Bluesound PULSE 2i Overview
Part of Bluesound's generation 2i family of smart wireless speakers, the PULSE 2i makes wireless hi-fi audio possible in every room of the house - thanks to enhancements including dual-band Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay 2 support, two-way and aptX Bluetooth, and improved amplification and acoustics. Custom DirectDigital amplifiers deliver 150 watts to the redesigned dual woofer/tweeter array, for music with greater impact and detail. Improved Digital Soundfield Processing (DSP) means convincing stereo reproduction from a single box – with a truly wide soundstage and room-filling low-end reproduction. And, as a company created to flow the highest-resolution music throughout your house, Bluesound and Gen 2i take streaming to a whole new level. Top-quality digital to analog conversion circuitry (DAC) precisely decodes nearly every high-resolution file format, including the latest MQA lossless platform. Bluetooth aptX HD provides the cleanest streaming – better-than-CD quality – from your favorite phone or portable. Dual-band Wi-Fi eliminates congestion and interference. The BluOS operating system is app-easy to setup and control. And every major online service, dozens of Internet radio stations and your own network-based collection are all available at the tap of a screen.
- Bluetooth 5.0 aptX HD designed for superior music streaming
- Two-way Bluetooth for wireless headphone listening, plus headphone jack
- 802.11ac dual-band Wi-Fi
- 17 or more integrated online services access all major cloud-based jukeboxes
- High-resolution music file support includes FLAC, WAV, AIFF and the latest MQA, with sampling rates up to 192kHz
- Apple’s AirPlay 2 wireless support (firmware upgrade)
- Optical/analog input, Ethernet and USB for system flexibility
- Dual 5.25-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters
- Advanced DSP for convincing, spacious stereo from a single box
- 150 watts bi-amped: 65 watts to each woofer, 10 watts per tweeter
- Whole-home audio control via BluOS app (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire), unit control via top-mounted touch buttons
- Available in black or white matte
- Amazon Alexa voice control in development
- Dimensions: 16.5” wide x 7.8” high x 7.55” deep
- Weight: 11.11 lbs.
- Warranty: 1 year – World Wide Stereo is an authorized dealer for every brand we sell
- Included: World Wide Stereo 60-day guarantee and expert product support
It starts with the sound
Bluesound’s well-regarded sonic signature has been improved for Generation 2i. The top-of-the-line PULSE 2i features redesigned dual 5.25-inch woofers and 1-inch tweeters, each driven by its own DirectDigital amplifier, effectively doubling the available power to the array. Combined with advanced digital soundfield processing (DSP) and encased in an acoustically sealed cabinet, the single compact package delivers room-filling realism with convincing stereo and bottom-end oomph. And with DSP, you also can customize the PULSE’s sound for the space and your situation, with such effects as Wide Mode, Late Night and Dialog.
Two-way, top-quality Bluetooth
The latest Bluetooth protocol – version 5.0, aptX HD – is capable of streaming music directly from phones, portables or tablets at better-than-CD quality and is designed for the best reproduction of the latest generation of lossless files. And the PULSE 2i adds two-way Bluetooth communication, so you can listen privately via the wireless headset of your choice – or use the included headphone jack for a wired connection.
High-res horsepower to spare
As a member of Gen 2i, the PULSE 2i effortlessly handles high-resolution lossless files via download and streaming – up to 24 bit/192kHz sampling rates, in ALAC, AIFF, FLAC and WAV. And it’s fully compatible with space-saving “lossy” file formats such as as MP3, AAC, WMA and OGG. But the PULSE 2i adds out-of-the-box support for the new Master Quality Authenticated format, MQA. Music studios and equipment makers are signing on for the lossless digital files that stream smoothly, automatically adapt to your equipment and pack high-res in a smaller file.
“All the music ever recorded”
That’s Bluesound’s bold claim. But consider its capabilities. Tap into the collection on your own home network, via the PULSE 2i’s latest generation dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. AirPlay 2 capability streams directly from your iTunes and Apple Music library – virtually from any Apple product directly to any and all speakers. TuneIn, iHeart, Calm Radio, Slacker and Radio Paradise offer dozens of Internet radio stations. And select songs seamlessly from the top celestial jukeboxes including Tidal, Deezer, Spotify, Amazon and Pandora.
Optimized operating system
The BluOS operating system was designed for wireless from the bottom up. A free download (iOS, Android and Kindle Fire), the BluOS Controller App ties together every compatible component in your home, makes set-up a snap, flips effortlessly through all your files and sources, and gives you fingertip control of the whole ecosystem. Individual touch controls are on top of the PULSE 2i speaker for convenience. Amazon Alexa integration is in development, and with AirPlay 2 coming, you’ll soon be able to chat with Siri as well.
