12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on July 21, 2013
I own all three breathtaking Libratone products. I started with the Zipp, worked my way to the Live and now have the Lounge mounted on the wall. Did you know it comes with a full wall mounting kit? Had it up in less than 30 minutes and it just looks so clean. Welcome to a world without wires. I've been on a quest for great sound in a portable package for nearly ten years or since I got my first iPod. Started with Bose and Logitech and was never fully satisfied. Worked my way through the exotics like Bowers and Wilkins Zeppelin and Zeppelin Air, Audio Engine, Klipsch, and even Philips 9800DS Soundsphere- which are mind bending, ultra contemporary, amazing STEREO - meaning you get two - airplay speakers. To date nothing, NOTHING goes louder, thumps more bass without distorting while giving clear crisp sound the way the Phillips do. And who would have the thought... Philips! In any case, they died on me so I'm onboard with Libratone.
Now The Zipp portable speaker will absolutely blow your mind for such a tiny speaker. I keep it in guest rooms or use it outside so everyone can enjoy hifi. Ribbon tweeters inside a portable unit? Are you kidding me? As a dancer, the one place where almost all stereo equipment lacks is in the highs- In dance studios they always tweak the EQ so you can hear the crack of the snare drum and really hit moves. Even on thousand dollar systems and five thousand dollar systems, it's always diminished. With the Zipp I can actually hear lows, mids and highs equally and perfectly expressed. You can hear the sound everywhere and I can't believe it even sounds good when you're in the other room. The battery and leather handle make it a must. Bring it with you to hotel rooms on romantic getaways and it's like having a live concert in your hotel. I am half tempted to take it on trips that require a flight too.
Do not kid yourself toying around with a Jawbone (total crap) jambox, or big jambox, or Bose, or Logitech. These have value and some are nice sounding but nothing quit like this.
I Love that you can connect to all these speakers via wifi, or directly, or via AirPlay or DLNA or with a USB cable, or create your own wifi network and use it wirelessly where there is no wif. Lots of connection options, though I am a true fan of AirPlay and how I can fully wire my house for sound... wirelessly.
So I thought, wow, what would the Libratone Live sound like? But $750? No thank you. Then they had a price drop to $550 and I was in. The Live has a familiar sound only better, louder and even more clear. Both the Zipp and Live can fill a room well. The Live is also relatively portable though despite not having a battery - it's even got a chrome handle to carry it around the house. Few people know that it also has a stereo mini jack in the back as well so if for some reason you wanted to connect to it directly to your device you could do that too. The wool is even more luxurious on the Live and Lounge than it is on the Zipp, though you can get naked with the Zipp and change her clothes. Yes you will find yourself touching the wool a lot just to appreciate how soft it is. I keep the Live in our bathroom / vanity area which actually a pretty large space and I love it. While I wasn't sure l was nuts about the design at first, it actually does blend so nicely with your furniture and I am in full admiration of these products. I opted for the slate grey because vomit green and blood orange really aren't my thing, and black... well, who wants another black piece of equipment?
With all three speakers you TRULY get a sense of having the artist or musical instrument RIGHT there. I too have been spoiled by high end HiFi components, upgraded AudioQuest cables, separate Velodyne subs, etc etc. So I understand great sound. I am bedazzled by all three speakers. I have literally been blocking out time during my day to just listen to different tracks and appreciate what these things can do. I love streaming to multiple AirPlay speakers at once on my Mac so the whole house sounds like the Hollywood Bowl.
So finally we arrive at the Lounge. The only speaker set I have ever heard to date that can go louder and not distort, are the Philips 9800 Soundsphere Fidelio's I was speaking to you of. The Philips has absolutely phenomenal sound quality with an app that will let you fully adjust 3 levels of bass and a full EQ! And yet- the Lounge outperforms it to my ears a little more because it is just so easy to listen to. However, I Feel like I can have the Libratone Lounge on for hours on end and not want to shut the music off where the Philips wear on me a bit. For a party, both are absolutely fantastic. The Lounge takes first place for the best AirPlay speakers I have ever heard. Hands down. Kinda makes me curious though about Bang and Olufsen's $2800 system... Let's see, a mortgage payment or a stereo speaker...
Some have complained that none of these Libratone products have remotes. I have had 5 systems with remotes and never touched any of them. I tried putting the remotes in different parts of the room and still never used them. Since you control everything from your phone / mac or iPod it's always just right there. I am always just grabbing my phone - double pressing the home button without even turning the phone on and changing a track or speaker etc.
An interesting detail about the Lounge is that it has the same wattage as the Live, so both are super powerful. Why is the Lounge even better? More stereo separation, more 3D sound and sound bouncing - and larger drivers. Significantly larger. I am also delighted that you can be almost anywhere in a room with these speakers and it's like having a 360 degree sweet spot! Even behind the speaker sounds great. Truly a feat. If I didn't have separate components - meaning real speakers wired into amps in different parts of the house, a Libratone would reign supreme in each room.
