Some quick advice on pairing speakers with new Bluesound Powernode 2


New member
Jun 22, 2016
Hi all,

Newly registered here, but have enjoyed reading WHF's reviews and HiFi forum for some time.

I'm hoping to get some advice from you experts out there on the following. I'm am by no means an audiophile or expert, but do love music and like to hear it through decent equipment (obviously within my budget range).

Some years ago, I replaced my Pioneer A-A6 amplifier and PD-D6-J SACD player, and Heco Victa 700 floorstanders with the Focal Bird system. In many eyes perhaps a rather drastic downgrading, but the reasons were a combination of "want" and pleasing the other half of the family

I have to say that I did enjoy both the esthetics and sound of the Focal Powerbird and mid-range Bird speakers. But recently, I began to miss a more full-bodied stereo set-up, and decided to part with Focal. I also wanted to be able to directly access high resolution files through my NAS, and enjoy hig-res music through Tidal, Deezer, etc. Preferebly through a wired connection to avoid drop-outs, etc.

Budget mattered of course, and I ultimately ended up with the new Bluesound Powernode 2 (Bluesound's second generation).

The Powernode is a Hybrid-Digital amplifier with 2x 60w into 8ohms; has a 32-Bit, 192kHz DAC built in; an ARM CORTEX A9, 1 ghz processor; and supports MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, HRA, MQA. It features both wired and wireless connections.

It's a small wonderbox (to me at least), and Bluesound's App, while not perfect, does make the whole operation painless and fun. I did hesitate for a long time between the Powernode 2, and a more conventional set-up in the form of Cambridge Audio's CXA60 and CXN. But: two devices and more bulk, and double the price (am sure the quality would be better too, but there are limits to what I can drag into the house).

The big question now is what speakers to pair the Bluesound with? I use it mainly for music, including in hig-res format, and enjoy a wide range of genres, but do like jazz, vocal, and R&B.

I tired the old trusty Hecos just before somebody took them over last week, and the Powernode 2 did make them sound great (much much better then the old Pioneer years ago, whereby I had to crank the volume way up to enjoy).

I picked up a couple of B&W 685 S2 last Friday and set them up, only to be disappointed in the lack of bass. Mind you, I don't need an earth shaking thumping bass, but the lack of bass in the B&Ws was somewhat disconcerting. Also, while the mid and high registers sounded crystal clear, it all sounded perhaps a little too bright to my amateur ears.

So, am leaning again towards floorstanders, but within a modest bidget of around £700 to £800. I realize that this is firmly within the entry-level range, but what would be your advice?

Currently, I'm looking into the Dali Zensor 7, the Monitor Audio Bronze 6 and the B&W DM 684 S2.

Many thanks in advance!


New member
Dec 10, 2012
Hi Marcus

First of all, welcome to the forum. The Powernode is an interesting bit of kit, so I hope you're happy with it. As for speakers, much will depend on the size and acoustics of your listening room and in the synergy of speakers with your chosen amp.

What size is your room? Does it have any difficult reflections or is it quite well damped with soft furnishings, curtains, rugs etc.? How close will you have to locate the speakers to the rear wall?

Just pre-warning you, you could be walking into a potential disaster, so choose carefully. I'm not singling out the Powernode specifically here but in general terms (worst-case scenario), a rear-ported floorstanding speaker powered by an amp that lacks sufficient current, drive and quality in a less-than ideal listening room could sound dreadful: imprecise, boomy bass. It's not just watts per channel here, but the amp's ability to provide sufficient current and the sensitivity of the speakers.

If you listened to the B&W's at home and they weren't bassy enough for you, this could mean that your listening room doesn't present too many challenges, but it would help other forum members to give more specific help with a little more info.

Have you considered PSB speakers? For the only reason that they're part of the same stable of companies as NAD and Bluesound, so ought to sound good together in theory. Alternatively, you could consider a subwoofer if bass is lacking.


New member
Jun 22, 2016
Many thanks for the reply, Leeps. I realize I should have provided a bit more details concerning the living room situation.

It's a 30m2 living room, but pretty much an open plan lay-out, which means the room flows over into a hallway, followed by the 22m2 kitchen. The room itself is 5x6m (or approx. 16' x 20').

speakers and Powernode 2 would be situated along the 16' wall, and I plan to have the speakers about 10' to 12' apart, with sufficient space between the speakers and the side and rear walls.

As it is a living room, there is furniture in front of the speakers, but these are a good 3' away or more. Hard wooden floors, no curtains. Not ideal, I'm sure, but that's the situation.

Leeps, I understand that "a rear-ported floorstanding speaker powered by an amp that lacks sufficient current, drive and quality in a less-than ideal listening room could sound dreadful". So when you say that "it's not just watts per channel here, but the amp's ability to provide sufficient current and the sensitivity of the speakers", how would I find out whether the Powernode 2 can provide the right amount of current, and what level of sensitivity I'd be looking for in speakers?

According to the folks at Bluesound, the Powernode is driven by an amp with 2x 60w into 8ohms, using HybridDigital technology, which was developed by Bluesound's sister company NAD, and used in NAD's D3020 and D7050 amps.

Here some further info on the Powernode 2's specs:
Power Output: HYBRIDDIGITAL AMPLIFIER, 60 Watts x2 into 8ohmsNative Sampling Rates: 32 - 192 kHzBit Depths: 16 - 24Performance: SNR - 110dBDistortion, THD+N - 0.020%DAC: 32-Bit, 192kHz Not sure if this helps to explain further what level of sensitivity I'd be looking for in speakers. My old Heco Victa 700 floorstanders sounded very good with the Powernode 2. The speakers' specs were: Power Handling Capacity: 160/280 WattsImpedence: 4 - 8 OhmsFrequency Response: 26-38KHzRecommended Amplifier output: 20 - 280 WattsEfficiency: 91 dB In comparison, the Dali Zensor 7: Power handling capacity: 300 Watts maximumNominal Impedance:6 OhmsFrequency Range (+/-3 dB) [Hz] 40 - 26,500Sensitivity (2,83 V/1 m) [dB] 90.0Maximum SPL [dB] 110Recommended Amplifier Power [W] 40 - 150Crossover Frequency [Hz] 2,400 Hz
Did I make a mistake getting rid of the old Hecos? Or will the Dalis provide a good match with the PN2?

Sorry for the confused rambling above, but am pretty a-technical when it comes to this stuff, and so some solid and realistic (in terms of budget) advice would be highly appreciated.

Thanks again!


Well-known member
Aug 28, 2015
Hi Marcus...iam in a similar dilemma now. Have purchased a pair of qacoustics concept 40 speakers, which will be delivered in two weeks. So wanted to hear your experience with the power node with a floor standing speakers. The concept 40's are sensitive at 90db. Do you think the powenode will do justice to them , considering that I paid 1270 pounds for the speaker. The thing is that not much hi-fi kit is available where I live. So if I have to purchase a new amp to drive my speakers, I need to do it before I get home. So your impressions of the control and drive of the power node will be very helpful. Thanks.


Well-known member
May 1, 2012
Hi Marcus,

Just to reassure you. The Powernode 2 is an excellent amplifier. It uses Hypex UcD modules, that can produce a lot of current if needed. When I got my first Powernode 2, I drove a pair of Magnepan MMG speakers (4 Ohm, 86 dB/W/m aka not the easiest load) with it, and it sounded brilliant. This amp won't be the weakest link in your set-up, believe me.


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