Bluesound Introduces First High-Res Streaming Audio Soundbar with MQA Support

October 7 2016, 04:00
Bluesound introduced its new Pulse Soundbar at CEDIA 2016 and will be showcasing it at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2016 in Denver (7-9 October). This is the world’s first soundbar to support Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) high-resolution audio, joining Bluesound’s family of MQA-ready wireless Pulse speakers and Node players, enabling wireless hi-resolution music streaming to any room in the home. 

Now featuring an updated version of BluOS (v2.6.1.), Bluesound’s powerful wireless multi-room streaming operating system, the new Pulse Soundbar enables the TV room to be the heart of a whole-home wireless music system that delivers hi-res network audio streaming to all members of the household through an easy-to-use app available for smart devices. Intended for use with flat panel displays 42” or greater, the PULSE Soundbar ($999 U.S. MSRP) supports audio resolutions of 24 bits and up to 192kHz sampling rate.

The Soundbar’s sound quality delivers detail and dynamics from a very slim and elegant form, requiring both innovative thinking and advanced design techniques. To achieve this level of performance, the Pulse Soundbar features a true 3-way speaker configuration and each driver has its own dedicated amplifier channel processed through a powerful DSP for the crossover filters. Each driver is custom developed for this application and includes individually optimized chambers for ideal speaker operation and isolation.

The stylish black cabinet is made from extruded aluminum, allowing the largest possible interior volume due to thin wall construction. 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 3 db @ 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 design was created by the award-winning industrial designer David Farrage of DF-ID.

The soundbar is powered by an advanced ARM processor and precision master clock running at 1GHz. In combination with BluOS, 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 over millions of songs that can be streamed from a dozen or more music services that are natively integrated.

Other inputs include Optical and Analog for connecting to TV and USB for memory drives loaded with music. Bluetooth, with the high fidelity aptX codec, is also included to allow direct streaming from smartphones, tablets or laptops. The Pulse Soundbar also includes an IR sensor with learning function (TV Connect) to allow existing TV or universal remotes to operate basic sound functions like volume and mute.

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 as standard: 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.

BluOS Version 2.6.1
With the presentation art RMAF 2016, Bluesound announced the release of its new BluOS update v2.6.1, now allowing users to index over 200,000 tracks and adding new music services’ integration and a number of user interface enhancements.

BluOS 2.6.1 makes it possible for music lovers with large music collections to index over 200,000 songs and access them through the BluOS Controller App. Current users of BluOS-enabled products for both the Bluesound and NAD brands will be prompted to update their player firmware to take advantage of this feature. Current users will also notice a redesigned player drawer that adds quick access audio controls and expanded options for Bluesound’s new Pulse Soundbar.

BluOS is now also integrated with Microsoft Groove (formerly Xbox Music and Zune Music), which offers access to over 40 million songs for streaming and download. In addition to Microsoft Groove as a new music service, and a newly expanded library index, the new BluOS firmware features new app widgets for iOS, Android and Desktop PC; enhanced user interface for the Apple Watch App; multi-touch app interface for iOS devices including 3D Touch; and grouped playback when syncing audio/video in real-time.

Developed for Lenbrook’s premium wireless audio brands, Bluesound and NAD Electronics, BluOS is a music management software and an advanced operating system that allows for interoperability among enabled devices and provides connectivity to numerous cloud and network music sources. BluOS fully supports High Resolution Audio (HRA) and Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), as well as all popular lossless and lossy codecs. It also features seamless integrations with common smart home controls like Control4, Crestron, and RTI, among others. BluOS-enabled devices can be controlled with a free app available for smartphones, tablets, and desktops. |
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