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In the past, the only option for a surround sound setup to completely fill your room with warm, enveloping sound was a central receiver with cords running around the room and multiple speakers in each corner. Nowadays, however, speakers are smaller, slimmer, smarter, and provide a surround sound experience in a minimal footprint.
Not only that, but unsightly cables are now no longer necessary as most of the best home speakers have bluetooth wireless capability that you can use to take them from room to room or even outside. Some, like the Echo Studio, can “feel” the acoustics in a room to deliver bespoke sound that is perfected for each room you are in. They can usually be paired with other similar speakers as well. to instantly double (or even triple) your audio output.
Voice commands are also not an afterthought. All of the best home speakers have AI assistant skills, especially with Amazon Alexa, which responds to hundreds or even thousands of commands, from asking about the weather or the news, to playing music, to making a call that has Device works automatically becomes a speakerphone. Her skills are especially useful in the kitchen, where AI assistants can quickly do measurement conversion math and even look up and read recipes – especially useful when your hands are busy.
Most new home speakers are waterproof. However, if you plan to use these devices near water (e.g. in the kitchen, bathroom, or pool), look out for the IPX rating – the lower the rating, the less water it can handle. Slight splashes are fine for an IPX4, but for a fully waterproof speaker the scale goes up to IPX8, which can be fully submerged up to ten feet without damage.
The latest home speakers can also be synced with your other smart home devices, so you have an all-in-one voice command center that can do things like dim lights and lockable doors, and even alert you to smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
Each of these devices is an excellent addition to your living space and offers much more than just great sound for your home. If you’re looking for an easy and hassle-free way to upgrade your room or studio, these are the best home speakers.
1. Bose SoundLink
Anyone familiar with Bose knows they are masters at building big, rich sound from compact speakers. SoundLink is no different, delivering booming, room-filling sound anywhere in your home.
The buttons above are clearly defined and offer plenty of space. Any new user can easily find them out while a microUSB port on the side charges them. You can connect headphones or an additional cable via a 3.5 mm output.
Pairing with Bluetooth is particularly easy as a voice prompt guides you through the entire process and gives you even better control with the Bose Connect app. Once connected, the Bose home speaker doubles as a speakerphone with a range of 30 feet and allows hands-free access to your phone’s AI assistant. You can even pair two SoundLinks together for twice the powerful output.
The exterior is made of soft silicone, but is still solid, which gives you more grip with less risk of slipping and at the same time reduces possible damage from drops. It is also water and splash-proof up to IPX4. A fully charged battery lasts about eight hours.
2. Echo Studio
The Echo Studio is more than just a speaker. Indeed it actually is five Speaker disguised as one.
The integrated Dolby Atmos technology sends sounds in all directions and offers an impressive experience that immediately enriches any audio. The device automatically scans the acoustics of a room and pumps out the best sound dimensions to fill the room.
The studio is also the only Echo smart speaker that plays new music in 3D and Ultra HD. An Amazon Music subscription offers a collection of pieces of music in these new formats up to ten times the bit rate of other streaming services.
In addition to great sound, the Echo Studio responds to hundreds of voice commands such as: For example, you can create calendar events or get news and sports results in real time.
Privacy can be an issue for many users, and the Echo takes this into account with a microphone that can be muted at any time, as well as the ability to view, hear, and delete your own voice recordings. The same goes for security, as the Echo can literally play back noises like smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and even broken glass that will alert you as soon as it hears something.
The device itself is a bit bulky at around eight pounds. But as with everything on Amazon, setting up is mostly straightforward and easy: just download the latest Alexa app, plug in the speaker, and you’ll be guided through the rest. It can also be easily connected to other Amazon products and can be easily combined with the Fire Stick, Echo Sub or another Echo Studio at another location in your constantly growing smart home.
3. Sonos One (Gen 2) speakers
Sonos users familiar with the company’s other products won’t be disappointed with the sound this sleek 4-pound speaker delivers. The quality is crisp, clear and detailed.
This is an ideally sized speaker that is versatile enough for any room from the family room to the kitchen to the bathroom as it is moisture resistant (but not waterproof).
The setup is similar to the others: download the Sonos app, plug in the speaker and turn it on. The app guides you through the process and even lets you choose which room the speaker is in. Voice commands can control almost everything and it is also possible to pair another One together with other Sonos devices such as Beam and PlayBar via WLAN in different rooms.
There’s also an Ethernet port on the back that other standalone speakers have removed in recent years. This works with Amazon Alexa as well as Apple AirPlay and HomeKit, which is a really nice perk for Mac and iPhone users.
4. OontZ Angle 3 PRO: Waterproof Bluetooth speaker
If you’ve never heard of OontZ, don’t let this put you off – the brand is owned by Cambridge Soundworks, a 30-year veteran in speaker manufacturing and a legendary competitor in precision audio engineering.
At just 1.32 pounds, this is the lightest in the bunch, but can still get loud. The neodymium drivers are 40% larger than the previous models, which means an increase of up to 21 watts and a 50% higher performance. Inside there is double the air space for the acoustics and a 30% larger passive bass radiator with which you can turn it up safely without the music crackling. You can also pair two (or more) speakers together for even bigger sound. The device is IPX7 waterproof so it can be completely submerged up to one meter for 30 minutes.
The speaker is compatible with voice command AI, setting up Bluetooth 5.0 is a breeze, and the speaker has an impressive 30 meters unobstructed range that quickly connects to other devices like Echoes, smartphones and tablets. If you’d rather stay wired, there’s a USB port and a 3.5mm jack for additional devices (a cable is included) or headphones. The battery strength is also remarkable, as it can be played for up to 15 hours on one charge.
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