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Bluesound Pulse Flex

Ultra-compact streaming music speaker with Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® (Black)

8 Reviews | 2 questions - 3 answers

Item # 813PLSFLXB

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Overview

Our take on the Bluesound Pulse Flex

If you're serious about your music and its sound quality, here's good news. With the Bluesound system you can play your high-resolution music and enjoy the convenience of wireless multi-room audio throughout your home. Bluesound was designed by the makers of NAD electronics and PSB speakers, both experts when it comes to delivering high-performance audio.

Wireless music for the audio enthusiast

If you're serious about your music and its sound quality, here's good news. With the Bluesound system you can play your high-resolution music and enjoy the convenience of wireless multi-room audio throughout your home. Bluesound was designed by the makers of NAD electronics and PSB speakers, both experts when it comes to delivering high-performance audio.


High-res audio

Ultra-compact high-performance speaker

The Bluesound Pulse Flex is quite small — and quite powerful. It features a 1” tweeter and a 3-1/2” woofer, each amplified separately to ensure accurate response. You'll enjoy clear, detailed mono sound that puts most similar-sized Bluetooth speakers to shame.

A universe of music options

Bluesound is compatible with virtually all digital music formats — including high-resolution files up to 24-bit/192kHz. Access the music stored on your computer or a networked hard drive. Stream from Internet radio stations and online services like Spotify®, Rhapsody, and TIDAL. You can also enjoy downloads from high-res music sites such as HDtracks. The player is compatible with MQA, an up-and-coming high-resolution audio format. The Pulse 2 also features a USB input for playing files "locally" from a thumb drive or hard drive — ideal when friends come over with their own music.

Bluesound Flex

High-quality Bluetooth

The Pulse Flex features aptX® audio coding, an advanced form of Bluetooth that allows higher-fidelity sound with compatible Bluetooth devices. The system is backwards-compatible with earlier forms of Bluetooth, too. Bluetooth is a convenient way to play the sound from any app you might be using on your mobile device, including Netflix® and YouTube™. You can even share that Bluetooth source with other Bluesound music players around your house that are connected to the same network.

Create a high-resolution multi-room music system

Combine multiple Bluesound players to enjoy high-end sound throughout your home.

  • Pulse Mini: This compact, all-in-one speaker system is ideal for a bookshelf, desk, or nightstand.
  • Powernode 2: This amplified player connects to a pair of speakers. It may be small, but it's powerful enough to drive a pair of floor-standing speakers.
  • Node 2: Connects to your home audio system and makes it part of the Bluesound network.
  • Pulse 2: This all-in-one player is perfect for almost any room. It has built-in PSB speakers for great sound in a compact package.
  • Pulse Soundbar: Delivers powerful sound for movies and TV shows while giving you full access to music through your Bluesound network.
  • Vault 2: If you've amassed a large collection of CDs, then the Vault was designed for you. It's a storage drive designed with the audio enthusiast in mind. This drive defaults to bit-perfect recording of your CDs, letting you experience every detail without switching discs every time you want to hear a new track or album.

Fantastic audio quality, app is not on par with Sonos but the increased clarity and flexibility when combined with a battery pack is fantastic!

Anonymous, Charlotte, NC

What's in the Box:

  • Wireless speaker
  • 6' AC power cord
  • Optical-to-3.5mm adapter
  • Quick Setup Guide
  • Warranty Sheet
  • "Important" booklet
  • "Spotify Premium" note

Product Highlights:

  • wireless music player with built-in amplifier and speakers
  • communicates with other Bluesound players via your home network (wired or wireless)
  • control the system with a free app for your smartphone, tablet, or computer (Android™, iOS®, Kindle Fire, Windows®, and Mac®)
  • plays MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, FLAC, MQA, ALAC, WAV, and AIFF files
    • supported sample rates: 32kHz to 192kHz
    • supported bit depths 16-24
    • plays Internet radio stations from TuneIn Radio and iHeart Radio
  • high-fidelity Bluetooth aptX® audio coding for greater sonic detail with compatible devices
  • Spotify Connect lets you play Spotify's streaming music library through your Bluesound system via your smartphone or tablet (requires Spotify app and a premium subscription)
  • plays streaming music from TIDAL, Rdio™, HighResAudio, HDtracks, Deezer, JUKE, Slacker Radio, Qobuz, and Murfie
  • 20 watts total system power at 0.03% THD
  • top controls for volume and muting
  • USB port for connecting a thumb drive with music files
  • combination mini-optical/stereo minijack audio input
  • Ethernet port
  • compatible with Windows® (XP or higher operating system)
  • compatible with Mac®
  • requires AC power (AC adapter included)
  • 5"W x 7-1/4"H x 4-15/16"D
  • weight: 2.7 lbs.
  • warranty: 1 year
  • Our 60-day money-back guarantee
  • requires smartphone or tablet with free Bluesound app for control of system playback
  • requires high-speed Internet connection
Reviews

