What We Think
This is an amazing looking speaker with a sound quality to match. However, you have to pay highly for high quality, and it may be a bit beyond some people’s price range.
Danish audio manufacturer Libratone have made it their mission to combine great sound with great aesthetic design, an objective that is more than apparent in the Libratone Diva Soundbar.
Measuring just under a metre long, the Diva manages to remain un-dominating in appearance, being thin, sleek, and organically shaped. The round corners and soft LED lights stop it from being too obnoxious and makes it look deceptively humble, at least until it starts blasting out it’s very dominating sound.
The Libratone line makes use of unique, interchangeable woollen coverings that add a flexible style to the speakers. The Diva comes with one included, but you can shake up the look by buying any of the fourteen alternative colours, ranging from the basic ‘Black Pepper’, to the pastel ‘Almond Brown’ to the vibrant ‘Raspberry Red’. As with the speaker as a whole, the covers are quite expensive, standing at around £69.95 per cover.
These woolly coverings are the most striking thing about the speaker, they add a classy, stylish feel. Bold stitching towards the edge of the speaker adds a nice highlight, and ensures the look isn’t too plain. The stylised controls on the front are simple and innocuous, and again just add a highlight that stops the speaker looking plain.
This lengthy soundbar is designed to sit below your TV, and whether you have a wall mounted or free standing TV doesn’t matter as the Diva will happily hang from a wall or sit on a shelf, as it comes with adaptable attachments.
These attachments slot into the holds on the back of the speaker, which is made out of a smooth white plastic. While rather sleek and not-ugly, the material of the back is not up to the aesthetic standards of the woollen front, and feels a bit thin and cheap. Having said that, when the speaker is up, the back is barely visible and the cover wraps quite far around the back, limiting exposure of this plastic.
However, despite this small lapse in quality, the price tag is quite heavy. At time of writing, you can pick up a Diva for £649.
The Diva may have a woolly cover, but it doesn’t have a woolly sound. A total range of 225W is composed of 75W bass through a 5″ driver, 50W midrange through two 3″ drivers, and two 1″ 25W ribbon based tweeters. Built in clam-shell reflectors aim to lift the output of these to give the illusion it matches the height of the TV image which sits above it.
The speaker is loud and powerful, and has a high-quality, room filling sound. Not only is the maximum output of the Diva more than enough to fill a room, it can probably fill a house, and all the neighbours’ houses too.
The volume is matched by a great sound. There is a list of default equaliser settings on the app which adjust the speaker to suit the music you are listening to. Swapping to the ‘Rock the House’ setting, for example, will boost the drums, and highlight the guitars on a track, whereas the vocal one will bring vocals to the fore and make them crisp.
A music aficionado might wish the speaker itself had some manual bass and treble controls itself, but in most cases this can be overcome, depending on the program you use. Playing via, for example, Apple’s AirPlay, you can use the equaliser on iTunes to manually edit and perfect the speaker’s sound.
This brings us onto connectivity. When reviewing the Libratone Loop last year, an older model of the Libratone family, I found some trouble connecting to using an android device. The Diva has done away with that issue, and as well as having Airplay and WiFi control, It also can be connected to easily with Bluetooth, which in a lot of cases makes the DLNA feature (thankfully) redundant.
Linking through Bluetooth is easy, as is connecting the speaker to the home networks, just using the two simple buttons on the rear of the sounbar. You do need the free Libratone app, however, to control the settings on the speaker, so a smartphone with some spare memory is necessary.
Libratone have also made sure that the speaker can be used with Spotify connect (which is available for the users of Spotify premium), and HTC connect, meaning that the speaker can easily become part of your smart-home network.