Ever wanted a sheep in your living room? Yes, so have we. But they’re not very practical. Or neat. For that, we refer you to the Diva – the latest device from Libratone, perpetual makers of woolly audio equipment.
Like every Libratone product before it, the Diva sports a woolly cover. It’s removable and comes in many colours. You get the ‘Pepper Black’ one as standard, along with a voucher code to claim another colour for free (within the EU).
Why? We’re not sure, but it’s certainly effective at getting away from big black boxes. Step this way if you want your kit to look more like furniture. It’s easy to remove the upholstery and look at the insides, which feature two ribbon tweeters at the ends; two 75mm midrange drivers; and a 13cm woofer at the centre.
There are also clamshell-shaped internal reflectors, designed to raise and spread the sound. Woolly cover aside, the Diva is primarily made of plastic. It doesn’t feel as sturdy as some metal-clad rivals, but it’s weighty enough to reassure us of its quality.
There are two holes at the back, but they’re not reflex ports: they’re for a plug-in stand, which stops the Diva from falling on its back and rocking like a turtle. Alternatively, you can plug in the bundled wall mount.
Now for some holes that actually do something: there’s an optical input and a 3.5mm analogue alternative. Yes, that’s your lot. But the Diva has a bunch of wireless tricks up its insulated sleeve, because it wants you to stream music.
It connects to your home’s wi-fi network for AirPlay and DLNA, Spotify Connect and HTC Connect. Alternatively, you can stream directly to the Diva with Bluetooth. It supports aptX for superior quality Bluetooth streaming. There’s also near-field communication (NFC) for relatively swift pairing. As always, aptX and NFC only apply if your device is compatible.
Configuration is a mixed bag. We had a few issues setting up the device. The bundled quick-start guide is overly simple and doesn’t quite explain everything you need to get things going. You’re supposed to get the Diva set up on your network with the help of the Libratone app (free, on Android and iOS) but initially we couldn’t get soundbar and app to shake hands.
We got there after a few restarts, but it felt a little haphazard. Once connected, the app lets you customise the sound. At the most basic level, you can change volume levels (there is no supplied remote handset) and basic EQ presets.
How does it sound? Pretty good. It’s the entertaining sound we recognise on some of our favourite Libratone products. The level of agility and punch is enough to make us sit up and take notice. It’s also a pleasant listen.
There’s no harshness to the treble, and bass notes are not boomy. There’s a nice sense of space that’s easily several times larger than that of your telly’s default speakers. What we want, though, is greater solidity. Movie soundtracks don’t quite have the punch we like when compared to the Dali Kubik One or Yamaha YSP-2500. We’d also like a bit more subtlety – nuances in voices aren’t quite as pronounced as they should be.
Overall, the Libratone Diva is a success. Bar a few connection issues, this is a strong one-box sound system. If your main concern is music streaming and you want something stylish, this is worth checking out.