Bluesound vs Sonos: What is the Difference? When hearing the name Sonos, we think of high-end smart home audio devices. It didn’t have any real competition until very recently Bluesound picked up the pace, releasing new speaker systems with specifications equivalent to Sonos. In fact, both brands currently offer their audio products at very similar price ranges.
As someone looking for new home audio entertainment systems, you might wonder which one of the two brands make better products overall. And to answer your burning questions, we’ve prepared this ultimate Bluesound vs Sonos guide, highlighting the differences between their various speaker models and comparing them against each other.
- 1 Sonos: A Closer Look
- 2 Bluesound: A Closer Look
- 3 Bluesound vs Sonos: Wireless Speakers
- 4 Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i vs Sonos One: Side-by-Side Comparison
- 5 Bluesound vs Sonos: Soundbars
- 6 Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ vs Sonos Arc: Side-by-Side Comparison
- 7 Bluesound vs Sonos: Amplifiers
- 8 Bluesound Powernode 2i vs Sonos Amp: Side-by-Side Comparison
- 9 Bluesound vs Sonos: Final Words
Sonos: A Closer Look
Sonos has dominated the home audio entertainment market for many years now. While there always was competition throughout Sonos’ development, mainly from Google and Amazon, few have gained the same level of prominence as Sonos.
In fact, Sonos gives users access to an extensive streaming library, officially supported by the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Tidal, Pandora, Qobuz, SiriusXM, SoundCloud, Napster, etc. It even supports Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for easy-to-use, hands-free voice commands.
Another key highlight of Sonos products is their tight integration with the official Sonos S2 app, available on phones, tablets, and computers. Not only does it have an intuitive UI, but it also makes managing multiple Sonos devices around the house easier.
Furthermore, its TruePlay feature uses your phone’s built-in mic to measure how sound reflects off walls and other objects in a room and auto-tune the Sonos speakers to deliver the optimal listening experience, regardless of where you place them.
Sonos also uses a proprietary wireless standard, SonosNet, to connect multiple compatible products in a mesh network, achieving a wireless multi-room speaker system at no additional user setup requirements.
And lastly, Sonos offers an exclusive upgrade programme for long-time listeners to replace their existing Sonos products with the latest models at a substantial discount. Here are some of the popular audio devices Sonos currently sells:
- Sonos One (Gen 2): Powerful Smart Speaker with Alexa Built-in
- Sonos Move: Durable, Battery-Powered Speaker with Alexa Built-in
- Sonos Arc: Premium Smart Soundbar with Dolby Atmos
Bluesound: A Closer Look
Originated from the retail electronics distribution firm Lenbook, Bluesound makes home audio entertainment systems for those who want the features of Sonos with a high-fidelity listening experience. Bluesound borrows several existing technologies from its sister brand, NAD Electronics, and PSB Speakers’ expertise in acoustic engineering.
Similar to Sonos OS, its BluOS wireless ecosystem enables multi-room audio integration that lets users play lossless music across multiple speakers in the house. You can download the BluOS Controller app on your phone, tablet, or computer and play high-res tracks from Spotify, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal, Qobuz, and more streaming services.
You can also use Alexa and Google Assistant to control your Bluesound devices. Some models even support AirPlay 2, allowing you to connect multiple speakers around the home and have them work in sync with each other through AirPlay. The HomeKit integration makes it easy for users to manage the speakers directly through the Apple Home app.
All Bluesound players support MQA (Master Quality Authenticated) playback, delivering lossless, studio-quality music to all rooms of your house. You can also play CD-quality tracks over Bluetooth, thanks to Bluesound’s aptX HD codec support. Here are a few best-selling audio products from Bluesound:
- Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i: Wireless Speaker with AirPlay 2
- Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i: Portable Speaker with AirPlay 2 and aptX HD
- Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+: Premium Soundbar with AirPlay 2 and Atmos
Despite its attractive features, Bluesound still needs some work to catch up with Sonos. And now that Sonos have settled their lawsuit against Bluesound over patent infringements, it should give Bluesound the time to work more on the software side once again.
Bluesound vs Sonos: Wireless Speakers
Due to their compact sizes, wireless speakers are more popular than ever before, with sound quality getting close to matching wired speakers. Both Bluesound and Sonos offer wireless portable and stationary speakers. You can carry the portable models anywhere you go, thanks to their dust and water-resistant construction.
Sonos’ current-gen wireless speakers share a minimalistic yet functional design language. The older models still have physical control buttons, while the newer models like Sonos One and Five have sensitive touch controls. The use of matte black and white plastic is a common design choice at this point, with the only exception being the high glossy finish on the Sonos Sub.
Bluesound’s product design is fundamentally consistent across all its products, with slight variance observed on the controls side. The Pulse Flex / Flex 2i has physical buttons, while the Pulse Mini / Mini 2i features touch-sensitive controls.
