10 Cambridge Audio YOYO M dThere are lots of Bluetooth speakers around and lots of them can be set up as stereo pairs if you buy two. Sometimes this works, sometimes it all ends in tears. I know a part-time muso – his other job is designing websites – who bought a single Bluetooth portable for $150 and was so impressed with it he bought a second one and went through the complex instructions for assigning the right channel to one and the left to the other.

“It only worked some of the time,” he said. “When it wasn’t working both speakers produced mono sound or one of them didn’t work at all. When you want one on each side of your desk for music while you work it gets a bit disconcerting when the sound suddenly goes mono, or only comes from one side. I became so annoyed I finally put them aside for using outside and got a pair of wired desk speakers that sound way better anyway.”

Cambridge Audio has a clear and simple solution for this. You buy a pair of Yoyo M Bluetooth speakers that are set up at the factory as a stereo pair, the one with the little grey plastic dot at the bottom right is the right speaker, the one without it is the left. Easy as knowing your right from your left.

10 Cambridge Audio YOYO M cThese are beautifully built and beautifully presented speakers. They’re clad in wool that has been thinned and toughened, so it’s not only firm and solidly in place, it’s also acoustically transparent. And they come in three colours, two shades of grey and a deep blue. At 1.5 kilograms each the Yoyo Ms are also pleasingly solid.

There are some nice extra touches too. The carry a microphone so when paired with a phone they can take over a call for instant conference calling. The volume levels between speakers are synchronised with the phone too. There’s also a 3.5mm auxiliary input and a USB port for charging other devices. And no cable is required between the right and left speaker.

Now I’ll ask the question I think many people spending $600 on a pair of Bluetooth speakers are likely to ask. Where’s the aptX? If Cambridge Audio went to all the trouble of finding and developing woollen cladding that looks great, is also acoustically transparent and is even water resistant, if it has designed speakers with their own internal low distortion amplifiers to match the larger full-range drivers and smaller high-range tweeters, if it has managed to include basic gesture controls and fitted batteries that give up to 24 hours playing, then why on earth didn’t the company specify the Bluetooth aptX codec rather than the bare bones SBC Bluetooth that’s being used?

10 Cambridge Audio YOYO M aDon’t get me wrong, the Yoyo Ms sound great. Right up until you back-to-back them with something of similar price that has aptX. Like Kef’s Eggs. Okay, the Eggs don’t have as many features and you may have a problem with the aesthetics, but listen to the two and while the Yoyos provide high quality background music, when you slot in the Eggs in you suddenly find you’re stopping to listen, that your foot is tapping.

At $599 the Ms are the middle offering in the range of three Yoyo models. The $299 S is a single portable with a battery life of up to 14 hours while the $699 L is a mains powered single speaker, with two sets of drivers firing in different directions. It’s intended as a music centre, and won’t be available until next month.

Published March 2017

 

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