WIRELESS SPEAKER REVIEWS

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Rob Sabin  |  Nov 21, 2017  |  0 comments

Arena Wireless Speaker
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value

Festival Wireless Speaker
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE Festival, $499; Arena, $249

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Excellent build and sound quality
Chromecast, AirPlay, Bluetooth built-in
Away mode and optional battery for portability
Minus
Chromecast multiroom interface

THE VERDICT
Riva Audio continues a tradition of excellent sound quality with the WAND series, the company’s first wireless multiroom speakers.

I first met Riva Audio founder Rikki Farr and chief engineer (now also president) Don North in the fall of 2014 when they marched into Sound & Vision’s New York City conference room to demo their first product, a Bluetooth speaker called the Turbo X. North was a youthful, glasses-wearing geek who had just enough of the right credentials and tech swagger to suggest he really knew what he was doing.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 20, 2017  |  0 comments
A week ago, if you had asked me if I could love a $550 portable speaker, I would have laughed you out of my listening room. Yet here I am, just days later, completely smitten with the Oslo speaker from Vifa, a Danish speaker manufacturer. It’s uniquely stylish, massively overbuilt, and the sound is amazing. I am in love with the Oslo.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Nov 06, 2017  |  0 comments
Voice-activated speakers are hitting the market hot and heavy with everyone vying to be the only system you’ll invest in. Amazon is hoping you’ll pick Alexa, and Cortana is hoping to get some traction in the market. Once you’re a Google family, odds are you’ll stay there. To that end, JBL just released a new line of Google Assistant voice-activated speakers, and the LINK 20 is the perfect balance of features, sound quality, and portability. Yup — that’s right — a voice-assistant that’s not only portable, it’s waterproof too so it can go anywhere.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Oct 23, 2017  |  0 comments
When a company known for making very good speakers and receivers comes out with the first Cortana-based smart speaker, it better sound good. Did it? Nope — it sounded great!

Bob Ankosko  |  Oct 11, 2017  |  0 comments
Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $200

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Multiple streaming options via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Chromecast built-in
Remote control
Minus
Lackluster sound quality

THE VERDICT
The Mondo+ is a versatile internet radio that offers easy access to a multitude of streaming sources, but we expected better sound quality for the price.

My first thought was “clock radio” as I lifted the Mondo+ out of its box. It’s tough to gauge the heft of a product from a picture, so I guess I was expecting something a bit more substantial. Even so, the plastic-encased Mondo+ is nice and compact—about the size of a loaf of bread—and attractive with a smooth gray finish and large color display that serves as a gateway to wireless streaming options and system settings, including—you guessed it—an alarm clock.

Rob Sabin  |  Jun 09, 2017  |  1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $800

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Superb sound quality
Impressive, weather-resistant build quality
Bluetooth stereo pairing
Minus
Pricey

THE VERDICT
Soundcast’s new flagship outdoor Bluetooth speaker carries a substantial price tag, but if you’re headed for the backyard or a tailgate party, you’ll get what you pay for in sound quality, ease of use, and reliable operation.

Ever since the introduction of the first battery-driven transistor pocket radio, we’ve been taking our music outside and on the go. (By the way, that was the Regency TR-1 in the fall of 1954; visit regencytr1.com for a retrospective maintained by Don Pies, son of Regency cofounder John Pies.) Of course, any conversation today about “outdoor audio” needs to be placed in modern context. We’ve gone from being grateful for a tinny AM broadcast of “The Roy Rogers Show” played back over a tiny, underpowered speaker to expecting potent, high-quality audio in our backyards, at the beach, or in the parking lot as we tailgate before the big game.

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…

Mark Fleischmann  |  May 31, 2017  |  1 comments

MusicCast WX-010 Speaker
Performance
Build Quality
Value

MusicCast WXA-50 Amplifier
Audio Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $500 (amp); $200 (speaker)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Streams to MusicCast devices
Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth
55 watts per channel, Class D
Minus
No headphone jack on amp
No analog input on speaker
Loaded PC may freeze app

THE VERDICT
The Yamaha WXA-50 has a clean and lively sound, a space-saving form factor, and the ability to stream to devices using the company’s MusicCast system—including the reasonable-sounding WX-010 wireless speaker.

If you are the intended audience for the Yamaha MusicCast WXA-50 amplifier, you find A/V receivers too big, black, and boxy. You are happy with two-channel sound but turned off by doghouse-sized stereo amps sitting on the floor. Soundbars may give you Bluetooth, but that isn’t enough. You’re willing to accept the architecture of a conventional home audio system—amp, speakers, sources—but on a more modest scale. And because you live in more than one room, you want a system with multiroom smarts. That’s the WXA-50 stereo integrated amp and MusicCast multiroom system in a nutshell. To make things interesting for this review, we threw in a couple of Yamaha’s latest WX-010 wireless speakers in additional zones.

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.

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  |  Apr 18, 2017  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $599

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Solid build quality
Powered by AC or battery
Integral handle
Minus
Disappointing sound quality
Expensive

THE VERDICT
The Adcom Luna has style and pizzazz but falls short of the competition on sound quality.

Luna is not your father’s Adcom. As the first speaker to bear the familiar red logo, from a relatively recent licensee of the venerable old brand, it has no common heritage with the fine power amplifiers and preamplifiers on which the original company built its name in the ’80s and ’90s, except for its dominant color—black.

Leslie Shapiro  |  Feb 20, 2017  |  0 comments
When JLab Audio launched their new Party Series wireless Bluetooth speakers last month, they quickly created quite a stir. After they won a 2017 CES Innovations award and a 2017 Dealerscope IMPACT! Award, I knew I had to check them out in person. I’m certainly glad I did.

Bob Ankosko  |  Jan 24, 2017  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $400

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Great for impromptu gatherings
Easy to transport
Rugged build quality
Plays loud and clear
Water resistant
Minus
A bit bulky/heavy for a portable speaker
Pricey

THE VERDICT
The Bullfrog Jump lives up to Kicker’s reputation for delivering big, bold sound that you can take with you wherever you go.

“That’s an ugly speaker.” Oooh. That’s not what I was expecting to hear when I walked into the family room, Bullfrog Jump in tow. I like the way it looks. Then my son chimed in: “Well, it does sorta look like a space heater.” Hmmm…. He’s got a point, I thought to myself. OK, so it isn’t a work of art. It’s not supposed to be—it’s an outdoor speaker. And a darn good one at that.

Bob Ankosko  |  Dec 23, 2016  |  1 comments

Duetto
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value

Solo
Performance
Features
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $299 (Solo), $399 (Duetto)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Versatile
Solid build quality
Streaming via Bluetooth and Wi-Fi
Impressive sound
Intuitive app plus traditional remote
Minus
Wish it was battery-powered

THE VERDICT
Como Audio's Solo and Duetto look good, sound great, and are loaded with features.

Don’t be fooled by the clock-radio appearance of the Solo or Duetto. Yes, there is a clock with dual alarms and, yes, there is an FM radio—but these extras barely scratch the surface of what these mini marvels can do. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a compact music system that’s as versatile or sounds as good as the Duetto or Solo from Como Audio.

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.

Pages

X