Mo' (but not better) Blues

A sonic gathering of some new, small and powerful Bluetooth speakers. In the back row, from left: Cambridge Soundworks OontZ Angle, Ultimate Ears Boom by Logitech and Divoom Onbeat-200. In the first row, from left: the Bose SoundLink Mini Speaker and AudioSource Sound pOp.
A sonic gathering of some new, small and powerful Bluetooth speakers. In the back row, from left: Cambridge Soundworks OontZ Angle, Ultimate Ears Boom by Logitech and Divoom Onbeat-200. In the first row, from left: the Bose SoundLink Mini Speaker and AudioSource Sound pOp.
Posted: July 19, 2013

AUDIO GURU Amar Bose (actually, an Abington native) loved to defy expectations and blow minds with product introductions.

Maybe once a year, the good doctor (Ph.D) would host a press event where lights would be dimmed and music would start playing from behind a curtain.

"Hmmm, what a big, bold, room-filling sound," you'd think.

Then curtains would part to reveal . . . a teeny-tiny sound source - say, a Bose Wave CD Radio, or a Lifestyle home-theater rig built around "Jewel Cube" speakers, or a terrific little two- or three-piece Companion computer-speaker array to jazz up your workstation.

Later, the Bose engineering team would launch into a serious discussion of the special air-moving physics and psycho-acoustic magic (patented) that they'd conjured to bring the pint-sized wonder to life - and would guarantee that no one else could match it.

Next week, the recently passed founder/CEO of Bose Corp. will surely be beaming beatically from his new angelic perch as Bose-aholics get their hands and ears on the latest little wonder child to spring from the well-financed R&D department in Framingham, Mass. - the SoundLink Mini Speaker.

It's hardly the first palmable, portable, battery (and AC) powered speaker to wirelessly connect (via Bluetooth radio waves) to your smartphone or tablet, to pump up stored and streaming music and video soundtracks. (The Jawbone Jambox - $140 and up - is the most popular of the small Bluetooth speaker brood, while the innards-sharing and more pocketable foxL V2 Platinum, from Soundmatters, about $229, is a personal fave. See the sidebar, in the far-right column, for more.

The difference is dramatic, though, when you put one of those other puppies up against the Bose SoundLink Mini - priced at $199. This thing kicks major butt - with a livin' large sound that's got three times the bass heft and twice the vocal presence of competitors, all to get a party started and keep it going for seven hours on a battery charge. And make that forever when your SoundLink is plopped on its slim-line, easy-on/easy-off charging platform.

Bose products are always about elegance of design and simplicity of use, reasons to justify (as does Apple) a premium price tag. And helping to explain how Bose connects to consumers who otherwise wouldn't touch sophisticated gear.

SoundLink Mini's weightier (1.5 pounds) anodized aluminum shelled construction contributes to the sense of substance and solidity of sound. So, too, do carefully tweaked speakers positioned in opposing directions to cancel cabinet vibration and "walking."

There are actually fewer features on the SoundLink Mini than on other models - no speaker-phone functionality, no track forward/replay buttons. But the top-mounted button array is sensible and accessible.

The thing "handshakes" faster with a Bluetooth-ready device, then keeps the connection going without the signal dropouts that haunt some wireless speakers.

Does the smooth, "Boston-toned" Bose product sound a tad less "sizzling bright" or "detailed" in direct comparison with some rivals? Guilty as charged. But treble-boosted speakers often grate on the ears, over time. The Bose is built for comfort, built to last.

Rest easy, Dr. B.


 


 


Blog: philly.com/GizmoGuy

Online: ph.ly/Tech

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