Bluetooth Speakers – OneTechStop https://www.onetechstop.net Your Source For All Tech Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:28:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.1 77705806 [REVIEW] Libratone ZIPP2 https://www.onetechstop.net/2019/02/10/review-libratone-zipp2/ https://www.onetechstop.net/2019/02/10/review-libratone-zipp2/#respond Sun, 10 Feb 2019 08:28:54 +0000 https://www.onetechstop.net/?p=34947

Introduction Having played with the Libratone ZIPP2 smart speaker for a few weeks now it’s time to provide our review and opinion. Build & Appearance Straight out of the box the Libratone ZIPP2 looks and feels like a quality product. Although it’s not small, standing tall at 26.1 cm (10.3 inches) high and 12.2 cm […]

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Introduction

Having played with the Libratone ZIPP2 smart speaker for a few weeks now it’s time to provide our review and opinion.

Build & Appearance

Straight out of the box the Libratone ZIPP2 looks and feels like a quality product. Although it’s not small, standing tall at 26.1 cm (10.3 inches) high and 12.2 cm (4.8 inches) wide, it is the size of a Hi-Fi shelf speaker so it won’t blend into a room, but that’s not what you want it to do.

In addition to its size, the Libratone ZIPP2 isn’t that light either, weighing in at 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs), but when you turn it on the reason for its size and weight becomes apparent with it’s amazing full, rich-bodied sound quality. When you add the battery-power required to provide up to 12 hours of wireless ‘active use’, the weight becomes inevitable.

On listening to Libratone ZIPP2 with our eyes closed, we could have easily been listening to a high-end speaker system from the likes of Bang & Olufson. This awe-inspiring audio experience is provided by a mixture of a 1” soft dome neodymium tweeter providing the high end, a 4” neodymium woofer providing an impressive base rumble and two 4” Low frequency radiators filling the space in between. Finally, a 360° reflector ensures that the sound will take your breath away from all angles.

Before the audio signals get as far as the speaker output hardware, they pass through a fully digital Class D amplifier with an adaptive DSP (Digital Sound Processing) sound optimisation and speaker protection system. In simple terms this maximises the quality of the sound signals entering the tweeter, woofer and radiators to output the best possible audio experience.

This mix of high quality audio processing mixed with the audio output hardware (tweeter, woofer and radiators) enables the Libratone ZIPP2 to provide high resolution 96 kHz/24 bit clarity of sound along with an impressive 50 Hz – 20 kHz frequency range ensure you hear everything from the highest tweet to the lowest base tone and everything in between.

Updated 360° FullRoom® sound processing, with onboard Room EQ, along with the 360° reflector, ensures that the amazing range and clarity of sound can be heard from all angles. The 360° FullRoom® sound processing is capable of assessing the acoustics of the room in order to amend the audio output and directional sound accordingly.

If you can find the funds to buy two Libratone ZIPP2 you have the option to link then together for separate left and right stereo audio.

If you have endless funds you can invest in up to 10 Libratone ZIPP2 smart speakers to make the most of the Libratone proprietary SoundSpace Link® technology enabling multi-room streaming between them all across a Wi-Fi network.

Now we’ve covered the insides, its time to talk about what covers the insides. Although the top surface and the bottom 20% of the Libratone ZIPP2 exterior is simple, functional, white matt plastic, the upper 80% is a covered in a fabric knit, available in a number of colour options, which zips on/off, tying in with the ‘ZIPP’ branding. If you’re colour preference is changeable you will be happy to know that so are the fabric covers. In our experience, although the fabric cover is changeable, removing and attaching it is not simple, but we assume it will become easier with practice.

Connectivity

Now we move onto connectivity with both wired and wireless options.

In addition to a standard 3.5 mm mini-jack socket for wired (analogue) audio input the Libratone ZIPP2 supports USB play for a secondary wired (digital) audio input option.

When it comes to wireless options, when at home or in the office, the default option is to connect the Libratone ZIPP2 to a Wi-Fi network using its integrated dual-band (2.4 GHz & 5 GHz), IEEE 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi connectivity.

When out and about, wireless audio is still possible using the Libratone ZIPP2 bluetooth 4.1 connectivity.

