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Review: Wren V5US Wireless Speaker

by Paul Strauss
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For starters, the Wren V5US is one of the most beautiful wireless speakers you can buy. It’s built into a stunning wood enclosure with a flowing sort of organic form, and will look great sitting on any desk or bookshelf. This is one speaker you won’t want to hide, and with the choice of almond or espresso-colored wood versions, there’s a model for any decor.

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The Wren V5US is designed to produce enough sound to fill a medium-sized room, and was the perfect size for my ~200 square foot living room. The speaker measures 16 5/8″(w) x 4 1/4″ (d) x 6 1/8″ (h) and weighs 6.6 pounds. One thing I really appreciate is that they built the power supply into the speaker, so there’s no ugly power brick you need to hide. Just plug in the AC cord into the wall, and that’s the only wire you’ll deal with. The Wren also includes a wireless remote for controlling volume, switching inputs and pausing music playback.

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Inside the substantial MDF cabinet are a pair of 3″ mid/low drivers and a two 19mm wide-dispersion dome tweeters. These are driven by an extremely clean class-D amplifier that puts out a true 25 watts-per-channel. Specs aside, the Wren speaker sounds fantastic. The sound quality is beautifully natural, without overemphasis of any particular part of the audio spectrum, and no noticeable distortion. That said, you’ll want to adjust the Bass EQ switch on the back to account for the position of your speaker relative to walls or corners.

As I put the speaker through its paces with a wide variety of tracks ranging from rock to jazz fusion to classical, rap, alternative and pop, there was nothing I could throw at it that it couldn’t handle with aplomb. Even sitting just two feet in front of the speaker, I was pleased with the width of the soundstage. One of the wonderful things about the V5US is that it sounds quite good at low volumes and at extreme volume levels. You can definitely use this speaker for individual listening on your desk, then crank it up when it’s party time.

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There are a couple of less expensive Wren speakers, but the V5US is the most versatile, supporting connections via Wi-Fi (AirPlay and Play-Fi), Bluetooth, as well as wired connections via a 3.5mm audio jack. Play-Fi offers a few advantages over AirPlay, specifically the ability to support multiple simultaneous users, group speakers into zones, and create stereo zones using pairs of speakers. It took me a couple of tries to get the speaker to connect to my Wi-Fi network using the iOS Play-Fi app, but in all fairness, I’m running a Beta version of iOS9 on my iPhone, so that might have been the issue.

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Connecting via Bluetooth is as easy as pressing a button and pairing. Of course the advantage to Wi-Fi is that you can put the speaker in any room in your house and play tracks from your computer or other media server. The upside of Bluetooth is easier setup, faster responsiveness to controls, and less potential for interference – at least when your device is in close proximity. If your device supports it, the Wren works with Bluetooth aptX, which improves sound quality even further.

Regardless of whether you connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, the Wren sounds great.

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The Wren V5US is a truly impressive piece of home audio hardware. It sounds incredible, and looks the part. Priced at $499.99(USD), it’s not inexpensive, but it’s worth every cent.

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