Bluesound Pulse Flex
Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)
Great small speaker for small room - ties in very well with the system overall.
If you're serious about your music and its sound quality, here's good news. With the Bluesound system, you can play your high-resolution music and enjoy the convenience of wireless multi-room audio throughout your home. Bluesound was designed by the makers of NAD electronics and PSB speakers, both experts when it comes to delivering high-performance audio.
The Bluesound Pulse Flex is quite small — and quite powerful. It features a 1” tweeter and a 3-1/2” woofer, each amplified separately to ensure an accurate response. You'll enjoy clear, detailed mono sound that puts most similar-sized Bluetooth speakers to shame.
Bluesound is compatible with virtually all digital music formats — including high-resolution files up to 24-bit/192kHz. Access the music stored on your computer or a networked hard drive. Stream from Internet radio stations and online services like Spotify®, Rhapsody, and TIDAL. You can also enjoy downloads from high-res music sites such as HDtracks. The player is compatible with MQA, an up-and-coming high-resolution audio format. The Pulse 2 also features a USB input for playing files "locally" from a thumb drive or hard drive — ideal when friends come over with their own music.
The Pulse Flex features aptX® audio coding, an advanced form of Bluetooth that allows higher-fidelity sound with compatible Bluetooth devices. The system is backward-compatible with earlier forms of Bluetooth, too. Bluetooth is a convenient way to play the sound from any app you might be using on your mobile device, including Netflix® and YouTube™. You can even share that Bluetooth source with other Bluesound music players around your house that are connected to the same network.
Combine multiple Bluesound players to enjoy high-end sound throughout your home.
Great small speaker for small room - ties in very well with the system overall.
Anonymous, Coppell, TX
Average Customer Review(s):
Great small speaker for small room - ties in very well with the system overall.
Easy to set up but protected music does not come over from iTunes and some playlists with non-protected music also do not come over in full even with multiple re-indexing.
Pros: Very compact and sounds great for its size.
Cons: Mac OS app is very poor and you cannot stream protected music from your iTunes
I just ordered my second Pulse Flex, along with a pair of brackets for wall mounting. Pairing two wall-mounted Pulse Flex in stereo produces a result far greater than its parts. Stereo separation is excellent, and the wall does a nice job of reinforcing bass response without muddying the sound. I stream TIDAL (CD quality), and the sound through the Pulse Flex pair is first-rate. I'm an audiophile, and have this pair in my bedroom as a "second system." For a great price (two Pulse Flex + two wall brackets), you can have a very good system with the convenience of phone/tablet operation and no "footprint." No, it's not as good as my multi-thousand dollar main system in a room that's been heavily treated, but you'd be hard pressed to do better for anywhere near the money. My only gripe (as I mentioned in a separate review of the brackets) is that the brackets don't come with the needed mounting screws -- a substantial oversight for a nearly $70 (each) product.
Pros: Stereo pairing yields a whole that's greater than the sum of its parts; Easy set-up; unobtrusive with zero "footprint"; Very hard to beat for the money unless you're a serious hobbyist and have room for a full-fledged stereo.
Cons: Expensive mounting brackets ship without the proper wall-mounting screws.
The Good: Great sounding speaker. Nice quality. The Bad: IOS interface needs as complete redo plus Apple music, Google music and Pandora not available in their system (must bluetooth to speaker).
So far so good. The sound is amazing. Beyond expectations. A few issues with connectivity due to distance from router but Bluesound support has been very helpful in finding solutions. I am not a "techie" but I have found the app easy to use. Over all amazing.
After listening comparisons with Bluesound, Denon HEOS, and Sonos alternatives, I chose the Bluesound system. Most recently, I bought 2 Pulse Flex speakers to pair for stereo sound to add to my Bluesound system. I have two Pulse IIs set up in my living room, 2 Pulse Minis set up in the family room, and I use the Pulse Flex pair as portables in different locations inside and out. I use the Vault 2 as my media source. I have been very pleased with the Bluesound system sound and features.
Fantastic audio quality, app is not on par with Sonos but the increased clarity and flexibility when combined with a battery pack is fantastic!
Purchasing the bluesound item the plus flex was my first purchase of a speaker that runs off wifi. I was amazed with this new item in my grasped, the audio quality was incredible. The blue tooth is the fast connecting Bluetooth to phone that I have used before. In the app, you are able to control the dB levels of the bass and treble, making my listening experience a dream come true.
Pros: fast connecting Bluetooth, great sound quality, excellent treble and handy app, able to control decibel levels
Cons: needs more bass , a wider sound frequency range
The Bluesound system is Easy to use and has awesome sound.
