Several years ago I wrote about the Bluetone 100 Bluetooth speaker from British audio manufacturer Cambridge Audio (not to be confused with American manufacturer Cambridge SoundWorks, producer of the OontZ speakers). The speaker sold for $299, and I considered it to be the best-sounding Bluetooth speaker under $300. That may be because it uses exotic BMR full-range drivers like the ones in the $1,300 Cambridge Audio Aeromax speakers I raved about earlier this year. The only drawback I could find was that the Bluetone 100 must be plugged in because it does not have a battery. But it's still a terrific speaker for use at home.
While doing research to answer a reader question, I stumbled across the Cambridge Audio Air 100 on the Cambridge Audio website. The Air 100 is essentially a portable Bluetone 100, plus it adds network capability over Wi-Fi or Ethernet. In addition to Bluetooth, you can use a free app to listen with Spotify Connect, Apple Airplay and internet radio. Regularly $399.99, the Air 100 was on sale for only $144.99. The larger, more powerful Air 200 was on sale for $189.99, reduced from $599.99.
Those prices seemed abnormally low, so I contacted Cambridge Audio to see if there had been an error. The answer was no. They are introducing a new line called Yoyo and are clearing out the Air speakers.
My next question was how many units they have left. I hate telling readers about a deal, only to have them turned away because supplies have run out. The bad news: There were only a few Bluetone 100 units left. The good news: I was told that there's a substantial inventory of both the Air 100 and 200.
This is one of the best deals I have encountered, not just in terms of the discount but also for the value and quality equation. Even if you never use the network functionality of the Air 100 or 200, at under $200 you can't get within a light year of the sound quality when using them as Bluetooth speakers. You get the panache of a revered high-end brand, too.
You can find the deal under the speakers tab on the Cambridge Audio website (cambridgeaudio.com). The offer is available only through the website, and it includes free shipping and a 30-day return policy if not satisfied.
Home theater upgrade
Q: I want to get a new home theater receiver. My system has five speakers plus a subwoofer. I want something that is easy to set up and use between normal TV programs, sports and movies. Do you have any suggestions for something that costs between $500 and $700?
A: I am partial to Marantz receivers for home theater applications. They have outstanding sound quality, clean exterior design and a user interface that is simple and easy to use. In your price range the Marantz SR5012 (us.marantz.com) would be a good fit. It sells online for $599, offers network capability and works with Amazon Alexa, too.
Send questions to Don Lindich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.