Robust build quality
Powerful, room-filling sound with solid bass
Fast, intuitive smartphone iphone app with integrated Spotify
No AirPlay or hi-res support
Big blocky design
Review Price: £499.95
Built-in dual-band Wi-Fi & Bluetooth
Spotify, Deezer, internet radio
SoundTouch smartphone app
Obtainable in black or white
What’s the Bose SoundTouch 30?
SoundTouch 30 is a radio stereo system that streams songs via DLNA, Spotify, Deezer, internet radio and Bluetooth, in addition to forming part of a multiroom network with other SoundTouch speakers. It’s among three new wireless systems from Bose, sitting above the £170 SoundTouch 10 and £350 SoundTouch 20.
These “Series III” models improve on the Series II predecessors with a fresh dual-band wireless platform that gives faster speed, better range and less interference with other Wi-Fi products. Bluetooth in addition has been added, but at the trouble of AirPlay support.
Related: Home Audio Product of the entire year 2016
Bose SoundTouch 30 – Design and Connections
Using its big chunky enclosure and black styling, SoundTouch 30 could not be referred to as elegant or compact, nonetheless it still cuts an excellent figure. Leading and back of the rectangular cabinet are gently curved, and having less button clutter results in a pleasingly minimal look. Its sizeable dimensions (246mm high by 180mm deep) should create enough cabinet volume for a loud, room-filling sound.
The curved fascia is dressed up in black cloth, with a 1.6-inch OLED display at the heart. This hi-res display is sharp, and with three lines of text at its disposal there’s enough space to match long song titles without scrolling. A silver panel below the OLED display adds some glamour, while an illuminated Wi-Fi icon at the very top lets you know it’s online.
The grey pattern within the glossy top and side panels is eye-catching. Embedded in to the top is a panel of large buttons, dominated by six numbered preset keys that enable you to access favourite tracks, albums or r / c quickly – among the SoundTouch 30’s most readily useful features. Power, volume and input buttons complete the choice.
A carry handle on the trunk comes in convenient when moving the Bose into position – it weighs a hefty 5kg – and rear connections add a 3.5mm mini-jack input, Ethernet and two USB ports (Micro and Type A) for firmware updates.
Bose SoundTouch 30 – Features
Because of its built-in Wi-Fi connection, the SoundTouch 30 enables you to stream music from servers on your own home network, such as for example PCs and NAS drives, and also Spotify, Deezer and internet radio. You can link up several SoundTouch devices in several rooms and revel in the same music through all of them, or send different sources to individual speakers. These functions are completed through Bose’s SoundTouch controller app, designed for iOS and Android devices.
There’s built-in Bluetooth for non Wi-Fi devices too, and an auxiliary input for the rest. But there are several holes in the feature list – there’s no AirPlay support, which can deter Apple devotees, no hi-res music playback either. I tried playing a variety of hi-res FLAC, ALAC and WAV files, but each one was greeted by one message. It can play “regular” FLAC and WAV files, but which will prove scant comfort to audiophiles.
In conditions of music features, the SoundTouch 30 runs on the ported box design with two custom-made mid-range/high-frequency drivers with unique waveguide technology and a subwoofer to provide bass frequencies a boost. Bose doesn’t quote power figures for the machine.
Bose SoundTouch 30 – Setup and Operation
Obtaining the SoundTouch 30 ready to go is an easy process. Like the majority of multiroom speakers, setup is handled by Bose’s SoundTouch Controller iphone app (designed for iOS, Android and Amazon Kindle Fire), which guides you through every step of the procedure.
Helpfully, you don’t need to press any buttons to kick-start discovery – just plug it in, run the iphone app and enter your Wi-Fi password. It doesn’t take long, but through the process you will need to register with Bose, which results in a few annoying emails.
The iphone app itself looks professional and works wonderful. The intuitive layout places tabs at the edges of the screen, that you can swipe inwards to change menus.
Swipe the “Explore” tab and you’ll visit a set of music sources, including Spotify, Music Library (PCs, NAS drives), Internet Radio, Bluetooth, Aux In and Add Music, the latter letting you add songs libraries or log into any streaming services you sign up to.
