Music is a must during the holidays. When you’re hosting, it accompanies you in the kitchen during prep work and if you’re a guest, it provides a shared connection that bonds strangers. But trying to foster the party spirit by cranking up your tv while an instrumental version of “Silent Night” plays on the holiday music channel isn’t going to cut it—we’re looking at you, Yule Log. Today’s home audio is smarter, smaller, nimble and essentially plug and play once you get home from the store. You’ve already got a smart phone, tablet or laptop crammed with digital music and the key to unlocking all that is a wireless speaker that uses Bluetooth.
You need not use a wireless earpiece with your mobile phone to reap the benefits of Bluetooth. Many devices today have the capability to stream your music library or a playlist compiled by your guests through walls without running feet of cable, hanging speakers or involving your wireless network. The deep, warm sound cranked out of Samsung’s DA-E750 wireless speaker ($630) comes from a built-in, downward-facing subwoofer, antivibration woven glass fiber speakers and two vacuum tubes designed to punch up compressed digital music. All housed in a glossy redwood shell that looks good enough to leave out year round, yet at just under 20 pounds, easy enough to move around should the party spill into another room.
You say you need something a little more portable? The Bose SoundLink Bluetooth Mobile Speaker II ($300) is about as portable as quality sound gets, and you don’t even need an outlet. Powered by a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that’ll go up to 8 hours, the Bose is a good option if you need music at an office party, outdoor entertaining in warmer months or if you’ve been volunteered to handle the music at a friend’s house. Full sound from a speaker that is just over 9½-inches wide, 5 inches tall and about 3 pounds, this little wonder slips easily under the arm or in a backpack. With only six buttons, tech novices won’t be afraid to set it up and start beaming music from a Bluetooth device up to 30 feet away. The integrated bifold cover protects the nylon speaker cover in transit and folds up and acts like a stand during use.
Getting ready for the big New Year’s Eve bash can’t be nearly as joyous as the party itself, but with a water-resistant speaker to take into the shower, it gets close. Taking a playlist or streaming the morning news into the bathroom is a snap with the G-Project G-Go Portable wireless Bluetooth speaker ($70). Add four AA batteries and the three speakers are enough, when convenience trumps sound quality. Take this speaker pool side and plug it into an outlet where it will charge any USB-enabled device.