WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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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: 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.

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. . .

Brent Butterworth Posted: Aug 22, 2013 0 comments

One thing about capitalism: If you're successful, people will immediately copy what you're doing.

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.

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.

Michael Berk Posted: Dec 01, 2011 0 comments

High-quality Bluetooth audio? I know what you're thinking.

Brent Butterworth Posted: May 21, 2013 0 comments

Compact Bluetooth speakers are all small enough to toss into a suitcase-but they're not all tough enough to survive the trip. But I knew the Braven BRV-1 was different when I first pulled it out of its package.

With rubber bumpers covering most of its surface, rubber control buttons, and a bolted-on perfed metal grille, it looked tough enough that I could toss it onto the wooden floor of my office. So I did. Not necessarily a smart thing to do with a review sample, but when I went to mate my Samsung G3S phone with the BRV-1, everything worked just fine. I repeated the demo for my fellow Tech^2 blogger Geoff Morrison and frequent West Coast headphone tester Will Huff, and the BRV-1's still working, still not showing a scratch.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Mar 25, 2013 0 comments

Wireless is, uh, in the air these days. Audio, video, telecom, and most everything else up to and including war-making are all proceeding nicely without any lengths of braided copper trailing behind. But too much of the time, this is more about wireless-ness than about what happens when the signal gets wherever “there” is. (Unless, that is, you have the misfortune to be riding in a car in the mountains of northern Pakistan…)

Not this time. And the rather unexpected reason is a new family of wireless speakers dubbed Xeo from Dynaudio, the Danish loudspeaker (and transducer) maker that is as widely respected in the hushed confines of pro audio as in the rough-and-tumble of high-end hi-fi.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Apr 01, 2013 1 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: 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.

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.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: May 07, 2012 0 comments

If you’ve ever tried to jazz up a party with the speaker built into your iPhone, you know how pathetic that can sound. These days, everyone is coming out with portable speaker systems (don’t call them boomboxes!) for MP3 players, but they all require one thing: Power. Now, we all love power, but AC power isn’t always available where we want to party (eg. poolside or the beach).

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