San Francisco-based newcomer NudeAudio debuted their affordable line of portable Bluetooth speakers just last fall, but they show no signs of being satisfied with the status quo. They recently announced their newest speaker, the Studio 5, which marks their expansion into home audio territory. While their previous Move line was inspired by performance fashion, the stationary Studio 5 mingles more with industrial design and home decor. However, NudeAudio sticks to its tried-and-true formula of stripping unnecessary features, keeping the overall design modern and minimal and prioritizing audio quality—resulting in the customer getting the most bang for their buck.
We've been testing out the speaker for over a month and found that we used it even more than the portable Move speakers. It's designed for the iPhone 5/5s so no additional adaptor is required (a frequent downside to current speakers) thanks to the built-in Lightning connector, so you can play music and charge the battery whenever the iPhone is docked. However, any other smartphones, tablets or computers can connect to the speaker either through the aux-in cable or via Bluetooth, meaning you aren't chained to the dock. As an added bonus, up to two devices can be paired to the Studio 5 at the same time; instead of turning off the Bluetooth on one device to connect another (which can be quite the hassle), simply switch between multiple devices by pressing pause. Sharing music becomes instantaneous.
While it complements most environments thanks to its muted grey hue, the Studio 5 distinguishes itself visually with its unusual asymmetric shape. "What we wanted to avoid was the typical consumer design, where you end up with these symmetric black boxes with a logo in the middle," NudeAudio co-founder and Chief Design Officer, Peter Riering-Czekalla, tells CH. "We've been inspired by more natural shapes—a pebble comes to mind; the pebble was a good piece of inspiration." Fittingly, the emphasized materials are metal and fabric, not plastic, which asks the user to touch and interact with the speaker.
The Studio 5 is a 2.1 stereo speaker and its three-inch subwoofer provides a noticeably stronger bass than similar speakers in its price range; there are also three pre-set settings to fine-tune the bass to what music you're playing. The Studio 5 is also embedded with AptX technology—compatible with devices that support this codec, such as any Mac OSX or Samsung Galaxy S4 smartphones and newer—a Bluetooth enhancement that produces "wired" quality audio. "The speaker performs pretty much like a $300 speaker if you want to compare it to Bose or others. We operate at a lower price by following the same principles as before: keep things affordable and prices fair," says Riering-Czekalla.
As it's not the ideal speaker for a weekend rager; we found that the most useful place for the Studio 5 wasn't the living room but the bedside table. It doesn't take up much room, and you can charge your phone while you snooze.
Photos by Karen Day