My little Bluetooth speaker is one of my pride and joys. On the beach, picnic in the park, bottom of the garden with a G&T, the idea of Bluetooth and speakers is, well, like the G&T, a great pairing...pairing, Bluetooth, geddit?....never mind.
But while portability is great, the sound of these single-unit speakers is however compromised, power and stereo-wise. You just can't get the separation of left and right channels.
Then there are my computer speakers. They have to go through a space-consuming amplifier, but nevertheless, provide a great sound for gaming and watching You Tube and films et al.
Enter the Thonet & Vander Kurbis Bluetooth Bookshelf Studio Monitors. With 340w of peak power (68w RMS - 34w +34w) they pack quite a punch as computer speakers.
But they've also got Bluetooth. And there's a built-in amplifier. So while I'm not going to haul these down to the beach with my deckchair, other opportunities arise that make these a very exciting acquisition.
At the moment, my speakers are being used with my TV set-up rather than my computer. For a couple of years I've been using a soundbar, but constantly find that with various channels I'm struggling to get the oomph I want.
And wow do these make a difference. While the soundbar is probably large enough to discern stereo sound, the two new speakers make no question of it, with extra welly to boot.
The speakers provide rich deep bass lows to crystal clear treble tones with little or no distortion with deep bass even at 100% volume (though I’ve not dwelt too long on 100% for my neighbours’ sake!). The company's 'Hammer Bass' technology magnifies the impact of bass frequencies, while the Drone FX helps enhance the detail in the entire frequency range, working together to create a considerable listening experience.
The studio monitors are constructed from HDAA wood which is a natural polymer of high density, generating a rigid and dense material. These properties prevent vibration and leakage of sound, enabling a more accurate, efficient and sustainable performance. Mesh protection is also provided to ensure drivers are guarded from any external damage. The speakers also have a built-in magnet protector allowing you to place near other equipment which might otherwise be affected.
The Kurbis has a built-in 5.25 inch woofer made of aramid fibre to enhance bass, as well as one inch silk tweeters for high tones. The upper suspension ring is made of highly elastic rubber, allowing larger displacement sensitivity and resistance to the beats of sound. The Bass Reflex resonance system works to increase the bass response of the controller and optimises the efficiency and performance of low frequencies.
On the outside the speakers have bass and treble knobs and a volume control, which flashes green and blue to indicate Bluetooth status. The speakers are equipped with Bluetooth 4.0 wireless technology, so can stream music directly from smartphones, tablets or laptops, and work with Amazon Echo and Google Home, connecting seamlessly and providing full voice control.
I found it very easy to connect my mobile phone to the speakers. Just switch on the speakers via the power button on the back of the master speaker, go to Bluetooth on your phone, more settings, and pair with new device. The speakers show up, click and, hey presto! – you’re immediately blasting out Max Bygr…. I mean Led Zep and moshing in your armchair.
I can see these being a great addition to barbecues and parties, and the music never runs out. Just get someone else to pair with the speakers and utilise their music library if the mood or tastes change.
Some things remain the same, however, and the two speakers seem to hark back to an earlier age by virtue of still having to be connected together by the familiar semi-transparent pink speaker cable, as only the master speaker is Bluetooth. The enclosed cable allows for only a few feet distance between the speakers so it's a trip to your local hi-fi specialist if you need further separation.
Other than Bluetooth, the other ways to connect the speakers is via RCA cable or 3.5mm jack. I would have liked to have seen a digital option like a Toslink input as, in the case of my setup, analogue sound can often prove slightly out of sync with video.
Nevertheless, these are a fantastic addition to any TV, home cinema or computer setup – and don’t forget the party barbecues – and well worth the price of £149.99, available from Amazon.
What's In The Box?
Power cable x 2 (UK three-pin and Euro two-pin)
Speaker to speaker cable
RCA to 3.5mm jack cable
WEIGHT 19.65 lbs
TRANSMISSION DISTANCE Extended 65ft – 100ft
DIMENSIONS 20.35 × 10.74 × 13.38 in
PEAK POWER 340
TWEETER SIZE 1"
RMS WATTS 68
TWEETER MATERIAL Silk
WATTS DETAIL 34 + 34
TWEETER IMPEDANCE / POWER 4 Ohms 20W
FREQUENCY RESPONSE 55Hz – 20 kHz
SUBWOOFER SIZE 5.25"
DISTORTION 0.1% – 1W
SUBWOOFER MATERIAL Glass – Aramid Fibre
S/N 65dB, +4dBu
ACOUSTIC BOX MATERIAL HDAAª Wooden box
ACOUSTIC BOX DIMENSIONS 10.9 x 7.2 x 8.7 in