Earlier this week the Daily Mail reviewed the latest SmallPod speakers by Scandyna. There’s no denying that they have eye-catching qualities, but however good they look, wireless speakers need the audio quality to match.
In the past, many higher-end audio companies were reluctant to dabble in Bluetooth stereo because of the perceived ‘so-so’ sound quality. They didn’t want to damage their audiophile reputations by producing products that could deliver poor listening experiences for end-users. However the Scandnya speakers are a great example of how more and more high-end audio companies are dipping their toes into wireless audio. So what has changed?
CSR’s audio codec aptX is the key. In order to fit within the Bluetooth ‘pipe’ and be transmitted wirelessly, audio needs to use a bit rate reduction technique. aptX audio technology uses a non-destructive solution to ensure the audio is transmitted over Bluetooth’s available bandwidth. It replicates the entire frequency of the audio, maintaining CD-quality audio over the Bluetooth connection and ensuring that users can hear everything as the artist originally intended.
In addition to this, smartphone manufacturers haven’t prioritised wireless audio quality historically and therefore haven’t invested in high-quality audio codecs. This has meant that even if peripheral devices, such as headphones and speakers, did contain them they would not be compatible with the smartphones streaming the audio. However, this is changing, as smartphones including Samsung Galaxy S4, HTC One and a whole host of other recent releases now include aptX.
This means that tech-savvy consumers can now expect to be able to stream their music wirelessly from smartphones and other mobile devices while still being able to tweet, message friends and talk on the phone. They can lift their speakers from the kitchen to the garden when they have friends over for a barbecue and they can do all this without compromising on audio quality.
So, along with Scandya’s SmallPod speakers, which other high-end devices can consumers get their hands on to enjoy a high-quality wireless audio experience? Here’s our pick of some of the best new aptX enabled wireless audio solutions on the market:
• Jarre Technologies AeroSkull
Another design that is sure to turn people’s heads! The AeroSkull features two 15 Watt speakers hidden behind sunglasses with an impressive 40 Watt Sub Woofer covering the whole of the back of the skull
• Beats Pill by Dr. Dre
The Pill is the latest speaker system to emerge from Beats. With wireless audio, tap-to-pair NFC functionality and an 8-hour battery life – it’s just what the Dr. ordered
• Harman Kardon BT headphones
As over-ear cans go, you could do much worse than the wireless BTs. Harmon Kardon have all bases covered, even including a built-in microphone and playback buttons for use with your smartphone
• Braven Six Series Speakers
Although it appears to be recycled from the 2012 Olympic torch, the Braven 650 takes gold for having a 20-hour playtime and wireless capability from up to 33 feet away
Braven 650 aptX enabled speakers
• Monster Clarity HD Micro
You’ll be surprised by the monstrous sound that comes out of this miniature speaker. The Micro even has voice functionality letting users pause, skip, and answer calls while listening, all wirelessly and with great audio quality
• Logitech UE 900
Should you ever need to spend some quality time with your music, the wireless UE 9000 offers intuitive controls so you can change tracks, turn up the volume, or take a call and get back to the music without missing a beat