Bluesound Pulse review

Top-end network audio made simple

Bluesound Pulse
High definition networked audio

As great as the audio quality is, there are a few things that could improve the Pulse.

I found it could have problems streaming higher quality files over WiFi, dropping out and buffering so often it became unlistenable, but that's more of a networking issue rather than the device itself.

Connecting directly to the router with an Ethernet cable solved the problem.

It could also do with an auxiliary input for those inevitable times when the wifi is down, or the ability to connect via Bluetooth - a USB Bluetooth dongle is available to add this functionality, and is so cheap - a fraction of the high price of the Pulse itself - that you wonder why it couldn't have simply been built in.

There are some online services you can't use, most notably YouTube (famous for its terrible sound quality, so understandably omitted) and SoundCloud, but as the app keeps improving at such a fast pace these may well make an appearance in the future.

Although it needs to be used in conjunction with the other Bluesound kit to make the most of what it has to offer, the Pulse is very competent as a standalone device.

Bluesound Pulse

We liked

Bluesound has done a great job of styling the Pulse. It's stylish and still manages to be discreet despite it's rather large footprint.

But it's the audio quality which really stands out. The sound you get from the multiple drivers inside the Pulse's design is excellent, especially when you're playing the highest quality music you've got in your collection.

It's also simple to use too, once you get the hang of the initially confusing, but constantly evolving application.

We disliked

We could really have done with some Bluetooth connectivity and the simple addition of an aux input would both have stopped the Pulse from being made redundant by the odd, inevitable network fail.

And speaking of networking – large, high res audio files can be an issue to stream over a wireless connection. If you're rocking a large Hi-Res Audio library then you're going to want to get the Pulse wired for sound.

Like the Bluesound Vault I've also checked out, the Pulse really doesn't come cheap. It's high-end audiophile equipment, but you've got to pay through the nose for it.

Verdict

The Pulse delivers hi-fi quality sound controlled in a simple and modern way.

Linked with other products in the range it can give you access to your entire music collection and almost everything you listen to online as well. Its really easy to set up and use, looks good and is backed up by software that's constantly evolving and improving.

As long as it's wired into your router, you can have all the music you love sounding as good as it should in any room of the house.