Shelf-size stereo delivers massive sound from a tiny footprint

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So much sound in such a small package.
So much sound in such a small package.
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Now that we’re in the era of the portable Bluetooth speaker, it’s hard to justify spending money on a stereo that just sits on a shelf at home.

That perception is exactly what this tiny stereo system from German audio giant Thonet and Vander aims to fight, though. The Rätsel brings old-school stereo sensibility to the modern age, with an absolutely room-filling sound in a tiny, tiny package. Why not have something that sounds this great right there on your shelf?

Bem’s Retro Radio-Style Speaker Separates Into Stereo Sections

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Bem’s upcoming Wireless Speaker Duo is great in all kinds of ways. First, it looks like an old-timey radio, complete with rounded edges and simple bent-metal handle. Second, it has proper playback control buttons on the top. And third, it contains two speakers which can be popped out and separated to make a stereo pair, before being returned to the base for charging.

UE Boom Mini – Tiny Speakers, Huge Sound, Colorful Look [Review]

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Mini Boom

Ultimate Ears, owned by Logitech, makes my favorite portable speaker ever: the UE Boom. The cylindrical powerhouse of a speaker is rugged, stylish, and easy to use.

Mini Boom by Ultimate Ears
Category: Portable Bluetooth Speakers
Works With: iOS, Mac, Any sound source
Price: $99.99 per speaker

Imagine my utter joy when I received Ultimate Ears’ latest entry into the portable speaker market, the UE MiniBoom, and found them to be even tinier and equally rugged and easy to use. Oh, and they sound fantastic, too.

Earshots: Pocket-Sized Rechargeable Stereo Speakers For Your Devices

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standingsilver

I’m always surprised how much bigger and louder stereo speakers make music sound. It might be the fact that the 3-D space it creates fools our stupid brains into thinking that the music is surrounding us, but the difference is huge. Try it: take a device that’s hooked up to actual separate stereo speakers and flip between stereo and mono with your source.

And so I expect the Earshots Stereo Speakers to sound a lot bigger than their 34mm diameter would suggest.

One Ruggedized UE BOOM Bluetooth Speaker is Cool, But Two Gets You Stereo Sound

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It’s unlikely that the Jawbone Jambox will be shoved off its throne anytime soon; not necessarily because it’s the best-sounding portable Bluetooth speaker out there, but because it was here first, and it made a huge splash (in part because, yes, it sounds pretty good).

But I were to bet on a challenger, I might put my money on the smart new UE Boom. Not only is it ruggedized against drops and splashes, but it’s armed with two very unusual tricks.

Why I Stopped Pirating Music

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After nearly a decade, my iTunes library weighs in at almost ninety-four gigabytes. A lot of serious music nerds would sneeze derisively at that, but it still represents over 13,000 songs that would take me, from start to finish, a full 48 days to listen to back to back.

I’d be lying if I said most of these had been acquired legally. Most of these albums were acquired on Bittorrent in my twenties. Many more were ripped from CDs lent to me by friends and family, or slurped up from Usenet to satisfy my obscure yet surface-thin musical fixations. Some were purchased through iTunes or other sources online, but truthfully, if you stripped everything out of my iTunes library that I’d acquired legally, I’d probably have a digital music library that could fit on a first generation iPod.

Over the course of the last two years, though, something interesting has happened. I’ve grown a conscience. These days, all of the music I listen to is listened to legally. But iTunes not only has no part in it. In fact, for the past two years, my iTunes library has just been collecting dust: a graveyard to the music piracy of my youth.

I’m ashamed of it. I want to try to explain things. Both why I started pirating music, why I stopped, and how, in fits and starts, being a music pirate helped transform me into someone who cared enough about music to buy it.

ChargeCard Is An iPhone Charging Cable That Fits In Your Wallet [Kickstarter]

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Meet the world's smallest iPhone charging cable.
Meet the world's smallest iPhone charging cable.

The ChargeCard is an iPhone charging that’s designed to live in your wallet, purse, or pocket. Shaped like a credit card and measuring just 2.54mm thick, this is the thinnest iPhone charging cable you can buy, and you can pull it out whenever you find a free USB port to charge your device. What’s more, you can finally say goodbye to carrying messy cables.

Apple TV Can Send Audio To AirPlay-Enabled Speakers In iOS 6 Beta 3

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Apple TV will now send audio wirelessly to your speakers.
Apple TV will now send audio wirelessly to your speakers.

If you want to watch a movie on your Apple TV, but you want the sound to play through a stereo or home theater system, rather than through your TV, the only way to do that right now is to install a bunch of messy cables that connect one device to the other — and they need to be relatively close together.

In iOS 6 beta 3, however, you can send audio from the Apple TV to an AirPlay-enabled speaker system at the other end of the room wirelessly.

Audiophile Wireless Receiver For AirPlay [Kickstarter]

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Pssst! You there, the one just about to buy that Airport Express for your AirPlay setup. Don’t waste your $99 on that plastic wall-wart. Come over here and I’ll sell you this nice white plastic AirPlay brick instead. How much? Well, seeing as it’s you, just $199, although it normally goes for $275.

Oh, by the way. It’s called the playGo AP1. You’re welcome.