Although the original LS50 speakers were fine, KEF decided that they deserved a new look after eight years. They have done a great job with the LS50 meta. The LS50’s UniQ driver array (where the tweeter is located in the throat of mid/bass units) has been completely reworked. It incorporates all the improvements KEF has made over the past eight year and adds Metamaterial Absorption Technology.
KEF has developed MAT to deal with the sound coming from the tweeter dome’s back. It is a circular maze of tubes that surrounds the speaker and promises greater absorption, which results in cleaner highs. The basic sound character of the Meta speakers is familiar. However, they have a clarity and finesse that the originals could only dream of.
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They sound clean and dynamic while still retaining their muscle and dynamics. The originals were great, but the LS50 Meta is a step up in performance. The Vizio V21 is a great example of Vizio’s budget-friendly equipment. It sounds great and is easy to set-up. The unit is extremely affordable and has Bluetooth, HDMI connectivity, and a separate sub.
Since its debut in 2015, Elac has been making affordable, classic designs. The brand’s appeal is both to audiophiles and budget-conscious consumers, as the Debut 2.0 is a perfect example. The Debut 2.0 offers an attractive design, a vibrant sound, and insightful sound for a price of just $400. Ultimate Ears’ HYPERBOOM stereo Bluetooth speaker is our favorite.
The speaker also comes with a carry strap that you can use to transport it around with you on the move. Although we haven’t tested for this, it’s well-built and has an IPX4 rating for waterproofing. The battery lasts for over 23 hours on a single charge. However, this may vary depending on how much you use it. The speaker has an adaptive EQ feature which adjusts the sound to your room’s acoustics.
This feature allows for a balanced sound profile that is suitable for listening to many audio content. The well-balanced middle-range makes it easy to hear voices and other instruments in the mix. The companion app has a graphic EQ that allows you to adjust the sound to your liking.
It can also get quite loud at maximum volume with very few compression artifacts, which means that your audio will sound clean even during loud listening sessions. It doesn’t have voice assistants and struggles to produce deep bass thumps and rumbles in low-bass. This may disappoint fans of bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. It’s still an excellent choice if you are looking for a stereo Bluetooth speaker.
The Ultimate Ears Hyperboom is a speaker that offers more sound customization options. Although it can’t reproduce bass as deep and thumpy like the Sonos Five, Ultimate Ears’ companion application features a full-graphic EQ that you can use to personalize your sound. The speaker’s companion app has an adaptive EQ feature that allows it to adapt to the acoustics of your room, just like the Sonos.
This feature allows for a more balanced sound profile, which ensures that vocals and leads sound clear. The speaker is also louder than the Sonos and has fewer compression artifacts at maximum volume. This makes it sound clear at louder volumes. Although we haven’t tested for this, it is very portable.
It has an IPX4 rating for water resistance. It has a remarkable battery life of 24 hours, which is great for listening for long periods. The low latency with Android devices and iOS makes it ideal for watching movies and videos. The Sonos is a great speaker for those who want to produce deep bass.
The Ultimate Ears is a better choice if you prefer to listen to your audio at higher volumes and have more sound customization options. This results in a better sound signature across all models, even the bookshelf ones. The Reference Bookshelf speakers are available in both powered and unpowered versions.
We recommend the non-powered models as they offer great sound without the need to add amplification. The Klipsch Reference Bookshelf is a compact, full-range speaker set that makes a great upgrade option. They can be used as the primary stereo pair in a small to medium-sized room, perhaps connected with an amp such as the Sonos Amp. You can then move them around as you build a bigger home theater.
These speakers are powerful enough to be your primary left and right speakers in a basic 5.1.2 or 5.1 home theater. However, they are small enough to serve as rear satellite speakers if your front channels are upgraded with larger tower speakers. Bang & Olufsen is one of the few audio companies that has a stronger design philosophy than any other.
The brand’s headquarters in Struer (Denmark) is a great place to learn architecture. It’s not surprising that the A1 second-generation Bluetooth speaker is so impressive. It’s available in five colors, is waterproof, dust and sand-resistant, and slimmer than its predecessor.
It also features a speakerphone and voice assistant, giving it 18 hours of battery life, just like other high-end speakers. The speaker’s sound quality is superior to its size. It has a strong bass and treble that are perfect for podcasts. Although it doesn’t manage to reach the PS50 mark, the EarFunUboom is well worth the price.
It offers all the essential features we want in a Bluetooth speaker. It has an attractive, compact design and an IPX7 waterproof rating. There are also easy-to-use buttons at the top. It is a bit surprising to find both a USB C port for charging and an au input, just in case.
Although there aren’t AAC and aptX codecs, the sound quality is excellent and, like the UE Wonderboom 2 outdoor mode, it has a dedicated outdoor mode. The Uboom has 360-degree sound quality and lacks top-end because there are no tweeters. Bluetooth 5 gives the Uboom a good range and solid battery life.
The Uboom’s latency is low, making it suitable to video. There’s also a microphone for hands-free calls, and you can make a stereo pair with two of them. Tribit may be a new name, but I have been using the StormBox Micro for a few weeks now. Bluetooth 5.0 is the latest wireless standard and the speaker supports it.
Tribit claims that the speaker can playback for eight hours on a single charge. This is my experience. The speaker’s small dimensions mean that it has a shorter battery life. It measures approximately 3.7 inches square, is 1.5 inches deep, and weighs in at just over half a pound. This speaker is the smallest in our guide and easy to transport.
The StormBox Micro is small but powerful. It has an IP67 rating which means that it is dust-proof and can withstand water pressures of up to 3.3 feet for up 30 minutes. It sounds great. Tribit boasts about the speaker’s bass and they are right.
The speaker’s bass is quite loud, but it doesn’t overpower the midrange or treble. Although the sound quality is not as good as high-end speakers, it’s still great for casual listening. It was a breeze to pair two StormBox Micros together.