Stereo Pairing: the Rise of Surround Effect in Wireless Speakers

As smartphones got popular, so did its companion Bluetooth wireless technology. Our general use of wireless technology is motivated by the convenience of uncluttered speakers, and supported by the omni presence of Bluetooth-enabled devices wherever we are. 

And indeed, the Bluetooth speaker market as been flooded with manufacturers coming from very different horizons: On one side, the big brands in high quality sound systems who already entered the "mobile" speaker market by using the docking station system provided by Apple:  Just to name a few: Bose, Bower & Wilkins, JBL Harman Kardon, Bang & Olufsen, Philips...

Then, there is a crowd of manufacturers which have had a long history of mastering the successive installments of each new version of the Bluetooth standard, and naturally added Bluetooth speakers to their lines of other Bluetooth-enabled products. Small or big, powerful or more modest, autonomous or plugged into a wall socket, the market flourished, giving way to great and some times not so great products. Customers were investing into high quality speakers with the idea that they were basically going to be to the digital age what the hifi system was to the analog era.

But no so fast! The market started to get to saturation in 2015 stalling to essentially flat level globally according to GfK, a sure sign that something was missing. Within this dull situation, a very tiny segment started to appear: Based on recent improvements of Bluetooth, and even in some instances, of Wifi technology, the stereo pairing sub segment emerged.

No company embodies it better than the ultra high-end Devialet, a French audio company selling its Phantom speaker (750 Watt,  "The best sound in the world") for a hefty $1,700 a pop . The company has created a solid barrage of design and technical patents to protect its IP, and offers the possibility to pair 2 (or more) speakers wirelessly. That, with an astounding design and power, pushed Devialet into the prominent Apple retail stores across the planet and now, they are expanding further with their own stores. What Devialet is doing for the happy few is to provide them with the surround experience that has been missing in wireless speakers : Depth perception, isolating sound from left and right channel : the rich sound experience that separated left and right sound tracks encoded into our MP3 files bytes is finally unleashed, and that is pure magic to our ears... like what Hifi systems were doing back in the days. For Millennials, it is a revelation that no other previous sound system were capable of performing,  and it brings their playlists back to life when they do not listen to it on their headphones. Suddenly it make sense to choose where your left speaker will be in your room, and where you will put the right speaker, a notion that had disappeared with monobloc "stereo" speakers still sold to this day.

Stereo pairing is the high growth segment of the audio market.  GfK calculated a 180% growth 2016 and 100M euro retail value for Western Europe only. 2017 will be probably above 200% growth. This seemingly low figures illustrate that only a few models from a few brands have captured the importance of this market. The usual suspects are all there: B&O, Bose, JBL, but also Swiss bound Ultimate Ears (Logitech). In that high growth sub segment, an adventurous startup managed to build a name of its own amongst those gigantic corporations: Xoopar.
 Xoopar originally is a design outlet, focused on bringing "Joy in Technology". With their line of Bluetooth speakers named "Boy".  They give not only character, but personality to their cute speakers. The Stereo version of the Boy allows consumers to outfit their living room with a more than decent quality of sound, while enjoying stereo pairing... for a fraction of the cost of Bose, or JBL products. The cherry on the cake: Xoopar Boy stereo speakers will glow a peaceful light that slowly oscillates with the music.  Boy Stereo always makes a big impression on pictures, but experiencing the stereo surround effect of a pair of Boys is even more exciting.

Xoopar Boy will make its first debut on the US market this Christmas at Neiman Marcus: Catch them all!
Find Xoopar products in the US here.

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