Canadian-based Bluesound is the high-end audio brand that makes the new Bluesound Pulse Soundbar 2i and Pulse Sub+ subwoofer, and they’re very impressive. Think of them as premium alternatives to Sonos and Bose.
For the home theatre buffs, I tested out the soundbar and subwoofer recently, and I was really pleased with the unique design, features, and sound. From unboxing to watching a movie, the devices offer a high-end quality build that you don’t see from many companies today. Instead of light plastic and cheaper materials, Bluesound has designed products that are sturdy, with a striking aesthetic, and quality.
In terms of design, I love that the Pulse Sub+ can be placed almost anywhere. You can fit it under your couch, stand it up vertically, or place it flat on the ground. Since it’s wireless, you also just need to plug in the power chord–no need to worry about placement close to the TV or sound system.
The Pulse Soundbar 2i is a sizeable speaker system, and it sets up incredibly easily, either mounted on the wall, or it can be placed on your TV cabinet. The only issue I had with the size of the soundbar was the height. Since it’s quite tall–at 5.5″, and the bottom of my TV sits at about 3″–the soundbar blocked a bit of the TV. For that reason, you will need to have your TV mounted to use the Soundbar 2i.
Setup was incredibly easy with both the soundbar and subwoofer. The soundbar is practically plug-and-play, especially if you’re using the HDMI ARC input. After the physical setup, you just open the company’s BluOS Controller app to connect and configure the speakers. In total, it took me about 10 minutes to unbox, attach the feet, hook it up, and connect it to the app.
The Bluesound speakers don’t come with a remote control, so out of the box the app is the only way to control them, unless you buy a remote or pair the speakers with a compatible remote that you already own. Harmony remotes are supported, and I’d suggest that while the app is a great experience, it can be a lot quicker to just have a remote handy sometimes.
But let’s talk about the sound. The Soundbar 2i offers excellent room-filling sound for both TV and music services. Within the app, you can stream from Spotify and a number of other services, or you can use your TV, an input, or Bluetooth to play music through the speakers. Either way, the sound is gorgeous, rich, with next to no distortion unless you really try to crank the levels.
Hooked up to my record player, the sound was great too, but I certainly heard the best results from high quality audio files, Spotify, and Netflix.
Listening to just the Sub+, it’s really a beautiful system, with bass that’s deep, but doesn’t just shake things, like some cheaper systems. Fiddling with the settings a little gave really striking results, and it’s pretty easy to adjust them to get what you want from the system. You’ll get the best results though from perfect placement, like having the subwoofer under your couch.
In some of my tests, I did have an issue with sound delay from my TV digital box. Some audio equipment can have this kind of issue, so it’s fairly common between some TV equipment and speakers. The solution was just adjusting the audio delay setting in the app to get it to sync properly with the TV.
And overall, the performance was fantastic for music, from live to studio, and across genres. Unplugged and live sets sound like you’re in the audience with sound that is mesmerizing.
The Pulse Soundbar 2i features Dolby Digital, 24-bit resolution, and 120 watts of system power, including two 1″ tweeters, two 4″ woofers, plus two midrange drivers, and two passive radiators. The Pulse Sub+ has 150 watts of power.
In addition to Wi-Fi, the soundbar has a number of ports, including Ethernet, USB, optical, RCA line in, HDMI (ARC & eARC), while the subwoofer has RCA out.
The soundbar and subwoofer are priced at $1299 and $999, respectively, and are available in black or white.