Mid-range tabletop Bluetooth speaker recs? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 11-21-2019, 07:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Mid-range tabletop Bluetooth speaker recs?

This seems like a frivolous question amid discussions of Elacs and Triads, but the Marshall Kilburn that I've had as a bedside speaker for the last few years got fried in a lightning storm, and (in addition to adding a surge protector to the outlet) I'm trying to figure out what to replace it with. The newer, larger Stanmore II is on sale at $199 for Black Friday and reviewers seem to like it generally, but the footprint is a bit bigger than I'd like and I worry that the things I didn't love about the Kilburn (slightly boomy bass, less precision than I'd hoped) could be worse with what's essentially a larger version of the same. Also considering a Peachtree deepblue2 refurb, which Peachtree is selling directly (with a warranty) on eBay, at $249; people seem to love the sound, but it's even bigger than the Stanmore, and uglier. The dark horse option is the Audio Pro Addon c10, which WhatHiFi loves, is a touch smaller than the others, and supports Airplay 2, meaning lossless streaming, unlike the deeplblue2 (I'm streaming from an iPhone Xs, so the deepblue2's AptX support does me no good), but at $349.

Any thoughts on choosing between these three? Any others that people recommend? I'd like to stay away from anything with built-in Alexa due to privacy concerns (Siri on my phone bothers me less, as I'm pretty sure that when the machines come for us, they, like the 1990s, won't be compatible with Apple products).
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post #2 of 10 Old 11-21-2019, 08:11 AM
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Whats your budget? Do you need built in battery?

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post #3 of 10 Old 11-21-2019, 08:15 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nonstopdoc1 View Post
Whats your budget? Do you need built in battery?

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$200-400, ideally, and no need for a battery. I'm eyeing a Naim Mu-so v2 for our living room at the same time, and Mrs. cjd260 is more likely to give me the go-ahead for that one if I'm not dropping a grand on a bedside speaker as well.
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post #4 of 10 Old 11-21-2019, 04:11 PM
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Over budget, but look for Black Friday sale ...

https://www.axiomaudio.com/axiomair-n2

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post #5 of 10 Old 11-21-2019, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjd260 View Post
$200-400, ideally, and no need for a battery. I'm eyeing a Naim Mu-so v2 for our living room at the same time, and Mrs. cjd260 is more likely to give me the go-ahead for that one if I'm not dropping a grand on a bedside speaker as well.
With that kind of budget I would get a speaker with some sort of multiroom support (along with Bluetooth) for future expansion and better quality streaming. You can always turn off the mics with the physical buttons most of them have.

Sonos Move
Denon heos 5
Yamaha MusicCast 50

I have JBL Link 500 (Basement) and Link 20 (Bathroom Vanity) and pretty satisfied with the quality. You could consider Link 300 if you find 500 to be too big for your side table. You can get it new for $150 and refurbished for $80. Built in Google assistant and Chromecast along with Bluetooth. You can always turn off mic with a physical button. If you don't like it that just return it and buy something else.
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post #6 of 10 Old 11-22-2019, 09:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nonstopdoc1 View Post
With that kind of budget I would get a speaker with some sort of multiroom support (along with Bluetooth) for future expansion and better quality streaming. You can always turn off the mics with the physical buttons most of them have.

Sonos Move
Denon heos 5
Yamaha MusicCast 50
agreed.

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post #7 of 10 Old 11-22-2019, 09:26 AM
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Sonos One SL. No mic, no battery (or bluetooth), WiFi + Airplay 2, Spotify Connect. Trueplay helps sound quality too. Can get a stereo pair for under $400.

Bluesound Pulse Mini 2i

Or go hard, blow your budget, and get a Devialet Phantom Reactor 600 or 900...

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post #8 of 10 Old 11-23-2019, 07:31 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the suggestions! Part of the problem is that I get bogged down in what I find (or don't find) about these systems online:
  • AxiomAir N2 looks fun but I can't find a lot of information about it online, other than the manufacturer's website and I'm loathe to drop $500 on a pretty design.
  • A couple of Sonos Move reviews ding it for sound quality for the price (What Hi-Fi?, Engadget).
  • Denon Heos 5 appears to have WiFi issues and muddled bass response (techradar, PCMag, What Hi-Fi?).
  • Can't find many reviews of the MusicCast 50, but it appears to be more of a baby-soundbar than a bedside unit.
  • Unfortunately the lack of Bluetooth for the Sonos One SL is a deal killer, as I've never been able to establish a 100% consistent, always-on Airplay connection in our house (which is a hundred years old and has God knows what in the walls), and I don't want sound blipping in and out as I'm trying to sleep.

I like the idea of buying a few of these on Amazon - probably the Sonos Move and the Denon, plus the AudioPro and Marshall - and returning the ones I don't like. My errand for today is finding out if Amazon's return policy will let me do that.

Any other suggestions for a precise, well-balanced desktop unit while I'm at it?
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post #9 of 10 Old 11-23-2019, 09:43 AM
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I love my Sonos One, can take it to bedroom, livingroom, bathroom, speak to it. Great sound.
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post #10 of 10 Old 11-23-2019, 01:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjd260 View Post
Thanks for the suggestions! Part of the problem is that I get bogged down in what I find (or don't find) about these systems online:
  • AxiomAir N2 looks fun but I can't find a lot of information about it online, other than the manufacturer's website and I'm loathe to drop $500 on a pretty design.
  • A couple of Sonos Move reviews ding it for sound quality for the price (What Hi-Fi?, Engadget).
  • Denon Heos 5 appears to have WiFi issues and muddled bass response (techradar, PCMag, What Hi-Fi?).
  • Can't find many reviews of the MusicCast 50, but it appears to be more of a baby-soundbar than a bedside unit.
  • Unfortunately the lack of Bluetooth for the Sonos One SL is a deal killer, as I've never been able to establish a 100% consistent, always-on Airplay connection in our house (which is a hundred years old and has God knows what in the walls), and I don't want sound blipping in and out as I'm trying to sleep.

I like the idea of buying a few of these on Amazon - probably the Sonos Move and the Denon, plus the AudioPro and Marshall - and returning the ones I don't like. My errand for today is finding out if Amazon's return policy will let me do that.

Any other suggestions for a precise, well-balanced desktop unit while I'm at it?

I have the DeepBlue2 and a Klipsch "the one". The Deepblue sounds a little better with deeper and more bass, however no battery and it's somehow ended up stuck in demo mode so it shuts off after an hour and their tech support was less than helpful.



The klipsch is nearly as good, much smaller, and the battery is convenient. Plus it looks retro cool.

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