Bluesound Pulse Flex Reviews

Average Customer Review(s):

(8 Reviews)

Great sound and excellent features!

John from Madras, OR on 3/9/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

After listening comparisons with Bluesound, Denon HEOS, and Sonos alternatives, I chose the Bluesound system. Most recently, I bought 2 Pulse Flex speakers to pair for stereo sound to add to my Bluesound system. I have two Pulse IIs set up in my living room, 2 Pulse Minis set up in the family room, and I use the Pulse Flex pair as portables in different locations inside and out. I use the Vault 2 as my media source. I have been very pleased with the Bluesound system sound and features.

Pros:

Cons:

Bluesound Pulse Flex

Anonymous from Charlotte, NC on 3/1/2017

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Fantastic audio quality, app is not on par with Sonos but the increased clarity and flexibility when combined with a battery pack is fantastic!

Pros:

Cons:

Qaulity Sound nd Innovation

Gregory from Oxnard, CA on 10/13/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

Purchasing the bluesound item the plus flex was my first purchase of a speaker that runs off wifi. I was amazed with this new item in my grasped, the audio quality was incredible. The blue tooth is the fast connecting Bluetooth to phone that I have used before. In the app, you are able to control the dB levels of the bass and treble, making my listening experience a dream come true.

Pros: fast connecting Bluetooth, great sound quality, excellent treble and handy app, able to control decibel levels

Cons: needs more bass , a wider sound frequency range

Bluesound Pulse Flex

Anonymous from Princeton, NJ on 8/28/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

The Bluesound system is Easy to use and has awesome sound.

Pros:

Cons:

Flex

Tod from Gig Harbor, WA on 8/26/2016

Purchased Aug 2016. Returned after a few days listening. I am a fan of PSB, my surround system is PSB. I bought these to play outside and then in the house during winter. I listened to them in stereo paired mode and solo. Setup easy, the software was fine, worked well. The sound quality was my issue. Clear, but very thin sound, not enough bass for dedicating listening. At loud volumes they are clear and crisp. This is more of a mark against size than performance. If your anywhere near the audio file camp you'll want a bigger blue sound speaker c

Pros: Clear sound. Capable of high volume without distorting

Cons: A this sound, not big enough for dedicating listening

Pulse Flex

James from Brooklyn, NY on 6/7/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I purchased the Sonos Play 1 prior to purchasing the Pulse Flex. I returned the Sonos given limitations (max of 65K tracks), non-support of 24-bit, overall software and future outlook of development.

Pros: - Overall hardware and sound - Software synchronization

Cons: - My biggest complaint with the hardware is the A/C adapter extends from the back of the unit. The Play 1 was far more elegant, as I have this placed within a tight space.

Excellent additional product

David A from larchmont, NY on 2/3/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

This is a great addition to my larger Bluesound set up - specifically acquired to add high fidelity streaming content via TIDAL to my bedroom. A breeze to set up and a dream to operate. A total winner. Sounds precisely as accurate as I was hoping and solidly constructed as well. Took my less than 5 minutes from opening the box to listening to Miles Davis.

Pros: Great Sound. Solid construction. Nice design. Small size for sound projection ability.

Cons:

Fine member of the Bluesound family

RonaldG from Connecticut on 1/12/2016

Crutchfield Customer Review (What's this?)