Five stars for the best quality sound I have ever heard from any portable AirPlay speaker, long battery life, leather strap, changeable clothes, loud sound, great app, easy configuration options and a super sexy package.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 21, 2013
I had a Jawbone Big Jambox, then I got the Libratone Zipp. The Zipp has far superior sound, so for that reason alone, I would recommend it over the Jawbone. Then the Zipp is WiFi as opposed to Bluetooth. This means that you need to set it up on your WiFi network, and making this connection was a breeze. It did require reading the quick guide, which was clear and easy to follow. The Zipp also has its own proprietary network that you can use instead of Wi-Fi this is handy when you're out and about camping or something and there is no WiFi network. The thing also has an aux in port and a USB, so you're pretty much set. The battery isn't bad either for off grid operation. The thing is well made, well thought out, and looks good. Not completely idiot proof, but pretty darn close. Just follow the instructions.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 17, 2014
After getting by for a number of years with fiddly and unreliable iPhone bluetooth adapters for my ancient iPod speakers, i decided that it was time to invest in a new set of wireless noisemakers.
Seeking the best possible combination of small size, flexibility and sound quality, I narrowed the choices down to the Libratone Zipp, the Ultimate Ears Boom, and the Bose Soundlink Mini.
Here’s the bottom line:
1. Ultimate Ears Boom - I really, really wanted to like these. The gadget geek in me loved the cool, minimalist design, ruggedized materials, great battery life, and rich wireless feature set.
This company is clearly going overboard to deliver great usability and flexibility, but from the first listen, it was clear that all of the industrial design and software engineering was ultimately a failed attempt to overcome the limitations of the audio hardware.
The UE Boom features a downloadable app that lets you choose different equalization profiles for indoors, outdoors (“out loud”), bass boost, vocals, etc., but no amount of waveform tweakery could disguise the lack of low-end response and the shrill, fatiguing quality of the sound. Selecting “bass boost” brought the output level down by about 25% compared to the default “out loud” setting, and seems to flatten out the higher frequency response slightly without introducing much boominess, but it still couldn’t hide the abrasive “shouting” quality of the audio.
I tested them in a number of settings and even lead a blind A/B/C comparison with my spouse and our verdict was unequivocal - these speakers are better than nothing, but are certainly not in the same league as the Libratone or the Bose.
2. Bose Soundlink Mini - I have to admit I began the process with a bias against the Bose Soundlink Mini. Having endured years of advertising for their overpriced, underperforming wave music systems which seem uniquely targeted towards easily duped seniors and technophobes, I was sure that they would quickly reveal themselves as sonic pretenders and get packed back up right away.
Much to my surprise, the quality and richness of the sound that came out of these speakers was absolutely astounding. Compared to the UE Boom, the Bose sound has a depth and warmth that left me wanting to hear more music and at louder volumes.
There was no apparent distortion when cranked up to the maximum level, but this also revealed the Soundlink Mini’s primary shortcoming - lack of power. When played at 100%, the Bose had the lowest volume output of the three speakers.
The Soundlink Mini also doesn’t have a fancy iOS app or the ability to pair two sets of speakers like the UE for stereo playback. Clearly the engineers prioritized their time figuring out how to achieve the best possible sound over providing a vast feature set.
Unfortunately the nicest aesthetic element of the hardware design, the solid aluminum block housing, is also the most superfluous. The added weight doesn’t seem to confer any added durability to the unit, and Bose has the gall to sell outrageously priced rubber and leatherette covers which have as their primary function protecting the unit from “scratches and abrasions.” And even with the covers the unit still isn’t splash proof.
3. Libratone Zipp - This speaker is truly in its own league in terms of both design and audio quality. The beautiful wool cover and leather carrying strap combine in a sophisticated artisanal, minimal craft aesthetic that would be equally at home in Dwell or Monocle magazine.
The look and feel (and price) set a pretty high bar, but lucky for Libratone the sound quality absolutely lives up to expectations. Sitting between my ProAc audiophile speakers for an A/B/C/D comparison with lossless ALAC music streaming from my iPhone over Airplay, i could imagine using the Zipp as my primary audio speaker in a way that i certainly could not with the Bose or UE.
The Zipp’s sound quality had the full range and neutral tone that I would expect from a quality bookshelf speaker, and like the UE Boom the omnidirectional audio means that it can be left in a central location to serve a wider area.
I loved the Zipp and really struggled to figure out a way to justify keeping it, but beyond the audio quality and beautiful aesthetics the speaker falls short in some fundamental ways.
First off, it’s big. And heavy. You’re not going to throw this thing in your backpack and walk around with it all day. And when you do pull it out, the gorgeous wool cover reveals itself to be incredibly impractical for real-world use outside of the home.
Once you realize that you’re not going to take it to the beach or even your buddy’s 4th of July cookout (BBQ sauce is not your friend) then where are you really going to use it? The whole rechargeable, portable, wireless shtick suddenly seems like more of conceit than an expression of its true nature.
