The Bluetooth Speaker with Sound That Fills a Room

mj-618_348_archt-speaker
Courtesy ARCHT Audio

There’s one main limitation for standard floor or bookshelf speakers: Because the front grill has to face in one direction, the sound tends to blast toward one wall or get muffled if something is blocking it. The new Archt One gets around that limitation with a circular design.

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The speaker pushes sound in all directions from the top of the cone. It measures just over 17 inches tall and about 7 inches wide, which easily fits on a side table or desk. The 100-watt system comes in all black with soft-touch capacitive buttons along the top platter (for volume, source, and play/pause). To listen to music, you can connect the speaker to a phone or tablet using Bluetooth or Apple AirPlay over WiFi, but you can sync it directly using a USB cable (from an iOS device) or a 3.5mm cable. To switch sources, you press the source button on the top rim, and a light glows near the base. It all worked smoothly in our tests. We played everything from heavy synths to intricate guitar work, and it became obvious that the Archt One is designed to deliver thumping bass and far-reaching sound that’s fit for a party. Audio playback is not nearly as clear as the JBL Authentics L8 (at the same price) or most of the Logitech EU Bluetooth gear. However, the Archt’s subwoofer is loud and shook a desk even at mid-volume; it’s designed for filling a room, and audiophiles need not apply.

The bottom line: The Archt One emphasizes the low-range, but it tends to make guitars and subtle details sound a little bland. It syncs without any problems, the buttons are easy to find, and the design is attractive. And if you’re looking for something that sounds a little more like you’re in an arena instead of an intimate show, this might be a good speaker to add to your shelf. [$599; archtaudio.com]

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