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WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Lauren Dragan Posted: Dec 06, 2013 0 comments
The latest in the Harman Kardon line of aesthetically pleasing home electronics, the Nova are small, powered 2.0 desktop speakers designed for flexibility of use. Each about the size of a cantaloupe, they have 2.5” drivers,1.25” tweeters, and a passive bass radiator. Not only can you connect with an ⅛” jack and optical line, but with Bluetooth and NFC; so no matter what you want to hear, they can connect to it. And for little speakers, they get a surprising amount of volume without distorting. While they are not a substitute for a full receiver-based home theater sound system, they are perfect for an office, small apartment, or bedroom, and can fill any mid-sized room with sound rather comfortably, even in a cocktail party situation.
Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 09, 2012 0 comments

The original Jawbone Jambox Bluetooth speaker has won raves from us and seemingly everyone else who reviews portable audio gear. That’s partly because of the Jambox’s great sound, partly because of its cool industrial design, and partly because of its flashy programmable features. But even the most shameless marketing guy wouldn’t say the Jambox’s 1.25-inch drivers rock.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Oct 10, 2012 0 comments

As a guy who spends a lot of his life on biztrips and bike tours, I find Apple’s AirPlay wireless audio technology to be almost useless. Give me Bluetooth, baby! Bluetooth lets me haul my Soundmatters FoxLv2 to exotic locales (Houston, Indianapolis, etc.), zap it with music or Internet radio from my Motorola Droid Pro or my iPod touch, and enjoy the same listening options on the road that I have at home—minus my vinyl collection and turntable, of course.

But the new Libratone Zipp makes AirPlay almost as convenient as Bluetooth.

Michael Berk Posted: Oct 25, 2012 0 comments

It's a given that smartphones and tablets are at the heart of today's digital media experience. The latest wave of small, mobile devices provide access to every streaming service under the sun and enough file storage to make not only portable media players, but pretty much every other part of the traditional listening rig obsolete. Big systems are going the way of the dodo - little wireless table radios are where it's at nowadays. Enter the Logitech UE Smart Radio and Phorus' Play-Fi system, two worthy contenders with very different design philosophies.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Sep 30, 2013 0 comments
Every morning, my inbox is filled with press release after press release announcing some new Bluetooth wireless speaker. Everybody seems to be making them, and every company is trying to find an edge—some way to elevate themselves above the fray. Different shapes, multiple colors, small or large, they all do the same thing. But the Lyrix Duo caught my eye as something different, something unique. I needed to find out if different is also good.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Apr 25, 2012 0 comments

I don’t want to call Paul Barton a brilliant speaker designer, because that might imply that he lucks into occasional flashes of inspiration. No, Barton — founder and chief engineer of PSB Speakers — succeeds because he does the complicated and time-consuming work of building his products using the best science and engineering available. He doesn’t base his design decisions on pet theories, casual observations, or the latest line of B.S. circulating among online audio forums. And to my knowledge, he’s never allowed market trends, cosmetics, or form factors to ruin the sound of his products.

This is why I was so excited to find out last year that Barton was designing a new iPhone/iPod Touch dock for NAD, PSB’s sister brand.

Brent Butterworth Posted: May 28, 2013 0 comments

Hey, who decided we should adjust volume by pushing buttons instead of turning a knob? Whether you have to push the button repeatedly, or push, hold, and wait to hit the right volume, is that really easier than twisting a knob? No, it's not. Unfortunately, I know of only one Bluetooth speaker maker who realizes this: Native Union.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jan 28, 2013 0 comments

I've dreamed of a bicycle sound system for years. I've tried several, even jury-rigged a few of my own, but always ended up discarding them 'cause they sounded lousy, fell apart, or were just a hassle to deal with. But two trends might make decent cycle-sound systems possible.

First there's Bluetooth, which lets you stream MP3s, Internet radio, and podcasts from your smartphone. Then there's the recent explosion in relatively high-quality miniature sound systems like the Soundmatters FoxL and the Jawbone Jambox.

The $99 NYNE Multimedia NB-200 is one of the first Bluetooth speakers designed specifically for cycling. Its driver layout-two 1.5-inch drivers with a 3- by 1.5-inch passive radiator-is somewhat similar to that of a FoxL. While you can get a bike mount for the FoxL, the NB-200 was designed from scratch as a bike speaker. The enclosure has slots that match up with a couple of handlebar clips.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 11, 2013 0 comments

Thanks to the runaway success of the Jawbone Jambox, it seems most of the new Bluetooth speakers coming out are cute little things that can barely muster enough volume to hear in the next room.

Ken C. Pohlmann Posted: May 01, 2013 0 comments

 

When summer rolls around, we all go mobile. We drink morning coffee out on the patio, surf while sitting by the pool, and might even do an overnighter in a treehouse. Of course, all of those activities are accompanied by music, and we also need to stay connected for incoming calls.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 01, 2013 0 comments

I've reviewed a few of these types of speakers. Pioneer calls this one a "Wireless Speaker" but that's not really adequate for the category. Music streaming speaker (MSS?) is probably more accurate, if less pithy.

Either way, my experience has been that for most, it's function first, quality second. As in, you get sound, but it's not very good. Unless the MSS has some sort of special attention paid to sound quality, I try to avoid them.

What got my attention with this one, then? Well, the A4 has been tuned by none other than Andrew Jones, and given how amazing his inexpensive Pioneer speakers are, I figured this doodad was worth a look.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jun 05, 2013 0 comments

Bluetooth speakers are like cheap econobox cars: Even in normal daily use, you're likely to push them to their limits. Most of the compact Bluetooth speakers I test put out 81 to 87 dB at 1 meter, loud enough for casual listening but not loud enough to get your foot tapping and your head bobbing.

Brent Butterworth Posted: Jul 25, 2011 0 comments

The CD is dying. iPod sales are declining. More and more, people are getting their music from … well, everywhere: MP3s stored on a hard drive, Internet radio and music services like MOG, Pandora and the recently hyped Spotify.

Rob Sabin Posted: Mar 07, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $199

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Lowest price ever for a Sonos starter system
Attractive, décor-friendly design
Natural, unhyped sound quality
Minus
Needs near-wall placement or optional SUB to sound its best

THE VERDICT
The Play:1’s low price and natural sound quality make starting or expanding a Sonos system easier than ever.

At $199 each, the Play:1 represents the new low entry point for the Sonos multiroom wireless audio system. Connect it to your router, download the free controller app to your smartphone or tablet, and you’re ready to start building a wireless wholehouse music system fed by your personal music library or any of the dozens of streaming services now integrated with the system. If you’d rather put your Play:1 in a room distant from your router, you can buy the $49 Bridge adapter to make the one required wired network connection, and you’ll be free to add Sonos components wirelessly all over the house.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jan 19, 2011 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $399

At A Glance: Single-box solution • Easy setup and operation • Perfect for smaller rooms, garage, and outdoors • Integrates with existing Sonos systems • Product now called Play:5

Sonos, a leader in low-cost, wholehouse audio, has made it possible to inexpensively stream audio from a computer to multiple A/V systems using one or more of its ZonePlayers. The $399 Sonos S5, the newest ZonePlayer, is completely self-contained. It incorporates its own power supply, amplification, and internal speakers, which allows audio streaming from a wide variety of sources without a dedicated sound system. It can serve as your main (or only) ZonePlayer or as an extension of an existing Sonos system.

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