Whilst connected to a Wi-Fi network, or to a mobile phone via Bluetooth, the Libratone ZIPP2 supports both voice assistant integration and Bluetooth hands free calling, with its far field noise cancelling 6-microphone array enabling clear audio

If you are using the Libratone ZIPP2 with an iOS device you have a third wireless option in the form of apple AirPlay 2 which brings with it Siri support enabling voice control of your apple devices via the Libratone ZIPP2 integrated microphone.

If you are not using the Libratone ZIPP2 with apple products there is still the option to access Amazon Alexa voice assistant instead with its integration with a raft of third part eco-systems.

In addition to Siri and Alexa integration the Libratone ZIPP2 also incorporates Spotify Connect meaning that it will appear as one of your output device options in the Spotify music streaming app.

If isn’t enough, the Libratone ZIPP2 also works as a DLNA client for Android and Windows apps that work as DLNA servers meaning seamless audio playback.

On top of all this, once you have connected the Libratone ZIPP2 to the Libratone android or iOS app to perform initial device setup, you can use the app to set up 5 playlists or radio stations which you can access with a tap on the touch interface on the top of the Libratone ZIPP2 once it is connected to WiFi.

User Interface

Interacting with the Libratone ZIPP2 is easy with the top mounted circular backlit touch interface. When sleeping, tapping the touch pad wakes it from its slumber, presenting the Libratone logo in the centre, circled by 5 symbols relating to the main functions of the interface:

  • SoundSpace® link: on / off SoundSpace® link toggle
  • 5 presets: cycles through the 5 user defined playlists or radio stations
  • Voice assistant mic: on/off microphone toggle
  • Room EQ: runs the Room EQ set-up to ensure the best all round audio quality wherever you are using it.
  • Firmware update: checks for firmware updates if the Libratone ZIPP2 is connected to a Wi-Fi network

 

In addition to the soft buttons integrated into the touch pad there are a number of gesture-based interactions:

  • swiping you finger around the edge of the pad in a clockwise direction increases the volume, whilst swiping counter-clockwise reduces the volume.
  • Tapping the Libratone logo starts and pauses music playback and answers and ends phone calls (when connected to a mobile phone)
  • Double tapping Libratone logo plays the next track
  • Triple tapping the Libratone logo plays previous track
  • Placing you palm over the touch pad mutes the speaker

Conclusions

With its breath-taking high-end audio quality and easy to use control interface the Libratone ZIPP2 is an impressive Siri / Amazon Alexa enabled smart speaker for the home

When you add the 12-hour battery life, splash-proofness and carry strap, the Libratone ZIPP2 becomes a great accompaniment to any camping trip or picnic.

Even if you need to fill a much bigger space, the Libratone proprietary SoundSpace Link® technology enables you to connect up to 10 of these powerhouse speakers together to get combined audio.

In short, we love the Libratone ZIPP2 which in our experience if much, much more than a smart speaker. The only negative we have been able to find is the price (£279.99 on both the Amazon Store and PC World website), but if you have that sort of money to spend on a speaker the Libratone ZIPP2 is well worth it.

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The 9 Factors You Need To Consider Before Purchasing A Bluetooth Speaker https://www.onetechstop.net/2019/01/01/the-9-factors-you-need-to-consider-before-purchasing-a-bluetooth-speaker/ https://www.onetechstop.net/2019/01/01/the-9-factors-you-need-to-consider-before-purchasing-a-bluetooth-speaker/#respond Tue, 01 Jan 2019 16:45:12 +0000 https://www.onetechstop.net/?p=34411

  The best Bluetooth speakers truly depend on the person looking. Every speaker comes with different features and it’s up to the consumer to decide. The more options one has, the more complicated a decision gets. The factors and questions listed below help narrow down the options you have. What Should The Speakers Do? The […]

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The best Bluetooth speakers truly depend on the person looking. Every speaker comes with different features and it’s up to the consumer to decide. The more options one has, the more complicated a decision gets. The factors and questions listed below help narrow down the options you have.

  1. What Should The Speakers Do?

The Bluetooth speakers you choose could be outdoor speakers or indoor speakers. A great Bluetooth speaker is both. You could get something that is fairly large to play with your TV outside, or you could use a smaller speaker with your phone, tablet, or laptop.

