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Bluesound Pulse Listening Tests and Conclusion

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In order to experience the mad maxfull force of the Pulse Soundbar, I decided on viewing the 2015 effects-heavy hit Mad Max: Fury Road. Going in, I knew that the movie itself was an audio powerhouse, and wanted to see if the soundbar could add to the experience. I learned very quickly just how much the Pulse Soundbar could do, as right from the start I was immersed in an ocean of sound, and it only got better as the movie progressed. During the first chase scene, I could literally feel the horsepower coming from the vehicles, adding depth and urgency to the scene. Even without a separate subwoofer, the bass emanating from the soundbar felt very rich and powerful, although not overpowering to the point of discomfort. The bass was very robust, and the roar of the engines did not drown out the sounds of clanking metal and the twang of the fire-breathing guitar. Each sound had its own distinct place in the experience, and the extreme attention to detail concerning the sound effects from the movies director, George Miller, were translated beautifully by the soundbar. As the action slowed, crisp, clear dialogue soon filled the room. I could hear the subtleties of each character’s voice, including the harsh, raspy grunts delivered by Max himself. The background effects during the dialogue scenes did get a bit lost in the mix, as the sounds of wind and sand came off a bit bland and unremarkable. As the action began to pick up again, I paid particular attention to the score, as it really enhances the action occurring on screen. The soundbar was able to intensify the crescendo of the music, with thumping lows and pointed highs. With the roar of the engines back, the music played beautifully over the action, upping the stakes and really allowing the viewer to fully immerse themselves in the desert wasteland.  Although the music and action blended very well, there was a bit of concern in the middle, as some of these sounds were overshadowed by the beautiful bass and treble, and there was a bit of an edge detected with some of the dialogue during the intense action scenes. I tried manipulating the volume from the BluOS app I downloaded earlier, and found the range of volumes too limiting. On the high end, the sound was extremely robust and certainly filled the room, but on the low end the crispness began to fade and the warmth of the bass dropped off quickly. The sweet spot was at about the three-quarter setting, where I found a great balance between the highs, middles, and lows. As the final battle was being set up, I found myself anticipating the sounds of screeching tires and the clanking of metal I knew was soon to follow. Once underway, I could literally hear the war boys spitting nitrous into the roaring engines, a delicate balance of sharp highs and booming lows. The pang of bullets ricocheting off of metal was clearly audible as the thunderous score picked up, and I could feel the intensity of the scene through the soundbar. To me, this was what sound was supposed to do for a movie, and it clearly enhanced an already great experience.

Bluesound_Soundbar_HeroShot-Detail.jpg

For my next test, I decided to use the Bluetooth pairing to link my phone and play some music through Spotify. The pairing was extremely smooth, and I soon found my living room filled with the sounds of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. They are known for their brilliant guitar play, and the Pulse Soundbar showcased this extremely well. The wahhh-wahhs of the whammy came in gorgeous waves, and the deep thump of Flea’s bass play was not overpowering, yet gave the sound weight and rhythm. The playback was smooth, with no connection issues and seamless segues both between songs and individual parts of songs. There was little harshness to the vocals, and the drumbeat came through with just the right amount of smack. The soundbar could easily be used to impress guests with the richness and volume of sound, and would serve well for both parties and personal listening alike.

Bottom Line

The $1000 price tag may steer away lower budget buyers from this awesome sounding soundbar, but in this case you get what you pay for- A device able to play high resolution formats from just about any source as well as give you cinema quality sound for your HDTV. With every audio company coming out with their version of the whole home speaker system, Bluesound has done a great job with their Bluos app and the Pulse Soundbar. The ability to play hi-res audio formats wirelessly in itself warrants the higher price and we found the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar to be a high quality all around wireless music system as well as an impressive soundbar for your home theater.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
AppearanceStarStarStarStar
Treble ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Treble SmoothnessStarStarStarStar
Midrange AccuracyStarStarStar
Bass ExtensionStarStarStarStar
Bass AccuracyStarStarStar
ImagingStarStarStarStar
SoundstageStarStarStarStar
Dynamic RangeStarStarStarStar
Fit and FinishStarStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarStar
About the author:
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Tony is our resident expert for lifestyle and wireless products including soundbars. He does most of the reviews for wireless and streaming loudspeakers and often compares soundbars in round ups and helps us cover the trade shows.

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gene posts on July 31, 2017 15:56
If you are looking for a quality soundbar to enhance your music or movie audio experience, Bluesound has delivered a product you are sure to find appealing. Their first soundbar, named the Pulse SoundBar is priced at $1,000 and is a solid contender in the quality soundbar arena. With matched pairs of tweeters, midrange, and woofers, the Pulse provides a unique listening experience that you truly must hear to appreciate. As Bluesound says, “It is time to be touched by sound”.

Read our review to find out why.



Read: Bluesound Pulse SoundBar Review
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