Almost every wireless Gen 2 / 2i Bluesound product support IR controls, something Sonos speakers do not support yet. However, it’s worth noting that users have to purchase the Bluesound RC1 Remote Control separately for IR-based playback and volume controls.
Setup & Features
Sonos users can set up their wireless speakers using the Sonos (also known as Sonos S2) app, while Bluesound users can set up theirs with the BluOS Controller app. Both apps are available for devices running Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.
Both Bluesound and Sonos requires users to download the app and follow the in-app instructions to add the wireless speakers to their home audio system. The actual process varies between models, but it’s relatively easy to follow to a regular user.
The Sonos and BluOS Controller apps are feature-rich and have smart home integration, but the former has a slight edge thanks to its ease of use and support for a higher number of music streaming services.
Sonos’ TruePlay can use its proprietary room correction algorithm and an iPhone’s built-in microphone to optimise the acoustic performance of the wireless speakers according to their room placement. However, it may apply wrong tuning and result in worse sound quality in some cases.
Bluesound’s wireless speakers, on the other hand, support multi-room lossless audio streaming and MQA decoding. Unfortunately, they don’t have any alternative to Sonos’ TruePlay feature.
Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i vs Sonos One: Side-by-Side Comparison
The Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i and Sonos One (Gen 2) are currently the most popular home wireless speakers on both brands’ portfolios. Check out the comparison chart below to know the differences between them.
|Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i||Sonos One|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||7.2 x 4.92 x 3.9 inches||6.36 x 4.69 x 4.69 inches|
|Weight||1.23 kg / 2.71 lbs||1.85 kg / 4.08 lbs|
|Frequency Response||45 Hz – 20 kHz||50 Hz – 20 kHz|
|Supported Audio Formats||MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC, OPUS|
FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF
|MP3, MP4, M4A, WMA, AAC, HE-AAC, OGG|
FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, WAV
|Connectivity||Ethernet RJ45 (100BaseT), WiFi 5 (802.11c), Bluetooth aptX HD||Ethernet RJ45 (10/100), Wi-Fi 4 (802.11n)|
Here are a few pros and cons of the Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i and Sonos One (Gen 2):
|Bluesound Pulse Flex 2i|
|Balanced sound signature, gets quite loud||Spotty companion app|
|Plenty of connectivity options|
|AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth aptX||Expensive|
|Attractive design, available in two colours|
|Sonos One (Gen 2)|
|Rich, full-bodied sound||Lack of mounting support|
|AirPlay 2 and Alexa-certified||Pricey|
|Supports a variety of streaming services||No Bluetooth support|
|Works seamlessly with existing Sonos speakers|
As for which one’s better, we’ll let you be the judge of that. Personally, we find the Sonos One more appealing for its overall better smart home integration, but the fact that you can’t use it as a regular Bluetooth speaker makes a better case for the Pulse Flex 2i.
Bluesound vs Sonos: Soundbars
Nowadays, soundbars make more appearances in the living room than conventional home theatre speaker systems. They occupy less space and require less effort to set up. Fortunately, both Sonos and Bluesound offer soundbars in the premium segment.
Modern soundbars are no larger than your typical big-screen TV, with all of them having nearly the same width. The Sonos Arc is slightly larger than the Bluesound’s new Pulse Soundbar+, but the latter is a bit heavier.
Both soundbars have capacitive touch controls and are available in matte black and white finishes. It’s worth noting that neither the Sonos Arc nor the Pulse Soundbar+ comes with a physical remote.
The Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ features dual 2” mid-range drivers, two 1” tweeters, two 4” woofers, and dual 4” passive radiators, with a maximum power output of 120 watts. It’s fully compatible with the BluOS Controller app, and you can play with the adjustable EQ to fine-tune the sound to your preference.
The Pulse Soundbar+ also lets users connect a Pulse Sub+ subwoofer and a pair of Pulse Flex 2i speakers to create a wireless home theatre setup. Other features of this soundbar include support for AirPlay 2 and hands-free controls with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple Siri.
The Sonos Arc, on the other hand, features eleven internal speakers, including eight elliptical woofers and three angled silk-dome tweeters to fire sound in all directions. Of course, you can set it up with the Sonos S2 app and have access to features like TruePlay, adjustable EQ, AirPlay 2, etc. It even has Alexa built-in and supports Google Assistant.
Like the Pulse Soundbar+, the Sonos Arc can wirelessly connect to additional Sonos One speakers and the Sonos Sub subwoofer for a home theatre sound setup.
The BlueSound Pulse Soundbar+ and Sonos Arc are multi-channel soundbars offering Dolby Atmos surround sound for an immersive cinema experience in the comfort of your living room.
