The Bluetooth sound
An unfortunate postnap trip over some cables hazardously strewn across my lounge floor resulted in my earphone cable ripping out of my laptop and becoming permanently lodged inside the auxiliary plug. There was no way, aside from the incredibly costly Mac repairs, to get it out.
I couldn’t use any headphones and, because my Mac registered that earphones were permanently inserted, I was doomed to a future sans Mac internal-speaker goodness. My tech tears covered the keyboard, but necessity being the mother of invention, the wireless speaker – a multipurpose godsend – could save the day, and seemingly for the same price as the repairs.
But where to go when bombarded with a plethora of wireless-speaker options? After some expensive trial and error, and the arrival of an unexpected gift, I can provide a humble how-to for those dipping a toe into the chilly Blue(tooth) sea of sound.
I am no snob, but if you appreciate Bach as much as you do Beyoncé, there is simply no way you’ll live with a cheap, plastic boombox. But do not fret, there is a way you can achieve acoustic bliss without wiping out your life savings. A quick trip to your tech store will reveal Bluetooth options in every price range – from a cute little shoX maxi that will cost less than R300 to the Bose variations that can cost more than R25 000.
But proceed with caution. You can’t judge a speaker by the brand’s promise of good sound alone. When you’ve gone wireless, a speaker is literally useless without a powerful Bluetooth receiver. Ask yourself the following questions:
At what distance do you think you’ll keep your speaker from the device? If you’re having a picnic and just want something a little louder than your phone, going for a quick, cheap option like the shoX brand is wise. But be warned. None of the cute mini speakers I have owned ever lasted more than a few months. They’re just not designed to. The shoX Bam, which retails for less than R2 000, is a great option if you’re going to use it every day. The battery lasts and the connection is stable, but the promise of “10m of Bluetooth sound” realistically delivers more like 5m.
What can you spend for what you need? I had an incredibly frustrating time with the Body Glove Bluetooth Stereo speakers, which I bought before they became a necessity. I wanted something not too expensive as it would only be used when guests came over. If the Bluetooth connection lasted for more than a few hours, it was a miracle. At R599, this isn’t exactly top of the range, but I did expect a lot more from this little blue box. Eventually, it gave up completely.
How long do you think you’ll need the speaker for? After months of trying, you’ll figure you’ll just go big, or go home.
I managed to get my hands on the Beats by Dr Dre Pill 2.0 and, if you’re serious about sound, you really can’t go wrong with this simple but wonderfully powerful device.
It takes a push of a button to pair and, once it gets fired up, it will make your heart skip a beat with its audio prowess. At just less than R4 000, it’s quite a serious investment, but I can confidently say that this could be the last speaker I would ever need.
Well, that’s until I can afford the Bose beauties. But that might take a while.
THE CURE The Pill 2.0 makes going wireless a painless and pretty process