The Handsome, Portable Vifa Copenhagen Speaker
The revitalized Danish brand's debut product sounds as good as it looks
Launched at the 2014 Stockholm Furniture Fair this past February, Copenhagen is the first wireless speaker from Vifa. Though the Danish company has over 80 years experience making loudspeaker components, they rebranded as a consumer audio company, with Copenhagen leading the way as their debut product—more will follow, with each earning the name of a different Nordic capital. Merging Bang & Olufsen's minimalism with Jambox's fun energy, the Copenhagen speaker is simply gorgeous, especially up close in person. Stripped of all but the essentials and wrapped in premium Kvadrat textiles, all has been whittled down to a few buttons (two of which are embroidered) and rear openings for plugs. Plus, it sounds as great as it looks, too.
Once in hand, our setup was simple: we paired a smartphone to the Vifa speaker over Bluetooth and the music immediately started flowing. Other ways to link include Apple AirPlay, dlna (supports WiFi Direct) and both analog and optical connections. A hidden light above the embroidered volume buttons functions as a status indicator, and can be adjusted with the free Vifa app. Downloading the app isn't a requirement to get the music pumping; but the digital user's manual is extremely handy and from the app, you can fine tune preferences such as adding highpass filters, controlling the volume from afar or compensation for the speaker's placement (whether it's on a table, wall, etc). Copenhagen can play music continuously for up to 5 hours on a single battery charge.
Having it by our side on the office desk, Copenhagen feels like a vintage radio: played quietly, it has an intimacy and warmth. Streaming some Dave Brubeck albums, we found the sound to be surprisingly crisp and not muddled at all for such a soft level; and thanks to the directionality of the speaker, it's inaudible when walking a few steps away. Playing some Flight Facilities DJ mixes at full volume, though, the speaker's heft and large size (weighing 4.65 kg, it could be a little cumbersome) comes in handy with deep, distortion-less bass—the woofer is made up of two 80mm Vifa driver units, and supported by four passive radiators.
A single piece of smooth, polished aluminum wraps the frame, extending to form a firm handle. The general shape is a shout-out to the days of the glorious boombox, where music followed you out and about. The rough wool that covers both sides of the device is the fade and pill-resistant Clara fabric from Kvadrat, the well-known European manufacturer of design textiles and a go-to for many designers. Copenhagen comes in six different colors that are all vibrant in their very own way, making it a very difficult decision to just settle on one. We had the opportunity to see the red wool edition up close, which is actually interwoven with grey-brown strands, adding another dimension to its texture, as well as making it feel more organic. That said, we feel it's worth taking the adventurous route and choosing a bright color—it grabs attention and emphasizes its minimal design even more.
The Copenhagen speaker retails for €899 and will soon be available from Vifa's webshop, which is expected to launch in the beginning of July 2014. Sadly, it will only be open to European customers, though we hear US distribution may be in place by fall. At the moment, the speaker can be bought in-store at select Scandinavian stockists, such as Illums Bolighus and the Normann Copenhagen flagship store. Keep your eyes peeled for Vifa's next speaker coming out this fall, named Stockholm.
Photos by Nara Shin