WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jun 26, 2012 7 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $600 At a Glance: 2.1 independently amped channels • Bluetooth and dock connectivity • Tweaked by Paul Barton

The NAD VISO 1 was an immediate hit in my household from the moment it was uncrated. Between my roommate and myself, it received Bluetooth input from an iPad 2, iPhone 4, and iPod touch 2G. The dock played host to two iPod nano 6Gs and two nano 2Gs in addition to the nano 5G actually used for formal demos. Though not portable in the strictest sense—it won’t slip easily into a briefcase or carry-on—the system was still movable, and eager hands shifted it from living room to bedroom to kitchen. It was pressed into service to provide music for ballet exercises, cooking, reading, and bedtime listening.

Lauren Dragan Posted: Feb 28, 2014 1 comments
There’s a million Bluetooth speakers on the market these days, so it takes something special to cut through the clutter. I’ve seen super tiny Bluetooth speakers,disco light show Bluetooth speakers, and inexplicably inane handbag shaped Bluetooth Speakers. And hey, there’s nothing wrong with being a little flashy to get a second glance (within reason, of course.) But sometimes it’s refreshing to get your hands on a product that’s simply well built, refined, and classic. Maybe this explains why I was so glad to get my hands on the Grain Audio PWS for testing. But would the sound back up the natural beauty?
Posted: Mar 04, 2013 0 comments

Monitor Audio have covered most of the speaker bases, from traditional towers and surround setups to miniscule desktop companions and docks, so it's no surprise that they've decided to enter the burgeoning wireless audio arena.

Michael Berk Posted: Sep 20, 2012 0 comments

Another day, another dock - but wait. There's no dock on the new Phorus PS1 ($199). It's just a shelf. And the little Phorus PR1 ($149). That's no dock either. . .

Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 28, 2013 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $299 (accessories: Air DAC Receiver, $149; iTX Transmitter, $79; uTX Transmitter, $59) At a Glance: Easy setup • Excellent wireless performance • Good sound from compact speakers

The promise was enticing: A compact wireless speaker system offering “exceptional” performance with the option of using an outboard digital-to-analog converter (DAC) to achieve a “much needed, audiophile-grade alternative to mediocre wireless sound.” Amen. The last thing the world needs is another pair of bad-sounding wireless speakers.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Feb 15, 2016 2 comments
They say that size matters. With audio products, it is often the case: bigger speakers, bigger amplifiers, and bigger batteries can often translate into better sound and added convenience. The Nyne Rock boombox is one of the biggest and most powerful portable Bluetooth speakers we’ve seen in a long time. Let’s see if bigger truly is better.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Nov 17, 2016 0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Elegant styling
Top-notch build quality
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming up to 192 kHz/24 bit
Remarkably full sound from a compact speaker
Minus
Can sound a tad bright
Not battery-powered
Rudimentary app

THE VERDICT
Oppo’s Sonica is an elegant and versatile wireless speaker whose superb sound belies its small footprint.

As I waited in anticipation for Sonica to arrive, I was reminded of an old ad slogan: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” It’s kinda that way with Oppo. Over the past 12 years, the Silicon Valley–based company has built a stellar reputation with its best-in-class Blu-ray players and Top Pick–designated headphones and amp/DACs. I couldn’t wait to see if Oppo had extended its golden touch to wireless speakers—a category with more than its fair share of duds. My expectations were high.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Sep 04, 2013 0 comments

Panasonic has found a cool niche with their line of "tough" products: normal electronics with a little extraness so they'll survive some decent wear and tear.

This idea has found its way into a Bluetooth speaker. The SC-NT10 is fairly rugged looking, sports some decent outdoorsy specs, and has the added benefit of looking not quite unlike a flying saucer.

And if that doesn't entice you to read, know that I actually went out of doors to test this thing. Outside! Where there's sunlight! And things! It was terrifying!