The other fatal flaw is the speaker’s reliance on Airplay for streaming music. I know that it allows uncompressed transmission between your device and the speaker for better sound quality, but honestly it’s such a flakey pain to get working in conjunction with your existing (or sometimes non-existing) WiFi network that I was really yearning for the simplicity of the other Bluetooth speakers.
The downloadable Libratone app can be used to set up the networking on the speaker, but really the whole thing feels like a massive failure of UX design. Can I imagine my Mom getting this thing to work? No way.
Ultimately, this is a speaker for someone who travels frequently but mostly stays in the hotel room for days on end when they arrive. It’s too big, fragile, and pricey to be a portable boom box, but too limited, flakey and fussy to use instead of a regular $250 home receiver with built-in airplay.
So which did I keep? The Bose. It has the best balance of size, sound quality, durability, price and ease of use.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2014
what a nightmare: have spent at least 2 entire days trying to optimize location, connection, re-connectiing, updating firmware, to no avail: this device is a nightmare in terms of connection stability, never experienced so many dropouts on an air tunes device.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 7, 2014
Sound quality is great but the AirPlay weak range makes it unusable. I would have given it one star, but the sound quality is good enough to get it to two stars. I'm not sure why the Airplay range is so bad on this unit. I have a Libratone iLounge and that works beautifully.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Long ago, I was an audiophile. I had expensive (and large) separate components. I bought them from one of those weird local stores that sold british equipment. Over time, family and work became more important. I didn't have the time or space to care, and sold everything off. But my children love music, so I've been trying to find an audio system that I can live with. For the past few weeks, I've been playing with different wireless speakers.
The Libratone Zipp is, by far, the best wireless speaker I've tried. It isn't the cheapest, nor does it have the most reliable connection (due to Apple's AirPlay technology). But it does three things exceptionally well.
First, it sounds great. I don't mean "great" as in "loud and bassy" (though it is plenty loud and provides plenty of bass for its size). I mean that it's very balanced and it lets you hear details. The Libratone makes you want to listen to more music.
Secondly, it integrates beautifully with your Apple devices (laptop, phone, iPad, etc). You can play music using whatever service (or app) you want: iTunes, Rdio, Spotify, etc. Unlike some other products that force you to use their player (like the Sonos system), you can use whatever player you want.
Third, it's unobtrusive and pretty. This system takes up a very small amount of space and doesn't stick out.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on May 7, 2014
I am cheap so i got the red cover one instead of the gray one or the ones that come with 3 covers. Anyway, the red is actually very tasteful. It's not as bright as in the picture. The sound is fantastic! If you're into ribbon speakers, or electrostatic, you'll recognize the sound. Quite Monsoon-ish. But with nice bass. Anyway, it's as good as it can possibly get in a package this size. The wifi set up is real easy if you have an iPhone. You just plug it into the speaker and the phone asks you "Hey, can I give this thing your wifi password? I think it's legit, but you decide". You click "Sure Dude" and it saves you having to enter your wifi password using some arcane utility or "point your web browser to 192.168.1.0 and say the Lord's Prayer backwards to enter your wireless network password but first select from one of the following 72 encryption types...." So, long story short, it's a real time saver.
We've had nothing but reliable service from it for the past 3 days. I wanted an airplay speaker for the kitchen, but with limited counter space options were limited. This little thing looks quite at home next to the knife rack and it really fills the room with sound beautifully. Being on a countertop is really conducive to it's acoustical propensities plus you can download an iPhone app and tell it like "it's on a counter 5 inches from the wall' and it'll make some adjustments that really do make it sound better. Not just some random weird eq setting.
So, it's kind of expensive but it's really a great performing and well thought out product. Very much in Apple's league. I suggest you buy it if you're thinking about it. You can always return it. But you won't.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on September 5, 2013
These speakers are great. It is just plug&play. I threw the manual away the minute I opened the box. I have the Libratone Live too and it is very good as well. This one is super mobile though.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on August 31, 2013
The sound and style are great on the Libratone Zipp. I purchased the Raspberry Red color and love the vibrant color and the fact this entire package is wrapped in WOOL! The convenient hook up went very smoothly with several options, from wireless to wired. The room filling sound seems quite on the mark. I'm not an audiophile by any means, but I know when Im listening to a decent speaker. I was very disappointed with a previous purchase, The Jawbone BIG Jambox. That was too large for a true travel speaker, not something you are going to grab to take to the park but the Zipp, you would. Also, I only spent about $300 on that Jambox product and that was really too much for what you got. The Zipp, is little too pricey as well however at least it produces a wonderful sound. It is a great wireless portable speaker.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 22, 2015
Could not get it hooked up-ultimately the system froze and the thing would not reset. Spent time on the phone with support folks, who were very nice, but couldn't solve the problem. They said someone would call back within 48 h but they did not, so I returned it. Very disappointed. I should have paid more attention to the bad reviews.