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WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 11, 2014 0 comments
When someone says “invisible sound,” the first thing that comes to my mind is an in-wall/ceiling speaker hidden behind an inconspicuous grille. ClearView Audio has a different take on “invisible” with its stylish Clio Bluetooth speaker, which uses acrylic glass to create sound. No domes, no cones, except for a tiny 2-inch “woofer” hidden in the base that supports what you might call its sonic windshield. We asked CEO Stefen Bokamper to tell us about this unusual speaker.
Bob Ankosko Posted: Jul 09, 2014 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $900

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Quick setup Bluetooth streaming Impeccable build quality Excellent bass and tonal balance
Minus
Pricey
Restricted soundstage

THE VERDICT
Crescendo is an elegant tabletop music system that shines with vocal and acoustic music, but it might leave you yearning for a broader soundstage.

Let me just get this out of the way right up front: MartinLogan’s Crescendo is a work of art and perhaps the most beautiful tabletop music system on the planet. It’s also not at all what you expect from a company that’s been building fine electrostatic speakers for three decades. But who can fault a company for broadening its horizons and doing it in a way that upholds its long-standing dedication to quality? Crescendo is, after all, a classy addition to the MartinLogan family.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 25, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $449

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Up to 20 hours of battery life
Water- and UV-resistant
Bluetooth with aptX and AAC
Minus
Not exactly inexpensive (though well worth its price)

THE VERDICT
You’ll find plenty of portable bluetooth speakers out there, but you’ll search long and hard to find one that’s as well built, weatherproof, and good-sounding as this one.

Soundcast Systems’ Melody is a category-blender of a product that’s difficult to sum up succinctly. It’s a mishmash of features that’s one part this, one part that, and a couple more parts of another type of thing. But none of that really matters unless you’re into semantics, market trends, or trying to do an Internet search for a “take anywhere, everywhere speaker” (as Soundcast likes to refer to it). The important thing is that the Melody has a boatload of stuff going for it; and it’s one of those rare audio devices that you’re likely to find yourself using for applications and situations you originally had no idea it would be ideal for.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: May 29, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
AirPlay and Bluetooth
Excellent build quality and sound
Carrying handle
Minus
None!

THE VERDICT
The Minx Air 200 is a well built and great sounding compact system that supports wireless streaming from many mobile devices.

So long, Apple 30-pin docking connector. You were a prodigiously creative little jack while you lasted. You gave birth to whole new categories of iPod/iPhone accessory docks and docking systems. You even muscled your way into A/V receivers, initially with add-on docks, then with iOS-capable USB jacks, your Apple-ness embedded into the receiver’s silicon brain. But now you’re on the run. Apple’s skinny Lightning connector has made you instantly obsolete, and you’ll linger only as long as the legacy devices you serve. In fact, even Lightning, your designated successor, is practically DOA thanks to another transformative change.

Leslie Shapiro Posted: Mar 10, 2014 0 comments
I’ll admit it. I’m over it. Or at least I’m just a little tired of the endless parade of portable Bluetooth speakers that claim to be “stereo.” Sure, if you hold your breath and keep your head positioned precisely in front of the 3-inch wide box, you can almost convince yourself there’s a slight impression of stereo imaging. Worse are systems that claim you can easily pair two devices for true stereo but it turns out that pairing is funky and frustrating and never seems to work. When did stereo become so disposable? The iLuv SyrenPro claimed to be different. Let’s just see about that.

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.

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!

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

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

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