WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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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.

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?
Lauren Dragan Posted: Feb 14, 2014 0 comments
In this era of technology that seemingly at best connects people through a screen and at worst isolates us from any human contact whatsoever, it’s refreshing to encounter a concept that actually encourages and enhances in-person interaction. The Camden Square is a Bluetooth Speaker. But add Polk’s DJ Stream app, and it’s suddenly a party speaker.
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Jan 26, 2014 0 comments
As a non-iPhone user, the preponderance of iPod-ready devices gets a bit old. I’m over it. So it was a welcome relief when Soundmatters announced the DASHa, a Kindle-ready version of their very popular (and rightly so) DASH7 Bluetooth speaker. The DASHa is “Certified Made for Kindle” and it only comes in a matte black finish that matches the Kindle. It’s currently only available through Amazon, although other Kindle distributors might be added. It is compatible with Kindle Fire HD and Kindle Fire HDX.

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.
Leslie Shapiro Posted: Nov 11, 2013 0 comments
IK Multimedia has just released its latest product, aimed at musicians and music lovers alike: the iLoud portable speaker. The company claims it is “studio quality” and equips it with a guitar/microphone input. Hmm, “studio quality”—I’ve heard that one before, but I decided to check it out. Is it actually something I would have used in my own recording studio?

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: Aug 22, 2013 Published: Aug 23, 2013 0 comments
Can these crazy-cheap Bluetooth speakers catch their costlier competitors?
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.

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.

Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $600 At A Glance: Excellent tonality • Good imaging • Cumbersome WiFi setup

I've never been a big fan of paying for brand names for their own sake. Build quality? Yes. Performance? Absolutely. Aesthetics? Sure. Ease of use? Certainly. Each of those has value, and it often makes sense to pay more, even a lot more, for any one of them. But sometimes, in the course of shopping for whatever, you encounter an entry from a well-respected or even elite brand that at first glance seems so outlandishly priced you have stop and wonder: what am I really paying for here?

Suffice to say that was me when Bowers & Wilkins first suggested I take a little ride with the Zeppelin Air, the company's $600 iPod dock...

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.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Apr 26, 2010 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $1,098 (as reviewed)

At A Glance: Robust wireless communication between devices • Supports most audio codecs except Apple FairPlay DRM-protected and WMA lossless • Access to numerous online audio-subscription services • ZonePlayers can stream local analog sources to other zonesI’ve often thought it would be nice to have music in multiple rooms of the house; but, as I’ve alluded, my home is not custom install friendly. I decided that a wireless multiroom system would definitely be the best bet. Sonos, a company that focuses exclusively on wireless multiroom audio, has a system that’s designed to do just thatŃand moreŃin up to 32 independent zones without breaking the bank or tearing down any walls. After I read the endearing tag line, “Wireless that works like magic,” I thought, what better time or place could there be to check out Sonos’ latest system incarnation? So I asked Sonos to send out its Bundle 150 two-zone package ($999 ) plus a ZoneBridge and let the fun begin.

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.

Michael Berk Posted: Mar 14, 2012 0 comments

As our own Geoffrey Morrison pointed out earlier this week, a lot of AirPlay-enabled speakers are expensive enough that they're bound to get you thinking about building your own system around a cheaper device like an AirPort Express.

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