Best bluetooth speaker for Mack

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Hardware & Accessories

This has me stumped. I have a Bose Bluetooth Sound link color series 2 speaker and I am in a bit of a spot. I am looking for a very good Bluetooth speaker that will allow me to turn up the volume and feel bass in it as well. I have a Jabra Solemate speaker that does well but, it seems small for sound. I would be using this on my Mack computer with Vlc, or the Vox media player. I'm sure this is going to come at a high price no doubt. Whenever I turn up Vlc's volume, the Bose Speaker distorts the sound and it cuts out a lot of the time. I don't think Bose is going to update the firmware that supports these speakers. Jabra updates the firmware when it's necessary. Some good recommendations would greatly be appreciated.

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Submitted by Brother J. on Sunday, May 20, 2018

This is a fun question because I have an alternative rig which may be unique. Firstly, my choice of everyday speakers is a not-so-high-end studio monitor system by Roland now discontinued. It is called CM-220, a 2.1 200 watt system with a 10’ sub-woofer [100 watts] and two satellites [50 watts per satellite]. This sucka will break some windows for sure, but I never played it half as loud as is capable. Inputs include two coaxial, two balanced XLR, three unbalanced RCA, and 1 3.5mm TRS. I wish it had optical but such as life. This is not a wireless system whatsoever.

I use a highly recommended software package called Airfoil. This enables me to stream from a specific programme [e.g. VLC, Safari Technology Preview, et cetera] to any device via bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The most advantageous aspect about this is VoiceOver or any other audio is output to Mac's built-in speakers. The companion Satellite app for iOS enabled me to stream to iPhone. However, the iPhone had to be tethered to Roland CM-220 via a cable, which meant I could not use iPhone. This was a sho' nuff drag, so I purchased a Bose SoundTouch Wireless Link Adapter and my entire listening experience became much more convenient. I use a Mogami cable [do your homework folks] to attach SoundTouch Wireless Link Adapter to the monitors, and configured Airfoil to stream to that. I had to configure new device with its companion app, but after that hassle everything is okay. I have no need for the Satellite app, and I can use iPhone because it is no longer a component in the chain. The major disadvantage is the Bose device supports strictly SPC encoding which means no matter the source audio, it will be decoded and re-encoded to SPC before received by the monitors. Most will not notice but I do. This bluetooth receiver is the best on the market to my knowledge.

The CM-220 is not easy to find new, but if you can find it like new I highly suggest you acquire one. You will also want the ST-CMS1 adjustable stands [do not quote me on that model number] for the satellites to position them optimally. They can be found more easily. You truly cannot go wrong with this specific rig if you manage to assemble it exactly, or preferably with higher end studio monitors. Be sure to use cables by either Mogami or Jumpers.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Sunday, May 20, 2018

The best is Creative Sound Blaster Roar 2 Portable NFC Bluetooth Speaker with aptX/AAC (Black) You can recharge your iPhone and is very powerful. Amazon at this time have it for $90 which normaly is $120

Submitted by Brother J. on Monday, May 21, 2018

Best is subjective, and in no manner am I suggesting or stating my response above is the best. I guarantee CM-220 has better sound quality and more low end frequency response than any Sound Blaster ever could. I had a Sound Blaster wired set at least six years ago, and never liked how the frequencies were tuned. It sounded horrible to me.

I did not talk about the controls on CM-220. There is no graphic or parametric equaliser onboard thus I balance the spectrum using Airfoil. Roland also made a lesser powerful model called CM-110 which is 100 watts. If you can find one new or like new, it should be less expensive, and possibly be sufficient for what you want. The total wattage and smaller size of subwoofer are the only noticeable differences; the chain will remain the same as are the stands.

Submitted by david s on Monday, May 21, 2018

Hello,

Since you’re using a Mac, have you considered the Home Pod? You can use Air Play instead of BT. The small size with loud and clear sound is hard to beat. I’m sure the Roland speakers mentioned above sounds great, but they sound like they will take up some space and proper placement is required for good sound. The HP on the other hand, tests the acoustics of the room when you move it around so it will always sound good. With Air Play 2 coming out, you will be able to use 2 HP in stereo mode.

You might want to purchase from a retailer that will allow you to return it if it does not work out.

HTH and good luck.

Submitted by Brother J. on Monday, May 21, 2018

I forgot about the HomePod. I never touched one, but it does have the technology inside to give the listener the illusion of surround sound or something akin to it. Subjective as it is, I heard from another audiophile who tested a HomePod that it sounds similar to how the digital signal in Beats headphones is processed. If you dig the Beats sound, chances are you will dig that of the HomePod – based on what I heard. I cannot comment on the sound from experience, but I would like to listen in the privacy, comfort, and acoustics of my residence to do so.

With regard to speaker placement, monitors most definitely require proper placement – especially when mixing and/or mastering. In general, regardless what calibre of speakers, there is a phenomenon called the sweet spot, and to find it one must place speakers properly. That is to say the satellites must be equidistant from the listener, and the sub-woofer, if one exists, must be equidistant from both satellites. The satellites should be placed at 45º angles inwards to create an equilateral triangle. This is my suggestion no matter the speaker system – even for HomePods although it may not make a huge difference considering the internal technology.

With regard to the size, the CM-220 is basically three cubes. The largest and most heavy cube contains the sub-woofer and, the controls on the top towards the back, inputs, output, and most of the circuitry. It is approximately 18kg in mass I estimate, and can be placed under a computer table. This, like any sub-woofer, should always sit atop a decoupler [e.g. Ampdude or Subdude by Auralex] to isolate the low frequencies from absorption by the surface on which it is placed. The satellites are small and less heavy cubes which should too be isolated, preferably with the ST-CMS1 stands. They have removable fabric covers which I put in local storage. Trust me when I say there is a night and day difference in sound after grilles/covers are removed from satellites. I do not know how common is such a design for consumer-grade speakers, but I do not think it is uncommon. For those interested, this web page contains detailed specifications pertinent to the CM-220.