Apparently, the boombox is making a comeback. Of course, it’s not the boxy machine that it used to be. Also, today’s boombox doesn’t measure power by its size. Some are bigger than others, but most are known as a “wireless speaker system.” Some are portable and some are perfectly content to sit in your living room. Basically, there are plenty of them to be had.
Aperion Audio launched its own version of the wireless speaker system last October, known as the Allaire Aris. Since then, it’s had a few interesting updates, which I’ll cover throughout this review.
First, I want to touch upon two things that make Aperion pretty great. The first is that they deal directly to the consumer. If you have a problem, a question or even a complaint, you’re dealing with the actual company. There’s no middleman. Also, they don’t really like complaints, so to avoid them, the company just makes really good products. The Aris is no different, but it definitely has a few quirks—for some.
Out of the box, the Aris is a real beast. It’s good looking with its many curves and thin red base. However, it isn’t really the type of speaker that you’ll want to hoist up to your shoulder—unless you enjoy a good hernia now and then. At 11.3 pounds, the Aris is heavy, but it’s also really well made. There are some really flimsy wireless options out there, but this isn’t one of them. It’s as sturdy as a high-end speaker should be. It has the sound to match, too.
Because this is a tabletop system, there should be very little to set up. Depending on how you want to achieve that setup, the Aris could have a few extra hoops to jump through. You see, Aris is not wireless out of the package—of which there are three. Aris can be purchased alone ($297), with a Bluetooth module ($334), or with the Aris Wireless Card for Windows ($377). The latter uses the Windows “Play To” feature to stream music wirelessly to the speaker from any networked Windows PC, tablet or smartphone. This is a big deal, since Aperion is one of the first companies to jump on the Windows 8 train, with a wireless speaker in hand. However, does anyone care?
The back of the Aperion Aris could not be any simpler.
How Do I Connect This Thing?
On its own, the Aris doesn’t offer any sort of content. Basically, there’s a 3.5mm jack for connecting your smartphone or tablet. Aperion is even nice enough to include the audio cable.There’s no internal networking and no streaming out of the box. In fact, it doesn’t even have a radio tuner.
What it does have is a little card slot on the back. As mentioned, my Aris first arrived with the aforementioned Aris Wireless Card for Windows. Since then, the company has released a Bluetooth dongle. If you buy the card separately, it will cost you $77. The company is hoping for an Airplay version at some point, but there are other ways that you can connect iOS devices to the Aris. The most obvious is by adding an Airport Express into the mix, but that will also add another $99 to the price of this setup.
On its own, there’s pretty much no way to add networking to the Aris. Plug in your favorite portable and rock out as you please. The card, however, has an Ethernet jack, which makes it easy to bypass any setup business. There’s also a power switch and a spot for the included power cord.
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Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.