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This is the best-sounding smart speaker you can buy


Playing the same song on both speakers—with the Google Home in my home office and the Google Home Max in my home theater about 35 feet away, separated by several walls—I noticed an almost imperceptible delay that I don't think would bother anyone ...and more » #Hometheater #speakers
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Comparing Smart Speakers from Apple, Amazon, Google and Sonos

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Now that Apple is about to release the HomePod, we wanted to take a look at if it's worth the $350 asking price. We'll break down the specs on the major smart speakers and explain what they mean to you in practical terms. Apple has not yet released the Apple HomePod but we do know some stats. So let's get those out the way first in a simple to read table.

Speaker Woofers Tweeters Microphones Music services Can be paired for stereo
HomePod 1 - 4" *          7            6 1. Apple music Yes
Google Home Max 2 - 4.5" *          2            6 Many Plays in Stereo
Sonos One 1 - 4" *           1            6*** Almost all Yes
Amazon Echo 1 - 2.5" **          1            7 Many No
* Has a high-excursion woofer
** Has Dolby sound
*** Note that the Sonos One uses either Google or Alexa as it's AI.

But specs never, ever, tell the entire story. Let's dig into what the specs really say and what really matters to you.

Woofers. How many does each smart speaker have and does it matter?

One big distinction with the Google Home Max is that it has two woofers that play in stereo. This matters less for stereo since bass is pretty non-directional than it does for the amount of air 2 woofers will move vs. one.

High excursion woofers.
What? is the reaction most of you are having on this term. The more air a woofer can move, the deeper and impactful it's bass response will be.  High excursion simply means the speaker moves a greater distance than a typical woofer might move. This is important because the greater distance it moves, the more air it can move (theoretically) and that is important to create good bass response. 

Woofer size.
Size does matter for woofers due the previously mentioned air movement. The larger the woofer the more air it moves. 

Dolby sound
I'm not sure how it does it but Dolby sound does seem to have improved the bass response on a the new Amazon Echo. It's not thumping but Amazon's AI, Alexa plus the gazillion skills it knows make up for the lack of deep bass. It does however provide a satisfying balanced sound and it great for everyday, non-critical listening. 

Tweeters. How many does each smart speaker have and does it matter?

Only two of these speakers has multiple tweeter's, the Google Home Max and the Apple HomePod. The Google Home Max uses this to play in stereo while the Apple HomePod does it to project the high frequencies to 360 degrees. The HomePod has an advantage here mostly if you're placing it in the middle of a room. Otherwise it's nice but not a game changer.


While all have really nice microphones, how many matter less than how well the software can listen and how smart the AI, (Alexa, Siri, Google) is that the speaker is using. Each has it's strong suit but we'd prefer Alexa and Google over Siri in most cases. As noted before Google or Alexa supply the smarts for Sonos, depending on which version you purchase. 

Music services

In this space Apple falls way behind. Unless your invested in Apple Music and never listen to a Pandora station or other music service this it going to be a non-starter for you. With the exception of Google not having Amazon Music and Amazon Music not have Google Play Music, all the other smart speakers offer multiple music services including Spotify. 

Can it be paired for Stereo playback?

While the Google Home Max is the only speaker in the bunch that plays in stereo natively the speaker are too close together to really give you any sense of a soundstage. The only speaker here that does not offer a stereo option is the Amazon Echo. 

Which Smart Speaker is the best one is best for you? Here are our thoughts

Speaker Bang for buck -Background music Robust smart home Audiophile Music service options
HomePod  ? X
Google Home Max XX X X
Sonos One X  X XX* XX
Amazon Echo X XXX X
*Given you can get two Sonos Ones for the price of one HomePod for true stereo separation, we give the Sonos 2 checks. The Sonos also has the most robust selection of music services. Note the Sonos does not have all the smart home tricks the Google or Echo have if that is important to you.
Pictures. Just so you can visualize what these speakers look like internally, which might help some of you. Here they are. 

Hearables are on the brink of making us all top polyglots


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Better speakers mean a happier life Bryston Announces New Active Speaker Line
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Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker only $9.99


【IP67 Fully Waterproof 】 IP6 means dust proof speaker,IPX7 means waterproof speaker can floating or submerged in the water up to 3 feet for 30 minutes.Perfect as a shower speaker, pool speaker, beach speaker etc,no worry about falling into the water ...

