We’ve had a our fair share of speakers sent over for review, usually they are always Bluetooth, but there are a handful of Airplay speakers that exist and we thought we’d give the Wren V5AP a review, solely based on the design. This is honestly the only reason I wanted to give this a try. To be honest, I’m not a huge fan of Airplay speakers. A speaker that I can only connect over WiFi at my house isn’t always something I want to mess with. Bluetooth is so much more mobile and creates a better user experience. Obviously I can plug my device directly into the Wren, but we’re defeating the idea of a wireless age when we resort to plugging directly into the device, but I digress. Either way, the speaker looks sexy as hell and I couldn’t wait to see (hear?) the sound that would blast out of it. So I received the $399 speaker and have been giving it the run around to see if you really should drop a hefty amount for this piece of bamboo sexy.
Again, the Wren V5AP was only requested because of the design. I loved the way it looked, and really felt like it could mesh well in any setting, no matter how modern or pretensious you might be. This thing is absolutely gorgeous, featuring nice curves and a bamboo case. The only thing about the design that I don’t like is the gray fabric that lines the front. In pictures it looked great, but up close it looks a little like the 90’s forgot to call and ask for it back. If there was another option for color instead of gray it might fit better with the Bamboo or even the Rosewood color, but oh well, it’s still a sexy speaker.
The speaker is actually on the small size, something you wouldn’t guess by the sound – but we’ll get to that later. Sitting at just over 6″ tall, about 16.7″ wide and 4.25″ deep, the Wren V5AP will fit almost anywhere. Whether you want to throw it on a shelf or countertop, you really can get this anywhere without it taking up too much space or even looking out of place. On the right side of the speaker lie a Power button, volume up/down and a source button (with accompanying WiFi/Aux/USB indicators. Your inputs are on the back and don’t really take away from the overall look of the speaker.
Overall, the Wren V5AP is a beautiful speaker that will look good anywhere you put it. If you can get past (or if you absolutely love) the gray fabric on the front, which I was able to do just by how sleek the bamboo looks. I moved this from my computer desk (side note, this looks gorgeous next to my iMac) to my nightstand to a bookshelf. It fit everywhere and looked great!
Setup is a breeze, there really is nothing to it. Just plug it in, turn it on, choose the source and you’re pretty much ready to go. If you choose WiFi, it’ll take just a few seconds to get it blasting it’s signal, connect to it via WiFi from your iMac/PC/iOS device and once you do that, follow just another step getting it latched on to your WiFi and then you are good to go. If you aren’t familiar with AirPlay, read a little up on it to make sure it is right for you. It’s definitely an easy setup that only takes seconds.
I’ve used Bluetooth speakers from so many different manufacturers and in so many different sizes, and overall you get either a great experience or you get what you pay for. I’ve used AirPlay speakers in the past and it wasn’t something I would write home about, or even find myself writing here about. But the Wren V5AP has an amazing sound, especially considering the size of the speaker. I found myself not able to get past 60% volume before I was going deaf and my neighbors were pounding on the walls. The sound is very impressive.
Something I find speakers lacking is bass, but this is definitely not an issue with the Wren. It actually becomes an issue when I had it closer to a wall, creating more noise in the bass than bass itself, but you can easily rectify that by slightly moving it away from the wall.
Music ranging from hip-hop to rockabilly all the way to death metal, the Wren V5AP handled them all, putting a smile on my face. I never had any issues with reception which has always been an issue whenever I stream music. Here and there I’ll have something drop for a second or even have static/noise coming through, but the Wren had no such problem. The only issue I had was when streaming music, I started really messing with the volume buttons, adjusting high and then low and after about 12 button presses, the volume wouldn’t adjust and then finally disconnected from the network giving me a prompt that it wasn’t available and I had to reconnect it. This happened on two separate occasions so I chalked it up as not being a fluke and some sort of amazing volume hack I created.
I honestly can recommend this speaker on looks alone, but add in the amazing sound you really can’t go wrong, well unless you are a normal human being that doesn’t have an extra $400 to spend on a speaker, one speaker, not an entire stereo setup with subwoofer, but one AirPlay speaker. Granted the Wren sounds amazing and won’t disappoint, but it is really hard to not factor in the price tag. This is probably one of the best sounding speakers I have ever had in my possession and that means a lot. I live by music, it is always playing, usually in multiple rooms of my house. I have a Bluetooth speaker in each bedroom, bathroom and in my kitchen, but the Wren took over my living room and did a damn good job at it.
So if you have $400 burning a hole in your pocket and need a speaker that you want to stream to, one that looks gorgeous and has amazing sound in a small sleek package, I really will only recommend the Wren. If you don’t have an extra few hundred bucks, you can find a lot of other choices at a more affordable price range. So it really comes down to cost, this price tag makes it hard to fully recommend, but it isn’t a far cry to not have to pay for good sound. You don’t expect to pay $150 for the World’s best guitar, right?
Head on over to Wren’s website and see if any of their line suites your needs, they have an AirPlay model, one for Android devices as well as a brand new Bluetooth model, all priced at $399.