Inputs-wise, the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ comes with HDMI eARC, Optical (TOSLINK), 3.5mm analogue, and Type-A USB port. It also has a Gigabit Ethernet port, dual-band Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), and 2-way Bluetooth with aptX HD codec support. The RCA analogue port allows for wired subwoofer output. Since it runs on the BluOS platform, it’s Roon Ready and features AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, and Tidal Connect.
Ports on the Sonos Arc include a single HDMI eARC input and an RJ45 10/100 Ethernet jack. Sonos supplies an optical adapter in the box for older TVs, but this soundbar is primarily intended for use with modern TVs supporting the HDMI ARC functionality. It only connects to 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi (802.11n) to work with the Sonos app. Of course, the Sonos Arc supports Airplay 2.
For a non-audiophile, it’d be difficult to tell the difference in audio quality between these two soundbars. However, as per most reviews, the Sonos Arc sounds more dynamic and detailed, whereas the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ delivers a more precise and direct Dolby Atmos experience.
Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ vs Sonos Arc: Side-by-Side Comparison
At first glance, the differences are quite subtle between the Bluesound and Sonos soundbars. But there’s more to them as you can see in the comparison chart below.
|Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+||Sonos Arc|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||5.5 x 42.25 x 2.75 inches||3.4 x 45 x 4.5 inches|
|Weight||6.8 kg / 15 lbs||6.25 kg / 13.78 lbs|
|Frequency Response||+/- 1dB 70Hz – 20kHz||Not specified|
|Supported Audio Formats (i.e., Multi-Channel)||MP3, AAC, WMA, WMA-L, OGG, ALAC, OPUS|
FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF, MPEG-4 SLS
Dolby Atmos, Dolby Digital
|Multi-channel PCM, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos|
|Connectivity||HDMI eARC, Optical, 3.5mm, USB-A, Bluetooth (aptX HD), dual-band Wi-Fi 5||HDMI, Ethernet, Optical (adapter required), Wi-Fi 4|
|App Controls||Yes (BluOS)||Yes (Sonos S2)|
|Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+|
|Fantastic Dolby Atmos experience||BluOS is yet to reach maturity|
|Open and detailed acoustics||No auto HDMI input detection|
|Wide range of connectivity||Very expensive|
|Bold and weighty audio out of the box||Heavily relies on eARC support|
|Classy Sonos design language||Slight lack of directness|
|Works seamlessly with other Sonos products||Price|
|Amazon Alexa built-in|
As for the final verdict, the Bluesound Pulse Soundbar+ has an upper hand in terms of connectivity options, but the Sonos Arc is no slouch with its solid smart app integration and built-in Alexa. Depending on your needs, both options are equally appealing in their price range.
Bluesound vs Sonos: Amplifiers
Bluesound and Sonos also makes Class D amplifiers for Hi-Fi enthusiasts. If you’re planning to buy one to add to your home audio entertainment setup, check out the comparison between the Bluesound Powernode 2i and Sonos Amp below.
Bluesound Powernode 2i vs Sonos Amp: Side-by-Side Comparison
|Bluesound Powernode 2i||Sonos Amp|
|Dimensions (H x W x D)||2.75 x 8.7 x 7.5 inches||2.52 x 8.54 x 8.54 inches|
|Weight||1.72 kg / 3.8 lbs||2.1 kg / 4.6 lbs|
|Power Output||120 W||125 W|
|Impedance||8 Ω||8 Ω|
|Supported Audio Formats||MP3, AAC, WMA, OGG, WMA-L, ALAC, OPUS|
FLAC, MQA, WAV, AIFF
|FLAC, MP3, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, HEv2-AAC, OGG, WMA|
After going through numerous reviews and testing the amplifiers out ourselves, here are their pros and cons that you should be aware of:
|Bluesound Powernode 2i|
|Rich and spacious sound with 24-bit/192kHz hi-res playback||The BluOS Controller app needs more love|
|Support for AirPlay 2 and Bluetooth aptX HD|
|Punchy sound, wide soundstage||Strangely lacks hi-res support|
|Apple AirPlay 2 on-board||Too expensive for what it’s worth|
|Splendid app support|
The Bluesound Powernode 2i the clear winner in this particular category, mainly because of its capable DAC, support for hi-res audio playback, and ample connectivity options. However, Sonos Amp still excels on the software side.
Bluesound vs Sonos: Final Words
Congrats, you’ve finally made it to the end. As you can see, both Bluesound and Sonos makes very competitive audio products at similar prices, whether it’s wireless speakers, soundbars, amplifiers, or subwoofers.
While Sonos still seems to be the best option overall, Bluesound has proved itself to be a worthy contender in the Hi-Fi market with its balanced combination of features, ease of use, and justified price. Thus, no matter which brand you end up choosing for your next home audio system, you should have a nearly flawless experience with either of them.