By Jacky Parker
The decorations might be on standby, the food planned and the cocktails ready to shake but what about the music? The latest crop of speakers look as good as they sound, and with connections to Bluetooth, Chromecast built-in and AirPlay 2, they have access to an infinite library of music – from ambient to electro – to ensure your party's a blast (literally).
ON A ROLL
The latest from Danish audio superstars, Bang & Olufsen is the Beosound Edge. Designed in collaboration with illustrious lighting designer, Michael Anastassiades, the all-in-one wireless speaker has a minimal design aesthetic with maximum output. Much like the beautifully refined lights Anastassiades is renowned for, the multi-room system speaker has been stripped of superfluous elements (including visible controls) giving it a sleek and sophisticated appearance and revolutionary controls.
With intuitive proximity sensors and a clever roll mechanism, the speaker comes to life as you approach, lighting up the interface so you can then start, stop or skip tracks with a simple tap on the surface. Most cleverly you can turn the volume up (or down), with a gentle roll of the speaker. Inside it has an active bass port design, which means more bang for your buck, sound-wise, as whatever you're playing will remain constant whatever the volume. Music streaming is via Bluetooth, AirPlay 2 or Chromecast built-in – and the Beosound Edge can play from either side, or from both, for full 360-degree sound that ensures your party will rock.
Bored of black or grey speakers? Then check out the Sonos One collaboration with Danish design brand, HAY. First shown at Salone del Mobile in Milan earlier this year, the full limited-edition collection of wireless speakers is now available in the UK at Selfridges.
Available in 5 stylish colours:Forest Green, Pale Yellow, Soft Pink, Light Grey and Vibrant Red that will blend easily with modern design schemes, the HAY Sonos One has the ability to stream from over 80 music services, and with Amazon Alexa voice controls, you can get heavy on the bass, without even putting your drink down.
The MRx is the first connected wireless speaker from Ruark, a family-owned British company. Blending elegant looks with the latest technology, the MRx is a stylish speaker with powerful sound abilities. In short it packs a punch for its size.
It can easily be linked with the company's R2 and R7 models, for a multi-room synchronised sound system and streams music via Bluetooth or, with a broadband connection, can access Spotify, Deezer, Tidal and other online music services. It can also be connected to Google Chromecast, Amazon Alexa, and has a USB port so it can play music from a memory stick, to keep everyone happy.
If it's portable pop you need, the award-winning Klang M1 wireless speaker from Loewe, is a miniature masterpiece. The chic and compact casing (with a rose gold, graphite grey or silver finish and smart leather strap), belies its sound output, so for music on the go, this is a petite package with power.
Its rechargeable lithium-ion batteries play for 12 hours, with a recharge time of 2 hours and an LED prompt when it needs some juice.
The Citation Series from Harman Kardon delivers on aesthetics and audio quality, with options to use the wireless speakers individually or build a powerful 5.1-channel surround-sound system. The multi-room capabilities allow for the control of sound from any room, either playing from one music source or playing different tracks in different rooms. The speakers have Chromecast built-in, allowing over 300 streaming services and features Google Assistant, so you'll never get bored of your playlists.
With a nod to Scandinavian style, the shapely speakers are clad in Winter Grey or Classic Black wool fabric, from Kvadrat, the European leader in acoustic textiles – and they have a sleek and subtle look that’s a welcome addition in any home.
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