Sound and Vision 2013 - The Bristol Show logo
Pioneer SMA4 & 3 photos and quick review at The Bristol Show 2013

Summary


If you want wireless audio streaming without a router, the Pioneer fits the bill

Our rating


four stars out of five

Pleasing sound from a fairly standard-looking speaker enclosure.

Where to get one


You can buy the rechargeable XW-SMA3 from Amazon in black. They also have it in white at around £220.

You can get the XW-SMA1 from Amazon in black. They also have it in white at around £190.

Find the XW-SMA4 at Amazon in black. They also have here at around £250.




Pioneer stands alone in multi-room audio system

Pioneer has launched a series of three new active speaker packages that will let you stream worldwide TuneIn radio channels, UK stations on Radioplayer or your own music tracks from your smartphone with the promise of decent sound quality. The speakers can be connected as part of a multi-room system or can play your music as standalone units.

The most flexible of the bunch, the SMA3 is truly portable. Fitted with a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and water resistant to the IP2 specification, don't let the rather mundane looks put you off. The SMA3 turned in a great performance. With Mendelssohn's Violin Concerti in E minor streaming directly to the speaker, the '3's performance was lucid and captivating. With bass enhancement adding to its dual 3 inch midrange drivers and single tweeter, the '3 handles pop and rock with excitement, too. At 20 Watts, it's no room-shaker, but this dock is loud enough for the kitchen and portable enough to be taken outside for impromptu parties.

There are plenty of connectivity options, all backed up by coloured lights along the recessed casework to let you know how you're connected. Apple Airplay, DLNA-certified allowing music to be streamed over your home network from your computer or NAS (disk) drive, plus a further direct wireless options means that you don't necessarily need to be tied to the range of your wireless router - handy if you're in the garden: your Apple or Android 'phone or PC/Mac's wi-fi dongle can simply stream its stored music to the Pioneer. A RJ45 ethernet jack for hard-wired connections is also provided alongside a USB socket for iDevice hook-ups.

Touch sensitive keys work during the sharp showers of the British summer and rubber covers conceal a standard 3.5mm audio input and DC sockets - the former for mp3 players or DAB handheld audio cable connections, for example. A remote control is thrown in for good measure.

At £220, the Pioneer offers reasonable value when you consider its power and connectivity options. With the bonus of being able to take it into the bathroom for some serious singing in the shower, the Pioneer is worth looking at. The left-hand column tells you where to get one.

With perhaps less reason to buy, the SMA1 and SMA4 dispense with the oh-so-useful built-in battery and waterproofing in favour of greater affordability (in the case of the SMA1) or bigger sound (with a 20 Watt boost provided by the SMA4). The SMA4 has a sub and three-way speakers, but both models require a mains socket within reach of the speaker's power cable.

The SMA1's sonic performance matches that of its battery-toting brother - no great surprise there. The SMA4's sub gives the system more grunt and its larger enclosure and higher output means it does sound bigger than the others in the range. Which you choose is dependent on your taste for bass.

Pioneer should be congratulated on getting rid of the silly iPod dock and welcoming Android smartphone users to the party. All three docks are guaranteed to get the party started, but the SMA3 offers the best portability for inside and out. All three types can be seamlessly connected to provide a multi-room system: great for your moving-in celebrations.
Pioneer SMA3 active wireless speaker package
Pioneer SMA3 front view
Pioneer SMA3 rear view