Creative, once a promising startup, has come to dominate the DIY wireless multi-room audio industry. Now it has many competitors.
Bose has launched Wi-Fi speakers under its new SoundTouch brand with a streamlined setup process. This is designed to compete with the Sonos audience, and here are one of this year’s best deals!
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Bose is selling three standalone speaker options, the SoundTouch 30 ($699), a more robust speaker for larger spaces, and two smaller speakers: the SoundTouch Portable ($399) and the cheaper option, the $400 SoundTouch 20.
You can group those speakers together and name them for the room they reside in. Just like with Sonos, you can stream music to an individual room or have the same song play on all of your speakers at once.
Continuing the trend of wireless audio, Bose says that all its future speakers and sound systems will be compatible with a SoundTouch enabled device. This means that you should have many choices of which type of speaker to use in your multiroom setup.
The Bose SoundTouch 20 is a great competitor to the Sonos Play 5, which ranges in price from $399. The upshot of this decision will vary depending on your preference for sound quality versus versatility. The Soundtouch 20 is also a good-looking speaker with professional style.
Bose offers a similar interface to Sonos, but with Apple AirPlay support and six presets.
bose soundtouch 20
Sonos is the clear leader in this category, but Bose will close ground and increase its sound system with a series of software updates in 2014. Sonos won’t keep still either and can be expected to release new speaker options of course as well.
Design and features
The SoundTouch 20 is comparatively compact and sturdy speaker that offers the best-sounding playing on a Bluetooth speaker I ve ever used.
The top of the machine features six preset buttons, plus volume up/down, an auxiliary input and a power button. Notable is the five-line OLED display in the heart of the console showing track data. The scheme for presets on this home-based system is quite similar to what was found on UE Smart Radio within past years. Unlike the Smart Radio though, the Bose doesn t offer on-the-fly playlists.
The absence of a Mute or Play/Pause button on the machine is a little frustrating, nevertheless you do get yourself a remote and virtually all of these kinds of machines don’t have one. It includes the same features on the machine, plus playback controls. While it does not have a Mute button, the sound is still clear.
bose soundtouch 20 Sonos Bridge, which connects to your router’s Ethernet port, sets up another wireless network that is focused on streaming your audio streams and improves the reliability of Wi-Fi networks.
Bose’s SoundTouch speakers have been combined with a wired Ethernet connection for those who enjoy that better, but the company is pushing the simplicity of its system and how easy it really is to set up using your house Wi-Fi connection and nothing else.
Although the setup process can seem a bit awkward at times, we found it fairly straightforward. Mesh network systems like this often come with a hardwired Ethernet connection (the bridge plugs into your router).
In regards to the Bose, you need to connect each individual speaker with your personal computer by way of USB and set up it where you want to buy. We did have just a little trouble with a firewall on the office’s network (but no other wireless system we’ve set up encountered this), but unless there is an issue at home or work
Bose s software, for iOS and Android, currently doesn t offer the ability to create products from your smartphone.
As noted, one of the themes in Bose’s simplicity could be defined by its presets. All of the new speakers and software (Android and iOS devices, together with Macs and Windows PCs) come with numbered buttons from 1-6 for easy use. Use the app to select a preset.
The Bose soundtouch is a generally warm and tight speaker that is adept at hiding the flaws of poorly recorded (or ripped) music. Although it has plenty of detail, it also chooses which bits are important so you don’t have to hear the words if they aren’t good.
Voices are well-formed and bold on these speakers.
The sound quality of the Bose SoundTouch is reasonable for its size; it has a punchy but warm bass response that sounds best with rock music.
Private mesh networks act like a private intelligence for streaming speakers, reducing the number of music dropouts. Despite being on a typical WiFi network, the Bose exhibited an identical degree of reliability to the Phorus PS1.
The Bose SoundTouch 20 is capable of pulling content from multiple sources without any issues. (In comparison, from the same spot, our Android smartphone couldn t detect the same router).
Though these observations are only from a single speaker, they do have one big caveat: We can’t comment on how a multiroom set up will perform.
On a far more critical note, the volume control is unusable after 70% Even on lower volumes, the treble seems to harden and bass drops out, making it sound like you’re listening to music through a cardboard tube. Sure there are bands that make lots of noise when cranked up loud, but for your ears’ sake don’t do that
Bose has innumerable right with the Bose SoundTouch 20. When considering the hardware and performance, it is arguably a few little less than equally priced Sonos Play:5. Another choice for the same money is $199 for a set of two Sonos Play:1 speakers that provide better stereo separation.
The building blocks and framework for a stylish, user-friendly speaker are all set up with the Bose SoundTouch 20. Unfortunately, it is not quite finished yet. No surprise, you can stay in this home and live. However, it doesn’t feel as comfortable since it needs to be because of the amenities which lack.
While Bose may not be on Sonos’ level yet, it is still a contender in the battle for wireless multiroom audio.