Q: I once had a Sony stereo boombox with detachable speakers that I used for listening to music CDs on my patio. I am thinking of replacing it by transferring the CD music to my wife's Amazon Fire Tablet and listening with Bluetooth speakers that can be paired for a stereo sound. What high-quality Bluetooth speakers do you recommend that can be paired for stereo, for up to around $200?
A: If AC power is an option, you will find many bookshelf speakers from Edifier (edifier.com) that sell for under $200 per pair. The $199.99 Tribit StormBox Blast (tribit.com) can be paired for stereo, but I think one unit would be enough for your patio because the sound quality and maximum volume is truly exceptional. At $299.99, Kanto YU powered bookshelf speakers (kantoaudio.com) are a bit above your budget, but the sound quality is some of the best in its class.
My favorite small Bluetooth speakers are the Soundcore Flare speakers (soundcore.com). The Flare Mini is only $42.99. They pair for stereo and have neutral, clear, natural and engaging sound that satisfies even demanding music lovers. They are one of the best values in audio.
I don't know if it is the best option for your specific situation where music performance is the top priority, but ZVOX recently introduced a speaker designed to be the perfect companion to tablets and laptops. As the story goes, during the pandemic the president of ZVOX and his family communicated with his mother via Zoom. The small size and weak performance of tablet and laptop speakers, combined with hearing problems, meant a lot of repeating oneself until everyone understood what was being said. This led to a thought: What if the AccuVoice voice-clarifying technology were incorporated into a small speaker that also could be used for videoconferences and Zoom meetings? And so, the ZVOX AV70 was born.
The small, circular AV70 has a 24-hour battery life, AccuVoice voice-clarifying technology, a microphone sensitive enough to pick up 12 people in a room and a bottom-firing subwoofer. It can be paired via Bluetooth to tablets, phones and laptops, and even to televisions that have built-in Bluetooth.
In terms of music performance, the AV70 sounds good but is not the absolute best-sounding Bluetooth speaker under $100. But if you are watching streaming content or using it for videoconference apps, it is truly in a class of its own. It is the only compact Bluetooth speaker with voice-clarifying technology and has been called "a miniature home theater for tablets." I used the AV70 to watch episodes of HBO's "Rome" on my iPad Pro, and the added impact from the down-firing subwoofer and the greatly improved dialogue brought the experience to a new level.
The ZVOX AV70 retails for $99.99 and is an excellent value at that price, but until April 17 the code SAVE40 drops the price to $59.99 with free shipping and a 60-day money-back satisfaction guarantee. (zvox.com)
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.