Bluesound has introduced the Pulse Soundbar, the company’s first soundbar offering hi-res network audio streaming. With BluOS, Bluesound’s wireless multi-room streaming operating system, the Soundbar enables the TV room to be the heart of a whole-home wireless music system through an app available for most smart devices. Intended for use with flat panel displays 42-inch or greater, the Pulse Soundbar ($999 U.S. MSRP) will be available later this month.
The Pulse Soundbar supports audio resolutions of 24 bits and up to 192kHz sampling rate. Furthermore, it supports Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) high-resolution audio streams, potentially a first in the soundbar category.
The Pulse Soundbar uses multiple techniques to achieve its hi-fi performance, including 3-way speaker configuration with tri-amplification. This means that each driver has its own dedicated amplifier channel, and a powerful DSP is used for the crossover filters. Each driver is custom developed for this application and includes individually optimized chambers for ideal speaker operation and isolation. The black cabinet is made from extruded aluminum.
The deep bass extension of the Pulse Soundbar is made possible by a variety of factors, including a large chamber volume, passive radiators, and DSP equalization. Its bass performance is flat to 70 Hz and only down 3db@55Hz. For those who desire even more bass, later this fall Bluesound will be offering the Pulse Sub ($599). For owners of conventional wired subwoofers, Bluesound will offer a dongle to directly connect the Soundbar to their existing subwoofer.
Like all Bluesound Pulse models, the acoustic design and speaker voicing is performed at Canada’s National Research Council by renowned speaker designer and engineer, Paul Barton.
The Pulse Soundbar features BluOS, a proprietary music-only operating system powered by an ARM processor and precision master clock running at 1GHz. This allows support for almost all audio codecs including MP3, AAC, WMP, Ogg, FLAC, ALAC, and true hi-res audio including MQA. Local music can be accessed via Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet anywhere on the network including NAS drives and computers, in addition to natively integrated streaming services. Other inputs include Optical and Analog for connecting to your TV and USB for memory drives loaded with music. Bluetooth, with the high fidelity aptX codec, is also included to allow direct streaming from a smartphone, tablet or laptop. The Pulse Soundbar also includes an IR sensor with learning function (TV Connect) to allow an existing TV or universal remote to operate basic sound functions like volume and mute.
The form of the Pulse Soundbar was created by the award-winning industrial designer David Farrage of DF-ID. There are three mounting options available; shelf mount or wall mount with the included accessories, or freestanding tabletop display with the optional TV bracket which lifts the TV just enough to allow secure placement of the soundbar directly below the TV. Depending on the mounting option chosen, the wires for AC and TV connection can exit at either the top or the bottom of the bar by flipping it 180 degrees.
To make the Bluesound Soundbar easy and flexible to install, complete accessories are included by default: 120V and 230V AC power cords, stereo RCA to RCA cable, Ethernet cable, two kickstand feet, two kickstand extenders, and a wall mount bracket with mounting template for simple installation.
“The Pulse Soundbar is truly an awe-inspiring product”, commented John Banks, director of market development and chief brand officer for Bluesound. “Never before has an audio product combined this level of sonic performance with the intelligence and flexibility to drive a whole-home audio system. Both home theater enthusiasts and music lovers alike will readily appreciate what enjoyment the Pulse Soundbar offers them in their main listening room and throughout the house.”