I've used the first-generation Bluesound Node (in the cubical chassis) for the last several months to stream TIDAL and iTunes to my standalone DAC via the Node's optical digital out, and have had excellent results -- both sonically and in terms of the user interface. I bought the Pulse Flex "unheard and unreviewed" to bring my music library to my nightstand, and have been very pleased with it. The unit sounds wonderful, and has five hard-button presets for your favorite internet radio stations or playlists or albums. It also has a sleep timer, which is great for me because I use music to help me get to sleep. There is one shortcoming: My Bluesound playlists are comprised of both TIDAL and iTunes tracks. But while both my iPad and iPhone have the same iTunes files on them (and while each device will play my mixed-source playlists through the Bluesound Node in my main system), the Pulse Flex will not play iTunes tracks from a mixed-source playlist unless the playlist was created on the device controlling the Pulse. In other words, if I create a mixed-source playlist on my iPad, I can't use my iPhone (which has the same content) to play that same playlist on the Pulse. That's too bad because I keep my iPad in the living room, but have my iPhone on my nightstand overnight. Perhaps a Bluesound operating system update will fix this problem? Otherwise, the Pulse Flex is excellent.

Pros: Great sound; Easy to operate; Small footprint

Cons: See review remarks above about playing mixed-source (TIDAL and iTunes, for example) playlists.

Details

Hands-on research

Product Research

Features

Bluesound Wireless High-Resolution Audio Eco-System: The Pulse Flex wireless speaker is part of Bluesound's wireless high-resolution audio eco-system. The Bluesound wireless high-resolution audio eco-system consists of music players, amplifiers, hard-drives, and wireless speakers to playback your high-res and low-res music files, along with your favorite online music services throughout your home using your home's WiFi network. With an advanced WiFi antenna design and blazing ARM Cortex9 Processors, Bluesound ensures a solid connection in every corner of your home. Play your music in perfect sync or play different music simultaneously to any Bluesound device in any room.

Note: Up to 16 Bluesound devices can be connected in a strictly wireless environment. If you want to connect more than 16 Bluesound devices, you will need to connect the Bluesound devices to your network using a wired connection. Bluesound can then control up to 64 devices in a strictly wired environment.

Direct Digital Technology: Bluesound's 32-bit architecture combined with 8x oversampling, paired with their own innovative DirectDigital Amp and DAC platforms, ensures that your lossless high-res music playback is flawless, with precision, power and clarity - at any volume. The Pulse Flex wireless speaker delivers 20 watts of bi-amplified power to its one 3.5" mid driver and one 1" dome tweeter, while its state-of-the-art DSP equalization maximizes bass power and clarity.

Wired or Wireless Network Connection: The Bluesound Pulse Mini can be connected to your home network and Internet provider via a hardwired Gigabit Ethernet (RJ-45) jack connector or wireless WiFi (802.11 b/g/n) connection. Either network/internet connection allows you to stream music from your Windows or Mac computer and NAS drive (such as the Bluesound Vault, sold separately); as well as stream select online music services.

Bluesound Controller App: The free Bluesound Controller App turns your Apple iOS (7.0+) iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android (OS 4.0+) smartphone/tablet, Windows (Vista or higher) PC or Mac (OS X 10.7+) computer into a full-featured remote control for the Bluesound wireless music system. The Bluesound Controller App on your compatible device uses your home's WiFi network to connect with Bluesound devices, so you can play all the music you love anywhere in your home for a wireless multiroom music experience. Get on-demand access to your music libraries on your home network, stream live Internet radio from almost any place in the world, or listen to one of the many music services available on Bluesound, all from the palm of your hand with the easy-to-use Bluesound Controller App.

Supported Music Formats: The Bluesound wireless audio system supports both low-res and high-res audio files; including MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, FLAC, ALAC, WMA Lossless, MQA, WAV, and AIFF. Bluesound has been designed to work with today's larger music collections, and has indexed libraries up to 100,000 songs in demonstrated practice (this will depend on the music's metadata & artwork). Bluesound also offers gapless playback by default for all supported file music types.

Compression File Type Sampling Frequency Bit Rate or Bit Depth
Compressed Lossy MP3 16-48kHz 192-320 kbps
WMA
AAC
OGG
Lossless WMA-Lossless up to 96 kHz up to 24-bit
FLAC 192 kHz up to 24-bit
ALAC
MQA
Uncompressed AIFF up 192 kHz up to 24-bit
WAV
Notes: Bluesound cannot index or play AAC files with the extension ".m4p". These files were purchased in iTunes prior to 2009 and are subject to copy protection. Apple Consumers with an iTunes Match subscription can delete and re-download these files free of charge from their iTunes Cloud

MQA (Master Quality Authenticated): Bluesound is the first wireless multiroom audio system to support MQA (Master Quality Authenticated). MQA is a revolutionary end-to-end technology that captures and delivers master quality audio in a file that's small enough to stream or download. Bluesound worked closely with MQA to implement technology inside each Bluesound component to ensure the listener will hear MQA encoded music and streams exactly like the source and the way the artist intended you to hear it when it was approved in the studio.

