Puma Soundchuck, $129.95
Weatherproof and lightweight, what the eye-catching Puma Soundchuck gains in portability it loses in sound quality. That may be less important if you want to something to listen to while you’re working out or on a camping trip, but prepare to want something else to use at home.
Grain Audio PWS, $249
Founded in New York in 2011, Grain Audio’s strategy seems firmly focused on the girls-watching, selvage jeans-wearing Brooklyn set — and not just because they hired Brooklyn-based Shore Fire Media (PRs for St. Vincent and David Bowie). Their portable PWS, in a (certified sustainable) walnut case, was anointed as “dope” by
Wren V5 Wireless Speaker System, $399
The sound on the Wren V5 is almost as smooth as its bamboo or rosewood finish (you get to choose which). Succinct, with a great wireless signal, this is a very grown-up speaker that sounds great with acoustic instruments, if a little less so with big, bass-y songs.
Marshall Stanmore, $400
Long known as a maker of amplifiers, Marshall knows how to fill a room, and the Stanmore doesn’t even bother compromising on sound for portability. This is a big number, with a big sound and a matching price; like a 1970s hi-fi, it won’t be leaving your living room until it’s time to retire it.
Transit by Soen, $199.95
Small really is beautiful when it sounds this good, with a balance and clarity that rises above its most direct competition in the compact stakes, Jambox (even with one fewer audio driver). The solid, jet-black design is a marvel of engineering, with a sleek metal kickstand and a tilt to the body that helps project sound upward. It wouldn’t power a house party, but it’s excellent for casual home use and travel.