Purchased Aug 2016. Returned after a few days listening. I am a fan of PSB, my surround system is PSB. I bought these to play outside and then in the house during winter. I listened to them in stereo paired mode and solo. Setup easy, the software was fine, worked well. The sound quality was my issue. Clear, but very thin sound, not enough bass for dedicating listening. At loud volumes they are clear and crisp. This is more of a mark against size than performance. If your anywhere near the audio file camp you'll want a bigger blue sound speaker c
Pros: Clear sound. Capable of high volume without distorting
Cons: A this sound, not big enough for dedicating listening
I purchased the Sonos Play 1 prior to purchasing the Pulse Flex. I returned the Sonos given limitations (max of 65K tracks), non-support of 24-bit, overall software and future outlook of development.
Pros: - Overall hardware and sound - Software synchronization
Cons: - My biggest complaint with the hardware is the A/C adapter extends from the back of the unit. The Play 1 was far more elegant, as I have this placed within a tight space.
This is a great addition to my larger Bluesound set up - specifically acquired to add high fidelity streaming content via TIDAL to my bedroom. A breeze to set up and a dream to operate. A total winner. Sounds precisely as accurate as I was hoping and solidly constructed as well. Took my less than 5 minutes from opening the box to listening to Miles Davis.
Pros: Great Sound. Solid construction. Nice design. Small size for sound projection ability.
I've used the first-generation Bluesound Node (in the cubical chassis) for the last several months to stream TIDAL and iTunes to my standalone DAC via the Node's optical digital out, and have had excellent results -- both sonically and in terms of the user interface. I bought the Pulse Flex "unheard and unreviewed" to bring my music library to my nightstand, and have been very pleased with it. The unit sounds wonderful, and has five hard-button presets for your favorite internet radio stations or playlists or albums. It also has a sleep timer, which is great for me because I use music to help me get to sleep. There is one shortcoming: My Bluesound playlists are comprised of both TIDAL and iTunes tracks. But while both my iPad and iPhone have the same iTunes files on them (and while each device will play my mixed-source playlists through the Bluesound Node in my main system), the Pulse Flex will not play iTunes tracks from a mixed-source playlist unless the playlist was created on the device controlling the Pulse. In other words, if I create a mixed-source playlist on my iPad, I can't use my iPhone (which has the same content) to play that same playlist on the Pulse. That's too bad because I keep my iPad in the living room, but have my iPhone on my nightstand overnight. Perhaps a Bluesound operating system update will fix this problem? Otherwise, the Pulse Flex is excellent.
Pros: Great sound; Easy to operate; Small footprint
Cons: See review remarks above about playing mixed-source (TIDAL and iTunes, for example) playlists.
Bluesound Wireless High-Resolution Audio Eco-System: The Pulse Flex wireless speaker is part of Bluesound's wireless high-resolution audio eco-system. The Bluesound wireless high-resolution audio eco-system consists of music players, amplifiers, hard-drives, and wireless speakers to playback your high-res and low-res music files, along with your favorite online music services throughout your home using your home's WiFi network. With an advanced WiFi antenna design and blazing ARM Cortex9 Processors, Bluesound ensures a solid connection in every corner of your home. Play your music in perfect sync or play different music simultaneously to any Bluesound device in any room.
Note: Up to 16 Bluesound devices can be connected in a strictly wireless environment. If you want to connect more than 16 Bluesound devices, you will need to connect the Bluesound devices to your network using a wired connection. Bluesound can then control up to 64 devices in a strictly wired environment.
Direct Digital Technology: Bluesound's 32-bit architecture combined with 8x oversampling, paired with their own innovative DirectDigital Amp and DAC platforms, ensures that your lossless high-res music playback is flawless, with precision, power and clarity - at any volume. The Pulse Flex wireless speaker delivers 20 watts of bi-amplified power to its one 3.5" mid driver and one 1" dome tweeter, while its state-of-the-art DSP equalization maximizes bass power and clarity.
Wired or Wireless Network Connection: The Bluesound Pulse Mini can be connected to your home network and Internet provider via a hardwired Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) jack connector or wireless WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) connection. Either network/internet connection allows you to stream music from your Windows or Mac computer and NAS drive (such as the Bluesound Vault, sold separately); as well as stream select online music services.
Note: Bluesound operates only on 2.4GHz WiFi (not 5GHz).
Bluesound Controller App: The free Bluesound Controller App turns your Apple iOS (7.0+) iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android (OS 4.0+) smartphone/tablet, Windows (Vista or higher) PC or Mac (OS X 10.7+) computer into a full-featured remote control for the Bluesound wireless music system. The Bluesound Controller App on your compatible device uses your home's WiFi network to connect with Bluesound devices, so you can play all the music you love anywhere in your home for a wireless multiroom music experience. Get on-demand access to your music libraries on your home network, stream live Internet radio from almost any place in the world, or listen to one of the many music services available on Bluesound, all from the palm of your hand with the easy-to-use Bluesound Controller App.