The useful “Recents” (sic) option at the very top displays the last 24 tracks you’ve played, as the Settings option enables you to change account settings, add new speakers, rename the speaker or tweak the bass level.
While browsing music libraries, the lists are logically structured and lightning-fast. The iphone app scrolls through huge music libraries without much hesitation – I whizzed down a set of a lot more than 900 albums on my NAS drive and it needed only a short pause when it reached “M”.
There’s also an outstanding search tool, which looks through your music libraries for tracks, albums or artists. It could sound unremarkable however, not all multiroom software can do that – most only seek out songs kept on your own phone.
Play a track and it jumps to the Now Playing screen. The look is well-planned, displaying metadata in large capital letters (with the track title stylishly written in bold type), and cover art and pause/track skip controls. Tap the artwork and the screen zooms out to reveal a track time bar, plus repeat and shuffle options. Annoyingly, you can’t skip to a later point in a song, which isn’t helpful if you need to get to the nice bit.
On the left-hand side of the software are six numbered presets that enable you to store favourite albums or r / c. These correspond with the buttons along with the unit. To create them, just hold down the required preset button during playback.
A tray in the bottom of the screen displays the speaker name and volume level. To configure multiroom playback, swipe the banner upwards and you’ll see all linked SoundTouch systems – you can utilize this menu to group speakers together, or create multiple groups assuming you have four or even more systems.
Unusually, Spotify is incorporated in to the SoundTouch app, which is easy and cohesive. Bose’s menu uses similar options as the key Spotify app, including featured playlists, genres and moods, charts and a search function, and yes it even saves stuff you play in the Recents menu. You can, however, use the key Spotify software instead and stream to the Bose via Spotify Connect.
If you want doing things the old-fashioned way, the Bose includes an outstanding physical remote. The complete handset has a nice rubbery texture and the logically arranged buttons are satisfying to press. It’s a pleasure to use.
Bose SoundTouch 30 – Performance
After listening to a range of songs through the SoundTouch 30, its sound is most beneficial referred to as “meaty”. Burly bass output and a good, cohesive union between your drivers and subwoofer makes music sound remarkably solid and punchy.
I’m also astonished by how loud and powerful it really is, filling a cavernous living room without really breaking a sweat. Throw it on at a celebration and it won’t have any trouble obtaining the crowd going.
Play a lively song such as for example “Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson and the infectious “doh” bassline and big slapping drums throb through your chest, as the guitars, vocals and brass licks are fired in to the room with dizzying gusto.
Throw on something more chin-scratching such as for example “So Real Surreal” by Carl Hudson and the spacey jazz-funk groove is deftly handled – the synths and keys have warmth and body, as the live drums and bassline are handled with pleasing agility.
There’s decent clarity here too. Hi-hats are crisply conveyed and snare drums have a good slap to them. Switch to Corinne Bailey Rae’s cover of “Munich” and the Bose identifies the fragility and detail in her voice.
Having said that, the Bose’s sound may become just a little dense and congested, particularly if you start arriving the quantity. Its rich, bottom-heavy presentation comes at the trouble of openness and breathing space. Placement and imaging become slightly lost within the Bose’s weighty wall of sound.
What’s more, the mids and treble could do with a bit more refinement – certain instruments and vocals flirt with hardness, a long way off from the silky top-end and stunning layering of the B&W Zeppelin Wireless and Naim Mu-So, or even to a smaller extent the Denon Heos 7. Overall, however, there are lots of more positives than negatives in the SoundTouch 30’s performance.
Should I choose the Bose SoundTouch 30?
Outstanding construction, hassle-free procedure and powerful performance make the Bose SoundTouch 30 a sensible way to spend £500. The smartphone iphone app is one of the best I’ve tested, dealing with rare swiftness and offering useful features such as for example NAS drive searching and Spotify integration.
In conditions of sound, however, it isn’t the very best you can buy your money can buy. A slightly congested output and insufficient finesse make the B&W Zeppelin Wireless and Naim Mu-So better options if sound quality is your number 1 priority, while the insufficient hi-res support and AirPlay could possibly be deal-breakers for audiophiles and Apple devotees.
Bose SoundTouch 30 – Verdict
Not the final word in sound quality, perhaps, however the SoundTouch 30’s room-filling performance,