The speakers that you choose need to be durable enough to stand up to all the use they get because most people wear out their speakers from everyday use. The speakers also need to be easy to charge, and they need to have a connection process that’s easy to understand.

You could also use a small speaker which hangs from your wrist, or it could act as a patio speaker. The key question here is asking yourself where you want your Bluetooth speaker to be.

Or you can just purchase a speaker for every room in the house. You could set them up to work with the same source of Bluetooth, or you might even have a home automation system that uses Bluetooth to play music throughout the house.

  1. What Sound Quality Do You Want?

You will discover that most people who buy speakers have a hard time picking the right sound quality because they don’t know what they’re looking for.

You can get something with basic stereo sound, or you could get a device with extra bass. It’s also possible that you could use a device that has its own app and equalizer.

Be certain that you have read through the specifications of the device before you buy. But don’t let the specifications be the end all be all.

Specifications such as wattage can be deceiving. Speakers will have a wattage power of 800 watts, but when played, doesn’t seem like it. That’s because other factors like sensitivity and efficiency also factor into sound quality.

Sound quality could also be a little bit narrow when you use a small speaker. You need to look for speakers that have been made specifically for stereo sound. The stereo sound that you get can be produced in a small package, but you’ll want to purchase something larger if you’re planning to use it outside.

  1. What Are Outdoor Bluetooth Speakers Like?

Outdoor speakers should be made with weatherproof material that’ll prevent them from being damaged by the wind and weather that passes through. You might be under the safety of a little tent, but that does not mean that mist and rain will not blow into the tent.

You need to be sure that you can protect the speaker, and that’s why you have to buy something that is specifically meant to be used outdoors. Outdoor speakers also need to be able connect to a television or stereo.

In addition, outdoor speakers that you buy should have a cover that’ll prevent them from taking on water damage. Covers that you buy could be a simple slip, or they might be some kind of bag that allows you to store the speaker until you use it again.

 

  1. Home Systems

You can get speakers that are of a moderate size, and you will find that you could use the speakers on shelves and tables around the house. These speakers will all play the music or sound at the same time, and they can connect to any device.

Home speakers don’t require any wiring at any time, and you’ll discover that you can have a speaker in literally every room. You could just bring one of those speakers outside if you want to read on the deck on a sunny day.

Plus, you could have multiple TVs going at the same time with the sound playing through the house. Make sure your Bluetooth speaker has the capability to scale with other speakers.

This is also helpful if you want to set up an intercom system.

  1. Intercoms

Having an intercom in the house sounds like a pipe dream because it would be so expensive. However, you can use Bluetooth speakers to the same degree. You could use the speaker for playing music in the baby’s room, or you could put one halfway across the house that’s connected to something which allows you to speak.

  1. Do You Need Bass Boost?

You need bass boost if you listen to a lot of heavy music. You’ll discover many songs require this because it makes it easier for you to hear all parts of the song. You also need to choose something with bass boost if you plan to be outside because it’s harder to hear in that environment. Environmental sounds can disrupt your music.

  1. How Much Should You Spend?

You can get a simple office speaker for very little money, and you’ll have wireless speakers to take with you regardless of where you go.

Average prices for a small quality Bluetooth speaker go from $50-$150. Anything more than this range would be overspending for a small speaker.

If you’re budget is tight, just wait for the prices to go down. The prices of Bluetooth technology goes down every year as it gets better. This is due to manufacturing getting better, or other models coming out. Even if you get an older model, an older generation speaker won’t show its age.

  1. Who Needs These Speakers?

Everyone should have at least one speaker they can take with them. With a Bluetooth speaker, they can control the speakers for a party outside, or they could play the speakers from across the room.

You can use these speakers easily because they’re meant to be connected with the technology on your device, and you can even teach your kids how to use these speakers. They can go outside with you, or they could be there when you’re at the desk trying to think of what to do.

Anyone who’s looking for entertainment wherever they go should consider portable Bluetooth speakers.

  1. Conclusion

The speakers that you purchase should be Bluetooth ready, and they need to be set up so that you can control them from any location you like around the house. To summarize, your Bluetooth speakers need to have durability, versatility, and great sound quality. These are the main factors you need to consider.

If a speaker doesn’t check all those boxes, don’t even consider purchasing the speaker.

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