Bluesound is claiming this is the most complete powered streaming speaker available. Feature-packed and all set up, let’s jump into the review.
I wouldn’t normally use the word aggressive to describe a speaker, but the Pulse 2i has some sharp lines that are not normally found on products like this. Its shape means you can’t place it upright like a bookshelf speaker, but the styling integrated nicely into my home. An integrated handle on top makes it easy to lift out of the box and move around. The top-mounted touch-sensitive controls are visible and intuitive, but I wish they blended in more to the matte color. Other than that, I like their feel. Time to turn it up and take a listen.
This is always the fun part; how does it sound? I put it on a bookshelf in my large great room and let it blast. I found that at low to mid volumes it sounded great. Highs were nice and clear, without any muddiness. In my opinion, the midrange seemed like the weakest spot, but the bass remained tight. As you increase the volume above 90%, things started to fall apart a bit. Bass rolls off, the lower midrange disappears, and highs lose their definition. Keeping the volume below 90% brings everything together. I just feel a stronger midrange would add more dimension to the sound.
Something that might help tailor the Pulse 2i to your particular room would be a built-in correction feature. The Bluesound app has some eq options to help fit the sound to different rooms. It would be nice to have an automatic room correction option. But if you tweak the app settings, the sound can be improved. Overall, I loved the sound until the volume was set past 90%.
Because I don’t have a Pulse 2 to test side-by-side with the Pulse 2i, I can’t make a direct comparison, so just the facts here. The older Pulse 2 had two 7cm drivers and one 13cm bass driver, while the new Pulse 2i has a pair of 25mm tweeters and two 13cm bass drivers. Also, the Pulse 2 has 80 watts of power, while the Pulse 2i has 150 watts. Something I’ve heard from owners of the older Pulse 2 is that it has fewer settings to adjust in the app than the new Pulse 2i, which means you really need to dig into those settings to customize the speaker to your room. It’s nice that Bluesound has added more sound tailoring options to the 2i but the best thing would be an automatic room correction feature. While I did dig into these settings myself, most users will not. It’s something to be aware of when looking at this product.
The Pulse 2i Wireless Streaming Speaker is feature-rich, app support is excellent, and it has amazing sound to boot. I don’t think Bluesound has perfected it just yet and room correction would be a great improvement. I also feel that if they took a more traditional approach to the design and went with a true three-way driver setup it could sound even better. At this price point, I do expect a lot from this product, it gets a solid B+ from me. I can’t wait to see what else Bluesound has cooking up for us in the future.