Libratone’s LIVE Review

Tuesday is reviews day! This week let’s talk about Libratone’s LIVE speaker. The LIVE is a wireless speaker for your home that is designed to be moved between rooms. It’s externally powered with a very cool woven cord that is beefy but flexible.

The LIVE can be hooked up to any WiFi enabled device or to an Airplay home network for more range. For testing I used an iPhone 5 and an iPod Touch. Once the connection is established the speaker plays clearly throughout its volume range. Connecting the LIVE is not hard but you will need to memorize the color codes on the one button control. I found myself pushing the button like a maniac every time I wanted to swap devices. It’s not a difficult process but over time you may slowly become frustrated if you don’t have Airplay. I also had a little trouble when a friend tried to connect with an Android product. Suddenly apps were needed and the process felt less fluid.

The LIVE has no physical controls beyond a power switch and the multifunctional network button. A smart device and a free app allow you to pick from predetermined tunings and optimize the speaker depending on it’s positioning in any room. Volume is also determined through your smart device. I am not entirely sure that I like this setup. When entertaining friends he who had the phone had the power and had to be summoned forth to change the volume. One button looks cool from a design perspective but isn’t ideal for certain types of heavy usage.

Libratone’s design is impeccable and the LIVE is a head turner. The speaker is stark and simplistic with classic Scandinavian touches and wrapped in a funky wool shroud that is super-awesome looking. The back of the speaker has a solid chrome handle worked into a hefty piece of trim that reminds me of vintage automobile upholstery. The robust handle suddenly makes sense when you pick up the LIVE. She is a heavy little thing despite her table-top size.

LIVE has great midrange and treble delivering clear vocals and sharp instrumentation. The bass is there but Libratone has tuned it way down so it never rumbles and shakes the way I like when I am trying to rock out. This speaker likes classier acoustic music over hard rock and heavy metal. I think that this speaker is a strong contender for best in class sound in a single portable speaker. Though it isn’t a replacement for a 2.1 stereo system if you have the space. If you want more portability Libratone also has a smaller option called the ZIPP, which is fully portable with onboard power. If you want more acoustic capability, and have a little more space, the LOUNGE is your sleek Scandinavian solution.

The LIVE is a great way to get good sound into a small living space. I see this speaker really appealing to the trendy designer set, particularly if they have limited space at home. My overall opinion is this is a great solution for people with contemporary tastes and limited space. It looks great it sounds good and I wish I were as classy as Libratone.