A successful combination of hardware and software solutions developed under the same roof for NAD Electronics, PSB Speakers, and Bluesound wireless multi-room systems, under the umbrella of The Lenbrook Group of Companies, Bluesound Professional was created as an expansion towards commercial audio powered by BluOS, the multi-zone audio management software platform, now offering a complete streaming ecosystem for commercial spaces.
The idea for the new brand was extremely well received, and in less than one year Bluesound Professional quickly established a dedicated, global distribution network. In a quick succession of trade-show presentations, including InfoComm 2019 in Orlando, CEDIA 2019 in Denver, and culminating at ISE 2020 in Amsterdam, Bluesound Professional brought to market a complete range of streamers, amplifiers, speakers, controls, and accessories, completing a highly anticipated suite of commercial audio products designed for the streaming age.
“It has been satisfying to see these products make it into the warehouses of our growing distribution network,” says Graeme Harrison, Vice-President and General Manager of Bluesound Professional. “This is a huge milestone for a new brand like ours and we continue to be excited about the revolution in commercial streaming audio that we can now deliver in a fulsome way.”
At their core, Bluesound Professional products feature the established BluOS multi-zone audio content management interface, seamlessly integrated into purpose-designed hardware, creating conflict-free solutions for commercial applications. Bluesound Professional products are designed to suit a variety of commercial use cases where audio content is used to create a nearly limitless number of branded experiences, including in restaurants, bars, cafés, hotels, gyms, malls, and other similar spaces.
Bluesound Professional's streamers and amplifiers fit in standard racking systems, while speakers and control panels include easy-to-install, clean-looking wall mount brackets. All hardware offers a variety of standard inputs and outputs, including secure Phoenix connectors for balanced analog line outputs, balanced mic/line inputs, remote 12V trigger, IR, and system interrupt, together with hardwired Gigabit Ethernet (RJ 45) for reliable network connection at all times. Security to prevent unauthorized use of systems is built-in, while the BluOS software platform adds an easy-to-setup solution, with network discovery, device self-discovery, and guided set-up and advanced customization options, including lock settings with password-protected accounts.
All BluOS Enabled products allow for a virtually unlimited number of zones of high-resolution grouped or independent audio environments, and interoperability amongst any BluOS Enabled devices within the BluOS ecosystem. The systems natively stream from music services licensed specifically for commercial use, as well as from other popular music streaming services.
Finally, the company offers numerous control options, including wall-mount control panel, IR remote, Windows or Macintosh computers, smart device app for iOS or Android, and drivers for use with popular control systems like Crestron and KNX, among others.
At the core of the solution are the B100S BluOS Network Streaming Player for single zones and the B400S 4-Zone BluOS Network Streaming Player in a slim, 1U rack unit that can be connected to either a distribution amplifier with passive speakers, or directly into powered speakers. The system then includes the A860 8-Channel Power Amplifier, a traditional distribution amplifier designed to be a companion to the streamers, and the B160S 2-channel amplifier that has the network streaming benefits of BluOS built in, for a compact way to deliver audio content to a zone.
Bluesound Professional speakers are entirely unique, carrying what is essentially a B100S BluOS Network Streamer in each unit, making them among the most versatile pieces in the brand’s portfolio of products. With source selection, playback controls, and grouping all done via software, and amplification and DSP inside the speaker cabinet, each speaker becomes an all-in-one solution for audio distribution, completely bypassing the need for a system head in smaller installations.
Featuring a 3.5” (89 mm) low-frequency driver and a 1” (25.4 mm) high-frequency driver, the BSP125 is a 25 watt, efficiently amplified speaker with built-in DSP to allow for equalization and other audio processing. It is also BluOS Enabled, meaning it will connect to network-accessible music sources and communicate with other BluOS devices on the same network. With surprisingly robust response across the frequency range (45 Hz – 20 kHz) for its size and a THD+N rating of 0.003% at full-rated power, the BSP125 is a versatile, premium sounding speaker for any commercial installation. Available in black or white, the BSP125 can be placed on a shelf or mounted to a ceiling or wall using an optional bracket.
All Bluesound Professional products can be controlled with the free BluOS Controller app for Windows/macOS computers, iOS and Android devices, featuring an intuitive interface and rich customization options. Control is also available from many third-party control systems.
For those who prefer working with hardware controls, the CP100 is a low-profile, wall-mounted, illuminated touch-sensitive controller. With a variety of international backboxes and powered by PoE, it is easy to install and connect to a network to control Bluesound Professional devices. The controller can be locked to protect against unintended or unauthorized use.
