Sunday, April 30, 2017
Paradigm's Flagship
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Merging NADAC ST-2 on SoundStage! Ultra ... Read the review
Onkyo's A-9010 on SoundStage! Access ... Read the review

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Price: $299

Website: www.audioengineusa.com

Kevin said: The B2 is a nifty little box, with substantial Bluetooth range and the great sound of the A2s. For our little corner of paradise, which lacked only music, it’s a lifesaver.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Two Audioengine bookshelf speakers in one box.

Price: $299

Website: www.bluesound.com

Al said: Bluesound’s Pulse Flex offers refined sound and a staggering amount of flexibility in a compact package. The connectivity options alone put the Pulse Flex and its brethren at the head of the pack of Wi-Fi multiroom speakers, eclipsing even Sonos in that regard. Compared to other Wi-Fi speakers I’ve heard at similar prices, the Pulse Flex’s bass and dynamic capabilities are somewhat limited, though Bluesound successfully retained the clarity of voices across a wide range of volumes.

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The gist: Put one of these in each room of your house.

Price: $249.99 per pair

Website: www.gracedigitalaudio.com

Rad said: If you want Bluetooth connectivity but don’t want just a single speaker that either collapses a stereo soundstage or mixes it down to mono, Grace Digital’s BT Bluetooth speakers might be just right for you. They can play loud and clean, and sound relatively transparent without omitting the punch of a pair of good bookshelf speakers.

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The gist: Real stereo separation from a portable Bluetooth system.

Price: $149.99

Website: www.gracedigitalaudio.com

Rad said: With the X2, Grace Digital has produced a serious threat to Sonos at a fraction of the cost.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: One of many new portable Wi-Fi speakers hitting the market.

Price: $99.99

Website: www.gracedigitalaudio.com

Rad said: thought of as a triple-threat device -- a USB charger, a terrific flashlight, and a Bluetooth speaker useful for background listening, biking, or hiking; all of it waterproof, and durable enough to take abuse and keep on ticking -- it’s good value for the dollar, and deserves a solid B+.

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The gist: Speaker for the survivalist.

Price: $149.99

Website: www.gracedigitalaudio.com

Rad said: The speaker’s waterproofing makes it a great poolside companion -- one that can withstand lots of splashing, or even the occasional dunk. Its sound was good enough for background listening, but not for use as a primary listening source.

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Great choice for the outdoorsman.

Price: $349.99

Website: www.kef.com

Rad said: The KEF Muo is a serious music-reproduction tool intended for those who listen to music seriously, not just as background. Because it was such a joy, I listened to a lot more music than I’d expected to, and found the Muo up to anything I threw at it.

Reviewers' Choice

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The gist: Classic KEF sound in a little portable Bluetooth speaker.

Price: $299

Website: www.oppodigital.com

Rad said: The Sonica had the most tonally even sound, from top to bottom of the audioband, that I’ve heard from a speaker its size. The sound was transparent, focused, and without coloration. A single Sonica was impressive enough; I imagine a stereo pair would be even better.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Xperience review.

The gist: Oppo gets all the details right on their first speaker.

Price: $49.99

Website: www.usa.philips.com

Rad said: All in all, the Philips Shoqbox BT2200 Mini, at $49.99, is good value for the dollar. (As I write, Amazon offers it for $47 with free shipping.) If all you need is a little speaker for background music that you can toss in a bag or a cupholder, there’s little to find fault with here.

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The gist: Decent sound is getting smaller and smaller.

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