The Powernode from Bluesound's wireless streaming ecosystem is a streaming amplifier, with USB-A, optical and analogue minijack inputs, plus Bluetooth, and access to “all the world’s music”, as Bluesound puts it, through the Wi-Fi and Ethernet networking options.
Now an updated version has been released, adding HDMI to the available inputs, so bolstering still further the Powernote's potential use as a 'just-add-speakers' solution for both music and TV/movie sound. The HDMI supports both the standard ARC (Audio Return Channel) which carries stereo audio down the HDMI cable from your TV, and also the new eARC (enhanced ARC) which can carry a 5.1-channel signal, not that the Powernode 2i requires or can implement a surround signal.
The 2i version had already been re-engineered inside for improvements over the original in DAC and audio quality, and in addition to all the streaming services from online and your own files across the network up to 24-bit/192kHz high-res, there is now two-way Bluetooth using the latest Bluetooth 5.0. This means you can not only stream music using Bluetooth to the Powernode 2i (the higher quality aptX HD is available if your phone supports it), you can also have the Powernode play to your favourite Bluetooth headphones, say (while there’s also a headphone output for direct connection) or to an additional Bluetooth speaker within its range.
Also new in the 2i version is Apple’s improved AirPlay 2, which brings more options for control in Apple households, including using Siri for voice assistance. Alexa can also control Bluesound through connection with an Amazon Echo and installing the Bluesound skill in the Alexa app.
We have recently reviewed the Powernode 2i in a small group of smart amplifiers including models from Amazon and Sonos; you can read the review and full comparison here.
Australian distributor for Bluesound, Convoy International, tells us that numbers for the HDMI-equipped units will be limited initially, and available from the first week of October.
More info: www.bluesound.com.au