SPEAK­ERS COR­NER

Plug­ging in a mu­sic player is old-school. Mod­ern speak­ers stream songs, writes Jen­nifer DudleyNicholson

Herald Sun - Switched On - - Gadgets - 1 JABRA SOLE­MATE 2 GEAR4 STREETPARTY WIRE­LESS 3 LIBRATONE ZIPP

Jabra, $199 jabra.com.au ★★★★ It’s no ac­ci­dent this Blue­tooth speaker is out just be­fore sum­mer: the Sole­mate is built for beach par­ties. Stand­ing just 7cm tall and 17cm long, this small mu­sic maker is splash- and dust-re­sis­tant for out­door use. It also packs sub­stan­tial au­dio grunt, pump­ing out 120dB (on the same scale as sand­blast­ing or a rock concert). The Sole­mate also has a mi­cro­phone to ac­cept phone calls and will de­liver eight hours of mu­sic. Gear4, $99 gear4.com.au ★★ When Ap­ple changed its iPod con­nec­tions, speaker mak­ers in­clud­ing Gear4 had to re­think their ap­proach. The re­sult is this StreetParty Wire­less speaker that con­nects to iPods, smart­phones, tablets and com­put­er­swith Blue­tooth. The wire­less speaker is about the same size as a clutch purse, mak­ing it very easy to carry about. Un­for­tu­nately, its au­dio qual­ity is merely pass­able. Libratone, $499.95 libratone.com ★★★★ Zipp is the first speaker to show­case the Dutch com­pany’s PlayDirect tech­nol­ogy. It lets users con­nect Ap­ple gad­gets with­out the need forwi-fi. PlayDirect is sim­ple to set up: users hold a but­ton down and con­nect an iPod to its wire­less sig­nal. Mu­sic can then be played through the speaker us­ing the iPod’s con­trols. This cord-free sys­tem is al­most as im­pres­sive as the crisp and rich sound from this unit. Kaiser Baas, $99 kaiser­baas.com ★★★ This is por­ta­ble enough to carry from one meet­ing to an­other and funky enough to pass as an en­ter­tainer. Af­ter con­nect­ing it to any Blue­tooth phone or MP3 player, its three but­tons can be used to con­trol mu­sic vol­ume and pause and play tunes, or to ac­cept and re­ject calls. The 2.2-watt speak­ers are more than ca­pa­ble of de­liv­er­ing clear con­fer­ence calls. Sam­sung, $699 sam­sung.com/au ★★★★ This is a phone dock for se­ri­ous au­dio­philes. Sam­sung has mixed dig­i­tal and ana­logue tech­nolo­gies to cre­ate this 8.6kg mon­ster that can fill a room with sound from just about any source. The DAE750 uses a vac­uum tube amp as well as glass fi­bre speak­ers, a 60-watt woofer and two 20-watt speak­ers. The pack­age cre­ates an un­usu­ally warm, nat­u­ral sound.

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