lyngdorf Audio'sTDAI-2170 digital amplifier. Before playing something our client asked me to put my ear next to the 805's with the TDAI-2170's volume on max. I heard nothing. No noise, no hiss and no hum. Nothing. The TDA-2170 was dead quiet. Next with the volume now turned down our client hit play on the CDP. The result was WOW :) Our client wasn't kidding when he said the TDAI-2170 "wipes the floor clean" with his DAC and pre amp/mono amps (which are all massively built and impressive to look at btw).

Things were set to get even better because our client now activated the ace up the TDAI-2170's and Lyngdorf Audio's sleeve. Lyngdorf Audio's Room Perfect room correction. RoomPerfect maps and corrects the acoustic errors of the room and importantly without changing the characteristics of the loudspeakers. I'd read about RoomPerfect and now i got experience the technology first hand. The 805's/ASW675 were now locked together, without a change in their presentation, playing as one and simply breathing. My jaw hit the floor.

With the restrictions in place and being at home i got a hold of the daddy in the range the TDAI-3400. Sure enough the qualities of the TDAI-2170 which to put it mildly impressed me so much are carried over to the TDAI-3400 and then some. The TDAI-3400 is stunning. Just stunning.

Anyway, based on my experience of the TDAI-2170 and the TDAI-3400 if you want to stay around £2k, 60w of power, digital amplification and the bee's knees of room correction then Lyngdorf Audio's new TDAI-1120 streaming digital amplifier at £2190 is also worth bearing in mind.
 
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Pokey

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Thanks for the write-up Musicraft! For some odd reason I didn‘t even know about the existence of the Lyngdorf TDAI series, which I consider pretty shocking after doing a lot of research on the NAD M10 and alternatives to it.

On paper it looks kina similar to the NAD offerings too – both are all digital with integrated Wi-Fi and room correction. After your glowing recommendation I really need to listen to one of the Lyngdorf amps too I‘m afraid. Though it looks like I‘d have to settle for the smaller TDAI-1120 one – I would prefer the additional power headroom of the TDAI-2170, but it‘s bigger, it doesn‘t look as nice and the phono input costs a ton extra while it‘s integrated in the cheaper amp.
 
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MUSICRAFT

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Thanks for the write-up Musicraft! For some odd reason I didn‘t even know about the existence of the Lyngdorf TDAI series, which I consider pretty shocking after doing a lot of research on the NAD M10 and alternatives to it.

On paper it looks kina similar to the NAD offerings too – both are all digital with integrated Wi-Fi and room correction. After your glowing recommendation I really need to listen to one of the Lyngdorf amps too I‘m afraid. Though it looks like I‘d have to settle for the smaller TDAI-1120 one – I would prefer the additional power headroom of the TDAI-2170, but it‘s bigger, it doesn‘t look as nice and the phono input costs a ton extra while it‘s integrated in the cheaper amp.
You're welcome (y)

The new TDAI-1120 does look great and i am sure it'll give more than a fair chunk of the TDAI-2170's and TDAI-3400's performance.

Btw, out of interest a couple of days ago i took a few quick pics. of some of the Lyngdorf Audio's App's parameters on my iPad. It's looks great and is a doddle to use. Among its other qualities RoomPerfect really does seamlessly integrate the loudspeakers and the subwoofer -

3400 app 1.jpg

3400 app 2.jpg

3400 app 4.jpg

3400 app 5.jpg

3400 app 6.jpg
 

Pokey

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I just got a confirmation for a listening session for the Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 and the TDAI-2170, though it's sometimes in May because the dealer will only receive the TDAI-1120 in a few weeks since it doesn't seem to be on sale yet. I'll bring my own Powernode 2i to have a direct comparison, and I'll try to find a dealer who stocks the NAD M10 and the Hegel H120 too so that I have a chance to listen to all of them.
 
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MUSICRAFT

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I just got a confirmation for a listening session for the Lyngdorf TDAI-1120 and the TDAI-2170, though it's sometimes in May because the dealer will only receive the TDAI-1120 in a few weeks since it doesn't seem to be on sale yet. I'll bring my own Powernode 2i to have a direct comparison, and I'll try to find a dealer who stocks the NAD M10 and the Hegel H120 too so that I have a chance to listen to all of them.
Nice one (y) We're also due to receive our stock of TDAI-1120's in May. Try and hear the systems with a subwoofer.

Btw, Lyngdorf Audio's RoomPerfect is the only room correction system i am aware of that offers combined measurement of the loudspeakers and the sub/s and will correct the acoustic errors of the room whilst preserving the sound of the speakers :)
 
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Pokey

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Mar 18, 2020
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Just a short Update: I got an amazing deal on a NAD M10, and since I don't have any option to listen to it anyway, I just bought it, because I'm pretty sure I could sell it without losing much money. I'm listening to it pretty much nonstop since Monday, and I have to say it's a pretty nice upgrade over the Powernode 2i – the dynamics I was missing before are certainly there now.

Dirac Live is interesting too – when it's activated, it sounds like the soundstage is much further back and smaller, but at the same time imaging is much more precise. The loss of power is pretty extreme too, unfortunately – without Dirac, the maximum volume is 15 dB (!) louder (according to the display of the M10, I don't have an SPL meter). So with room correction enabled, I'm usually listening at maximum volume, which is fine I guess, but a little more headroom would be great.

After two full days, I think the sound with Dirac enabled is great if you listen for a full day non stop, because it's super transparent and laid back, but for some songs, I actually prefer turning it off to enjoy the bigger soundstage. I will still listen to the Lyngdorf TDAI-1120, and I'll bring the M10 to compare them directly.
 
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MUSICRAFT

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The loss of power is pretty extreme too, unfortunately – without Dirac, the maximum volume is 15 dB (!) louder. So with room correction enabled, I'm usually listening at maximum volume,

I think the sound with Dirac enabled is great if you listen for a full day non stop, because it's super transparent and laid back, but for some songs, I actually prefer turning it off to enjoy the bigger soundstage.

I will still listen to the Lyngdorf TDAI-1120
Fair enough :)

Listening at maximum output doesn't sound right and i would advice against this.

With correction applied the soundstage should be improved not narrowed. This might be down to the characteristics of the 805's/PV1D having being changed by the correction.

Nice one (y)and last Tuesday afternoon we received Lygndorf Audio's new price list. The good news is that the TDAI-1120 will now offer even better value at a new UK RRP of £1990 :)

Btw, what is the crossover point of your mains and subwoofer please?
 

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