This is a follow-up to last week's "Before you buy a sound bar speaker, read this" post, but this time I'm setting my sights on expensive, $400-plus iPod and Bluetooth speaker "docks." They have built-in limitations common to all single-speaker systems. They might have two sets of speaker drivers housed in a single cabinet, but when the drivers are just a few inches apart, "stereo" sounds more or less like mono. In the quest to make these speakers as sleek and lightweight as possible, bass and dynamic range capabilities are limited, compared … Read more
People love sound bars for a lot of good reasons: they eliminate most of the wiring and setup hassles associated with traditional 5.1-channel home theaters, they don't take up a lot of space, they are less expensive than subwoofer/satellite packages, and since most sound bars are self-powered, you don't need to buy an AV receiver. A skinny sound bar positioned under a sleek display is certainly a more appealing solution than a 5.1 or even stereo pair of speakers. There's just one problem: sound bars can't fill a room with sound nearly as well as separate speakers can.… Read more
Audioengine is one of my favorite brands. For me it all started with their petite A2 speakers ($199/pair), and then I gushed over their P4 speakers ($249/pair). But Audioengine isn't the sort of company that reinvents its line every year or two. No, they invest a lot of time into designing great products, and then let them be. The A2 and P4 are still in the line, and are still stellar.
I've shied away from reviewing all that many iPod speakers, mostly because they don't offer the best possible sound for the money. That's my beat, finding great-sounding gear, and iPod speakers rarely qualify. Convenient, you bet, sound great, well, that's another story.
The Arcam rCube is a portable iPod dock. Fit and finish are upscale; it's a truly elegant design. The top of the cube has five touch-sensitive buttons--source select, wireless on/off, volume up and down, and standby--arrayed in front of the flip-up door that conceals the iPod dock and the speaker's carry handle. The rCube is available in a black or white finish, and I think the white one looks great. … Read more