New Speakers and Controllers
New for ISE 2020, Bluesound Professional introduced a new range of PoE speakers and controllers, designed to offer commercial AV integrators even greater flexibility. Already previewed at InfoComm 2019, the two Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) speakers and two PoE controllers complement perfectly the already available range of solutions, expanding the BluOS multi-zone audio content management interface.
“We believe in creating an ecosystem that optimizes versatility and ease of installation, and therefore the use of PoE combined with the powerful processing capabilities of the BluOS distributed audio platform is core to our next release of products,” explains Graeme Harrison.
The Bluesound Professional BSP500 speaker is a complete system in a box. It includes a BluOS streaming module allowing replay of network connected local files as well as streaming from a wide variety of services including Spotify, Tidal, Amazon Music and many others including business music services such as SoundMachine and Internet radio services such as TuneIn. This module feeds an active full-range loudspeaker with 1" Titanium dome tweeter with ferrofluid neodymium magnet and 5.25" polypropylene cone woofer. This whole system is powered by type 2, 3 or 4 PoE and is weatherproof to allow both indoor and outdoor installation.
The Bluesound Professional is the BSP500’s big brother, again a complete system including a streaming module, power amplifier and speaker system powered by type 2, 3 or 4 PoE with one-wire connection for both power and signal. This system has a 6.5" polypropylene woofer and a ported enclosure for superior low frequency performance and it is also weather sealed for indoor or outdoor installation.
Connection to the speakers is via one network cable carrying both power and signal. Installation is further simplified by the provision of an integral mounting bracket allowing horizontal or vertical mounting options. Both models are available in either black or white.
The Bluesound Professional PS1 is a flexible, high quality network paging station allowing paging input into any Bluesound Professional system. This PoE powered interface includes a high quality paging microphone connected to a paging station allowing paging to up to 8 different programmable groups of zones accessed via a desk-mounted control panel. These pages can be programmed to duck the music in the zones and a line input is also provided for the input of other signals that need to duck the music in the selected zones. Connection to the system is via one network cable carrying power as well as both audio signal and data information for the zoning and ducking functions. Multiple PS1s may be used in a Bluesound Professional system.
Finally, the Bluesound Professional ANC1 is an advanced ambient noise compensation processor for connection to a Bluesound Professional system. This unit allows the volume of the zone it is connected to, to be adjusted automatically as the ambient noise in the zone changes. The algorithm controlling these changes uses highly advanced acoustic echo cancelling-based calculations for accurate and exact control of signal volume. Parameters are both flexible and easy to set up in software and the unit is PoE powered allowing the connection of only one network cable carrying reference signal into the unit, power and data instructions for the connected zone Bluesound Professional player. A local phantom powered mic input and a line input allows the installer to connect their choice of sensing microphone to the ANC1 for detection of ambient noise in the zone. Many ANC1s may be used in a Bluesound Professional system, each one being software mapped to the zone it is controlling.
New Commercial Streaming Services
BluOS Enabled products from Bluesound Professional can now access even more commercially-licensed music. At ISE 2020, Bluesound Professional announced the integration of Custom Channels (www.customchannels.net), a commercially licensed streaming music service specialized in curated music mixes for the hospitality, retail, and wellness industries. The company also confirmed an integration partnership with Qsic (www.getqsic.com), an automated and intelligent audio system built for businesses, delivering a perfect in-store or in-venue sound experience.
Custom Channels, a Colorado-based company, specializes in human curated music mixes that ensure consistency of style and volume level from track to track, while also minimizing repetition and eliminating explicit material. With a number of price tiers and service options, Custom Channels offers businesses control over their brand and customer experience.
Qsic is more than just a streaming service. Its robust music management system offers rich browsing and search functionality, while value-added services like custom curation and branded audio content development create highly focused experiences for consumers at the point of sale. The initial integration of Qsic into the BluOS platform that underpins Bluesound Professional products will be a starting point, with further feature implementations to come.
All BluOS Enabled devices from Bluesound Professional will be prompted for an update in March 2020, which will then enable Custom Channels as new streaming service options. The update will also enable Qsic music streaming option in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States.
“Most businesses don’t realize the legal risks of streaming music from their personal accounts on typical consumer music streaming services,” says Graeme Harrison, Vice-President and General Manager of Bluesound Professional. “We are pleased to offer additional commercially-licensed streaming options for our customers who are especially conscious of using music to create branded environments.”