My experience with the Node 2i was that when using the analog out the bass was diminished vs using the digital out to my pre-pro. I guess it must be a difference in DAC's.
I just tested this last night myself. The analogue out of the node lacks some balls shall we say in the bass department. My Emotiva stealth DC-1 has a superior sound to it over all as well. I have only tested with spotify so far, what I have still yet to test is the FULL MQA signal out of its analogue port to the "first unfold" of the coax, although another user reported the same thing regardless of the fact that the Node 2i was putting out a fully unfolded hi res signal (that his emotiva dac still sounded better).
p.s. Its not light years better, but it is noticeable. You might not notice a difference depending on how revealing your speakers are. I say, if you cant tell the difference, use whatever setup is most convenient to you.
Last Edit: Mar 6, 2019 13:05:59 GMT -5 by rockman85