Published on April 4th, 2015 | by Greg0
Libratone Loop: Wireless Speakers Come Full Circle
First generation products often make a few compromises- and in a world full of technology, aesthetics can often take a backseat to the latest and greatest features. Luckily, wireless audio is now several generations advanced and most of the bugs have been worked out, leaving companies to push design as a key differentiator. Decent speakers aren’t hard to find, and when you’re looking for a wireless audio system, you’re probably deciding between a portable, battery-powered model and a larger one that can be part of your home.
The Libratone Loop falls into the latter category, a perfect complement for the picnic-perfect Libratone Zipp that we checked out previously. Like it’s sibling, the Loop includes a very compelling and fairly unique combination of DLAN as well as AirPlay and Bluetooth 4.0 with full apt-X support, meaning you can choose between easy point-to-point audio or use Apple’s multi-room solution. The Loop also includes Libratone’s trademark colored Italian wool covers, available in a range of hues and changeable at a whim. The Scandinavian influence is clear, and it the Loop fits nicely into just about any room.
Small enough to fit on a bookshelf, side table, or on your kitchen countertop, the Loop still manages to put out a full, room-filling sound that sounds surprisingly big for a compact unit. Close your eyes, and with careful placement, you might just be fooled into thinking you’re hearing a 2.1 system. Wall-mountable, we liked the simple stand and rear wired connections for 3.5mm minijack and USB audio, and with most sources audio was crisp, clear, airy, and even haunting. Dual 1-inch ribbon tweeters and a passive bass radiator combine to put out realistic mids and highs, though with electronic music we did find them a touch bright and bass won’t impress those looking for a real pounding low-end. If you crank it up, the Loop will vibrate noticeably but on the flipside, the speaker can push out plenty of volume.
For the price, we would’ve liked to see a wooden rear panel and stand (rather than plastic). But with a native app, and Android and iOS support, you’ll be well taken care of regardless of your device. Lossless or high-resolution audio files sound great too, with plenty of definition. Other Bluetooth speakers limit you to a single room and AirPlay devices alienate Android users- but Libratone has found a way to combine the best of both worlds. Better yet, they’ve done it in a way that never sacrifices visual beauty in service of gadgetry. The Libratone Loop is certainly priced at a premium, running around $400 online and in stores, but well-built and flexible and a piece of art in it’s own right, the Loop has earned a permanent place in our life.