Looking for a smart speaker that doesn’t look like a smart speaker? Look no further than Pantheone Audio’s Obsidian. The Australian company is no stranger to creating speakers that double as works of art. Its debut product, the $2,750 Pantheone I would look at home in a gallery, and the $1,399 Obsidian makes a similar statement, only on a smaller, portable scale.
For its smarts, the Obsidian (which comes in black or white) leans on Amazon Alexa, but it’s also a well-featured wireless multiroom speaker that can connect via Wi-Fi, AirPlay 2, or Bluetooth, plus it has a 3.5mm analog audio input for sources like turntables. In addition to an on/off switch, there are illuminated front touch controls for Alexa, playback, and volume.
Unlike the hulking Pantheone I, the svelte Obsidian packs its own rechargeable battery that can power the speaker without cables for up to 15 hours of listening, according to Pantheone. Charging it fully takes two hours, but the company claims you can get to 50% capacity in just 30 minutes.
That portability is handy for moving the Obsidian from one listening space to another, but you may want to keep it off the kitchen counter: there’s no official protection from either dust or water.
At the price Pantheone is asking for the Obsidian, you’re clearly paying mostly for its sharp, arrow-head-like, and hand-made sculptural body, which the company says resembles the glassy, volcanic rock for which it’s named. However, there’s also a decent amount of audio capability too.
A single class D amplifier drives a high-excursion, 5.25-inch woofer with 40 watts, while a set of twin 1-inch silk dome tweeters receive 20 watts each. Pantheone claims this combo delivers a frequency response of 55Hz – 22kHz.
If you’re using an Apple iPhone or other iOS/iPadOS device, AirPlay 2 will let you stream almost any content to the Obsidian at 16-bit/44.1kHz, but if you use the Pantheone Audio app you’ll be able to get hi-res, lossless audio if your streaming service supports it. The app currently works with Spotify, Amazon Music, Tidal, and TuneIn.
The app will also let you sync and control any other Pantheone audio products in your home.
We can’t say yet what kind of audio quality you can expect from the Obsidian, but we were quite impressed by the Pantheone I, which bodes well for the company’s follow-up product.
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