Bluesound PowerNode Edge
Old Guy’s Take On Streaming
In 1979 my father purchased a home & car stereo store in Aurora Colorado—World Wide Stereo, which was a franchise out of Dallas. At the time, 8-Track players were phasing out, making vinyl, cassette tapes and good old radio the primary sources for listening to music. Some audiophiles had open reel-to-reel tape machines from brands like Teac or Akai. The “cool” new feature was auto-reversing cassette decks that could play both sides of the tape. It was an all analog world and I never could have imagined picking up a phone, choosing practically any song that I could think of and having it instantly playing through my system—not to mention in my car, portable speaker, or headphones.
That level of convenience makes streaming a no-brainer. Even for an analog dinosaur like myself. I will always love records, but the benefits of streaming are undeniable. However, with so many different ways to stream, what is the best path? A lot of people love powered/active wireless speakers like Sonos, Bluesound, or Denon Heos because they take the overall convenience of streaming to the next level. They give you a speaker with a built-in amplifier and streaming capability, so all you need to do is connect your phone, PC, or tablet via Bluetooth or WiFi and you are good to go—no amplifiers, source components, and complex wiring.
Just Add “Legacy” Speakers
Powered wireless speakers are great for streaming, but what if you have a set of unpowered/passive speakers you love? Perhaps a pair of vintage gems from the analog age that still sound great, or a newer speaker with a sound and design that works perfectly for your tastes. You can certainly continue to use them if you have an amplifier with streaming capability or you invest in a music streamer/network player that will essentially be the source for your amp and speakers like a turntable or CD player. Both are great options, but if you are looking for a simpler “just add speakers” set up my choice would be the Bluesound PowerNode Edge. The Edge is a streamer and integrated amplifier all in one small and simple chassis–an easy way to add streaming to your legacy speakers and power them too.
Streaming and Other Media Sources
For streaming capability, the Bluesound PowerNode Edge connects to your network with ethernet or Wi-Fi and utilizes the BluOS controller app, controlling the device via phone or tablet. There are also simple manual controls on top and voice assistants like Siri and Alexa are available as well. The BluOS app provides a host of internet radio stations and streaming services including Spotify, Tidal, Qobuz, and SiriusXM. You can even play from your own local music library by connecting via Apple Airplay 2, aptX HD Bluetooth, a network connected drive or USB hard drive. What’s more, you can connect a TV for movies and even a turntable—long live analog! It’s really a complete media hub.
Now, let’s talk about power. The Bluesound PowerNode Edge is a 2-channel amplifier with 40 watts per channel—a solid output to power small to medium size bookshelves, floor-standing speakers or even efficient large speakers. The amplifier is a DirectDigital design and is able to handle hi-res, 24bit/192kHz files and MQA-encoded tracks with ease. Oh, and if you have a subwoofer not to worry, the edge has an output for a powered sub.
Grow Your System/Multi-room
One of the coolest features about streaming systems is the ability to do multiroom. With the Bluesound PowerNode Edge, you can add another Edge to a different room, or possibly a Bluesound Wireless Powered Speaker, and have a multiroom system. You can then play a different song simultaneously in each location, or form groups to play the same song in multiple locations. Where is that one place in your home that would be even a better place just by adding music— back deck, garage perhaps? Bluesound even offers portable options to take your music with you.
All said and done, the Bluesound PowerNode Edge is a high-res music streamer with a built-in amplifier offering 40 watts per channel into 8 ohms. With HDMI eARC, optical, and analog inputs it works as compact, capable integrated amplifier—a simple, complete solution for powering your legacy speakers and providing high-res streaming capability.
Operating System: BluOS
App Controller Operating Systems: iOS, Android, Windows, macOS
Processor: ARM® Cortex™ -A53, Quad-Core, 1.8GHz per core
Supported Network File Sharing: Server Message Block (SMB) up to 200,000 files
Album Art Supported: JPG, PNG
Music Services & Internet Radio: 23+ Voice Control Integrations: Amazon Alexa Skills
3rd-Party Integrations: AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, Tidal Connect, Roon Ready.
Control System Integrations: Control4, Crestron, URC, RTI, ELAN, Lutron
BluOS Home Theater: Yes - rear surround channels
Supported Audio File Formats: MP3, AAC, WMA, WMA-L, OGG, ALAC, OPUS
Supported Hi-Res Audio File Formats: FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF, MPEG-4 SLS
Supported Multi-Channel Audio Formats: Dolby® Digital
Native Sampling Rates: up to 192 kHz
Bit Depth: 16-24
Audio Controls & EQ: BluOS Controller App
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: -91dBA
Distortion: THD+N, 0.008%
Rated Power Output: 40W x 2 (8 Ohms)
IHF Dynamic Power: 80W (4 Ohms) / 50W (8 Ohms)
Minimum Impedance: 4 Ohms