Bluesound: A Message In The Music

Music lovers come in all forms in the twenty-first century. Some continue to hold on dearly to physical collections of albums, while others may have transfered what was once a tangible marvel to the digital space. Others still allow any number of online sites to curate, promote, and introduce new songs into their lives. And perhaps many out there embrace some combination of all the music playing options that now exist, however overwhelming it can be. 

It seems that sometime around ten years ago or so, high quality, HD, smart TV became commonplace. That is to say, the mass public understood what a difference the muchimproved screen was from older generations. It wasn’t even enough to appreciate that there was, in fact, a marked difference; the public bought in figuratively and literally, and realized that in order to fully enjoy content, you need a high quality TV. It was an investment and a worthy one. If you’re going to watch live sports, enjoy a blockbuster movie, or stream a TV show, you want—almost need—to do so with the best quality possible.

The same goes for sound, and while the video upgrade came a while back, appreciation of sound is becoming the norm. Bluesound can help.

Bluesound is an audio company created by music lovers. It marks a new generation of audio systems, growing from an upstart Canadian company to a major music player, as it were, allowing and encouraging any type of music lover to use its products, stressing triumphant, high fidelity, high quality sound.

Wi-Fi Hi-Fi 

The speakers offered are all wireless and can easily connect through Wi-Fi to create a comprehensive home sound system, be it just in one room or throughout a house. The system allows for multiple speakers playing the same synced sound, or different content in different rooms. The award-winning products are versatile, and work independently or in conjunction with the user’s needs and desires.

Most importantly, though, they stress innovative and enhanced music technology. Their engineers and designers stress perfection, and all personnel arrive to the company as lovers of music, instead of taking a computer science background and applying that to music after the fact. Music quality comes first for Bluesound, and this is evident in the 24-bit, hi-res, digital audio.

The Speakers

The Pulse 2, Pulse Mini, and Pulse Flex are all versions of the same sleekly-designed, high quality wireless streaming music player. The trio features varying degrees of portability, size, and price point, and come in black or white finishes. The Pulse 2 has the best bass, but the others aren’t to be outdone.

For home entertainment, there is the Pulse Soundbar (which I have tried and enjoyed immensely) as well as the Pulse Sub. The wireless powered subwoofer isn’t necessary, as the soundbar is effective on its own, but for those who want the most comprehensive, effective sound system, the subwoofer completes the package; its rectangular, compact design also means you can position it anywhere, especially out of the way — under or behind a couch or table, for example.

The Soundbar, though, features hi-res, cinematic quality sound, and I don’t know how I was truly enjoying movies before. A beautiful and impressive two-channel, immersive speaker that connected to my smart TV, this makes it easy to change settings for music, movies, or TV, adjust any lip sync delay, toggle settings for a deep bass when you’re feeling it, or set the soundboard for a late night mode to dampen the spread of the sound to other rooms (or apartments). 

Vaults and Nodes

More than just speakers, Bluesound wants to connect the past to the present, and the Node 2 is among the most popular products, mainly because of this unique ability. It is a device that can virtually connect to just about every streaming service, cloud, phone, and computer; it can also physically connect to whatever sound system you have come to enjoy, be it brand new or decades old.

If your music collection is on your computer or phone, the Bluesound operating system can grab and play it (MP3, FLAC, WAV, WMA, and much more are supported). If you prefer a streaming service, Tidal, Amazon Music, Spotify, and TuneIN are integrated partners. (Bluesound is currently working with Google Play and expects this service to join as well.)

There is also the Powernode 2, a reinvention of the integrated amp — basically, a high-powered version of the Node 2 that can drive your speakers louder than before. Then there is the Vault 2, for those looking to turn their physical collection into the digital space. It’s a 2terabyte CD ripper, ensuring the highest quality MP3s, and can execute the process quickly, quietly, and without a computer.

The App

One of the drawbacks, perhaps the only one, comes in the form of an app that, while comprehensive in controlling the sound levels and details, is clunky and indeed critical to using a speaker. More or less, if you’re using your phone while listening to music, you might need to pause what you’re doing to change settings, or fetch your phone to turn down the volume.

Now, these issues may not be widespread, and indeed at the writing of this article, a new version of the app just became available. Still, though, toggling between devices—say, playing from your computer to playing from your TV—is difficult at times. I spent time with the app while using the Pulse Soundbar, which can easily connect to Wi-Fi when the ‘Bluetooth’ setting is activated. The Soundbar is also connected to my TV through an optical cable, which requires a different setting. If the TV goes on while I’m playing music from my computer, the music stops. What’s more, to get sound working from one device to the next, the Bluetooth connection needs to be severed before a new one can be established.

Changing the volume while playing from a phone can also be tough; my phone (a Samsung) has its own media volume, which does not affect the Soundbar, whereas its BluOS level does. Sometimes my external sound button changes the Soundbar volume, but sometimes it’s set for my phone media, which means unlocking my phone and going to the app is required. Still, these are minor annoyances, and surely can be rectified and perfected in time.

Overall, Bluesound is a welcome addition to any home. For those in need of an upgrade, these long-lasting, effective, and comprehensive speakers move you to the forefront of digital sound quality. When we spend so much time listening to music or watching movies, surely almost daily, it’s worth it to have a piece of equipment that does the job expertly.

Anthony Marcusa
Anthony Marcusa is a Toronto-based freelance journalist whose writing dabbles in film, TV, music, sports, and relationships – though not necessarily in that order. He’s simultaneously youthfully idealistic and curmudgeonly cynical. But he’s always curious.