The Wi-Fi speaker category of products has always held a special place in my home since I first tested one over five years ago. Before there was the Amazon Echo or the Google Home there was Sonos, and I always enjoyed how that device sounded. It may not live up to what a true Hi-Fi stereo can offer, but it had a rich enough soundscape that I was happy. Bluesound is now offering a device that on the surface competes head-to-head with Sonos, but in reality, offers that rich sound and true hi-fidelity experience that just can’t be achieved with what Sonos currently has on the market.
The Bluesound Pulse Mini looks very similar to the Sonos Play 5. It is a rectangular box with an elegant speaker grill on the front, a simple set of controls on the top, and your standard set of USB Type-A, Analog + Optical inputs, as well as a headphone output, Ethernet port, and the needed power connector on the back.
Under the hood the Pulse Mini packs two 50mm (2”) full range drivers and one 89mm (3.5”) bass driver all powered by a 60 Watt tri-amplifier. Inside you will find a 32-bit DAC that manages to handle everything from HD audio, MP3s, WMAs, and even FLAC files at up to 24bit/192kHz.
The build quality is what you would hope for from a speaker in this price range. The simple lines and placement of the Bluesound logo all manage to showcase a feeling of quality in the product. The controls on the top are easy to use, and even when in a hurry or at a busy party, they were simple to understand and interact with.
Setting up the Bluesound was an easy endeavour: simply tell the BluOS your Wifi details, and from there it will do a basic restart and you are free to jump into the BluOS app to use your favourite applications, including Deezer, Tidal, and Qobuz. You can use Bluesound with Spotify, although you are sadly stuck using it within the Spotify app rather than in the Bluesound application.
While the Pulse Mini may be small, the speakers will fill a room with rich sound with ease. The sound depth even at higher volumes gives testament to the audio engineers that worked on the device. From the individual strings being plucked on a high definition instrumental recording to the music of Daft Punk, everything had a richness that I did not think possible on a Wi-Fi speaker.
The sound depth, while not at the level seen on a larger speaker system, was fantastic all around. Even the low-end managed to impress. It managed a punchy, deep sound, that—while it will not make your floor shake—will give an impressive level of depth and clarity, allowing you to hear every instrument being played and every drum being hit.
The range is where the Pulse mini really shines. Listening to a jazz album, with the vocalist singing and the ivories being played all through the scale, you will hear the depth, clarity and crispness Bluesound managed to achieve. The warmth through each note is hard to describe, although it pushes the Wi-Fi speaker away from being background noise and makes it something you want to sit down and listen to.
Now, the Pulse Mini may not match some of the systems an audiophile may spend thousands on, nor will it replace the classic Hi-Fi setup you have been building for years, but what it does offer is a rich, high definition audio experience that is free from wires or hassle.
The Bluesound Pulse Mini offers a lush audio experience for a reasonable price. It is tailor-made for the audiophile who wants to fill their room with sound, but it is still a great offering to someone looking to step up their speaker game. The device oozes quality, and the audio you can achieve is hard to imagine coming out of the small box. Bluesound has made me a believer, and I am excited to see if Sonos can offer up anything that can compete at this level.
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