Our Definitive Guide: Wireless Sound For The 21st Century Home
It’s become one of the defining features of the home today, the wireless speaker, a compact multi-tasking unit that not only powers your favourite songs but these days acts as an ideal companion as well.
Since Spotify came onto the scene, they have perpetually let us down with their poor audio quality, which is why the job of the wireless speaker has become all the more important. Now you can choose all different types of speakers with multiple drivers, woofers and tweeters for your pleasure.
The wireless speaker has become the central node for the home, whether you want to know the weather, a recipe or set the alarm, these speakers act as a functionary brain for your family. And yet while most smart speakers try to emulate HAL 9000, there are other simpler earnest options with nothing more than excellent sound to offer. And we’re okay with that.
With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve assembled a mix and match for you of the finest portable audio systems for the house. Be warned purchasing these bad boys get addictive.
With their Sonos One receiving all the attention in recent years, it was time for a new family member to make some noise. The Sonos Beam is being billed as the anticipated connected upgrade for your home to meet all your cinema, assistant and general audio needs.
This really is an incredible wireless, multi-room speaker which comes from one of the most intuitive audio technology brands there is today.
It supports practically every platform you’re on from Spotify to Deezer to Google Play not to mention making Alexa a significant focus for the unit. They have a unique patented feature called TruePlay which uses your iPhone’s microphone to tailor the sound to your room and usual listening position. The sound quality is outstanding making the speaker to value ratio a no-brainer.
The Sonos Beam retails for £399
Remember the days when radio was your best friend? Well, then this speaker is for you.
This small company from the design capital Switzerland have been crafting great wireless Bluetooth radio speakers for over ten years. They have taken advantage of the DAB/ DAB+ radio revolution currently overtaking Europe, a new audio quality standard for the radio world.
Their attention to detail is bar none, with a proudly all Swiss made unit, this speaker has the potential for a 30-hour battery, nestled behind compelling crystal audio, the real highlight here is the cosmopolitan design shell with eco-leather and the crafty neon stripe display. If you want a speaker that works as a design piece as well as an attractive audio offering, this is for you.
The Touring/L retails for £300
This brand which stands for Danish Audiophile Loudspeaker Industries comes out of left field – it’s the least well known of the bunch, but it sure packs a punch.
It has been rated by almost every audiophile magazine as Best in Show regarding sound for the price. It’s not a smart speaker by any means but is more focused on finding a permanent spot on your bookshelf. At just over 1kg it’s very portable and lasts for a full 24 hours when needed. But most importantly, it has 25 watts of power per speaker, with sound emanating from both sides for a room-filling spread, and no less than three drive units – woofer, tweeter and passive radiator. For a surprise choice rather than just the usual high street brands go for this.
The Dali Katch retails for £289
Released only in February this year, the HomePod still has some catching up to do lagging behind Sonos’s supremacy in the market. But this speaker is a real front runner when it comes to connectivity and sound.
Primarily it would seem this is made for Apple fans; you can only play music on it if you have an Apple Music account, to make it worse if you don’t have an iPhone or MacBook, getting this speaker going is made infinitely harder.
Yet, sound-wise, it’s storming – it possesses a woofer, seven tweeters, each with its amplifier, and six microphones. That means this is a speaker that wants to work for your money. Siri as an assistant has been upgraded, which means it finally does what you need it to do playing a vital role in the value of the speakers.
Is it worth the money? For its audio quality alone yes, but if you’re an Apple fan, most definitely.
The Apple HomePod retails for £299
Bang & Olufsen Beolit 17
It’s been touted by several magazines as one of the best portable speakers on the market right now. The Danish brand knows how to do sound and very well at that. You might typically associate Bang and Olufsen with eye gouging prices, but this is a more timid entry into the wireless audio market.
This is aimed at capturing a more intellectual stylish audience hence the Bluetooth non-smart speaker is designed by furniture artisan Cecilie Manz. It possesses 24-hour battery – so from morning to evening, it can accompany you wherever you go.
The real kick here is the sound it has six drivers compactly loaded into the unit, that allows for true with 360 degrees sound. It is worth the dosh if you want something to accompany your luxury on-the-go lifestyle.