Spaced360 Wireless Speaker Review
Spatial not spaced outt
Hi-Fi reviewSRP: £250.00
What is Spaced360?
The summer is well and truly upon us so our thoughts turn to holidays, barbeques and generally getting out and about and actually socialising.Even an AV geek likes to leave the house sometimes but, of course, we need a bit of tech to take with us. Wireless and Bluetooth speakers definitely fall in to that category and one such is the Spaced 360 we have in for review here. It’s something a little different to the likes of the Samsung DA-F61, Bayan Audio Soundbook X3 and Cambridge Audio Minx, although it does occupy the same £250 price-point of the first two of those products. It is by no means cheap, however, so it needs to perform.
So what’s the twist? Well, this is neither a stereo or mono speaker, instead sound is radiated via 6 drivers to create what Spaced360 describe as a 360 degree sound, via their airSurround technology. You can see where the brand name of this new UK company comes from now but how will this tech work in practise? The majority of what we listen to is stereo fare and we have to say the idea seems a little strange but we’re all for forward thinking so let’s so how it behaves.
Spaced360 Design And ConnectionsBefitting the unusual technology within it, the Spaced360 carries an uncommon design. From an overhead perspective it looks something like the Triskelion from the Isle of Man flag, with each ‘leg’ having a 2-inch neodymium driver at the end. The Spaced360 is available in two default colours – black and grey – but you can jazz it up further with cases in orange and yellow available as extras at £30 a go.
All the meaningful action takes place via a control button at the centre of the unit which has a maximum width of 22cm, a height of 8.8cm and a maximum depth of 19cm. There is just the one physical input in the form of a 3.5mm jack right at the bottom and there’s also a mini USB input which is only for software updates so you can’t charge, nor hook up an MP3 player through it.
The design is certainly a talking point
Spaced360 SetUpThe Spaced360 comes with a charging base stand which tentatively affixes to the bottom of the speaker unit. It doesn’t feel like a particularly solid housing but as long as you don’t knock it during charging, it will be fully powered within around 2 hours. A full charge is claimed to last anywhere between 4 and 8 hours, depending on how loud you like to listen, and our experiences would back that up.
Obviously the main intent of this device is to be an outlet for Bluetooth streaming and to make things easier, the Spaced360 features NFC (Near Field Communication) as a connectivity option. In essence this is just a shortcut to pairing through Bluetooth but if you have a compatible phone or tablet, it does save a little time. Otherwise, it’s a case of tapping the central control button to put the 360 in its pairing state and then establishing the connection in your device's Bluetooth menu.
We tested the Spaced360 primarily using a Windows 7 Laptop with an aptX capable USB dongle, streaming music through Spotify and Google Play Music at maximum bitrate, as well as sneaking in some Test Match Special, just to check the dialogue performance, of course. We also tested out the NFC capability using a Nexus 7 tablet, and it worked out just fine.
Spaced360 FeaturesMost of the marketing blurb centres on the airSound technology which is billed as being able to completely eliminate the listening sweet spot, enabling all present to enjoy the same sound quality.
This is achieved with the three 2-inch drivers all pointing in different directions, whilst the low notes are delivered by three mass loaded bass radiators, running between the mid-range drivers. The equidistant spacing is then said to deliver uniquely balanced forces, improved bass response and full spectrum audio. We’ll report on what we think of it below. Other than that, the Spaced360 is notable for its aptX capable Bluetooth connection, which ensures the highest possible quality for streaming, although that’s kind of a standard feature in this sector now.
True to its word, there's almost no sweet spot
Spaced360 Video Review
Spaced360 Audio QualityThere’s no doubt the Spaced360 is capable of filling a decent sized room with sound. The claims that it eliminates the sweet spot are also well founded. Provided you don’t shove it up against a wall, you can move it – or yourself, for that matter – around the room with little to no discernable alteration in audio signature. Dialogue is extremely clear and well-presented and the general tone is slightly on the warm side, which we have no problem with.
It’s a difficult one to assess, actually, certainly for a stereo purist it won’t be particularly appealing as there’s no doubt the Spaced360 does sound quite different to your usual stereo, or even mono, portable speaker but then this isn’t a product intended to be sat down with for real critical listening. Stick it in a room when you’re having a party, or out in the garden with a BBQ, and it comes in to its own.
Not for critical listening but great at parties
So if it’s not mono or stereo, just what is it doing? We had assumed the stereo was being down mixed in to mono and then sent to each radiator and driver but it doesn’t quite sound that way. It’s more as if there’s a stereo and mono track being replayed simultaneously but, whatever is going on, it’s certainly spacious sounding and interestingly it projects up as well as on the horizontal plane. We’re not sure it’s something we’d want to listen to day in/day out for our music but at least there is a point to it - something we were unsure of before embarking on the review.
- Really does nearly eliminate the sweetspot
- Good, room-filling volume
- NFC and aptX capable Bluetooth support
- Decent charge time
- A little expensive?
- Sounds a bit strange if you're accustomed to stereo
Spaced360 Wireless Speaker ReviewThe Spaced360 is the most unusual wireless speaker we’ve encountered to date. The raison d'être of the six driver/three legged design is to produce a sound which has no sweet spot and therefore delivers equally to all present in the room, and it certainly works on that front. It’s also solidly engineered and a full charge will give you more than four hours listening before you need to reattach to its base.
It’s primarily designed as an outlet for your Bluetooth source and features NFC connectivity to speed up connection, although you can plug in just about anything via the 3.5mm jack. The Spaced360 is also aptX enabled so your streamed audio will be of the highest possible quality. As billed, setup is quick and painless and the Bluetooth pairing is very robust and not subject to drop-outs.
In terms of listening to this curio, we wouldn’t really want it as our everyday music source. The airSurround technology is successful in its intent and the Spaced360 produces an extremely spacious sound but its ‘inbetweeny’ stereo/mono nature means it’s not one for critical listening. Plonk it in a room at a party or out on the patio during the summer and it makes much more sense.
Ultimately you’ll need to assess what you want from your next wireless speaker before deciding on the Spaced360. At £250 there are many others out there more faithful to music sources and equally capable of the impressive tonal output of this product but if you’re a party animal or just fancy something a little bit different to the norm, it’s well worth a look.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £250.00
Value For Money7
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