Alternate Current: Put Together Office Music Wars Using this Soundsystem
Technology is advancing at an alarming rate. Dial-up Internet feels almost archaic, if a public space doesn’t have a WiFi connection it’s desolate and if you’re not streaming your music collection, you’re using a gramophone – hold the hyperboles.
The demand for faster, better and then even faster and even better everything has resulted in a general lack of integrity in things once mastered to perfection, namely, the music we love and listen to. In this regard, we’ve essentially forgotten what good audio sounds like and have favored accessibility and convenience over quality. It’s starting to look like we’ll no longer need to sacrifice one for the other.
As all other aspects of tech have evolved, so has in-home audio. Transitioning from massive set-ups that took up a whole wall of your living room to sleek stand-alone players, the new wave in audio is the increasingly popular in-home wireless audio system. This market is currently dominated by SONOS , who brought it to the forefront but in all honesty has not done much to develop or evolve the market or technology further. Enter Bluesound. Created by the pioneers of HiFi audio in the 70s they’re at it again, actually managing to revolutionize a technology that is still evolving and in our opinion giving SONOS a run for their money.
Bluesound’s raison d’etre is raising the bar on digital audio so that music obsessives can enjoy sound in HiFi, even if they may not know what that sounds like and the fact of the matter is, new consumers probably don’t. I wouldn’t be surprised if 75% (and that’s being generous) of my peers had no clue that a 16-bit CD has only about half the audio quality of the original master file, compared to an MP3, which has even less than that. Bluesound, an alliance of audiophiles dedicated to delivering on the promise of wireless, digitally perfect high-fidelity audio is determined to change that- and against all odds they may just do it.
They’ve currently got five units, that make up their music “ecosystem”: Node, PowerNode, Vault , Duo and Pulse. To put it simply, between each of these you can rig your entire apartment with the sickest sound system known to man, with no wires and a no stress-set-up. One song in each room, a different song in each room, different volumes, different file formats- the possibilities are endless.
If I could have tried them all I would have, but I was fortunate enough to test the Pulse in the IX Daily offices and can only imagine what music would sound like with multiple units blasting all at once.
The Pulse is described as an all-in-one music system with integrated audiophile-grade speakers, a 35-bit/844kHz DAC, and a direct connection to the world of Internet radio and streaming music services. I’d describe the sound quality as standing in front of the stage as your favorite band jams at full blast. It’s essentially a Berlin club sound system (Berghain perhaps?) packed into a neatly designed, sexy black box.
Initially, I tried to set myself up without looking at the instructions to test the intuitiveness of the product but had to revert back to them quite quickly. Still, set-up took no time at all and within 10 minutes I was using their app to stream music from Rdio, my music library and digital music services like Spotify Connect, Tunein, Slacker and Deezer among others. I also wanted to access my iPhone tracks. I (literally) walked to the local depanneur, purchased a $15.00 bluetooth dongle, returned, plugged it in and connected via Bluetooth. Now I’m streaming the latest Caribou song in HiFi quality and sipping a macchiato. Life is good.
Fact is, these players are the cream of the crop. Albeit the cost is not exactly cheap – you’ll start with the Node for $449.99 , $699.99 for the Powernode, $999.99 for the Vault , $999.99 for a Duo and $699.99 for the Pulse. As the saying goes, "you get what you pay for" and the value you get for it with Bluesound cannot be beat. So if you’ve got the cash to burn by all means do but that said, you could very easily and happily get by with just the Pulse.
Either way, I am thoroughly impressed with Bluesound. The Pulse has ruined me for all other music players, which may not be such a bad thing.
Stash or Trash: Definite Stash
Cool Fun Feature: Anyone who is on your wifi network and downloads the app can add tracks to your playlist. Pretty great for parties or in my case, office music wars
Learn More: www.Bluesound.com
Make It Yours: www.crutchfield.com/shopsearch/bluesound_products.html