Just when you thought that all of the players had showed their hands, where all of the companies that were going to release proprietary wireless speakers already had, along comes Oppo Digital.
Most well-known for its line of videophile disk players, and then a bunch of mobile phones through its sister company, Oppo is now extending its AV know-how into every room of your house. The Oppo Sonica is a thoroughly 2016 version of the wireless speaker with a host of connectivity options in addition to built-in room correction.
The Sonica was designed by Igor Levitsky, who was also behind the Oppo PM-3 planar magnetic headphone. This is a stereo speaker with two wide-band drivers mated to three (!) separate bass drivers -- a 3.5-inch "long displacement bass driver" and two 3-inch balanced bass radiators. This speaker takes its bass very seriously.
In addition to Bluetooth, the speaker includes Wi-Fi -- with AirPlay and iOS and Android support via the Sonica app -- as well as USB and a 3.5mm auxiliary input.
If you want to play music in high-res, the app features 24bit/192kHz playback of most file formats (though not DSD). It currently includes streaming from Tidal while other services have yet to be announced.
The speaker will enable multiroom playback to other Sonica speakers (only at this stage) as well as enable you to hook up two speakers side by side as a stereo pair.
At $299 the Oppo Sonica speaker is relatively affordable for its size and the number of features it has. While we've yet to confirm which system the speaker uses, it appears they've chosen not to go with Play-Fi, and this is kind of mysterious; if any company is going to be successful at taking Sonos on at its own game, it's surely through compatibility with other stuff you already own. No one likes DRM or the walled garden approach. Your music should just play. And Play-Fi is the largest and best alternative to Sonos yet.
If you are a fan of Oppo's headphones and Blu-ray players, and don't mind a lack of intercompatibility or streaming services, the Sonica could be worth a look.
Oppo has yet to announce pricing or availability in the UK or Australia, but at current conversion rates this equals £203 and AU$415.
This review also appears in Spanish. Read: La Oppo Sonica lleva música a toda la casa