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View Full Version : Bluetooth speakers - a user review



castalla
2014-04-25, 18:07
I have 3 bluetooth speakers (2 of which are connected to my LMS ecosytem). Here are my end-user commentaries on how they perform as alternatives to the usual speaker systems.

First and foremost, getting bluetooth to work on linux LMS/Squeezelite systems is a trial (either viewed as a pain-in-the-proverbial-arse. or a labour-of-love, depending on how much you are are subject to OCD syndrome).

My experiences:

Soundwave 100

This is a small and inexpensive device (there appear to be a number of variants) costing about 20 GBP. The one I have is the brushed metal silver version. It's very compact and charges in under 2 hours - playing time is quoted as 10 hours. It has no volume controls, so volume has to be adjusted by a squeezeplayer client. Sound quality is good - and differs considerably depending on which surface it is placed on - bass is increased considerably by placing the speaker on a resonant surface such as a small cupboard compared to a table-top. Volume is sufficient to sound good in an average sized room. Limited customer support.

Logitech Mini Boombox

i have the original version (which has been replaced by the rebranded UE versions - uggghhh!). Another small but powerful speaker - stylish design with a backlit touch senstive top panel which allows you to vary the volume. More expensive at around 70-80 GBP, if you can find one. Excellent sound quality given its small size. Again, charging and play time are more than acceptable. Compared to the SW100 I have doubts about how resistant the stylish finish is to everyday use - the top-panel touch-screen is easily scratched. Excellent customer support from Logitech (but for how long?).

Sony SRS-BTM8

Depending on your taste, either a stylish or eccentric design - nicknamed the Handbag. Available at between 55-75 GBP - The white/silver model is more expensive than the black version. A larger portable speaker which operates either on AC power or 4 AA batteries with a 20-hour playing time Excellent build-quality matched by super sound. Has onboard volume control. Typical big corporate customer support - useless.



I'm reluctant to rank any of these three speakers - the all have their own pros and cons - and sound quality probably depends more on the physiological state of your auditory system and your listening habits. In this respect, I have cloth-ears and listen mainly to streaming radio stations!

Setup and connection is very easy for all three speakers using Android, but a nightmare with Linux. I have the SW100 and Boombox running with both Debian and Fedora F18 devices - I can't face the hassle of setting up the Sony with Linux. It works 100% with Android - up & running in minutes.

Overall, these BT speakers are a nice addition to the LMS system for non-specialist and occasional use - YMMV !!!

banned for life
2014-04-28, 13:05
15867This company designed its drivers and also supplies drivers for the Jawbone products, among others.

The speaker sounds very good for it's size (about as long as a Pilot ink pen and 1.25" deep and about 2" high.) The emphasis here is portability with amazing volume.

I feel sure it reaches the advertised 80Hz low.

Battery life is good (8 or so hours) and it's interesting to note that the speaker has double the output wattage when connected to a DC power supply. It also charges, albeit slowly, when attached to a PC via USB.

The subwoofer product foxlo does not operate on batteries unless through an inverter. A special attenuating cable (included) should be used to connect to foxl.

slimfast
2014-04-29, 08:39
Logitech Mini Boombox

i have the original version (which has been replaced by the rebranded UE versions - uggghhh!). Another small but powerful speaker - stylish design with a backlit touch senstive top panel which allows you to vary the volume. More expensive at around 70-80 GBP, if you can find one. Excellent sound quality given its small size. Again, charging and play time are more than acceptable. Compared to the SW100 I have doubts about how resistant the stylish finish is to everyday use - the top-panel touch-screen is easily scratched. Excellent customer support from Logitech (but for how long?).


Great little portable speaker system, this. I use it all the time when travelling, paired with my phone. No idea why they replaced it so quickly with what looks like a completely new design in the UE unit.

It does seem like the general consumer prefers to use their phone/tablet with a speaker for portable music around the house rather than something like a WiFi based internet radio or streamer box.

bklaas
2014-04-29, 12:41
It does seem like the general consumer prefers to use their phone/tablet with a speaker for portable music around the house rather than something like a WiFi based internet radio or streamer box.

I wouldn't say that's is an incorrect statement, but I'd argue that bluetooth speakers and wi-fi audio streaming players are different and distinct markets. Just ask Sonos. Sonos has grown many times over in recent years, and you can pick up Sonos gear in the aisles at Target, which is 100% general consumer targeted. There is a market for this kind of product, Squeezebox just lost (or rather, Logitech let it lose).

I have a neighbor who I could not sell on the Squeezebox product concept but just bought a Sonos system for only one purpose: MLB Gameday Audio. He can't stop talking about how awesome it is, and I'd guess his next step is to buy more of them and sync them up through his house (driving his wife insane no doubt, but still). For the record, I tried to get that to happen on Squeezebox in 2007 or so but MLB wanted a ridiculous fee for the "right for us to give them more paying customers". IIRC, it was in the neighborhood of $250K.

Not that I'm a general consumer, but I've got a Logitech UE Mini Boombox in my house, and it gets about 1% of the play that my squeezeboxes (11 of them) do.

cheers,
#!/ben

Dogberry2
2014-04-30, 11:33
Agreed, Logitech didn't "lose" the market; they just pissed it away. And it's a shame, too, because the product line was good - better than Sonos in many ways, and at a better price. As for MLB broadcasts, I get 'em on my Squeezeboxen via SiriusXM, but I know that's going to end once MYSB.com folds. It won't be too devastating, since I rarely use the SBs for ballgames; if I'm home, I usually have the game on the TV. But I will definitely miss the easy access to the SiriusXM music channels. The sad thing is that, in the hands of a sentient creature the whole SB line could have been quite successful. But obviously Logitech gave marketing control to a collection of microcephalic troglodytes, with orders to do everything possible to avoid success.

castalla
2014-06-20, 07:37
Some speaker updates:

1. My Logitech Mini Boombox is now broken! The mini usb power port has quit working (bad connection) so it's impossible to charge.

2. I got a bargain price on a Samsung speaker (94 euros):

Samsung DA-F61
----------------

A really classy and superbly designed unit with high-quality finish. Sounds good too!

carp
2014-06-25, 02:08
+1

The FoxL is great!

But allow me to ask: What happened to the keyboard in the background?

Antoniop
2014-06-26, 02:21
I have a jbl flip 2 (http://www.amazon.com/JBL-Portable-Wireless-Bluetooth-Powerbank/dp/B00GAJ2OK4/ref=cm_cd_ql_qh_dp_t), which have a good sound, powerfull enough and quite well balanced, price is reasonnable. The battery life isn't much (3 / 4 hours) but is enough for me and you can charge it with usb cable.
Previously I had a jawbone jambox and I sent it back, it was very bad in my opinion.
I haven't had much trouble to pair it on bluetooth with my linux, it's just that the sound seems really better with the jack input. Do you think the same ?
I tried also with my android phone with bluetooth and same poor sound quality as on linux.

by the way , i usually don't get any mail notification when I have replies on threads, while subscription is checked instantly using email. Is it working for you ?

toby10
2014-06-26, 07:10
... the sound seems really better with the jack input. Do you think the same ?
I tried also with my android phone with bluetooth and same poor sound quality as on linux.

Yes. Bluetooth has limitations and audio quality is often inferior to wired.