Note: MQA (Master Quality  Authenticated) support will require a firmware update.

Online Music Services: With a network and internet connection, the Pulse Flex lets you access select online music services & internet radio. The Bluesound Controller app on your Apple iOS or Android device will serve as the controller for these apps and provide song/artist information with Album Art.

  • Spotify Connect: If you subscribe to Spotify Premium and have the Spotify App on your Apple iOS or Android smartphone, you can stream Spotify to the Bluesound system. Spotify is a digital music service that gives you on-demand access to one of the largest music libraries in the world (over 15 million tracks and counting). Spotify makes it easier than ever to discover, manage, and share music with your friends. You can browse music by artist, album, track, or most popular; and create your own music library with customized playlists.
  • TIDAL: TIDAL is a global streaming service that offers over 30 million songs in high-fidelity CD sound quality. TIDAL has two pricing tiers; either $9.99 or $19.99 a month. Both pricing levels allow you to access TIDAL's entire music library. The $19.99 tier has the added benefit of high-fidelity sound at CD-level quality
  • TuneIn: The Bluesound system includes access to more than 70,000 free internet radio streams from all corners of the globe via the TuneIn radio service. Just select the TuneIn logo from the main Music menu and browse among the 70,000 stations neatly organized into popular categories and select a station that appeals to your mood.
  • iHeart Radio: iHeartRadio is a free, all-in-one digital radio and music streaming service that lets you listen to thousands of live stations from across the country and allows you to create personalized custom stations featuring songs from the artist you select and similar music.
  • Napster: Napster is a streaming music subscription service (starting a $10 per month) that allows you to play the full-length songs you choose on demand from a collection of over 10 million songs, without ads and without having to purchase or download the music.
  • Slacker: Get the sound quality that you deserve with the new Slacker Radio® music library available in high-quality AAC audio on Bluesound. Listen to music streams at a bitrate of 320kbps and enjoy all your favorite Slacker stations in pristine MP3-quality.
Note: Availability of online music services may vary by region. Not all services may be available at time of purchase. Some services may be added or discontinued from time to time based on decisions of the music service providers or others.

Music Library From Your Mobile Device: From the Bluesound Controller App, you can stream music directly over WiFi from your Apple iOS or Android device to the Bluesound Pulse Flex and the rest of your Bluesound components around your home. The app gives you complete control of your compatible mobile device's music library with song/artist information and album art.

Computer Audio: The Bluesound wireless music system will pull music from an existing digital music library across the network on your Windows PC or Mac computer using Windows or SMB File Sharing (SAMBA) and the Bluesound Controller App for Windows & Mac.

  • Windows: Music files stored on a Windows desktop or laptop can be accessed by Bluesound using Windows File Sharing. You will need to download the Bluesound Share Utility for Windows - Bluesound Share Utility Windows v1.6.zip. This utility will work on Windows Vista, 7, 8 and 10.
  • Mac: Music files stored on an Apple iMac or MacBook can be accessed by Bluesound using SMB File Sharing. You will need to download the Bluesound Share Utility for OS X - Bluesound Share Utility OSX v1.2.zip.This utility will work on any version of Apple OS X 10.8.x and higher.

Bluetooth w/ aptX: The Bluesound Pulse Flex features built-in Bluetooth 4.0 with support for wireless music streaming from your Bluetooth-enabled Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad, Android smartphone/tablet, Windows PC/Phone, Mac computer/laptop, and more. You'll be able to stream stored music and music apps on your Bluetooth-enabled device to the Pulse Flex. In addition, the Pulse Flex offers aptX for CD-quality sound from Android (OS 4.0+) devices. You can even distribute Bluetooth audio to the rest of your Bluesound wireless audio system throughout your home or office over WiFi.

