Bluesound Powernode (2021) overview: Audiophile streaming amplifier

Verdict

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Simply add audio system to this spectacular streaming amplifier and also you’ve bought a succesful and inexpensive wi-fi system constructed round an audiophile DAC, quad-core processor and a strong stereo soundstage. The wonderful BluOS management app, in depth connectivity and simple setup are the cherries on high.

Professionals

  • Spectacular total efficiency
  • Highly effective amplification
  • Glorious set of options
  • Simple to setup and use
  • Extraordinarily properly made

Cons

  • No distant management included
  • No DSD help

  • Constructed-in amplificationHybridDigital stereo energy amplifier able to delivering 80 watts per a channel

  • Audiophile-grade processingTexas Devices PCM 5242 DAC and ARM Cortex A53 quad-core processor

  • BluOS working systemMulti-room/multichannel performance and Controller app

  • Bodily connectivityHDMI eARC; digital and analogue inputs; USB; Ethernet

  • Wi-fi connectivityTwin-band Wi-Fi 5; Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD; AirPlay 2

Introduction

The Bluesound Powernode is the pure extension of the corporate’s Node community streamer, taking every thing that makes that mannequin nice and including built-in amplification.

The result’s a straightforward and inexpensive option to create a succesful Hello-Fi – simply add audio system and also you’re good to go. Along with the HybridDigital two-channel amp, the Powernode contains an audiophile DAC, quad-core processor, and contact panel controls. It additionally helps high-res music streaming companies as much as 24-bit/192kHz, plus there’s in depth connectivity, and the BluOS Controller app.

Design

  • Compact and classy
  • Contact-sensitive controls
  • Glorious construct high quality
  • Selection of black or white

The Bluesound Powernode seems to be virtually similar to the Node, with the identical fundamental curved chassis and touch-sensitive LED panel on high. Wave your hand over the panel and a proximity sensor lights up a quantity slider, together with earlier/subsequent observe, and play/pause controls. It additionally provides 5 presets to which you’ll allocate performance utilizing the BluOS Controller app.

Controls

The design of the chassis is smooth and clear, with two matte sections sandwiched both facet of a shiny strip – the place you’ll discover a small indicator LED, and an IR sensor. Beneath that you simply’ll discover a 3.5mm headphone jack, however all the opposite connections are on the rear.

The principle visible distinction in comparison with the Node is that the Powernode is larger and heavier due to the built-in amp. It measures 220 x 70 x 190mm (WHD), weighs in at 1.78kg, however nonetheless is available in a selection of black or white.

Connectivity

  • HDMI eARC, digital, analogue, USB and Ethernet connections
  • Assist for Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD, AirPlay 2
  • Wired and wi-fi headphone outputs
  • Wired and wi-fi subwoofer outputs

The Bluesound Powernode presents related connectivity to the Node, which is nice as a result of the latter actually impressed on this regard. The principle variations are the addition of a pair of five-way binding posts for the built-in stereo amplifier, and the elimination of pointless digital and analogue outputs and 12V set off as a result of the Powernode has its personal on-board juice.

There’s an HDMI eARC connector, which is wise as a result of it instantly means that you can increase the audio efficiency of your TV, whereas additionally providing multichannel growth choices later. There are dual-function optical digital/analogue inputs, and a devoted subwoofer output, together with an IR-in, a USB Kind-A connector, and a Gigabit Ethernet port for a wired connection.

Connections

By way of wi-fi connectivity, there’s dual-band Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD with two-way connectivity (transmit and obtain), permitting you to stream 24-bit audio straight from a cellphone or pill, and transmit it again to any paired headphones or audio system. Lastly, there’s AirPlay 2 for these with Apple units, and even a wi-fi output for the elective Pulse Sub+ subwoofer.

Options

  • HybridDigital amp (2 x 80W)
  • 32-bit/384kHz DAC
  • BluOS Controller app
  • Hello-Res Audio help
  • Multi-room performance
  • Works with Alexa, Google and Siri

As talked about, the Bluesound Powernode shares a lot of options with the Node, however the apparent distinction is that the Powernode features a HybridDigital stereo energy amplifier that may ship 80W per channel into an 8-ohm load. So simply add a pair of first rate audio system and also you’ve bought a really succesful streaming system that may ship loads of grunt with minimal distortion.

Left hand view

There’s an audiophile DAC with a 32-bit/384kHz design that’s paired with a quad-core processor, though just like the Node, that is restricted to processing high-resolution audio as much as 24-bit/192kHz. This streaming amplifier contains the BluOS working system, which in flip helps controller working methods from iOS, Android, Home windows and Mac.

