WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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

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

Michael Berk  |  Jun 18, 2013  |  0 comments

When we checked out Cambridge Audio's original Minx 5.1 setup just about two years back we plain loved the little things, which we felt represented about the best miniature speaker system to date, the bargain price notwithstanding. Cambridge hasn't rested on their laurels, and in the intervening years they've taken the Minx concept and have built a whole line of cool little (and not so little) lifestyle products - read small, portable, wireless systems - around it.

Brent Butterworth  |  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.

Brent Butterworth  |  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  |  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  |  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.

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