iPod Docks and Speakers
It was abundantly clear at this year’s CES and Macworld|iWorld expos that wired speaker docks had been given the old heave-ho, to be replaced by wireless streaming options like Bluetooth and (more rarely) AirPlay. With the holidays upon us, here’s a look back at what we feel are the best wireless speakers from this past year. They cover a wide range of price points and use cases, from the expensive home theater setup to a rough-and-tumble outdoor speaker that’s ready to go anywhere.
You know, this actually makes perfect sense to me. I’m a guy who enjoys quality in my audio products: good sound, solid craftsmanship. The ladies in my life (specifically, my wife and daughter) like things that are pretty and/or purple. If a speaker system doesn’t look good sitting on the bookshelf, then it’ll be sitting in a box. If you’re in the same situation, the new Acoustic Research AR for Her line means you won’t have to sacrifice audio for fashion.
Vancouver based designer and manufacturer, Edifier, has introduced their newest product called the Luna EclipseT. The Luna EclipseT boasts a powerful 74 watts of power in addition to having a 3/4” / 19mm tweeter and a 3” / 76.2mm full range driver built into each speaker. The Luna EclipseT allows users to connect any compatible device via Bluetooth, including all of Apple’s iOS devices, Macs, and the iPod nano.
In the mood for turn-of-the-century nostalgia? You’re in luck, because Harman Kardon’s new Nova speaker system combines the see-through spherical design of Apple’s old Pro Speakers (which HK designed) with more modern technology like Bluetooth so you can appreciate their beauty using a more modern audio source.
Remember back when it was enough to get a speaker system that had good sound? Well, those days are gone! Now everywhere there are funky designs and color coordination on our bookshelves. And with the new JBL Pulse wireless speaker system, you’ll get a funky light show, too.
I suppose you need to have plenty of pride in your portable Bluetooth speaker to refer to as “talented,” but that’s just what Braven has done with their new BRAVEN 440. They also refer to it as water-resisant, ultra-compact and lightweight, while boasting of its room-filling stereo sound. Most of us, however, will just be smitten by the pretty colors.
Soen Audio is a newcomer to the audio scene, but one that is very much worth a listen. Their first product, the Transit Bluetooth speaker, just launched this past week. I spent a couple weeks using it for everything from music to phone calls, and I have to say I came away very impressed.
There aren’t many devices on the market that offer a built in Lightning connector for Apple’s latest lineup of products. Fortunately, the people at iLuv Creative Technology have delivered on an audio solution for your iPhone 5 (and any other electronic device, really): the Aud 5. This hi-fi speaker and Lightning dock has a modern design that not only looks good, but sounds good too.
Soundfreaq is known for funky designs, and their latest product is certainly no exception. The Sound Spot is a Bluetooth streaming speaker that offers freedom from cords as well as a built-in USB port to let you charge your devices from its internal battery while you’re on the go. You even get a full complement of buttons to let you control your music from the speaker itself, so you never have to fumble for your phone.
You knew it was just a matter of time before iHome was able to roll out its Lightning compatible accessories, and the first round is now available. To get us started, they provided AppleTell with a review unit of the iDL45, which brings FM clock radio functionality to your Lightning compatible Apple iDevice, keeping it charged all the while.
One of our favorite topics where at AppleTell is speaker systems. This is partly because we love good music and play loud games, and partly because speakers that once served your computer only can now also be used by your iPhone, iPad, and myriad other devices. Take, for example, the Logitech Bluetooth Speakers Z600 that are compatible with most all Apple devices, and are designed to look the part.
The Bric Connect, the all-wireless successor to Edifier’s Bric BT, answers one of the issues raised in our earlier review; what’s a Lightning device to do? Rather than relying on a wired dock connection, the Bric Connect instead favors Bluetooth for all your streaming needs, and adds a couple new features to the original Bric.