What Hi-Fi? Awards 2021: First Winners Announced 4th October!
They are using the internal DAC. It's quite frustrating, the other reviews I have found on the new Node also do not asses the digital output. I am preparing to upgrade my system which includes a Node 2i. I can tell you that my DAC, a Benchmark DAC1 Pre (11 years old) handily beats the Node 2'is DAC, MQA or not. I would use the HDMI Arc on the new Node, so it's attractive from that standpoint but I have the same question as you. How good is the digital out? My guess it's pretty good, especially for the money, but I am left to buy components to evaluate on my own which is always costly. Will the Node truncate the gains brought by an upmarket DAC? Maybe, maybe not. It does not have USB out which is limiting though.It would be very helpful to know in future reviews if you test streamers through the digital or analog output. It would be nice to know if the DAC is being reviewed as well, or better yet, comment on both sides. I recall another reviewer mentioned that the Node and CXN V2 sounded very similar through the digital output. I'd love to upgrade my original Node 2, I guess I'll have to get my hands on one myself to compare.