The comparison of Sonos vs Bluesound explores two brands that think of luxury home entertainment audio systems. While they sell several different types of speakers, their standalone units are very famous options for home audio entertainment listening devices such as podcasts, music, and video media.
- Sonos has been at the pinnacle of the portable home entertainment industry for many years. There was no lack of competitors in that period. However, few have recreated the accomplishments of Sonos among those manufacturing firms.
- Sonos has a strong reputation for creating an extensive streaming library and easy-to-use Sonos smart assistant applications such as Amazon or Google Home for their equipment.
- Sonos is supported by some Spotify, Pandora, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music. Audiobooks, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, TuneIn, Napster, and iHeart Radio are among the most popular streaming platforms in this genre.
- Sonos Radio, a private, ad-supported online radio experience, is recently launched, adding 60,000 worldwide stations to the sound system.
- A new version of the application was also announced by the company, called S2, which will be released with an improved interface and new platform support.
- Sonos have a Trueplay function, which modifies the speakers’ acoustic performance.
- The battery-driven Smart Speaker Sonos Transfer launched the Sonos speaker’s new Auto TruePlay system to remove the manual tuning process.
- The SonosNet network is an expansion of the already-existing Wi-Fi, supplying you with an interface that you won’t see repeated.
- A sustainable way to replace the existing Sonos setup with new ones is with the SONOS Trade-Up service.
Best Overall Speaker: Sonos One
Best Portable Speaker (with Bluetooth): Sonos Move.
Best Soundbar: Sonos Beam.
Bluesound has been developed by Lenbrook, a small electronics distribution firm, as it is a whole-home audio product targeted at audio enthusiasts who want the model of Sonos, but then again who wants a quality of sound. In an atmosphere that provides the highest listening content possible, Bluesound blends music and technological powers very well.
- Bluesound uses numerous innovations, among them sophisticated NAD Electronics amplification systems and world-famous PSB Speaker acoustic technology.
- BluOS integrated multi-room audio software enables the user to reach all rooms of the home and play lossless music. It’s also available on iOS, Linux, Kindle Fire, and desktops for Windows and Mac.
- Bluesound supports voice commands like Alexa’s Amazon.
- You can attach multiple players to the house with AirPlay 2 on Bluesound 2i and make them interact via AirPlay.
- The PULSE SOUNDBAR and SUB are paired wirelessly with a pair of PULSE FLEX speakers to create the ultimate wireless home theater system with Dolby Digital® support.
- You can wirelessly download any music or app from a Bluetooth-enabled smartphone to pure CD-quality with aptX® Bluetooth on Bluesound.
- The innovative end-to-end (studio speaker) technology known as Master Quality Authenticated (MQA), which captures and delivers quality audio from the recording sessions of your favorite artists to every room in your home is incorporated into every Bluesound player.
Best Overall Speaker: Pulse Flex 2i
Best Portable Speaker (with Bluetooth): Pulse Mini 2i
Best Soundbar: Pulse Soundbar
Bluesound is nowhere near imitating the feature selection of Sonos. It was nevertheless knowledgeable, and up to now Sonos has stopped legally interfering with it. It is not easy to see if Bluesound has succeeded in setting Sonos up or just figuring out which works well, particularly when you browse online and can’t hear the sound of their products.
Model by model comparison
Thanks to their smaller size, Bluetooth speakers are fantastic, many are very compact and the sound quality only continues to get better than closely rival standard wired speakers. Bluetooth speakers are becoming popular in our ever-mobile culture as a way of bringing our music wherever we want it. Both portable and stationary solutions are available and can both be wirelessly connected. Most are portable or waterproof and dustproof too so that they can be taken anywhere.
Taking a look at Sonos’ product portfolio, we believe that the design style continues to be improved. Some use physical keys, while new models, such as the clever speaker Sonos One and Play: 5 have sensitive controls for touch and motion. Most use matt black or white plastic, except the SUB, which promotes glittery finishes.
Bluesound is more reliable with its products’ design and build-up process, even though it has some variance, particularly with the controls: you can get actual buttons (Pulse Flex), Touch controls depending on the product (Pulse Mini and Pulse 2).
Speaking of power, we were shocked to discover that, with the exception of the Pulse Flex, all of the Bluesound products can be controlled with an infrared remote. The company does not have a remote device in its package because, thanks to the learning feature, speakers can be configured to function with any IR remote. All of the presets can be activated, like playing, pause, up and down volumes, previous/next track.
