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HiFi for a wireless generation
I had the opportunity to try out the Bluesound, a new network music player in the market. The Bluesound consist of 5 purpose built components engineered by the chaps at NAD. These are the guys at the forefront of High Fidelity music reproduction in the 70s. It plays 24-bit/192kHz recordings in lossless FLAC format and other standard audio formats like MP3, WMA, AAC, etc. That's a given actually. The Bluesound must be connected to the internet to play internet radio or online music services. If you have a few devices, these will work similarly to a multi-zone or some call it multi-room system in the same Local Area Network. To sum it up, its audiophile quality music for the ordinary guys without having to skip lunches.
Vault is a digital music player and a storage device packed into one. A front loading slot is used to rip audio CDs. Dump all your MP3s, AAC, FLAC music into the vault. This will be the source of you music content. With a storage capacity of 1TB, that's tonnes of music! The Vault comes with Internet Radio. Listen to music playing in Ibiza while sipping coffee in your living room. You have to connect Vault to your existing AVR or music system setup to use this. Otherwise it will work just as a storage device for your music content.
Pulse is a digital music player with built in amplified audiophile grade speakers. The clarity and sound quality is unbelievable. Imagine having Adele singing in front of you. If placed in your typical living room space of about 6m x 5m, this baby will bring the house down, not to mention if it's placed in a smaller bedroom. This device is not just about loud music but audiophile quality music at its best.
The other 3 devices, namely, NODE, POWERNODE and DUO were not available to test. Perhaps, next time when it becomes available for me to try it out.
Node is a digital music player similar to the Vault. The only difference is that this does not come with storage capability. Purely a network music player. Requires connection to the network and your existing AVR or music system setup.
Powernode is the older brother of the Node. Not that it is an older model, but, with a little more capability. It is a digital music player with built-in Direct Digital Amplifier by NAD Electronics pumping 80 watts total into 4 ohms. If you think that the speakers on the Pulse is not your cup of tea, Powernode is the way to go. Just connect your preferred speakers directly at the back of the device and let the music play. Otherwise, you may also consider the Duo by Bluesound, which is a 2.1 configuration.
Duo is best configured with the Powernode but will also work with other brands of amplifiers. These audiophile speakers will not work on its own. I didn't get to hear what it can produce but judging from the Pulse, I'm sure it will be smashing! (or rattling!!)
Why, you ask, should I even consider this?
Firstly, the Bluesound is engineered by the guys at NAD Electronics. If you've not heard of them, click here.
Secondly, these are high quality audiophile peripherals at not 'break the piggy bank' prices. No need to skip lunches!
Thirdly, need I say more? Okay, you don't control the Bluesound with those black or silver ugly looking remote controllers, although you can, but instead, with your smartphone or tablet or phablet, whatever they call it these days! Potable is the word!!
The iPad interface
How cool is that?!
Finally, the Bluesound can be configured easily for a multi-room system. For example, you live in an apartment with 2 bedrooms and I am assuming you have already installed a home entertainment system with that fancy 60" TV and Blu-ray player. What you need is just a piece of Node and 2 pieces of Pulse. Link the 3 devices into you existing network and viola! you have a 3-zone music system. Next, simply download the app to your desktop, smartphone or tablet to set up the configuration. I am also assuming that you have a PC or NAS running at home that you do not need a Vault. Easy!
If I have not installed another system at home (which I've owned for 8 years now), I am certain this will be the way to go for me!
Now, do I really need to say more?
The above review is written based on my personal capacity. Readers are advised to visit the showroom to understand the system prior to any commitments.