You may have alrady read about our experience with the Libratone Live, a preppy looking speaker with impressive wireless sound, in our Test Lab review. So we were excited about the opportunity to meet the Live's larger sibling, the Libratone Lounge. Spanning over 3', the Lounge is about twice the length of the portable Live. Demoed positioned under a flat-screen TV, it was clear this audio component was meant to be a stylish stand-in for the usual sound bar speaker.
Our demonstration began with a few select tracks player from an iPhone wirelessly using Airplay, Apple's wireless audio technology. Soren showed how to configure the speaker dynamics via a Libratone app, defining spacial parameters from the center wall, and side walls, with the additional option to tweak vocal audio parameters (especially useful for movie watching). Metrics are delivered from app to the speaker, with calculations made to maximize the acoustics of the space.
A movie clip demonstrating the Lounge's home theater capabilities was next, a scene from Casino Royale (one of our own Top 10 Demo Scenes to use to test out home theater setups). The sound proved excellent, with great detail, separation, and a surround effect believable enough to please the average consumer.
"The ribbon tweeters have a special metal film, so its really crispy and fast...[these are] normally only found in really expensive speakers [that range] $5000 and upwards. But we've selected them for this speaker because of the design — they play forwards and backwards, so they're using the walls of the house and at the same time giving you direct sound," Soren explained.
This technology is probably the fundamental feature behind the ability of the Lounge to produce permeating sound, producing audio which travels throughout an entire space, rather than just sitting in one central spot.
A jazzy track exhibited excellent bass...deep and booming, accompanied with clear and precise treble. The speaker's clarity can likely be attributed to the 5 amplifiers within, one for each speaker. That's 125 watts total, 25 watts for each tweeter and midrange, and 50 watts for the woofer. The back of the unit reveals an optical input for connectivity to any recent HDTV or Blu-ray player for high-def sound.
Although photos of the speaker with the front grill removed wasn't permitted, we can tell you even with the cashmere top taken off, the Lounge's configuration maintained an elegant and clean appearance in tune with the design as a whole.Apple Stores and Design within Reach locations.
"I know the price is not for everybody, but it is something that [we believe] can last 10 years and have a timeless quality."
All images by Chris Perez and Libratone