USB Port: The Bluesound Pulse Flex features a USB (type-A) port to directly connect your USB mass storage class (MSC) device; such as a thumbdrive or external hard-drive. The unit's USB port supports music playback from these compatible USB devices formatted in FAT 32. The USB port is not compatible with the direct connection of an Apple iPod/iPhone/iPad or Android devices. Not only can USB audio be played back on the Pulse Flex, but can also be wirelessly distributed to the rest of your Bluesound components throughout your home for multiroom playback.

Optical/Analog Input: The Pulse Flex is fitted with a 3.5mm Aux input which can be used as an analog or digital connection. As an analog input, simply connect a stereo minijack audio cable from your analog source to the Pulse Flex's Aux input. As a digital input, use the included 3.5mm-to-Optical adapter along with an optical digital cable (sold separately) to connect your digital source to the Pulse Flex's Aux input. As an analog or digital input, the unit's Aux input supports 2ch PCM audio (not Dolby Digital or DTS). Audio from the Optical/Analog Aux input can be played back at the Pulse Mini speaker and wirelessly distributed to other Bluesound components in your home for multiroom playback.

Soft-Touch Controls: The Pulse Flex offers soft-touch, top-panel controls to operate basic playback functions like Volume Up/Down, Play/Pause, and Previous/Next Track. There are also 5 preset buttons to store up to 5 of your favorite Internet Radio stations or online music service content.

Headphone Output: A 3.5mm headphone jack is located on the front of the Pulse Mini for private listening with a set of headphones. The Pulse Flex speaker will be muted when headphone are connected.

AC Power + Battery Power: The Bluesound Pulse Flex operates off of standard household current using it's internal power supply and the supplied 6.5' detachable AC power cord. An optional battery pack (813BP100, sold separately) delivers 6 hours of high-res streaming.

Mounting Options: The Pulse Flex speaker can simply be placed on a table-top, shelf, stand, desk, or other piece of furniture with a flat surface. There is also a M6 threaded insert on the back of the speaker which allows you to wall-mount it using an optional wall-mount bracket (813VM100, sold separately).

Our Product Research Team

At Crutchfield, you'll get detailed, accurate information that's hard to find elsewhere. That's because we have our own in-house Product Research team. They verify what’s in the box, check the owner's manual, and record dimensions, features and specs. We stay on top of new products and technologies to help people make informed choices.

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Customer Q&A

Crutchfield asked  
Why did you buy this?

I have the Pulse Mini in the Kitchen and Dining Room - perfect.... I wanted to extend the sound to my small office space and it was a toss up between the mini and the dual pulse flex speakers ( which I will use in a "Stereo Group" ). Clearly this is a more expensive option, but I believe that it will also be the most flexible since I can get the distinct sound stage that left and right speakers will provide and the ability to operate them in mono mode in other locations in the house. [ Mike  Jan 23, 2017 ]
192/24 bit dac for Tidal HD [ CARL R  Aug 02, 2016 ]
High Resolution Audio Content and Portability [ Robert  May 25, 2016 ]
I use a Bluesound Node in my main living room system, and wanted expand to my bedroom. [ Ronald  Dec 18, 2015 ]
I chose the Bluesound Flex speaker based on its reviews and because I own a pair of PSB bookshelf speakers, which I am very impressed with. (Both are made by the same organization). I chose Bluesound over SONOS since I have heard SONOS speakers and was not impressed with their fidelity. I am willing to spend a little more to get better sound. I am a retired electrical/software engineer (and audiophile), so I am less concerned about any software/network issues that may appear. [ Kelvin  Nov 16, 2016 ]
want wireless audio that supports better than Bluetooth quality sound [ Paul  Feb 17, 2016 ]
Because I already have the Duo, the Powernode 2, and the Pulse and I love all 3 of them! [ BRYAN G  Jan 26, 2016 ]

2 questions already asked

Thanks for your question. Bluesound's website just says the battery pack is a separate purchase but not listed for sale as of yet. Discussion boards were targeting April 2016 but nothing so far. [ Kenny  May 16, 2016 ]  Staff
Yes. You can configure each speaker as left channel only, right channel only, stereo or mono. They actually sound really good together as a stereo pair! [ Kamali  Dec 13, 2015 ]
Yes. I have two of them and use them as stereo pair most of the time. You set one to be the left channel and the other to be the right channel. Works exactly as it should. Then, when you have a party or want to move them to separate locations, you simply switch each speaker to mono. They sound wonderful and work great. [ Bryan  Dec 12, 2015 ]
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