Each device is managed by the iOS/Android mobile device accompanying software and all provide Windows/Mac applications. Sonos literally calls its program ‘Sonos,’ while Bluesound calls its ‘BluOS’ application. It’s also easy, but in different ways, to use a smartphone application to set it up. For Sonos, you need to click on two buttons in a speaker to sync the system, while Bluesound asks you to go to the Wi-Fi gadget list of your phone and locate the latest speaker in the BluOS program before you can finish the set-up back in advance.
Smart home control is a huge trend now, particularly when you use your voice via Amazon’s Alexa, Google’s assistant, or Apple’s Siri. Sonos was a new smart speaker for Alexa, as well as for any Amazon device, one of the first sound systems to announce the compliant Alexa audio compatibility. It will have Google Assistant by the end of this year. Bluesound informs us that it plans to add voice control, but also discusses technologies.
Given Bluesound’s abundance of inputs, none of these are able to serve as outlets for other Bluesound speakers. Connecting to a Pulse 2 using Bluetooth, for instance, means you can only listen on the Pulse 2 — speakers clustered with the Pulse 2 would stay idle as long as you’ve selected Bluetooth as the source. It’s the same with USB and line-in. Bluesound says in a forthcoming post, they will do this. If and when they do, it’s a convenient way to welcome friends to play music from their smartphones that Sonos can’t offer.
Streaming music services
Nobody matches Sonos for preference when it comes to online music services. Sonos is the streaming music king with built-in support for more than 60, including all big players including Apple Music, Spotify, and Pandora. Bluesound currently supports 16 platforms but includes Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, and Tidal — a long way from Sonos. The corporate reps tell us that they are aggressively trying to introduce missing usual suspects like Apple Music and Google Play. But Bluesound consumers can’t wait: It funds Tidal already and Qobuz, two of the largest suppliers of lossless stream music today.
Of course, you can stream any music service you have on your phone or tablet through Bluetooth to a Bluesound speaker, but this is not a real native support substitute. Audio quality is a hit compared with Wi-Fi, particularly if the phone (all iPhones) is incompatible with aptX, and shuttles between the BluOS app and the music app in your service are needed.
Sonos provides TruePlay, which uses the microphone and room correction algorithms of your Apple iOS system to guarantee that your speaker is the best in the position it has. It relies on the user to shift the system up and down across the room, often with incoherent results and errors. A Bluesound speaker system can supply your whole home with uninterrupted, crystal-clear, multiroom audio. Every sound system speaker is expertly positioned in every position in your home for optimum listening pleasure.
Bluesound Pulse 2i vs Sonos One
|Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i||Sonos One|
|Type||smart speaker||smart speaker|
|Audio Formats||MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC, OPUS|
Hi-Res formats - FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF
|AAC, AIFF, Apple Lossless, FLAC, MP3, OggVorbis, WAV, WMA|
|Frequency Response||40Hz - 20kHz||50/60 Hz - 20kHz|
|Voice Control Integrations||Amazon Alexa & Google Assistant Skills||Amazon Alexa|
|Connectivity Interfaces||Ethernet RJ45, GigE Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac, dual-band)||IEEE 802.11b/g, IEEE 802.3 (Ethernet), IEEE 802.3u (Fast Ethernet)|
|Audio Amplifier integrated||integrated||integrated|
|Dimension||16.5 x 7.8 x 7.55 in||4.7 in x 4.7 in x 6.4 in|
- Superb sound quality
- Integrates with existing Sonos system
- Integrations with Alexa work just exactly the same as on the Echo
- A wide selection of music services to stream from
- Continues to play music through Alexa is muted
- Google Assistant, and Apple AirPlay 2 support
- Convoluted setup process
- No threaded insert for mounting
- Configuring Alexa is not quite as easy as it should have.
Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i
- Attractive, well-built cabinet
- BluOS Control app is easy to use
- Loud, balanced audio
- Lots of connectivity options
- It uses Wi-Fi and is compliant with Apple AirPlay 2 for the entire home audio setup.
- There is a very congested sound and it is locked in
- The BluOS Control app is a bit glitchy.
- Expensive for what’s delivered
The BlueSound Pulse Flex 2i manages to cram a ton of power into a sealed cabinet that is very thin. The speaker delivers reliable, effective audio for $299 that can be accessed from a number of sources. However, one of the problems with Pulse Flex 2i is the expense. For non-audiophiles, it can be a little expensive.
