Dayton Audio’s Small Aero Speaker Hits Bullseye on Sound Quality
Dealers can use Dayton Audio's Hi-Fly app to group Aero speakers and create a wireless multiroom audio system.
Robert Archer · March 23, 2017
One of the most popular options for music lovers these days is all-in-one wireless speakers. These products incorporate wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi, Apple AirPlay, Bluetooth, Google Chromecast and other similar platforms.
Dayton Audio recently added to the category by introducing its Aero powered speaker. The Aero has 2.4Ghz Wi-Fi networking and Bluetooth 4.0, and the company supports the speaker with its free Hi-Fly app.
In addition to its wireless options, the speaker offers a 3.5mm auxiliary input to enable the connection of legacy devices. Using the Hi-Fly app, dealers can group speakers to create a wireless multiroom audio system.
The Aero utilizes a wooden “acoustic cabinet” that houses an amplifier rated to deliver 10 watts per channel to both channels, along with a pair of 3-inch woofers and a rear-firing passive radiator that together produce a frequency response of 60Hz to 18kHz.
An included IR remote offers basic functions such as volume up/down, power on/off, source selection and six presets.
Setting Up Dayton Audio Areo Speaker
After unboxing the speaker the first thing you’ll notice is how small it is. Its size allows for a variety of placement options … desks, kitchen counters, end tables, etc. I put it on a shelf in my music room where it easily fit.
I downloaded the app and followed the setup directions, which are designed for a few different Dayton products that share Hi-Fly. Pressing the speaker’s “mute” button, which is located on the top of the Aero, I waited for the speaker to connect to my network. After a couple of minutes, I verified my network connection and checked my iPhone 6 to see if I had Bluetooth connectivity, but that wasn’t connecting either. After doing a network scan I could see the speaker listed as “AERO_E80.”
Knowing the speaker was on my network I went back into the app and was able to complete the network portion of the install. On the app I was able to see metadata for TuneIn streaming, and I then went back to the speaker’s control panel and selected the Wi-Fi option, which immediately started to play music.
I’ve used easier, more communicative apps, but this one did work adequately, and with the speaker playing music I was able to choose TuneIn stations, volume levels and sources to start getting a handle on the Aero’s abilities.
When I used the Aero a few days later, it seemed like the app wanted to direct me through the setup process again (perhaps this was user error), but after simply canceling out of that I kept using the app and found navigation and source selection easy. My sources included TuneIn, Tidal and my networked music library.
Listening & Review
To test a common listening method, I used the Bluetooth and fired up “Another Brick in the Wall Part II” by Pink Floyd. The band sounded really good through the Aero, and it impressed me — the bass line popped with tight authority, and the speaker sounded big and full. I switched to Robert Plant’s Principle of Moments album, which like the Floyd album was in Apple Lossless format, and heard similar solid results.
Unlike some all-in-one powered speakers that emphasize low-frequency volume, I felt the Aero sounded more balanced with a slight emphasis on upper bass — but it wasn’t focused on output, more of a tonal emphasis. Most importantly, it did not sound bloated.
After hearing the speaker’s ability to throw a wide soundstage, I’d say it should have no issue filling small rooms, and engaging medium-size rooms too.
For a list price of $179 and a street price of $129 the Aero is worth checking out. While not perfect, I think Dayton Audio got the most important elements correct: sound quality and source selection. Dayton isn’t the first company to have an imperfect app; after all it is an audio manufacturer first. As the app matures it will continually improve the user experience, and as that evolves the Aero should develop into a bigger and bigger value.
Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]
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