Bluesound is a brand that aims to compete with Sonos, and they generally do so with great success. Like this company, Bluesound’s range of products consists of a range of wireless amplifiers, subwoofers, and amplifiers, along with amplifiers that can be used to bring wireless broadcasting to any legacy speakers.
The newest wireless speaker to arrive from Bluesound is the Pulse M ($449/£449/€549/about AU$700), which at first glance looks like a somewhat more powerful Sonos One. Headphone with HD streaming capability that can be paired wirelessly with a second press of M for stereo listening. It can also be paired with a wireless subwoofer for extended bass, or used as a surround speaker in a 5.1 system complete with one of the company’s soundbars.
Specs-wise, the Pulse M seems to do more than the Sonos One, which is currently at the top of our list The best wireless speakers. Aside from being slightly larger at 6.7 x 8 x 5.9 inches (W x H x D), the new somewhat cylindrical tweeter from Bluesound features a more sophisticated “Omni-Hybrid” design that mates to a 5.25-inch woofer with a pair of The 0.75-inch tweeters are offset at a 45-degree angle.
The Pulse M design also includes an acoustic reflector that delivers high-frequency sound in a 360-degree pattern. The goal here is to deliver a broad and immersive presentation from a single speaker, with a “smart” 80W DSP amplifier that monitors performance in real time to improve dynamic range and reduce distortion.
On top of all that, the Pulse M, available in satin white or black with matching fabric mesh, is controlled by the company’s excellent BluOS app and can stream music from a wide range of services over Wi-Fi, Ethernet or AirPlay 2. A decoder is included MQA encoding to handle Tidal’s high-resolution audio, and there’s also bi-directional aptX HD Bluetooth support.
The hard-wired inputs are extensive for a compact wireless amplifier: Along with the USB Type-A Ethernet ports, the Pulse M has a mixture of optical digital and analog audio input, and there’s also a 3.5mm output for connecting wired headphones to enjoy high fidelity sound.
Analysis: more than one
With its innovative 360-degree sound-spreading design, the Pulse M seems perhaps less concerned with handling the Sonos One than it is. Sonos 5, another top-ranked model in the list of best wireless speakers. As with the Pulse M, the Sonos model is designed to deliver a wide audio range and fill the room with as much high-quality sound as possible from a reasonably compact package.
Another thing the Pulse M and Sonos Five have in common is the lack of built-in microphones for voice control: you can use Siri, Google, or Alexa commands to operate the Pulse M, but you’ll need to use external hardware — an Amazon Echo Dot speaker, for example — to achieve that.
The Pulse M is priced slightly lower than the Sonos Five ($549/£499/AU$799), which makes it a more attractive option for an all-in-one speaker, at least from a cost standpoint. But the big question remains whether or not it will deliver strong enough performance on the less expensive Sonos One ($219/£199/AU$319) to justify the price jump.
There’s only one way to find out, and that’s a hands-on review of the Pulse M, which we hope to provide in the near future. Until that happens, check out Best wireless speaker guide To read about other options, as well Black Friday 2022 The guide, which features many other great audio and video product deals.