- Operating system: BluOS
- Supported operating systems: iOS, Android, Windows Vista, 7, 8, 10, macOS X 7-10
- Supported file formats: Mp3, AAC, WMA, WMA-L, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AIFF, MQA
- Native sampling rates: 32 - 192kHz
- Bit depths: 16 - 24
- Music service integrations: 17+
- 3rd-party integrations: AirPlay2 (via software update), Apple Wireless Accessory Configuration (WAC)
- Control system integration: Crestron, Control 4, RTI, ELAN, URC, Push, Lutron, iPort
- Voice control integration: Supports Amazon Alexa (via software update)
- Play/pause button: Touch LED
- Volume control buttons: Touch LED
- Previous/next track buttons: Touch LED
- Preset buttons: In-App
- Processor: ARM cortex -A9, 1GHz
- Distortion: THD+N, 0.030%
- Amplification: Digital
- Power output: 150W total system power, bi-amplified 65W x 2 woofer; 10W x 2 tweeter
- Speakers: 5.25" x 2 woofer; 1" x 2 tweeter
- Frequency response: 40Hz - 20kHz ± 1.5dB, -10dB @ 33Hz
- Power: Universal tri-pin AC cord input 100 - 240AC)
- Ethernet/LAN: Ethernet RJ45, GigE
- Wi-Fi built-in: 802.11ac, dual-band
- Bluetooth: Built-in
- Bluetooth quality: Qualcomm aptX HD Bluetooth 5.0
- Bluetooth connectivity: Two-way (transmit & receive)
- IR optical built-in: IR sensor built-in - front panel
- Optical/analog input: Combo - Toslink/3.5mm
- USB In: Type A (Fat32 formatted)
- USB: Type B (mini) for product servicing
- Headphone output: 3.5mm stereo
- Power consumption (Idle/Standby): 8 watts/<0.5 watts
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 8.7" x 3.54" x 7.55"
- Weight: 4.05 lbs.
What's in the Box
What's in the Box:
- PULSE 2i Premium Wireless Streaming Speaker
- 120V AC power cord
- 230V AC power cord
- Ethernet cable
- Toslink optical to 3.5mm mini adaptor
- Safety/warranty guide
- Quick setup guide
Customer Reviews for Bluesound PULSE 2i Premium Wireless Streaming Speaker
I have now done extensive listening with the Pulse 2i and also the Pulse Mini 2i. I initially agreed with the lukewarm review of the Pulse 2i by WhatHiFi. I can see why they gave the new Pulse 2i only 3 out of 5 stars. I do think though that WhatHiFi missed something. The Pulse 2 and 2i have different interfaces in the Bluesound app. The settings and controls are more extensive with the new 2i than with the 2. It took a while for me to figure out but the devil is in the details.
With the older Pulse 2, when the equalizer settings are turned “on” it only muddied the sound. When I called Bluesound support they said that if I increase the bass to its maximum on the Pulse 2 what happens is that the midrange is decreased by up to 6 decibels. What? If I increase the midrange to its maximum it decreases the bass by up to 6 decibels? None of this made sense to me. If I want to increase any signal level I should be able to do so without affecting any other level. This was impossible with the Pulse 2. Without a doubt, the most open, transparent, and best sound from the Pulse 2 is achieved with all equalizer settings turned off.
Again, the Pulse 2 sounds best with its equalizer settings turned off. Conversely, the Pulse 2i sounds flat and lifeless out of the box but with the equalizer sliders maximized the 2i the sound opens up and sounds much better. With this configuration the sound from the Pulse 2i is better than the Pulse 2. Perhaps Bluesound implemented a passive equalizer on the Pulse 2 and an active equalizer on the Pulse 2i. With the Pulse 2 you can only reduce the signal levels whereas with the 2i you can boost the signal levels. So with both speakers optimized for sound quality, how much better does the Pulse 2i sound than the older Pulse 2?
My roommate is an acoustic guitar player and computer geek and together we put both the Pulse 2 and 2i through their paces once we got the sound settings maximized for each speaker. Our conclusion was that the treble on the 2i was a good 30% better on the 2i than on the 2. Bass was about 20% better on the 2i than the 2 and the midrange was a bit of a mixed bag depended on whether you were listening to a symphonic orchestra or pop music. There is something to be said about the ease of the midrange on the Pulse 2 but overall the Pulse 2i sounds as if you were listening to the Pulse 2 but someone took the veil off of it. The Pulse 2i is just more open and transparent. For instance, when listening to jazz on the 2i I really can hear the thrush on high hat cymbals that was recessed on the Pulse 2.
Overall, however, both my roommate and I have come to the conclusion that the sound quality of the Pulse 2i is about 20 - 30% better than the Pulse 2. Yes, this might not seem like what I would conclude after my previous statements about the Pulse 2i but the Pulse 2 really is a special speaker and the 2i does build on this but not as substantially as I would’ve hoped for. The added tweeters on the 2i is the biggest improvement. In addition, the Pulse 2 has one 5 inch woofer with two bass ports and the Pulse 2i has two 5 inch woofers instead.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment of the Pulse 2i is that Bluesound should’ve carried over the two 2.75 inch midrange drivers from the Pulse 2 into the Pulse 2i. Though the Pulse 2i does sound better with two 5 inch woofers and two 1 inch tweeters the addition of the two midrange drivers would’ve added to the sound quality substantially. The 2i speaker enclosure is large enough to support the additional drivers.
Also, even though I don’t think the Pulse 2i is the hugely improved product we’ve been waiting for and Bluesound should’ve tried harder, my overall rating for the Pulse 2i is 4 out of 5 stars.. For me, the improved sound quality and the improved software interface of the Pulse 2i is worth the upgrade from the Pulse 2. For others, the Pulse 2i might not be worth the upgrade because Bluesound doesn’t have the same name recognition as Sonos so selling your used Pulse 2’s on ebay may result in a bigger financial hit than its worth.
In closing, I am able to write this extensive review, in part, because of World Wide Stereo's liberal 60 day return policy. I have had plenty of time to carefully listen and compose my thoughts. I will continue to purchase all of my audio equipment from World Wide Stereo and I encourage everyone who read this review to do the same. We must fight together against the mega online giants and support those businesses with incredible knowledge, expertise, and personalized service. Thank you, World Wide Stereo.
10 months ago