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Remember on Mad Men when Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce opened up shop, and Roger Sterling's office got the mod makeover? If AirPlay and iPhones were around in the 1960s, Wren's V5AP would have no doubt scored a spot right next to the vodka. But this speaker dock isn't just pretty; it's got the goods, whether you're listening to Sinatra or Daft Punk.
The V5AP is the AirPlay-specific version of Wren's V5 speaker dock (there's also an Android version, and a Bluetooth-enabled model on the way) that takes its sleek design cues from the soft curves of mid-century design. But don't let the sleek look fool you—the Wren is decked out with USB connectivity, an aux input, and a well-designed remote control for maximum flexibility.
Setting up the Wren was a simple matter of connecting an iPhone via USB. There's a Dock Connector cable in the box, but iPhone 5 users can swap in their own Lightning cable. Pressing a button on the back tells Wren to grab the Wi-Fi settings from your device, and the entire process was done in under five seconds. It's the easiest AirPlay setup we've ever done — other speaker makers should take note.
When it comes to sound, the Wren is a winner. Behind the sleek, curved cloth grille lies a pair of three-inch drivers, with 3/4-inch tweeters mounted on opposite sides to give the Wren a fairly wide soundstage. The whole thing is only 16 5/8 inches wide, but the Wren easily fills a room with music. Even better, there's plenty of power to spare. Pushed to the max, the Wren was capable of delivering clear tones across the spectrum, without much of the bass dropoff that's common among small (underpowered) speaker docks.
The overall tone is balanced, with a pleasing crispness in the highs, and a satisfying, natural-sounding throb at the bottom — no matter the volume level. Buttons on the side let you easily switch between sources and control the volume, but I ended up using AirPlay most of the time, and sticking to the controls on my iPhone.
Wren's wood veneer over MDF construction is solid and beautiful, and the sound is great. My only real complaint is that there was a significant lag in audio when using AirPlay. While other AirPlay-equipped devices start playing audio within three to five seconds, the Wren takes about 20 seconds to kick in. Worse, streams often cut in with a jarring static-y click that caused me to jump every time.
The bottom line. Wren's great sound and good looks are fitting for its $400 price tag, but the long lag time to get your AirPlay tunes going is disappointing.
AirPlay enabled Mac or iOS device.
Beautiful design. Great full-range sound. Supports AirPlay, USB and 3.5mm aux-in audio. Bamboo or rosewood finish.
15-20 second lag time. Music cuts in with a burst of static.