Best List: Moshi’s AirPlay Spatia speaker looks old-fashioned but is anything but [Review]

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Moshi's Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker speaker has retro looks, but is thoroughly modern under the hood.
Moshi's Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker speaker has retro looks, but is thoroughly modern under the hood.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Best List: Spatia wireless speaker by Moshi

Wireless speakers tend to be cheap and nasty — or fantastic and expensive.

There are exceptions, though, and Moshi’s Spatia wireless AirPlay speaker is one of them.

At $399, the Spatia isn’t cheap by any means, but its sound and features rival systems costing much more.

And does it sound sweet. With five drivers, including a subwoofer, the Spatia serves up a rich, wide soundstage. Lots of speakers claim “room-filling sound,” but the Spatia truly fills the bill.

Moshi's Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker
Oh snap! Moshi’s Spatia matches the latest shiny black iPhone.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

Spatia sounds great

In tests against several other Bluetooth speakers, my colleague Lewis “golden ears” Wallace, a professional musician, judged the Spatia fantastic. It sounds rich and detailed, with great separation. The bass thumps and the trebles sparkle. It can be cranked without distortion until it becomes uncomfortably loud. We could barely hear the neighbors pounding on the wall.

Clad in gray cloth and oak veneer, with a shiny piano-black back, the Spatia’s vintage look blends well with most homes. It certainly matches the latest shiny black iPhone.

Setup is a breeze. Just plug in your iPhone or iPad with a Lightning cable, and the speaker sucks in your Wi-Fi settings. I’ve never set up an accessory so easily. It was a surprise and a delight.

Bring the party

Once connected, you beam music to the Spatia via Apple’s wireless AirPlay protocol, which is supported by all recent iPhones, iPads and Macs. Non AirPlay devices, like Android phones, can connect via Wi-Fi Direct, which is also useful when there’s weak Wi-Fi or none at all. The Spatia creates its own Wi-Fi network for this purpose. Of course, you can’t stream music at the same time — whatever you play has to be already stored on your device. There’s also a regular 3.5mm jack for music sources like an old iPod.

But be warned: There’s no Bluetooth.

AirPlay is in many ways better than Bluetooth. There are no pairing issues, nor having to disconnect if someone else wants to jump in. In fact, the Spatia is great for parties where everyone can take a turn playing a tune without pairing and unpairing. It’s great for families, too, for that matter.

Moshi's Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker is one of the few that supports Apple's AirPlay built-in.
Moshi’s Spatia Wireless AirPlay Speaker is one of few that supports the Apple streaming protocol.

Toggling between the three input modes — AirPlay, Wi-Fi Direct and Aux — is done with the large control button on top, which also adjusts the volume.

You’ll find additional options if you download Moshi’s Spatia speaker app, which offers some controls, an equalizer (with presets) and a small selection of ambient noises, like white noise and light rain.

The Spatia is heftier than photos may suggest, weighing in at just over 7 pounds and measuring 19.57 inches by 7.2 inches by 7.64 inches. It requires a power outlet — this isn’t a portable speaker.

The Spatia is more powerful than speakers like Ultimate Ears Megaboom 2 (which we love), and considerably cheaper than rival AirPlay speakers like the $600 Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin Air or the $999 Bang & Olufsen A6 BeoPlay. While some Sonos speakers fall into a similar price range, they don’t support AirPlay.

If you’re looking for something to drown out the relatives this holiday, the Spatia is a stylish way to crank the carols.

.com/dp/B014AX8K68/?tag=cult087-20" title="Buy from Amazon" class="norewrite" rel="nofollow">Amazon

Moshi provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See Cult of Mac’s reviews policy; and check out more stuff we recommend in our Best List reviews.