Lenco multiroom speakers produce punchy sound, yet won't take up too much room in your home
- 13 November, 2014 10:43
Lenco is a brand that started out in the 1940s making high-end turntables, so it knows a thing or two about sweet sounding audio. In the present day, the company is moving into the multiroom, Hi-Fi business, introducing a range of wireless speakers that can be spread throughout your home and controlled from your smartphone, tablet, or computer.
The Lenco multiroom range so far includes the PlayLink 4 and the PlayLink 6 speakers, which both serve different purposes, but which can operate together in the same system. They have one end goal: to provide high-quality output from speakers that are non-intrusive and easy to operate.
The PlayLink 4 is a 40W speaker (it has two mid-range drivers and a ported woofer) that is the smaller of the two models, and it has the ability to also be portable if you choose to buy it with an internal battery. It can also be set up as part of a dual-speaker stereo system, with two PlayLink 4 units acting as a left and right channel (similar to what we saw with Braven's rugged Bluetooth speaker).
Meanwhile, the PlayLink 6 is a bigger, 80W stereo speaker (yet still small by most standards) that can be placed in a living room or similar type of space. It, too, has a ported woofer and two mid-range drivers. Both speakers have a class-D digital amplifier, and both have the same styling, with the PlayLink 4 being 210mm long, 102mm deep and 129mm tall, and the PlayLink 6 being 280mm long, 124mm deep and 172mm tall.
You can connect to these PlayLink speakers through a variety of ways, including Bluetooth (and NFC for easy pairing), Wi-Fi Direct, and traditional Wi-Fi methods. The PlayLink 6 also has an Ethernet port on it so that it can be wired to your router for heavier tasks, such as playing high-resolution, 24-bit audio, which this system supports.
It's an expandable wireless system that allows up to 10 speakers to be installed and controlled when playing back CD-quality music, and up to three speakers when listening to 24-bit audio, purely for bandwidth reasons (at least a 600Mbps connection is required for playing 24-bit content over Wi-Fi). The speakers support dual-band, 802.11n Wi-Fi, and can be installed using WPS (Wi-Fi Protected Setup) on wireless routers that have this feature.
Music can be played on the speakers using the either the Lenco PlayLink app (available for Android and Apple, but not Windows Phone), or though numerous streaming services, including Spotify. In Spotify, you can look for the speakers by tapping the 'Connect' icon. Phones and tablets can jump in at any time to control the music (up to 20 users can be paired to the speakers), which could lead to some friendly music battles.
A brief hands-on with the Lenco app showed us that it's simple to operate the wireless system, with the user being able to play different tracks (either stored on the local device or network, or via streaming) on different speakers throughout the home. The same track can be played on all speakers when they are grouped together. The sound quality from both speakers is clear and punchy, with the larger PlayLink 6 offering more depth due its size and higher power output.
The speakers make use of the Qualcomm AllPlay standard, which means that they should be inter-operable with other speakers on the market that also support the standard. The Lenco PlayLink app could control Lenco speakers and speakers from other brands, and vice versa. It's an open system in this respect, which should leave you plenty of choice regarding speaker selection.
Both the PlayLink 4 and PlayLink 6 will be available through Amber Technology from this month. The PlayLink 4 costs $359 without a battery and $399 with a battery (rated for four-hour playback), while the PlayLink 6 costs $549.