The Powernode can deal with nearly any audio format possible, together with MQA. Whereas it will probably’t take care of DSD, BluOS is able to figuring out DSD information and cross-converting them to FLAC. It additionally presents each streaming service you may consider, together with Tidal, Spotify, and Qobuz, plus there’s web radio and entry to any digital music library you’ve on a pc or exterior drive.

BluOS Controller

Bluesound has created its personal multi-room system based mostly across the wonderful BluOS Controller app. This seamlessly connects the Powernode to different Bluesound audio system round your property, creating an intuitive multi-room music system. It could possibly additionally run a wi-fi Dolby encompass system utilizing a pair of wi-fi Pulse Flex 2i audio system on the rear and a wired or wi-fi subwoofer.

There’s no included distant, however you may management the Powernode utilizing the BluOS app, contact panel controls, or voice assistants corresponding to Siri, Alexa, or Google Voice. It will also be built-in into a wise house with full-feature drivers for Lutron, Elan, RTI, Crestron, and different standard house management methods.

Sound High quality

  • Dynamic and tonally balanced sonics
  • Soundstage has loads of scale
  • Amplification is highly effective and responsive
  • Handles all varieties of recordings (even poor ones)

The Bluesound Powernode is a unbelievable all-in-one unit – merely pair it with a good set of audio system and also you’ll have an completed system. Setup couldn’t be simpler, and there’s a complete selection of music streamers with help for high-resolution audio and MQA. The BluOS app can be a well-designed controller, making the Powernode a pleasure to make use of.

The mixture of the audiophile DAC chip and highly effective stereo amplifier leads to a efficiency that sounds nice with all varieties of recording – even poor ones. Consequently, this amp and streamer is pleasingly forgiving throughout a various number of materials, permitting you to companion it with all kinds of audio system.

The HybridDigital amp produces a forceful stereo supply that may drive probably the most demanding of audio system. There’s loads of headroom within the two 80W channels, which supplies recordings a dynamic high quality. Cranking up the amount dial doesn’t lead to strained or distorted audio, which suggests it by no means sounds unnecessarily loud.

Right hand view

The amplification is responsive, too, turning on a dime and going from kitten’s breath to ear-slitting immediately. This agility is mixed with a efficiency that’s splendidly energetic, making the general supply thrilling and enjoyable. There’s additionally wonderful bass element and frequency extension that mixes with an insightful mid-range and an attractive soundstage.

The result’s a cohesion throughout the frequency vary, with a balanced supply and wonderful ranges of element. Listening to Bernard Butler’s up to date model of his debut album Individuals Transfer On reveals the newly recorded vocals, whereas additionally pulling out all the complicated guitar preparations. Whether or not its the gloriously anthemic Not Alone, the slow-burn Keep or the acoustically fragile I’m Drained, the Powernode handles all of them with wonderful talent.

Newest offers

Do you have to purchase it?

You need a straightforward and inexpensive approach of making a high-resolution music streaming system that sounds unbelievable and presents loads of options and growth choices. Simply add audio system and also you’re good to go.

You desperately need DSD help or hate being compelled to make use of a wise system as a distant management.

Closing Ideas

For those who’re searching for an easy-to-set-up streaming amplifier, then look no additional than the Bluesound Powernode. Pair this succesful amp with a good set of audio system and also you’ll be rewarded with a superior Hello-Fi system. Complete connectivity, in depth options and a really efficient distant app are all welcome, as is the power to attach your TV by way of HDMI-eARC. In truth, there isn’t a lot this trendy little field can’t do – and it gained’t break the financial institution, both.

How we check

We check each music streamer we overview totally over an prolonged time period. We use trade commonplace assessments to check options correctly. We’ll at all times let you know what we discover. We by no means, ever, settle for cash to overview a product.

Examined with actual world use

FAQs

Does the Bluesound Powernode work with voice assistants?

The BluOS interface helps Alexa, Google and Siri by way of an exterior product (for instance an Amazon Alexa appropriate speaker).

UK RRP

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Jargon buster

aptX

Qualcomm’s aptX codec can help larger high quality audio than Bluetooth alone.

AirPlay 2

AirPlay 2 is the second era of Apple’s proprietary wi-fi streaming tech, which is constructed into all of its {hardware} merchandise (and supported by many others). It’s designed to cross content material out of your Apple system – music, video and pictures – to a appropriate receiver over your Wi-Fi community corresponding to a TV, wi-fi speaker, AV receiver and so on.

Hello-Res Audio

 

Hello-Res audio is known as a typical in addition to a advertising and marketing time period that describes digital audio information of better-than-CD high quality (16-bit/44.1kHz).