WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

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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.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Dec 01, 2015  |  2 comments

Stereo Cubes Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value
One S Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $2,944 as reviewed

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Intuitive, easy-to-use app
Classy, minimalist cosmetics
Supports up to 192-kHz/24-bit files
Minus
No Bluetooth or AirPlay
Only four currently supported online music services
No subwoofer outputs

THE VERDICT
The Raumfeld system’s excellent-sounding active/passive speakers, ability to handle hi-res audio, and very intuitive app make it a top-notch competitor and a standout in a category that’s spawning a plethora of me-too Sonos imitators.

It’s mandatory at the beginning of any wireless streaming audio system review to mention Sonos. The company is a Goliath that launched the category more than a decade ago and now dominates it. The reason is simple: Sonos gear sounds good, is reliable, and is about as easy to use as it gets. That doesn’t mean, of course, that Sonos is perfection incarnate, nor is it totally without flaws. (There are chinks in every suit of armor.) But you do have to feel at least a modicum of pity for any manufacturer that decides to pick up a slingshot and take aim at the Sonos colossus.

Bob Ankosko  |  May 25, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $400

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Impeccable fit and finish
Streaming via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Excellent sound
Solid bass
Remote control
Minus
App could be more intuitive
Wish there was a display window

THE VERDICT
The Three melds retro style with modern sound in a beautifully crafted tabletop stereo.

I’m not gonna lie. When I first saw a press photo of the Three, I was immediately taken with its elegant retro styling—the wraparound grille, the walnut top…those copper control knobs. I wanted one.

Evoking what Klipsch calls the “mid-century” design legacy of its late founder Paul W. Klipsch, the Three boasts impeccably finished walnut panels, a knit grille, and a copper strip with two knobs—one for volume, the other for source selection—plus something you don’t expect to see on modern gear: a toggle switch. Positively retro. Behind the classic façade is a stereo pair of 2.25-inch drivers that flank a 5.25-inch woofer. Klipsch has also incorporated two 5.25-inch passive radiators—one on each end of the enclosure—to boost bass output.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  Feb 27, 2012  |  0 comments

Altec Lansing is a name I hadn't heard in a while. I vaguely recall some cheap computer speakers I had, perhaps back in the 66 Mhz days (486DX2-66 FTW!). But I shall not prejudge, especially when the new inAir 5000 Wi-Fi speaker is an attractive piece of kit. Also because that's not what I'm paid for. Ok, "paid" but you get the idea.

Review Mode: Engage.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Dec 18, 2017  |  0 comments
Smart speakers are all the rage at the moment, and companies can’t afford to let customers slip away. I had a chance to check out the new Amazon Echo ($100, currently discounted to $80) complete with the updated software that improves audio performance.

Michael Berk  |  Oct 03, 2012  |  0 comments

The big box threw me for a second. Some weeks back I'd seen an early prototype of the Aperion Aris, the first Windows 8 Play To certified wireless speaker, and I recalled it being a pretty compact desktop unit. What gives?

Well, it turns out that the manufacturer is so confident in their new product that they sent it to us along with a leading wireless speaker we'd reviewed quite positively, the Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air, along with an A/B switcher and a Sansa Clip full of tunes.

Gauntlet thrown! But we'll get to that in a minute.

Geoffrey Morrison  |  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.

Michael Berk  |  Jan 30, 2013  |  0 comments

Another day, another wireless speaker, right? We're pretty much much drowning in post-docks here at S+V these days, and aside from preferred protocol (AirPlay, DLNA, Bluetooth, pick your poison), most of these little guys have started to seem just a tad samey-samey.

Michael Berk  |  Aug 22, 2012  |  0 comments

Audyssey, a firm that's long been on our radar as a near-ubiquitous provider of software algorithms for home theater, has in recent years stepped up its efforts to become a force in the desktop audio hardware market. We loved their first powered speaker pair, the Audyssey Media Speakers, and the company's now followed those up with a Bluetooth version, the aptly named Audyssey Wireless Speakers.

Ken C. Pohlmann  |  Oct 29, 2012  |  0 comments

The Beats Pill is another portable stereo speaker launched onto an ocean of portable stereo speakers. But it features cool cosmetics, upscale tech features, and best of all - that unbeatable Beats logo. Alert the hipster audiophiles, stat!

Brent Butterworth  |  Nov 21, 2012  |  0 comments

When B&W launched the Zeppelin back in 2007, it created a whole new category: the high-end lifestyle audio system. The Zeppelin cost a whopping $599, but it sounded much better than the other iPod docks of its time, it looked like no other audio product in history, and it sold like crazy.

Michael Berk  |  Jun 28, 2012  |  0 comments

Another week, another exciting new line of Bluetooth portable products. This time around, the name behind the speaker is Braven (the company formerly known as Spar), who recently announced three new full-featured models in the Six series. We of course couldn't resist calling in the company's flagship, the $189.99 Braven 650, for a look.

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