Unwire your music!

30th July 2017
Unwire your music!
Wireless listening ( Product shown is Bose Soundlink Revolve)

 Wireless technologies like Bluetooth, produce sound as good  as wired setups -- well, almost.

Bangalore, July 31 2017: Just three years ago, a reviewer in the gadget website Gizmodo, began a survey of wireless speakers like this: " Your average, portable Bluetooth speaker is garbage—the crap to quality ratio in the category, is absurd!"   Things have improved  vastly since then  -- and the convenience of  un-tethering your speaker,  no longer involves a compromise on music quality , or at least not much.
Bluetooth  is the most used  format for streaming music wirelessly to a speaker. And since it is available on almost all devices --  mobile phone, PC, laptop, tablet, MP3 player -- you can  source your music from almost anywhere.   Making the connection is easy:  You just 'pair'  the  speaker to   source with a couple of clicks  and can take it up to 10 metres away, without loss of signal.
There is just one downside:  In order to  wirelessly transport the audio signal, Bluetooth, compresses it -- and in the process, some quality is lost.   Music vidwans and hardcore  audiophiles,  will still connect  player to speaker with a  physical cable,  using  the AUX or  3.5 mm port at both ends.  But for most of us, the convenience of unwiring our speaker is worth a small  degradation in audio quality. And  considering  what  passes for  popular music these days, who can tell the difference!
Apple has its own wireless technology known as Airplay  -- and the quality is superior to Bluetooth, but it  rides over  an existing WiFi network -- so you have to set up a hotspot first, which is a hassle.
So  Bluetooth remains the most popular technology for wireless speakers  and the most democratic. An affordable Rs 2000  speaker and a high end  JBL, Sennheiser or  Bose  costing 10-15 times as much, both end up embracing  Bluetooth. For a week now,  we have been  enjoying music from  Bluetooth speakers   at both ends of the  price spectrum and here is my take:  Different strokes for different folks! And to each  its satisfied buyer.
( For Images of Bluetooth speakers described below, please see Image of the Day)

 Made-for-TV speaker from Kodak
Kodak,  a famous name for camera and photo film,    has had a Second Coming in  TV,  from its India licensee,   Super Plastronics Pvt Ltd. The Kodak TV speaker 68M, can be wirelessly  connected via Bluetooth, but if you are using it to boost the sound of your TV  set ( many of the  latest LED TVs  have poor sound output compared to the  old  CRT- type sets), you might as well  use the AUX cable option.
It  comes with a built-in Lithium Ion battery and needs to be recharged after some  6-8 hours of use. The 10 watt output was a definite improvement on the native sound of my 36 inch TV and at Rs 3290 ( a  bit cheaper on Amazon), it is great value.
 Sound & light spectacle
The programmable LED lights in  the Zebronics Amazer  speaker-lamp seem to be a throwback to those old sound-n-light spectacles you could enjoy on cassette decks where   coloured  LEDS were connected to different audio frequency bands.   With Amazer, you can sync the colours to the music -- or pick a single colour that goes with your mood  or just use it as a night lamp, all with a touch control or through a phone app.  This is a  10 watt speaker  with Bluetooth and AUX connections. The built-in   1200 mAh battery  is good for about 2 hours of playback.  If you like to 'colour' your music, the asking price of Rs  3999 will seem reasonable.
 Loud-n-clear  music
Everyone makes  Bluetooth speakers these days, but  a Bose product proclaims its class -- if you are willing to pay for it.  The  latest   Bose SoundLink  speaker -- Revolve --  takes audio quality  a notch higher with  a number  of  design tweaks: dual passive radiators which  make the sound omnidirectional;  a downward-facing transducer with deflectors that give a 360 degree throw from a seamless aluminium grill  -- and the signature emphasis on the lower or bass  sounds. 
Indians can be forgiven for thinking the Revolve looks like   a tiffin carrier complete with handles.  Weighing a bit under 1 kg,  it spills its sound  uniformly -- for   a rated  12 hours on a full charge of its  batteries for the Revolve model and 16 hours for  the  slightly larger Revolve +. They are priced Rs  19,900 and Rs 24,500 respectively.