According to the brand, the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ "is to audio what 8K is to video", with 120W of power and a wealth of connectivity options. Lofty claims indeed.
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The soundbar comes with 24-bit audio processing, eight "audiophile-quality" drivers, and can be paired with a Pulse Sub+ subwoofer to boost the bass frequencies.
It can also be connected to a pair of Pulse Flex 2i speakers for a complete surround sound experience.
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It looks as though the new soundbar comes with all the connectivity options you'd want, including HDMI eARC, Apple AirPlay 2, aptX HD Bluetooth, TOSLINK, RCA, USB, and support for the brand's proprietary BluOS music streaming system.
That means the soundbar supports multi-room wireless audio, just like the Sonos Arc integrates into the wider Sonos ecosystem.
Inside the Pulse Soundbar+ is a ARM Cortex Quad-Core chipset, with Bluesound claims can process audio eight times faster than the company's previous devices. There are also two Wi-Fi chips onboard to prevent latency, which should be helpful for gamers, hopefully ensuring there's no lag between your audio and the action onscreen.
You can control the soundbar with your voice, thanks to support for Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple's Siri – or if you prefer something more manual, touch controls on the front panel let you adjust your music playback.
With a choice of black or white finishes and a wall-mountable design, the Bluesoun Pulse Soundbar+ looks like it will fit into any home comfortably, while its wireless capabilities means that you can add in additional speakers without lots of annoying cables taking over your living room.
So, how much does it cost? Well, if you were hoping for a cheaper alternative to the Sonos Arc, we have some bad news. Available for pre-order now, the Pulse Soundbar+ will begin shipping in April 2021, and costs $899 / £799 (about AU$1,150) in black, and $999 / £899 (about AU$1,270) in white.
If you're looking for something cheaper, check out the Sony HT-X8500. Given that rival Dolby Atmos-compatible soundbars typically sell for twice the price, the HT-X8500 warrants an easy recommendation – and it's one of the best soundbars with Dolby Atmos that won't break the bank. Cost-cutting can be attributed to connectivity and features, but it's a small price to pay if you're looking for cinematic sound on a budget.