I assume Sonos One is basically the best speaker for Alexa in the world – the best speaker for Google’s Assistant. The speaker is as effective in playing your music as an Amazon Echo and looks even louder than the Amazon speaker. Practically, it does not have any problems without being expensive.
Soundbars provide some benefits over more conventional home theater layouts: They require less space and are therefore more inexpensive and simpler to install. If you’re searching for a Dolby Atmos soundbar or want something to link to your MP3 player, there is a model for you.
Not all soundbars are similar, though and some provide a greater listening experience than others. You would want one that looks decent and is similar to your current gadgets whether you watch a lot of TVs or always hear music at home, whether you want to connect it to your mobile television or choose to listen directly from your mobile.
Your latest soundbar can be esthetically no bigger than your TV and all of them have almost the same width in the ideal universe, so they appear evenly. However, a soundbar for virtually any size TV will practically be compared. Use your discretion when it comes to scaling. Make sure your TV is connected in the correct direction to connect to your new soundbar. A little larger than Sonos Beam or Sono’s ARC is Pulse Soundbar.
Typically two-channel soundbars do not vary a lot from the stereo and surround, but the introduction of innovations like Dolby Virtual:X and wall bouncing speakers have increased the immersion you get from single bars really. Add optional surrounds will lead to improved surroundings for most bars.
For eg, when watching films, the Sonos playbar coupled with the Ikea Synfonisks gains a terrific sense of immersion. The first-ever wireless surround device from Bluesound Pulse 2i gives you a vibrant cinematic experience in the comfort of your living room.
Sonos Arc vs Bluesound Pulse Soundbar 2i
|Sonos Arc||Bluesound Pulse Soundbar 2i|
|Number Of Channels||5.0.2||2|
|Optical Digital Inputs||None||1|
|Coaxial Digital Inputs||None||None|
|HDMI ARC Input||Yes||Yes|
|HDMI eARC Input||Yes||Yes|
|3.5mm Stereo Analog Inputs||None||1|
|RCA Stereo Analog Inputs||None||None|
|USB Type-A Input||No||Yes|
|Subwoofer Output||Wireless||Mono RCA|
|Tweeter||Soft-Domes (3)||1" Dome (2)|
|Midrange||Not Given||2" Cone (2)|
|Woofer||Elliptical Cones (8)||4" Cone (2)|
|Enclosure||Acoustic Suspension||Passive Radiator|
|System Frequency Response||Not Given||70-20k Hz|
|Sound Bar RMS Power||Not given||120|
|Virtual Surround||Surround mode||Surround mode|
|Voice Control||Alexa & Google Assistant built-in||Alexa & Google Assistant optional|
|Control by App||Apple iOS, Android||Apple iOS, Android|
|Remote IR Passthrough||No||No|
|Learns TV Remote||Yes||Yes|
|Bluetooth Connectivity||No||Built-in 5.0|
|Apple AirPlay||AirPlay 2||AirPlay 2|
|Files on Your Network||No||No|
|Built-in Wi-Fi Version||802.11 b/g||802.11 b/g/n/ac|
|Bands||2.4 GHz||2.4, 5.0 GHz|
|Mounting Bracket Included||Optional||Yes|
|Sound Bar Size (inches)||3-1/2H x 45W x 4-1/2D||5-5/8H x42-1/4W x 2-3/4D|
|Sound Bar Weight||13.78 lbs||15 lbs|
- The exceptional audio quality for the price
- Can be expanded with a wireless subwoofer and surround speakers
- Your choice of Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant
- Best-in-class multi-room audio features (plus support for AirPlay 2)
- Relies too heavily on the capabilities of the TV it will be connected to
- Only one HDMI port
- No support for any DTS codecs
Bluesound Pulse Soundbar 2i
- Excellent build quality
- Quick Setup
- Audio Range and Output
- Awesome BluOS app available on most mobile devices and desktops
- Warm, rich sound with the impressive low-end extension (Soundbar only)
- No Remote Control
- A little tall to make it more difficult to position under an HDTV
- No Surround Sound Decoding or Processing
You’ll enjoy the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar 2i because you like the devotion of Bluesound to hi-res audio, multi-room comfort, voice modulation for Alexa, and fairly discreet industrial design. However, the Sonos Arc is an outstanding all-in-one surround sound system if you want a minimalist surround sound kit and you have a square home cinema space.
