With CDs going the way of the VHS, it seemed for a brief period that there'd be little or no demand for home speakers - particularly following the advent of wireless headphones, which made it possible for music lovers to listen to their smartphone library while attending to household chores. Never one to rest on its laurels, however, the Hi-Fi industry has hit back with a slew of modern designs and inventive features, placing speakers firmly back on the menu for hip homeowners looking to kit out their pads with the coolest must-have accessories.
If you're like most people, you've probably got a set of bulky square speakers hidden away in a cupboard somewhere, or perhaps - if you haven't got round to modernising your Hi-Fi yet - sitting atop a shelf collecting dust.
If that's the case, you might be wondering why it's worth upgrading to some wireless ones. Well, here a few good reasons to at least consider it:
One of the big drawbacks of traditional speakers is how big and, frankly, unsightly they are. Newer portable speakers are small and stylish by comparison.
Remember the days of having to crank the volume all the way up so muffled music could reverberate around the entire house? With portable speakers you can simply move the output to suit your needs.
When it comesto music, a one size fits all policy simply doesn't work. You could be throwing a street-awakening house party, or you could be quietly playing tunes as you nod off - and you need a sound system that can be tailored for each occasion.
Speakers have followed much the same trend as other home gadgets in recent years, replacing outmoded interfaces and remotes with easy-to-use features designed to make your music listening experience as convenient and hassle-free as possible. Here are a few examples:
The advantages of bluetooth as opposed to WiFi or infrared connection will be plain to anyone who has a pair of AirPods. The range might not be optimal but there is no more reliable way to go wire-free.
The days of fiddly remote controls that inevitably end up getting chewed beyond repair by the family labrador are long gone. With voice command you can simply shout your instructions from the comfort of the sofa.
Not just Siri and Alexa but even music streaming apps such as Spotify and Google Play are being increasingly integrated into the home speaker experience, making things both easier and more user-friendly.
Like any wireless piece of tech speakers do need to be hooked up to the mothership every now and again - but thanks to impressive battery life (often 10 hours or more) there's more than enough juice in one charge to get you through a house party.
The Hi-Fi market is back on its feet in a big way - so there's no shortage of top of the line models from which to choose. Here are some of our favourites:
If impressing your friends is your priority then look no further than the all-singing, all-dancing Bose Portable Home Smart Speaker. Almost 100% voice controlled, able to withstand rain and pool splashes and boasting a battery life of up to 12 hours, it's perfect for virtually all occasions. Price - £280
Sonos Move has traditionally been seen as an on-the-go speaker, but its sound quality and versatility is such that it can easily be used for inside get-togethers as well. Not only light and easy to move around, it also offers up to 10 hours play time once charged. Price - £400
JBL's cool-sounding Flip 5 might be the best budget option currently on the market. Its next-gen features might be slightly lacking admittedly (prepare to be a bit more hands-on with this one) - but the sound quality isn't too shabby and its curvy design goes well with any background aesthetic. Price - £100