Bluesound adds high-end Pulse Soundbar to multiroom range

Feature tricks include hi-res networking streaming with MQA support

Bluesound is expanding its multiroom range to include a soundbar model that supports networked hi-res audio streaming with MQA compatability.

The Bluesound Pulse Soundbar will sell for £1,000 when it arrives in November, placing it in the high-end 'bar bracket alongside the likes of Samsung's HW-K950DALI's Kubik One and Yamaha's top-line YSP models.

Able to turn a TV setup into another multiroom zone, the Pulse Soundbar uses a six-strong driver array (arranged in a stereo config), with each custom-designed unit supported by a dedicated amplifier channel. There are also two additional passive radiators. While natively two-channel, the onboard Dolby decoding chip that handles downmixing will, HCC has discovered, by enabled by a future firmware to allow the 'bar to decode surround sound signals and output to linked Pulse speakers. 

Physical inputs are optical digital audio, analogue line-in and USB-A. For streaming access, aptX Bluetooth is joined by Wi-Fi and Gigabit Ethernet. It's via the latter two where the Pulse Soundbar hopes to woo audiophiles, as it claims to be the world's first soundbar offering hi-res audio streaming (to 24-bit/192kHz) and playback of MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) files.

Voicing of the bar has been carried out at Canada’s National Research Council by speaker engineer Paul Barton (also the brains behind the PSB speaker brand).'The Soundbar’s sound quality can be compared to fine audiophile speakers, delivering life-like realism, detail and dynamics to soundtracks and movies alike,' boasts Pulse.

Low-frequency response is is rated down to 55Hz (-3dB). For those seeking more bass wallop, the unit offers a subwoofer output, and Bluesound will launch the £600 Pulse SUB early next year. 'For owners of conventional wired subwoofers, Bluesound will offer a dongle to directly connect the Soundbar to their existing subwoofer,' says the multiroom corp.

Design-wise, the black Pulse Soundbar is constructed from extruded aluminium and measures 1,073(w) x 141(h) x 70(d)mm. Bundled accessories include a stereo phono to phono cable, Ethernet lead, 'kickstand' feet and a wallmount bracket.

Operation is either via a TV's handset courtesy of the bar's IR learning function, or the brand's BluOS smartphone/tablet app.