Stereo amplifiers are not as clear and withdrawn as they were before. It is now no longer the standard to outfit them with only analog inputs and outputs, and a pair of speaker terminals. Your hi-fi universe should be based on an amp. It all flows in and all flows out of it.
The integrated amplification has changed over time with tablets, smartphones, and streaming platforms, which are becoming more and more popular. Some now have integrated digital-to-analog converters (DACs), turntable phono stages, USB connections, and Bluetooth streaming capabilities. Some of them do have network streaming.
Before you attach it back to the wall it’s worth looking at the rear panel of your stereo amplifier to see which communication sources, external speakers, and potential improvements are necessary.
Both stereoscope amps have RCA-level inputs for any typical source – music streamers, CD players, and so forth. Often one of the RCA connections is a phone input that is specially designed to be attached to a turntable to accommodate the incredibly low level of signal and external equalization needed for those sources.
The XLR connections are three-pin and transmit balanced audio signals. Typically, they are located in a recording studio and the most sophisticated items. Its key benefit is that when used in electrically noisy conditions or over very long cable runs, say 10m or more, it can reject high levels of electrical noise and hence make the most sense. However, the balanced operation does not necessarily sound smoother and relies strongly on the materials used.
Class D Amplifiers
The advent of digital mobile listening devices such as smartphones, MP3 players, and portable docking stations, places more pressure on power consumption. Today, energy usage has to be reduced to enhance battery life.
Class D amplifiers generate a rail to rail digital output signal using pulse width modeling (PWM) for the approximation of an analog input signal with a variable duty cycle (Figure 4). These amps are highly powerful (usually up to 90% or above and during operation, the output transistors are switched on or off entirely.
Bluesound Powernode 2i & Sonos Amp
|Bluesound Powernode 2i||Sonos Amp|
|Amplifier type||Class D||Class D|
|Supported File Formats||MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC, OPUS, FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF||AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HEv2-AAC, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OggVorbis|
|Power output||120 watts||125 watts|
|Nominal Impedance||8 ohms||8 ohms|
|Dimensions||11.5 x 11.5 x 4.3 in||2.52 x 8.54 x 8.54 in.|
|Weight||7.04 pounds||4.6 lb (2.1 kg)|
Bluesound Powernode 2i
- No competitor performs better at this price
- High-quality amplifier and DAC
- HDMI and two-way Bluetooth support
- Supports every high-resolution music-streaming service
- BluOS Controller can be wonky to use
- Doesn’t gracefully recover from network outages
- You must use stilted language to use a digital assistant to monitor
- Powerful performance from a compact, supremely flexible audio amplifier
- Impeccably designed and engineered
- Capable of driving just about any speaker (8-, 6-, or 4-ohm models)
- Can power a wide range of passive speakers and subwoofers
- Building a 4.1 sound device for movies and TV would add at least $997 to your budget.
- You’re never going to have a true center channel (i.e., a 5.1 surround system cannot be built)
- Sonos is not interested in high-resolution audio support
For everyone, Sonos Amp is not the best answer, and Sonos doesn’t have to get bothered. I think that any sales of Sonos Amp to custom installers can only be made because very few people now want to manage the wire for the speaker.
The Powernode 2i is built for music fans who care about the audio quality and are prepared to struggle for a few tricks and an interface that is less stellar. Software is connected and thus fixable too much of its shortcomings.
Both brands include portable speakers, soundbars, home theatre systems, and other components. But Bluesound moves a step forward and gives you the possibility to store tens of thousands of FLAC audio files or MP3s that are not space-saving or to empty your smart devices or require a special system to host your collection. Instead of a dedicated 2TB hard disk CD-ripper or streamer.
In the changing technology world, Bluesound is still fast reacting. However, Sonos is still the best option for the majority of the world’s music sources thanks to a combination of price, efficiency, ease of use, and usability. Take your leading role in the intelligent home and witness an almost flawless home audio system.
Competition still has space, and Bluesound has proved himself to be a powerful contender. Bluesound speakers fill up holes in the Sonos tradition with a specific number of inputs, IR remote connectivity, high resolution, and high precision.
As far as we believe, Bluesound can justify its price premium based on these characteristics, it needs to be more successful in sealing the deal eventually. We believe most people would like Sonos, and the company which initiated the wireless hi-fi category is still the emperor for now.