Bluesound, specialist in wireless, high-res, multi-room music systems, has announced Bluesound Generation 2i (Gen 2i), looking to build on the success of the brand’s previous platform.
The maker says Gen 2i continues to strengthen the Bluesound line with dual-band Wi-Fi 5, Apple AirPlay 2 support, upgraded Bluetooth codecs as well as improved amplification and acoustics.
Bluesound’s new models are: NODE 2i (US$499 / £499 MSRP), POWERNODE 2i (US$799 / £799), VAULT 2i (US$1199 / £1099), PULSE 2i (US$799 / £749), PULSE MINI 2i (US$499 / £499), PULSE FLEX 2i (US$299 / £299), and PULSE SOUNDBAR 2i (US$799 / £799 in Black, US$899 / £899 in White). There are no changes being made to the PULSE SUB. As before, all Gen 2i models will be offered in a choice of Black or White finishes. All models are available now, with the exception of the PULSE SOUNDBAR 2i, which will follow in November of this year.
All Bluesound models of course feature the BluOS music management system that connects, organizes, and controls all of the user’s music from stored files to streaming services and makes them available around the property.
Featuring a family of dedicated multi-room, wireless streaming digital music players, Bluesound’s aim is to deliver a compelling high-resolution wireless digital music system with an audiophile-grade feature set.
New features: Bluesound Gen 2i
Apple AirPlay 2 Support
All Bluesound Gen 2i models are designed to support AirPlay 2, which will be delivered to Gen 2i owners via an upcoming software update. With AirPlay 2, Gen 2i owners can stream just about any sound from their iPhone, iPad, or Mac to their Bluesound system, in sync. Customers can stream music, books, and podcasts from their favorite Apps, or watch videos on their Apple device while streaming the audio through to their Gen 2i Player.
AirPlay 2 also gives users more options for control, including using Siri voice assistance. Add a Gen 2i Player to the Apple Home App on an iPhone or iPad, then Apple Music subscribers can use their iOS device or HomePod to deliver voice commands.
Also, by grouping a Gen 2i Player with older Bluesound Players in the BluOS App, existing customers can add AirPlay 2 compatibility to their entire BluOS system. AirPlay 2 will be available for Gen 2i Players in an upcoming software release.
Gen 2i contains Bluesound’s most advanced take on Bluetooth to date – two-way Bluetooth, featuring both Receive and Transmit functionality. Receive capability allows users to wirelessly stream from their device to a Bluesound Player just like they’re used to doing with Gen 2. The Transmit capability means the user can now use their Bluesound Gen 2i Player as a source, sending what they are listening to via Bluetooth to a pair of wireless headphones. There is just one exception: Bluesound PULSE FLEX 2i only supports the Receive functionality via Bluetooth.
aptX HD Bluetooth
While Bluesound has improved the Bluetooth connectivity in Gen 2i, engineers also wanted to make sure that audio quality improvements are part of the Gen 2i Bluetooth story. The advanced Qualcomm CSR8675 chip used in these new products also supports aptX HD Bluetooth wireless audio. aptX HD is an enhanced codec that supports 24-bit audio over Bluetooth and has been engineered to improve the signal-to-noise ratio, resulting in lower background noise.
With the ability to support streams up to 24bit/48kHz, a customer streaming from an aptX HD compatible device to a Gen 2i Player is able to listen to better-than-CD quality, wirelessly.
Bluesound has also upgraded the Wi-Fi chipset technology in its Bluesound Players to the latest Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac) dual-band offering. With the new Wi-Fi chip onboard, Gen 2i owners can take advantage of the less noisy 5 GHz band if needed. This results in faster connection times and fewer interruptions from other network traffic.
Pulse Family Amplification
All-new, custom-designed digital amplifiers in Bluesound’s PULSE 2i and PULSE MINI 2i effectively double the available power used to drive these speakers. The manufacturer claims the difference is dramatic with improved bass response and more powerful sonic soundscapes as the new norm in Gen 2i.
New driver configurations in the PULSE 2i, PULSE MINI 2i, and PULSE FLEX 2i complement the upgraded amplification; the PULSE 2i and PULSE MINI 2i in particular now function as true stereo speakers.
Users also have better control over their audio settings with the PULSE 2i and PULSE MINI 2i. Popular DSP settings like Wide Mode, Late Night, and Dialog, much-loved and much-used in the Bluesound PULSE SOUNDBAR, are now available to these updated Gen 2i speakers.
The POWERNODE 2i now features two TOSLINK/3.5mm Optical and Analogue inputs while the PULSE SOUNDBAR 2i now includes HDMI (ARC and eARC). These are onboard to provide improved connectivity and flexibility.
“Ever since Bluesound’s exciting debut five years ago, we have listened to the marketplace and worked hard to make significant improvements throughout the line.” explains Matt Simmonds, Bluesound’s product manager. “Gen 2i represents another leap forward with major technological enhancements that make this generation of Bluesound products even more compelling. Best of all, Gen 2i is compatible with existing Bluesound systems.”
All BluOS users, including Bluesound users, received a prompt to update their Players and their app on October 1, 2018. Updating to BluOS 3.0, all BluOS users will gain access to new music services like SOUNDMACHINE and an easier guided set-up process. As well, the release will include the plumbing for BluOS’s first voice integration, Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant, with the corresponding library of skills to launch soon.
BluOS 3.0 also contains specific support for Gen 2i features like two-way Bluetooth with aptX HD, and enhanced audio EQ settings including wide mode and deep bass. Software updates to support AirPlay 2 will come in a later release.
Key Features of Bluesound Gen 2i:
- AirPlay 2 Support (coming soon via software update)
- Two-Way Bluetooth
- aptX HD Bluetooth
- Dual Band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac)
- PULSE Family Amplification – more power and enhanced driver complement
- Addition of HDMI ARC/eARC in the PULSE SOUNDBAR 2i