Don't waste money on bad speakers Sony's 2018 home theater lineup includes Dolby Atmos soundbars ...


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Good speakers make all the difference HomePod launch appears imminent as smart speaker receives FCC approval
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Beats Pill+ Bluetooth Speaker in White Discounted to $116 at Target and Amazon


The Beats Pill+ Bluetooth speaker has received a notable discount today at two retailers, with the White model specifically getting marked down to one of the lowest price points seen for the device. At both Target and Amazon you can get the Beats Pill+ ...

Can speakers freeze?

Yes, even outdoor speakers are best taken indoors during a repeated or extended freeze.

With frigid temperatures sweeping the country a reader asked if outdoor speakers can freeze. Speakers are typically made of a stamped aluminum or iron frame, a magnet of some type made of some type of metal, a speaker cone, usually made of paper, polyurethane, or some composite material, a surround usually made of rubber and a spider usually made of treated paper coated with a glue.

Here's how freezing could affect each part of a speaker

  • The speaker frame is made of metal and is unlikely to have much of a problem with freezing.
  • The speaker cone of paper, poly or other material my not have a problem with one freeze but continued freezing and thawing and defrosting will eventually take a toll. 
  • The magnet should have no problem at all.
  • The speaker surround, the part around the outer rim of the speaker cone, if made of rubber will survive being frozen but continued exposure will eventually make it brittle. 
  • The spider, made of paper may also experience detrimental effects over a period of time.
The biggest problem would be moisture. If left outside speakers that accumulate any amount of moisture might be further damaged by a cycle of freezing and thawing. 

The best thing to do is to take your outdoor speakers indoors during subfreezing temperatures that exceed a few days or are expected to repeat. 

What can Alexa do for you?


... good bet you've got one sitting on a counter in your home. But are you using the digital voice assistant to its fullest potential? Alexa is the name Amazon has given its personal assistant. Every time you say the name, your device will be listening ...

Will my speakers work if wired wrong?

There are 2 ways of wiring your speakers incorrectly. 
  1. You mix up the left and the right channels
  2. You mix up the red and black connections from the amp to the speaker terminals.
The first one does not harm you'll just hear the channels in the opposite sides. Simply switch the speaker wires on the amp and you're done.
The second problem leaves your speakers out of phase. This will result in a flat, reduced bass and lifeless sound. You'll know when you hear it.

Wiring speakers correctly is fairly easy. The only thing you need to remember when hooking up speaker is to be sure to hook up the same wire to the red and black terminal on both the amp and the speaker. 

How do I tell the difference?

Speaker wires usually have tell-tale markings on them so you can make sure you have your
connections straight. 

Color - Most speaker wires are multi color. Silver and bronze (goldish). Just be sure to put the same one on each side
Markings - Some speaker wires use one color wire for both sides but have markings on the side of one wire, either a stripe or writing. 
Ridges - Still others use a raised ridge on one of the wires to indicate which side you're dealing with. 

All three work just as well, it depends on your preference. 

More importantly, don't overspend on speaker wire. It's not the most critical path your music travels. Your amp, speakers and stylus, if you're rocking a turntable have a much greater effect on how your tunes will sound. 

So go get some decent (14 gauge or better) speaker wire and start listening. 

Best Amazon Echo speaker: the Dots, Spots, Shows and Pluses compared


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Wireless earbuds that actually last awhile are on their way


For me a while would be at least 5 hours. That way I an parse my day for when I'd need my wireless earbuds to be of most use. Then there's the issue of smart digital assistants.

For one, there's Amazon. Qualcomm's new "Smart Audio Platform" is designed to make it easier for companies to build smart speakers and other audio devices that use Amazon's Alexa digital voice assistant. The companies working with Qualcomm will be able ...

Will Google home, Alexa and Siri ever work together?

Alexa or Google or Siri or Bixby or...

If you got a smart speaker this holiday, and you likely got at least one, then you also most likely have taken sides.  You'll grow accustomed the shortcomings and banter with friends about how your choice was better than theirs. I of course have both a Google home and several Echo's. Here are some weird situations I've witnessed.

