SmartHouse

The Best Wireless Speakers

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Wireless speakers aren't just for barbecues and beach hangs anymore, they have matured and are now being designed to be a key home entertainm­ent audio solution.

The best Bluetooth speakers used to be relegated to small, portable music players with often subpar sound, but the market has exploded in recent years. Now, you're as likely to select a wireless audio player for home listening as you are a traditiona­l hi-fi system.

Of course, that surfeit of choices also means that selecting the best Bluetooth speakers can be trickier than ever. You might want one similar to the new Bang & Olufsen models that are premium and actually look like a book or book end. Some come with a handle that you can carry from the bedroom to the basement.

Or maybe a multi-room array like the new Denon networked speaker range which is not only stylish but houses premium audio hardware.

With these devices you can wake up in the morning with a pre-set alarm, brush your teeth, eat breakfast, and head into your home office, all without missing your relaxing morning music fix.

Or maybe a pair of Yamaha networked speakers that gain with a permanent place on the mantelpiec­e, where they'll replace the second-hand speakers, you had in college. These expanded product offerings have everything to do with the way people listen to music these days. Many of us are just as likely to stream music as we are to slap a 12" on the turntable.

And even a serious music aficionado with a serious hi-fi rig to match may want to listen to the occasional podcast in the kitchen, after all.

Audiophile­s will rightly remind you that there's a trade-off between quality and convenienc­e, which is true. But wireless speakers don't just use Bluetooth anymore. For listeners leery of Bluetooth's audio quality—and it's true that the technology uses lossy codecs, though many won't notice the difference—a growing number of products connect directly over your Wi-Fi network to utilize Apple's higherreso­lution AirPlay system.

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