YamahaThese days it seems that if it isn’t wireless it isn’t a proposition. And audio companies that are desperate to include an easy wireless capability into their products are discovering Bluetooth.

Smart idea. Anyone with a car and a phone knows how to use Bluetooth. It’s a simple way to get the music out of peoples’ pockets and onto good sounding equipment.

Apple’s AirPlay has alerted the great mass of people to the possibilities of wirelessly streaming music around the house; it’s a clever and effective system. And now Bluetooth is entering a whole new incarnation as an alternative to it. In the space of a week three different brands have announced Bluetooth products.

Yamaha has built it into its dead sexy flagship lifestyle system, the ISXB820. This is essentially a shallow, square box in a choice of three colours sitting on a stand. There’s a screen in the centre surrounded by four speakers – a couple of full range 10 cm drivers along with a pair of tweeters. A wall mount is optional.

The display reverts to a clock when you’re not doing something else and it dims on lights-out. There’s a built in alarm using gently rising music to persuade you into the day.

It has a CD player, an FM tuner and a USB input, an auxiliary connection and a 30-pin Apple dock, and the whole shooting match can be controlled by smart phone once you’ve downloaded the app.

It’s $999 and the wall mount adds $99.

I’m very fond of Tivoli’s Model One radio. It’s a beautifully retro thing in walnut and sounds great despite its fairly modest size. The moment you tweak its geared and delightfully tactile tuning dial you’ll be sold. It’s AM and FM and there’s an auxiliary input.

And now there’s one with Bluetooth. As long as you’re within nine metres you can stream the music on your phone through it, and take it from me that it will sound heaps better. It works with up to eight paired devices. $349.

For an additional fifty bucks you can get a Bluetooth-equipped Geneva radio with an LED touch screen and a digital tuner built in, as well as FM. Again, you also get an auxiliary input.

This one’s big feature is its rechargeable lithium battery, making it a go-anywhere speaker system for a Bluetooth-equipped smart phone or tablet as well as a radio. Like any good portable it has a retractable carry handle.

The manufacturer claims it can go down to 60 Hertz which is low indeed; certainly low enough to appeal to anyone into dance music. The major controls, which are on the side, aren’t nearly as nice to use as the Tivoli and I don’t like its looks as much, but you do get a choice of black or silver and it sounds good.

For sound quality I could happily live with any of these units, although the Yamaha is best at filling a small room.

 

Tags: