Wireless whole-home audio is a booming audio industry segment. After all, who doesn’t like the idea of all of your music, in any room, at a swipe of your phone’s touchscreen? Their finely-tuned components offer native high resolution audio up to 24-bit/192kHz.
However, the sound quality of wireless whole-home audio systems is all over the map. Also, their software varies greatly in both features and usability. Bluesound fixes both of these problems. Their finely-tuned components offer native high resolution audio up to 24-bit/192kHz. The BluOS music library management software is both powerful and intuitive.
Bluesound and BluOS were my highlights from the grand opening of HiFi Buys in Atlanta last year. A full Bluesound setup drove KEF LS50 speakers, with spooky good imaging seated or standing. PSB founder Paul Barton also used BluOS to stream music from Tidal to NAD Masters Series electronics during his demonstration of his wonderful PSB Imagine T3 loudspeakers.
Bluesound is the hi-fi analog of a “supergroup.” They are one part PSB speaker engineering genius, one part NAD electronics expertise, and one part music lovers who understand that the greatest sounding components in the world are useless without intuitive software to stitch it all together. The Pulse Mini, Powernode 2, and Vault 2 in this review are second-generation Bluesound components. While there are both significant changes in appearance and improvements to performance in the second generation compared to the Bluesound Gen 1 components, I am told both generations of Bluesound components work together.
Bluesound sent me three components for this review: Vault 2 music server, PowerNode 2 integrated DAC-amp, and Pulse Mini all-in-one streaming system.
All of the Bluesound components have a common control interface, and 1GHz ARM Cortex A9 processors. They are designed primarily for use with the BluOS app, but they also have IR remote control capability and touch control on top for play/pause, track skip/back, and volume. The overall look and feel of the Bluesound components is refined elegance, with subtle curves and soft touch plastics in a trendy matte black.
Bluesound’s BluOS unifies all components in the Bluesound ecosystem. BluOS is currently in Version 2.2. All of my initial setup occurred in version 1.x, as did most of my listening. In the current version, BluOS will even update all of your Bluesound components to the latest software or firmware with one click.