Google knows way more about local businesses and delivers great search type answers. Despite this it apparently did not know the name of Santa's reindeer. Really? It also could not tell me how "much" snow I was going to get a couple of weeks ago. Alexea had not problem with either.

But ask Alexa for a review of a local restaurant or movie times and your out of luck.

And for commentary sake. Will Apple "ever" get their overpriced speaker out the door? And seriously, does Bixbi really stand a chance?

Welcome to the future.

Smart assistants like Alexa and Google Home are now in 27 million American homes. (already an old number) Soon hearables will be in everyone's ears, and we'll be in the future. Well, technically we can never be "in" the future but you get the idea.

Once this happens, whose side will you choose? Will we become digital nation state of citizens based upon our AI allegiance? Yikes! How does that end well?

What would happen if we start seriously communicating with and through these siloed AI assistants? Would they allow cross communication? Likely not. Would the advertising on one drive a divide on who buys what products? (yep, probably. See Alexa says her favorite beer is Budweiser. Though I guess the ad budget ran out since she now no longer says that)

Each of these products are developing individual strengths, why should I have to choose?

Enter Meta-AI

Before Google owned most of the search market the web was full of meta search engines. These search engines would aggregate the best of the results (according to them) from many sources and let you choose from multiple viewpoints of importance. An example would be Pretty cool and sometimes useful. (maybe we need one of these for political views too? Another article).

I don't think as many people use these any longer as in the past, but they did serve a purpose back before Google ruled the roost.

Why can't I simply plug my Bragi hearable earbud into my ear, ask a question and whichever AI assistant can give me an answer, I get that one. If both can do it I get the one upvoted the most. (yes, the upvoting is dangerous. The Russians or some other organization will manipulate that I'm sure. Save us blockchain!!)

Until we have a solution that gets us what we need, when we need it without having to ask 3 or 4 different sources, or one of these platforms gets "super smart" and dominates (scary?), then we need a meta-AI solution. Who will build it? Com'on smart people, get moving!

Best smart headphones and hearables for fitness 2018


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Ovie Smarterware lets Alexa manage your leftovers


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Invest in a good pair of Bookshelf speakers Definitive Technology Demand Series Bookshelf Speakers


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Digital Assistants Shake Up The Wi-Fi Speaker Market


Question is, how many different assistants can we have? Will someone develop a service that asks teh question or command of 2, 3, 4 different assistants and route that to you? OK smart people, get going on this.

The growth of Amazon- and Google-branded smart speakers “has impacted the Wi-Fi non-smart speaker market,” D'Souza also noted. Preliminary Futuresource statistics show a 16 percent drop in 2017 U.S. shipments of non-smart Wi-Fi speakers (including non ...

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Hearables Could Become All Day, Every Day Thanks To Qualcomm


Hearables are going to be the hot product in 2018. You're going to start seeing people of all ages walking around with earbuds in their ears, all day long. What once would be considered geeky and stupid looking, will soon be deems cool, and stylish.

While limited battery lives for wireless hearables previously prohibited this use case, Qualcomm's new SoC intendeds to make it viable. The industry could also see effects in healthcare wearables, enabling heart sensors, for example, to operate for an ... #hearables

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The Best-Reviewed Bookshelf Speakers on Amazon


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Amphion Helium410 Bookshelf Speakers


At least they also come in black. I really don't care for white speakers. Despite best efforts, white just looks dusty or dirty over even a short period of time. Here's a nice side view.

One important note is that this is a studio monitor speaker series most likely designed to be listened to at a short distance. In general studio monitors are not good substitutes for home audio speaker.

From the original report - Click on image below for their review. 

We stopped by a small booth filled with beautiful speakers, each with the same minimalist, almost basic design. It was there we met Anssi Hyvönen, founder of Finnish speaker maker Amphion. Though his company had been around for almost 20 years, we had ... #bookshelfspeakers

Lot's of folks note that the new Google Home Max is Loud! Well then that settles it, if it's loud it must be a great sounding smart speaker, right? Not sure

This review does offer some good insights. Thanks Toms Guide.

Google Home Max review: smart gets loud
The war for your living room is on. But I'm not talking about the one battling for your eyeballs, I'm referring to the one jockeying for your ears and your voice. The world of smart, connected, wireless audio for your home has exploded over the past ... #bookshelfspeakers

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