Bluesound’s NAD Pulse


NAD is part of Lenbrook International, a Canadian corporation that also owns headphone and loudspeaker brand PSB. Last year it added a new name to the roster, Bluesound, which makes networked audio products that are designed to combine the functionality found with Sonos and its imitators, and the sound quality that NAD has built its reputation on. Lenbrook’s John Banks is convinced that people will appreciate good sound quality when it’s allied to ease of use, hence Bluesound products have similar roles to those made by Sonos but cost more on account of the extra engineering put in to up the sonic ante.

Bluesound products thus combine technologies developed by NAD and PSB and offer whole-home streaming capabilities with control via iOS, Android, Kindle and PC. The wired/wireless system can be used in up to 37 rooms (that just about covers my place then!) and can connect to libraries on the network and USB drives. It can access a host of cloud services including Spotify Connect, Qubos and the option of direct download from HDTracks (recently launched in the UK). Bluesound uses a Linux based open platform with the ability to playback hi-res files up to 24/192. With the chosen colour in the name it won’t be a surprise to learn that Bluetooth (aptX) reception is part of the feature set, Airplay however is not.


The product line starts with the Node (top, £399), a cubic unit with line and optical digital output for connection to a regular hi-fi system – and thus the most interesting option for the enthusiast, pity it doesn’t have USB or coax out. The Power Node (£599) is described as a ‘modern receiver’ and combines a Node with a 50 watt, Direct Digital amplifier that has direct lineage to NAD’s Master series high end amplifiers and is the least expensive example of the technology in production. NAD incorporates DD into the D7050 network amplifier (£799).

Pulse (above, £599) is a Power Node combined with a loudspeaker designed by PSB, so likely to be the most appealing element for those looking for instant streaming in any room. There will also be a smaller Pulse coming soon, the current one is a decent size thanks to a pair of 70mm ‘full range’ drivers and a 135mm bass unit.

Of greater interest to the sonically aware will be the Vault (below, 1TB, £799), a ripper and HDD storage unit (NAS) with fixed or variable line output, Toslink out and network connection. This provides an easy means of ripping and accessing your CD collection, a 2TB version is available for £999.


At these prices Bluesound is not likely to impact on the sales of Sonos or Bose, but if John Banks is correct in his assumptions about sound quality the brand could help to offset the slowdown being seen in the separates market which must be affecting NAD and PSB. This statement from the brochure gives you some idea of the target audience “Bluesound is the sound of black ink, sunrise and dope trap beats.” But we won’t hold that against Lenbrook personally.

NAD M12 M22 0

This range would appear to compete head on with NAD’s D range of network amplifiers, units that have fewer features  – they’re not streamers as such – higher prices and similar audio technology. NAD’s Master series of high end components will benefit however, its M12 (£3,999) digital preamp has a modular input system which will accept a BluOS module that allows it to become part of a networked audio system. The M12 and M22 power amp (£2,500 – £3,000) replace the M2 integrated that was at the top of the NAD tree until recently.

m12 rear

Jason Kennedy

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