Wireless Wonders: 7 Wireless Speakers Reviewed Monster Soundstage S1

Monster Soundstage S1

PRICE $250

Expansive sound
Easy-to-use app
Localizable at loud volumes
Overemphasized treble

Its exaggerated treble makes the SoundStage S1 a tough sell for audiophiles.

Monster’s SoundStage S1 ($250) is the smallest of a trio of wireless SoundStage speakers. It uses the AllPlay wireless standard and has Bluetooth for wireless audio streaming and linking up multiple units.

At 11.5 inches wide, the S1 is the largest of the speakers here and offers true stereo sound (though no way to mate two for stereo pairing, a feature said to be coming this year). Its slim enclosure contains a pair of 3-inch drivers and a passive bass radiator. Touch-sensitive, LED-lit control buttons line the S1’s top surface, and both optical digital and 3.5mm analog inputs around back let you connect external audio sources. Streaming services are limited to Spotify, Rhapsody, SomaFM, and Napster, though you can link other services from your phone via Bluetooth.

Initial setup of the SoundStage was painless. The speakers were immediately recognized, and it was easy to tag them with room names. Controlling different rooms and grouping speakers proved similarly idiot-proof. Switching between inputs requires the buttons on the speaker’s top, though in-app selection is also expected this year.

When I listened to the Beach House track, the SoundStage cast a wide sonic image, but it tended to sound strained at anything past a medium volume, making the speaker easily localizable. The overemphasized treble also resulted in vocals that sounded somewhat recessed. Bass was definitely present, though it lacked definition.

Cueing up the McGuire track, I confirmed that the SoundStage’s, um, soundstage was fairly wide for a compact speaker, but the piano and guitars sounded a bit too bright for my taste. Bass on this track was similarly powerful but also ill defined.

The SoundStage app is basic and easy to navigate. I had no issue with controlling music services, or the speakers themselves. That said, the app is a bit on the generic side and lacks some basics such as playlist aggregation, though Monster says its updates this summer will address this and more.

2 3-inch drivers, passive radiator (unspecified)
Inputs: Analog (3.5mm) Optical, USB, Bluetooth
Dimensions (WxHxD, Inches): 11.5 x 4.88 x 3.5
Weight (Pounds): 5.4

Related: What You Need to Know About Wireless Multiroom Music Systems

eugovector's picture

How about, "Anything plus the Chromecast Audio"? Forget 3rd party apps, you want native app support with casting.