Supported Music Formats: The Bluesound wireless audio system supports both low-res and high-res audio files; including MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, WMA Lossless, MQA, WAV, and AIFF. Bluesound has been designed to work with today's larger music collections, and has indexed libraries up to 100,000 songs in demonstrated practice (this will depend on the music's metadata & artwork). Bluesound also offers gapless playback by default for all supported file music types.
|Compression||File Type||Sampling Frequency||Bit Rate or Bit Depth|
|Lossless||WMA-Lossless||up to 96 kHz||up to 24-bit|
|FLAC||192 kHz||up to 24-bit|
|Uncompressed||AIFF||up 192 kHz||up to 24-bit|
Notes: Bluesound cannot index or play AAC files with the extension ".m4p". These files were purchased in iTunes prior to 2009 and are subject to copy protection. Apple Consumers with an iTunes Match subscription can delete and re-download these files free of charge from their iTunes Cloud
MQA (Master Quality Authenticated): Bluesound is the first wireless multiroom audio system to support MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that captures and delivers master quality audio in a file that's small enough to stream or download. Bluesound worked closely with MQA to implement technology inside each Bluesound component to ensure the listener will hear MQA encoded music and streams exactly like the source and the way the artist intended you to hear it when it was approved in the studio.
Note: MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) support will require a firmware update.
Online Music Services: With a network and internet connection, the Pulse Flex lets you access select online music services & internet radio. The Bluesound Controller app on your Apple iOS or Android device will serve as the controller for these apps and provide song/artist information with Album Art.
Note: Availability of online music services may vary by region. Not all services may be available at time of purchase. Some services may be added or discontinued from time to time based on decisions of the music service providers or others.
Music Library From Your Mobile Device: From the Bluesound Controller App, you can stream music directly over WiFi from your Apple iOS or Android device to the Bluesound Pulse Flex and the rest of your Bluesound components around your home. The app gives you complete control of your compatible mobile device's music library with song/artist information and album art.
Computer Audio: The Bluesound wireless music system will pull music from an existing digital music library across the network on your Windows PC or Mac computer using Windows or SMB File Sharing (SAMBA) and the Bluesound Controller App for Windows & Mac.
Bluetooth w/ aptX: The Bluesound Pulse Flex features built-in Bluetooth 4.0 with support for wireless music streaming from your Bluetooth-enabled Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android smartphone/tablet, Windows PC/Phone, Mac computer/laptop, and more. You'll be able to stream stored music and music apps on your Bluetooth-enabled device to the Pulse Flex. In addition, the Pulse Flex offers aptX for CD-quality sound from Android (OS 4.0+) devices. You can even distribute Bluetooth audio to the rest of your Bluesound wireless audio system throughout your home or office over WiFi.
USB Port: The Bluesound Pulse Flex features a USB (type-A) port to directly connect your USB mass storage class (MSC) device; such as a thumbdrive or external hard-drive. The unit's USB port supports music playback from these compatible USB devices formatted in FAT 32 or NTFS. Not only can USB audio be played back on the Pulse Flex, but can also be wirelessly distributed to the rest of your Bluesound components throughout your home for multiroom playback.
- USB mass storage devices that require more than 0.5A of power will require a separate power supply.
- The USB port is not compatible with the direct connection of an Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad or Android devices.
Optical/Analog Input: The Pulse Flex is fitted with a 3.5mm Aux input which can be used as an analog or digital connection. As an analog input, simply connect a stereo minijack audio cable from your analog source to the Pulse Flex's Aux input. As a digital input, use the included 3.5mm-to-Optical adapter along with an optical digital cable (sold separately) to connect your digital source to the Pulse Flex's Aux input. As an analog or digital input, the unit's Aux input supports 2ch PCM audio (not Dolby Digital or DTS). Audio from the Optical/Analog Aux input can be played back at the Pulse Mini speaker and wirelessly distributed to other Bluesound components in your home for multiroom playback.
Soft-Touch Controls: The Pulse Flex offers soft-touch, top-panel controls to operate basic playback functions like Volume Up/Down, Play/Pause, and Previous/Next Track. There are also 5 preset buttons to store up to 5 of your favorite Internet Radio stations or online music service content.
Headphone Output: A 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the front of the Pulse Mini for private listening with a set of headphones. The Pulse Flex speaker will be muted when headphone are connected.
AC Power + Battery Power: The Bluesound Pulse Flex operates off of standard household current using it's internal power supply and the supplied 6.5' detachable AC power cord. An optional battery pack (813BP100, sold separately) delivers 6 hours of high-res streaming.
Mounting Options: The Pulse Flex speaker can simply be placed on a table-top, shelf, stand, desk, or other piece of furniture with a flat surface. There is also a M6 threaded insert on the back of the speaker which allows you to wall-mount it using an optional wall-mount bracket (813VM100, sold separately).
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Bluesound Generation 2 wireless multi-room audio products reviewed by a veteran Crutchfield editor.