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.