The rush to announce products at CES means we often see CGI renders and vague price promises, just to get in on the news action. But we’re giving SuperTooth a break here for two reasons. One, the company makes great speakers, and two, pretty much every one of those speakers has started life as a dummy model on a trade-show stand.
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Kanto’s YU2s seem to come from a time when speakers were solid, simple structures; proud temples to sound that said of their owners, Hey, I’m serious about music, and I know what I’m doing. Aesthetics were important, of course, but unquestioningly took a backseat to sound. Sound was king.
If you haven’t heard of Kanto before, that’s OK — the Canadian outfit just sprouted up in the Vancouver suburbs around five years ago. The YU2s are Kanto’s latest speakers, the smallest of their lineup of a half-dozen or so, and they’re designed to fit unobtrusively on a bookshelf or desk and play music from your computer or mobile device.
The YU2’s performance during our review, however, was nothing short of astonishing — and they could very capably substitute for larger speakers in a variety of roles.
In our original Hidden Radio review, we said that the little twist-to-open Bluetooth speaker looked great, but sounded a little tinny and lacked any way to control playback and iPhone volume from the unit itself.
These have bother been fixed on the new Hidden Radio 2, but the speaker
(and radio) [UPDATE: The Hidden Radio 2 no longer contains a radio] still looks as great as ever.
The Gramophone for iPhone and iPad certainly isn’t the first horn-speaker we’ve seen for our iOS devices, but it might be the most beautiful. The speakers, which run from $200 to $300 depending on size, is fashioned from wood and metal and will boost the sound output of your device by 3x.
Atoll’s SoundPad is a smart cover for the iPad Air with a set of built-in speakers. It costs $130, and snaps onto the iPad with Magnets. It’s flexible, and it connects to your iDevice via Bluetooth. And that is all the information available, which makes me a little suspicious.
The ClipR is a little disk that turns any headphones into a set of Bluetooth headphones. Or, to be more accurate, it turns any 3.5mm jack cable into a Bluetooth-enabled jack cable.
And it has a clip, so you can tuck that cable neatly away.
Wren’s V5AP is still one of my favorite AirPlay speakers, but recently I’ve been kinda off the whole AirPlay thing thanks to an the crazy East German walls of my apartment building. These walls are too crumbly to let me drill a proper hole for even a coat hook, but somehow thick and dense enough to confuse even a strong dual-band Wi-Fi signal. To recap: AirPlay speakers just won’t stay connected.
Thankfully, Wren now offers a Bluetooth version of the big, booming V5, called the V5BT, and it promises to be pretty good.
Remember back when a button was a button, and not a skeuomorphic touch-screen fake complete with drop shadows and gradients? Me too. Back in the 1980s and beyond, kids had tougher fingers thanks to all the button-pushing that went on, not like the kids of today with their weak twiglets which threaten to snap if they squeeze their in–0line remote’s play/pause “button” too hard.
Which is my way of saying that you can keep your pathetic modern-day children from playing any music by simply loading your iPhone into this retro-tastic iRecorder.
Edifier is a lesser-known company with roots in China, and a design lab in Vancouver, British Columbia. While Edifier speakers have seen table time in Apple stores in the past, they seem to be making a bigger push here in the States within the last year or two.
Their latest set is the e25 Luna Eclipse, Bluetooth-equipped speakers stuffed with some trick tech and 74 watts of power per channel — at the upper end for a set of desktop media speakers.
At just $40, I can’t help but think that the water resistant Jive is anything more than adequate when it comes to sound, especially as it packs Bluetooth 4, AVRCP (for remote control from your iPhone) and a 500mAh battery (good for four hours). But given its likely use case, this doesn’t really matter. Because the Jive is the modern-day shower radio.