By Jim Rossman
Dallas Morning News
Who knew that sending music from a phone wirelessly to a speaker would become a huge market?
I have to say I didn’t, but darn if I don’t find myself using just such a system every day, and the manufacturers keep introducing newer, better-sounding models with more features.
Here, we look at three wireless speakers with a wide price range.
MINX GO: The Minx Go from Cambridge Audio is a recent entry into the market, and it’s a good one.
The Minx Go ($149) is a Bluetooth speaker that runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that will keep the music playing for up to 18 hours and only takes two hours to charge from the included AC adapter.
It will power down to save the battery after 30 minutes of inactivity.
The internal battery can also charge your phone, music player or tablet from a USB port around back. There is also a 3.5 mm aux-in jack on the back to connect any audio devices that might not have Bluetooth.
Inside are five speakers, two titanium tweeters, two 2-inch woofers and an active bass radiator on the back. Together all these speakers deliver quite a good sound. It can easily fill a room or a backyard.
The Minx Go is 4.8 inches by 9.3 inches by 2.4 inches and weighs 2.4 pounds. It’s not going to disappear in your bag like many smaller competitors, but the Minx Go really brings the sound. I think it’s a good trade.
The Minx Go can pair with up to eight Bluetooth devices, so the entire family can stay connected and play their music. As with other Bluetooth devices, range is about 30 feet, and it works best if there are no walls between the Minx Go and the music source.
• Pros: Great sound. Really long battery life. Can charge your phone.
• Cons: A little heavy.
• Bottom line: Much to like about the Minx Go. It’s not the smallest Bluetooth speaker I’ve tested, but it’s one of the best-sounding.
• Price: $149
• Web: www.cambridgeaudio.com
MINX AIR 200: The realm of AirPlay speakers is getting larger, and the entries are getting quite advanced in features and in price.
The Minx Air 200 from Cambridge Audio is not what you’d call small. It’s portable, but just so.
The Air 200 ($599) does have a built-in handle to carry it around, but there’s no battery, so you’re also carrying around an AC adapter and looking for a plug.
But with dimensions of 17.7 inches by 8.7 inches by 6.9 inches and a weight of 11.2 pounds, you’ll get an arm workout if you move it around regularly.
Why so big and heavy? There’s a lot going on inside.
First off, there are both Apple’s Airplay and Bluetooth wireless for beaming your music.
The speakers include two 2.25-inch Balanced Mode Radiator drivers, which are proprietary to Cambridge Audio, and one 6.5-inch subwoofer. There is also a 200-watt amplifier.
Around back are inputs for 3.5 mm plugs and RCA jacks (red/white), an Ethernet port if you’d like to go wired instead of wireless, and a dial to adjust how much bass is used.
There are plenty of buttons on the top, but Cambridge also includes a remote control.
The Air 200 is hefty and well-built, and it sounds amazing if you have the volume at any level above a whisper.
The Air 200 has five presets so you can program Internet radio stations that can play from the unit itself — no computer or smartphone needed.
• Pros: Full-featured. No source needed to stream Internet radio. Great sound quality.
• Cons: Expensive. Heavy.
• Bottom line: There’s a lot of really good sound inside the Air 200. I still can’t believe how good it sounds.
• Price: $599
• Web: www.cambridgeaudio.com
NYNE NH-5000: I found a lot to like about the NYNE NH-5000 speaker dock.
It’s the only one of the three speakers in this review that has a dock connector to charge and play music from any Apple iPod, iPad or iPhone with a 30-pin connector.
I found it a tiny bit disappointing the connector wasn’t the newer Lightning connector, but Apple sells a $29 converter that works great.
The dock protrudes from the front and isn’t retractable.
The NH-5000 sells for about $120 on Amazon. I think it’s a bargain, but it isn’t perfect.
First, it’s a very good-sounding speaker. I’d have no problem filling a room or patio with music.
Second, music can be piped via Bluetooth, the dock connector, an aux-in port on the dock or RCA plugs (red/white) on the back.
Third, it’s got a video output through component (red/blue/green) jacks on the back so you can play videos stored on an iPod or iPad through to your HDTV.
It isn’t portable and has no battery. There are two speakers inside and no separate subwoofer. Power is rated at 50 watts.
The NH-5000 is 15.8 inches by 6.6 inches by 8 inches and weighs 7.7 pounds.
• Pros: Inexpensive, sounds good, video output, charges your 30-pin device.
• Cons: No battery.
• Bottom line: Great features and sound for the price.
• Price: About $120
• Web: http://amzn.to/16F0rVP