More than 2.3 million Australians, or around 10 per cent of the population, spent the night of August 9, 2016 in an apartment. That was when the last census was taken and one of its inescapable truths is that apartment dwelling is on the rise. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there’s currently one occupied apartment for every five occupied separate houses and the fabled quarter-acre block has become just that, a fable.
Homes are much more compact than they were. If parents must choose between giving precious cupboard or bench space to a stereo amplifier or a baby bottle steriliser the steriliser wins every time. But they still want music. Mostly they get it by putting their music on their phones and playing it back through Bluetooth speakers.
No wonder there’s so little joy in their music. The bulk of Bluetooth speakers are suitably compact but decidedly lo-fi, and the ones that can be set up for stereo can have dodgy reliability. They run basic Bluetooth and don’t play terribly loud, but they’re cheap. And yet money is seldom the issue when it comes to good music; the issue is finding a place to put an amplifier and cables as well as proper speakers.
The Europeans have lived with this problem way longer than us. Almost half the people in Europe live in apartments, in some countries it’s two-thirds. Danish speaker manufacturer Dynaudio has grabbed this opportunity by the throat and is shaking hard. Its new Xeo 20 Bluetooth speakers pump out large volumes of AptX Bluetooth music that sounds as good as plenty of expensive conventional stereos, and yet they’re small, easy to set up, and occupy the same shelf width as about eight paperbacks. They don’t need an amplifier and the only cable goes to the wall plug.