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 07, 2016 1 comments

PW 800 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value

PW Amp Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

PW 600 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,897 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent build and sound quality
192-kHz/24-bit support over Ethernet
Anthem Room Correction with included mic
Minus
Limited number of streaming services
Single orientation for PW speakers
Components can’t be powered on via the app
Play-Fi control and proximity limitations

THE VERDICT
Limited streaming options and a few limitations for its Play-Fi multiroom platform are the only things that hold back this beautifully designed system with top-notch room-correction technology.

At last count, 1.34 bazillion established companies and crazed startups were designing wireless streaming audio systems. The latest company to toss its Wi-Fi dongle into the steaming streaming pile is Paradigm. Founded in 1982, the Toronto-based speaker company is no starry-eyed Kickstarter sensation hell-bent on streaming multiroom audio using a Raspberry Pi, an Altoids tin box, and numerous references to the Internet of Things. In fact, as well known as Paradigm is, the company should know better than to sully their engineering hands (they actually do build a lot of their speakers by hand in Toronto) with the interference-ridden mishmash of 802.11g/n standards, amplified speakers, audio codecs, sample rates, apps, and “What’s the best router to use?” On the other hand, maybe Paradigm—with its new Premium Wireless series—has actually succeeded in building a premium, wireless, streamingaudio system.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 01, 2015 3 comments

Stereo Cubes Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value
One S Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,944 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Intuitive, easy-to-use app
Classy, minimalist cosmetics
Supports up to 192-kHz/24-bit files
Minus
No Bluetooth or AirPlay
Only four currently supported online music services
No subwoofer outputs

THE VERDICT
The Raumfeld system’s excellent-sounding active/passive speakers, ability to handle hi-res audio, and very intuitive app make it a top-notch competitor and a standout in a category that’s spawning a plethora of me-too Sonos imitators.

It’s mandatory at the beginning of any wireless streaming audio system review to mention Sonos. The company is a Goliath that launched the category more than a decade ago and now dominates it. The reason is simple: Sonos gear sounds good, is reliable, and is about as easy to use as it gets. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Sonos is perfection incarnate, nor is it totally without flaws. (There are chinks in every suit of armor.) But you do have to feel at least a modicum of pity for any manufacturer that decides to pick up a slingshot and take aim at the Sonos colossus.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 27, 2012 0 comments

Altec Lansing is a name I hadn't heard in a while. I vaguely recall some cheap computer speakers I had, perhaps back in the 66 Mhz days (486DX2-66 FTW!). But I shall not prejudge, especially when the new inAir 5000 Wi-Fi speaker is an attractive piece of kit. Also because that's not what I'm paid for. Ok, "paid" but you get the idea.

Review Mode: Engage.

Michael Berk Posted: Oct 03, 2012 0 comments

The big box threw me for a second. Some weeks back I'd seen an early prototype of the Aperion Aris, the first Windows 8 Play To certified wireless speaker, and I recalled it being a pretty compact desktop unit. What gives?

Well, it turns out that the manufacturer is so confident in their new product that they sent it to us along with a leading wireless speaker we'd reviewed quite positively, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, along with an A/B switcher and a Sansa Clip full of tunes.

Gauntlet thrown! But we'll get to that in a minute.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Mar 26, 2012 0 comments

A few weeks ago I wrote about building a WiFi audio system without resorting to the use of a glorified iPod dock, with all of its inherent disadvantages.

The Aperion Audio Zonas offer a different way to do the same thing, or offer the flexibility of wireless speakers for surround channels, sound reinforcement, sound in another room, or anything else you can think of.

Michael Berk Posted: Jan 30, 2013 0 comments

Another day, another wireless speaker, right? We're pretty much much drowning in post-docks here at S+V these days, and aside from preferred protocol (AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth, pick your poison), most of these little guys have started to seem just a tad samey-samey.

Michael Berk Posted: Aug 22, 2012 0 comments

Audyssey, a firm that's long been on our radar as a near-ubiquitous provider of software algorithms for home theater, has in recent years stepped up its efforts to become a force in the desktop audio hardware market. We loved their first powered speaker pair, the Audyssey Media Speakers, and the company's now followed those up with a Bluetooth version, the aptly named Audyssey Wireless Speakers.

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