Bluesound burst onto the scene last year with its range of multi-room products supporting high-resolution audio. The company has now announced 'Generation 2', featuring tweaks and upgrades to products including the Vault, Node, Powernode and Pulse. Gone is the distinctive diamond shape of the original Node, Powernode and Vault.
The Vault 2 can rip and store audio from CDs, but can also download high-res files from sites such as HDTracks and HighResAudio. Bluesound says the Vault 2 will rip a “bit perfect PCM copy” before converting it into the user's preferred file format - there’s a choice of WAV, FLAC or 320kbps MP3.
The new version features a 2TB hard drive - compared to 1TB on the original Vault - that Bluesound says can store 18,000 songs in 24-bit/96kHz FLAC format. If you need more space, there is the option to add an extra USB hard drive.
Under the hood, the Vault 2 has been given a new processor for faster operation and a new generation of DirectPath DACs, which have enough output current to directly drive the amplifier section. Bluesound says this means a shorter signal path, which should help boost audio quality.
On the back you’ll find optical digital and analogue stereo inputs, and a coaxial digital output. Wireless aptX Bluetooth is integrated inside. Any audio source can be shared across the entire network of Bluesound devices.
Also new is a headphone jack with dedicated headphone amp so you can also listen to music more privately.
The Bluesound Vault 2 will cost £999.
Bluesound's Node and Powernode music streamers have also been given performance upgrades, including a precision master clock promising "low digital jitter", a digital volume control and headphone jack. Both products also benefit from optical digital and analogue stereo inputs, and the Node 2 has a coax digital output as well. They both benefit from aptX Bluetooth too for wireless streaming.
The Powernode 2 receives a power boost too, now delivering a minimum of 75 watts for more “drive and punch”. Bluesound says this means it's capable of driving difficult and complex speaker loads. A subwoofer output is also provided if you want to add extra bass.
The Bluesound Node 2 (pictured, above) is priced at £429 and the Powernode 2 at £699.
MORE: Bluesound Node review
Finally, Bluesound has introduced the Pulse Mini high-res wireless speaker. Like the bigger Pulse, the Pulse Mini is a bi-amplified 2.1 speaker system.
A 4in woofer in a dual-port enclosure is responsible for low frequencies, and it’s driven by its own 50W amplifier. Mids and highs are handled by full range drivers in their own acoustic chambers, each with a dedicated amplifier channel.
Bluesound says the Pulse Mini is capable of delivering a “large sound field with remarkably natural tonal colour”.
The Pulse Mini also benefits from the precision master clock found in the other Gen 2 products, digital volume control and built in aptX Bluetooth. The Bluesound Pulse Mini is priced at £419, the Pulse is available for £599.
All Gen 2 products can be controlled via the BluOS app for iOS and Android devices. A custom app is available for Kindle Fire and Blackberry and there’s a desktop app for Mac and PC.
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