audio: still looking for a replacement speaker

Five years later, I’m still listening to audio through a Chromecast Audio dongle plugged into my aging Jambox!

I could get a soundbar, but they tend to be over 36 inches wide, too long to easily flip from facing my office area to facing the kitchen and dining room. What I should do is get a separate proper pair of high-end nearfield speakers on my office desk, but that’s a custom up-down adjustable motorized desk and it’s already leaning to one side due to all the crap I have on it.

Bluetooth speaker

I think all of these still come with 3.5 mm aux in sockets, though few come with any other kind of wired connection any more. Apparently Bluetooth is much better and doesn’t suffer dropouts; maybe third times a charm. They mostly operate/charge on USB C. Very few support Chromecast Audio, and even fewer still have an optical connection that would allow my fraying Chromecast Audio dongle to connect digitally instead of over a 3.5mm aux input.

  • CNET recommends Soundcore Anker Motion Boom Plus for $180.
  • Wirecutter recommends Sony SRS-XG300 X-Series for $350 (!) with dopey ambient party lighting. Comes in a nice gray fabric. Battery power, but no Ethernet, USB, optical in; no Chromecast, no Roon.
  • PC Mag recommends the Astell&Kern Acro BE100, more an interior speaker, nice design for $450. But no battery, not outdoor, no Ethernet, no USB, no optical in; no Chromecast, no Roon, and another vote for the SRS-XG300.
  • B&W Formation Wedge is $1,000 (!) and is Roon ready! No battery, not outdoor, has Ethernet but no USB or optical in and not even 3.5mm aux input; instead has Ethernet or WiFi (and Bluetooth), no Chromecast.
  • Denon 350 in white for $500 supports Roon but not Chromecast, has Ethernet and USB (for storage, not I think for digital audio stream) but no optical in for Chromecast Audio.

Maybe I should accept the hassle of repositioning two speakers, and just go for KEF LSX IIs for $1,400 (and $180 for the desk pad stands!) . They still have USB input, and Ethernet.

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