Clash puts 6 speakers to the test...

The era of littering a living-room with speakers is toast. For most peeps, it’s all about one-box that rules the roost. And whether you prefer celestial jukeboxes, such as Spotify and Tidal, or hook-up to a hard drive chock-full of tunes, there are plenty of smart options. The good news is that Clash has kissed plenty of frogs to find your prince.

Each of these speakers bring Bluetooth into the mix and wi-fi connections, too, such as AirPlay. Some are part of an ecosystem for instant multi-room music, others have specific streaming-services in their digital DNA, and a select few offer voice-controls. Fancy tricks are fun but the killer issues are sound-quality and design, as you can typically upgrade most features with, say, a Google Chromecast dongle. Don't believe the hype
 

- - -

Marshall Stanmore (multi-room)
£399 marshallheadphones.com

What: A brooding chunk of audio dynamite, clad in the instantly recognisable style of a vintage Marshall guitar-amp with impeccably handsome brass tone-control knobs to twiddle. But make no mistake, this bad boy packs serious smarts, too, such as built-in Chromecast. 

Why: This is the multi-room variant of the Marshall Stanmore and so offers a plethora of  connection options. It’s a versatile musical juggernaut that will certainly get the after-party started. Be assured, it goes all the way up to eleven.

Why not: This sonic monster lacks the finesse of some of the pricier options here. If you like your music served as hearty meat-and-potatoes, there’s plenty to get your teeth into here.  

 

 

- - -

- - -

 

B&W Zeppelin Wireless
£499 bowersandwilkins.co.uk

What: This oh-so-distinctively shaped boombox is the most iconic design of the past decade. And under the hood, your money reels-in the audio boffinry of the world’s top speaker-maker.

Why: To put this bluntly, the Zeppelin is an incredibly rare hybrid of a truly sophisticated songbird with proper balls-out power. No matter how loud, it never loses its subtle dynamics. 

Why not: Lacks the wireless trickery of some recent rivals and is unlikely to play nicely with next-gen wireless standards. That said, the Zep delivers the goods where it counts. Shove a £30 Chromecast audio-dongle in the optical socket and it’ll be ready to rock for many a year.  

 

- - -

- - -

 

BlueSound Pulse 2
£649 bluesound.com

What: The Pulse 2 is a great wireless speaker in its own right and designed to be part of a fully fledged multi-room setup. You get cutting-edge digital trickery and sophisticated sonics.  

Why: Bluesound hails from a stable of thoroughbred audio-brands, even though it is not a name that trips-off the tongue. It supports next-gen audio standards and those of you who are kitting-out a number of rooms at once will find Bluesound is a classy option.    

Why not: The styling is best described as functional rather than head-turning. And the harsh truth is that, at this price, the Pulse 2 is outgunned by the audio performance of the top dogs

 

- - -

- - -

 

Naim Muso QB
£649 naimaudio.com

What: This cube-shaped speaker serves up block-rocking beats with incredible finesse and enviable industrial-design. Unsurprising, given that Naim is one of world’s top audio-marques

Why: Some say the Muso QB is worth the money for its sumptuous volume-dial alone. Crank it up, though, and the music that pours forth will shake your soul as well as your walls. Got a big home? It’ll work seamlessly in multi-room mode with another QB – or its larger brethren 

Why not: The Naim offers a wide array of connection options. A shame, then, that its app lacks the class of the overall package. And then there’s the price. Even so, if you can you should

 

- - -

- - -

 

Sonos One

£199 sonos.com

What: Say hello to the smallest (and newest) member of the Sonos family. It has Amazon Alexa tech baked-in and represents an affordable entry-point into this slick audio ecosystem  

Why: This wee beastie opens the door to the classy Sonos multi-room experience and lets you to bark-out commands at Alexa, such as: “play Stormzy on Spotify” or “book an Uber”. 

Why not: The One sounds great for its compact size. Inevitably, though, you pay a premium for the frictionless wireless setup of Sonos, which still doesn’t support high-res audio. Unsure what that is? Relax, this one will suit you just fine.   

 

 

- - -

- - -

 

JBL Link 300
£249 uk.jbl.com

What: This JBL speaker brings Google Assistant to the party, which is super-handy for, among other things, yelling instructions whenever your hands are otherwise engaged 

Why: Pound-for-pound, the Link 300 delivers plenty of sonic boom, despite being limited by its modest dimensions. If you want to up-the-ante, consider its bigger sibling, the Link 500.

Why not: Design is a little utilitarian and the sound is more about letting the good times roll than audio nirvana. The voice-recognition feature, while handy, is not always on-the-money

 
 

 

- - -

Words: Alex Pell

 

Join us on Vero, as we get under the skin of global cultural happenings. Follow Clash Magazine as we skip merrily between clubs, concerts, interviews and photo shoots. Get backstage sneak peeks and a true view into our world as the fun and games unfold.

Buy Clash Magazine

-

Follow Clash: