WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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Bob Ankosko  |  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.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jul 14, 2016  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Stylish, sturdy design
Compact and battery powered
Easy setup, no apps required
Remote control included
Spacious, full-bodied sound
Digital audio input
Minus
Pricey
Not ideal for heavy pop/rock

THE VERDICT
The Core is a remarkable speaker that delivers excellent sound quality for its size, but its price is steep.

My wife thought I was crazy as I walked into the kitchen cradling a speaker while singing along with the Boz Scaggs classic “Look What You’ve Done to Me.” It’s not uncommon for me to serenade the family, but doing so with a “live” speaker in tow, well, that’s unusual even for (the goofball in) me. But that’s one of the things I love about Mass Fidelity’s remarkable Core: It’s so easy to move around. And then there’s the sound—we’ll get to that in a minute.

Rob Sabin  |  May 11, 2017  |  1 comments
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $1,000 ea

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Classic McIntosh styling
DTS Play-Fi compatibility
Excellent sound quality
Minus
Quirky Play-Fi app
Grille isn’t acoustically transparent
No Bluetooth
Pricey

THE VERDICT
It’s hardly cheap, but McIntosh’s wireless speaker will satisfy your inner audiophile in more ways than one.

My UPS delivery guy—after having me sign for a pair of McIntosh RS100 wireless speakers, whose brand labeling was plainly evident—couldn’t resist commenting before walking off with a wink and a smile: “Have fun with those!”

Bob Ankosko  |  Jun 17, 2016  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $400

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Killer outdoor music system
Super sturdy design
Battery powered
Awesome one-time, “no-fault replacement” policy
Minus
Pricey
Heavy!

THE VERDICT
The Monster Blaster will shock you (and your neighbors) with its powerful sound.

As I removed the Monster Blaster from its box, I felt like I was lifting a dumbbell from the rack. Seriously, the thing weighs about 17 pounds, and it’s built like a tank, ready for the rough and tumble of outdoor use.

And when I say rough and tumble, I’m not kidding. If you buy the Blaster from monsterproducts.com, it’s covered by a lifetime warranty with “one time, no-fault replacement.” As Monster explains on its website: “If the Blaster has any issues (your fault or ours), return the product and get a replacement.” Buy it elsewhere, and you get the one-year standard warranty.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  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.

Mark Fleischmann  |  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.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jun 01, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $900

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Elegant design
Impeccable build quality
Compact form factor
Terrific sound quality
Minus
Limited streaming options
Expensive

THE VERDICT
The Mu-so Qb is pricey, but it’s impeccably built, offers a number of wired and wireless playback options, and is one of the best-sounding compact wireless speaker systems I’ve heard.

I was trolling for high-bit-rate internet radio stations when I stumbled upon Incubus performing “Love Hurts” on Alternative Times Radio out of Prague. I’d never heard the song before but was immediately captivated by the richness of Brandon Boyd’s voice and how realistic the kick drum and snare sounded. And the stream was only 128 kilobits per second…

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?
 |  Mar 04, 2013  |  0 comments

Monitor Audio have covered most of the speaker bases, from traditional towers and surround setups to miniscule desktop companions and docks, so it's no surprise that they've decided to enter the burgeoning wireless audio arena.

Michael Berk  |  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. . .

Bob Ankosko  |  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.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 15, 2016  |  2 comments
They say that size matters. With audio products, it is often the case: bigger speakers, bigger amplifiers, and bigger batteries can often translate into better sound and added convenience. The Nyne Rock boombox is one of the biggest and most powerful portable Bluetooth speakers we’ve seen in a long time. Let’s see if bigger truly is better.

Bob Ankosko  |  Nov 17, 2016  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $299

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Elegant styling
Top-notch build quality
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi streaming up to 192 kHz/24 bit
Remarkably full sound from a compact speaker
Minus
Can sound a tad bright
Not battery-powered
Rudimentary app

THE VERDICT
Oppo’s Sonica is an elegant and versatile wireless speaker whose superb sound belies its small footprint.

As I waited in anticipation for Sonica to arrive, I was reminded of an old ad slogan: “When E.F. Hutton talks, people listen.” It’s kinda that way with Oppo. Over the past 12 years, the Silicon Valley–based company has built a stellar reputation with its best-in-class Blu-ray players and Top Pick–designated headphones and amp/DACs. I couldn’t wait to see if Oppo had extended its golden touch to wireless speakers—a category with more than its fair share of duds. My expectations were high.

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!

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jun 07, 2016  |  1 comments

PW 800 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value

PW Amp Amplifier
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

PW 600 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,897 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent build and sound quality
192-kHz/24-bit support over Ethernet
Anthem Room Correction with included mic
Minus
Limited number of streaming services
Single orientation for PW speakers
Components can’t be powered on via the app
Play-Fi control and proximity limitations

THE VERDICT
Limited streaming options and a few limitations for its Play-Fi multiroom platform are the only things that hold back this beautifully designed system with top-notch room-correction technology.

At last count, 1.34 bazillion established companies and crazed startups were designing wireless streaming audio systems. The latest company to toss its Wi-Fi dongle into the steaming streaming pile is Paradigm. Founded in 1982, the Toronto-based speaker company is no starry-eyed Kickstarter sensation hell-bent on streaming multiroom audio using a Raspberry Pi, an Altoids tin box, and numerous references to the Internet of Things. In fact, as well known as Paradigm is, the company should know better than to sully their engineering hands (they actually do build a lot of their speakers by hand in Toronto) with the interference-ridden mishmash of 802.11g/n standards, amplified speakers, audio codecs, sample rates, apps, and “What’s the best router to use?” On the other hand, maybe Paradigm—with its new Premium Wireless series—has actually succeeded in building a premium, wireless, streamingaudio system.

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