The Blue­tooth sound

CityPress - - The Good Guide -

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

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