“What’s that?” is the common reaction when we show people the Libratone Loop. It’s a wireless speaker. Honest.
We’ve tested the Loop before, but there were some issues that needed to be addressed with updated firmware.
Now that’s been sorted out, it’s time to revisit this odd-looking product.
Libratone has a thing about fluffy speakers. As was the case with the Zipp, Live and Lounge before it, the Loop simply demands to be stroked.
The company aims for its products to look more like pieces of showroom furniture than tech.
So, just as a sofa might have changeable covers, the Libratone Loop has a removable coat, which is made of wool and comes in eight different colours.
Under the cover? It’s a flat, circular speaker. Plug in some feet to make it stand. There’s a bit at the back that looks like a reflex port, but it is actually a type of handle that can be used to hang the Loop on the wall.
The Loop shares a similar sonic character to its siblings: the presentation is bright and open and we’d normally expect the sound from a relatively small speaker (diameter: 33cm) to be a little tinny or boxy, but here the presentation is sweet and airy.
At some frequencies, particularly at high volume, the treble verges on sharp, losing a touch of the fine textures and nuances at the very top.
Taking the volume down a notch will help here. The brightness is more apparent in a midrange that could do with more weight. It’s articulate and has plenty of detail, but we think it needs more body.
The bass response is impressive for such a slim unit. Punchy basslines are pumped out with ease.
Last time we tested it, we found an occasional rattle from the passive radiator pushing against its grille. A recent firmware update seems to have fixed this issue, because it doesn’t occur this time.
More after the break
We like the speed and agility of the sound.
Overall, it’s balanced and exciting, while Libratone’s Fullroom technology does a good job of widening the sound (ideal for parties).
You will lose a bit of focus, but it’s worth trying and it’s activated using the Libratone app (free on iOS devices). This allows you to customise it based on how you will use it – on a wall? Near a wall?
The Loop is aimed at Apple users, because it’s mostly an AirPlay speaker. Owners of Android and Windows Phones can use the 3.5mm input. Alternatively, you can use a third-party, DLNA-ready app to stream.
Set up is easy. We plug an iPad into the USB port, and within seconds we are prompted to transfer our wi-fi settings across.
Sadly it’s not a class-leader in audio performance, and some will find the AirPlay-only approach somewhat limiting.
But the Libratone Loop is lovely. Its unconventional looks will split opinions, but we enjoy using it.