There’s plenty of choices when it comes to portable wireless Bluetooth speakers, so to stand out, you need to do something different. The Libratone Zipp speakers are certainly unique. The pill shaped speakers are wrapped in a chic fabric wrap complete with the eponymous zipper. The speakers come in two sizes, the large Zipp and more compact Zipp Mini, and I had a chance to test them out for a few weeks.
Features of Libratone Zipp & Zipp Mini
The Zipp lineup are very portable, and they’re built to put out 360 degrees of sound. The round, pill-style cylindrical speaker is designed to fill all corners of your room. You can pair two Zipp speakers, and up to six for even more audio power.
You can connect to the speakers using your smartphone or tablet, or go hands-free by connecting your Spotify account. It’s also possible to connect your Amazon Echo, or Dot using the aux cable or by pairing wirelessly it so you can get top quality sound with the power of digital assistant Alexa. And…you can Airplay from Apple devices.
The speaker can be used while plugged into AC power or on its rechargeable battery, which should last 10 hours.
Libratone Zipp & Zipp Mini Specs:
- Full digital class D amplified adaptive DSP sound optimization
- 60 Watt total power across 2 DSP enhanced amplifier channels
- 360 Degree reflector
- 3″ Neodymium woofer
- 2 x 1″ Soft dome neodymium tweeter
- 2 x 4″ Low frequency radiators
- 360° FullRoom sound
- Link speakers for individual left/right stereo channels
- High res audio 96 kHz/24 bit
- Frequency range: 50 Hz – 20 kHz
The speakers have a range of different colour zip-on, zip-off covers available so you can match it to your room or style.
Setting up Libratone Zipp and Zipp Mini
It’s possible to set these speakers up in two ways; using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
These set up in minutes. Power the speaker on by pressing the button on the back for 3 seconds. Then watch the white disc with the bird on it on top of the speaker. The disc will light up (but it may take up to 20 seconds). The speaker should enter set up mode on the first attempt. You can then go to your phone’s Bluetooth menu, and select the Zipp speaker for instant pairing.
Multiroom audio via Wi-Fi
Alternately, and for a more reliable, whole-home connection, or for multiroom audio, use Wi-Fi. For this you’ll need the free Libratone app. Getting this option set up is similarly simple;
- In the app, click Add Device.
- The app should automatically find your speaker.
- You’ll search for a Wi-Fi network, and connect with your password.
That’s it! It worked for me on the first try and was fast and easy.
To change WiFi networks after initial setup, press and hold the touch control pad on top of the speaker for 2 seconds until the lights pulse.
How to play music on Libratone Zipp & Zipp Mini
To play music via Wi-Fi using an Apple device, go to your music app, choose your song or playlist, then hit play. With newer devices you’ll need to call up the song full screen to see how to select a different source; choose your speaker source from the drop down/pull up menu and it should play.
How to link two Libratone Zipp speakers
The Libratone Zipp and Zipp Mini can be easily paired together for stereo sound or to create a bigger soundscape, or multiroom audio.
Connecting two Zipp speakers or a Zipp and a Zipp Mini works like a dream.
Tap the SoundSpace Link icon (It’s a small circle with zigzag lines in it on the touchpad) on speaker 1 to start the Link setup process.
When it starts to flash or ‘breathe’, push the same button on the other speaker. Give them a moment to connect, and boom! You’re ready. Again, this process was easy to do and worked for me the first time I tried it, though sometimes it would take up to 10 seconds to connect and resume playing.
Control via the app or with integrated touch control
The light up disc on the speaker has some handy touch functions if you don’t want to use your phone or the app:
Play stored radio stations (selected in the App) directly from your speaker. Toggle through your top 5 favourites by repeatedly pressing the heart icon.
Press the icon on the playing speaker, the icon will light up. Then press the icon on your second speaker to connect.
When speaker is turned on tap the power button/touch pad to see battery level.
To turn volume up and down slide your finger clockwise or counterclockwise around the touchpad. To mute momentarily, place your hand over the touch interface.
Sound quality & volume – Libratone Zipp & Zipp Mini
These speakers are big and weighty and have a substantial sound to them. They sound good and clear and definitely have enough power to fill our room; particularly the full-size Zipp. The bass is really good too, coming across as true and resonant, particularly on Dangerous, Word Up and Return of the Mack (see my test playlist below). It will definitely vibrate the table or whatever surface it’s on, so watch your drinks!
At just 50% volume the Zipp was absolutely filling my room, so you should be able to get a lot of power in a much larger space from these speakers. Even with them on in the next room, the sound cuts through the house, and sounds beautiful, not like I’m just blaring music.
- Cameo – Word Up
- Rosemary Clooney – Sway
- Soul Decision – Faded
- Dire Straights – What’s the Matter Baby
- Mariah Carey – Fantasy
- Anthrax – Bring the Noise
- Big Data – Dangerous
- Saint Motel – My Type
- Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
- Queens of the Stone Age – No One Knows
Alexa Pairing – unsuccessful in my tests
It’s possible to connect your Libratone Zipp directly to Amazon’s digital assistant Alexa.
First you need to register your product with Libratone. Do this by going to the Libratone app, clicking the three dots in the top right corner and selecting My Profile. Go to Registered Products, then click Register Your product. You’ll tap on the product and get an instant mesage that it’s now registered. It takes about three seconds.
Then, go to the Alexa app and search for “Libratone” in the Skills section. You’ll then need to link your Libratone and Amazon accounts by signing in.
Getting them to actually work with Alexa is another story. In theory, here’s what you’re supposed to do:
- Open the Libratone App
- Press your Zipp or Zipp Mini speaker in SoundSpaces and press ‘Settings’
- Press ‘Edit Name’ and change the default speaker name from “LIBRATONEZIPPXXXXXX” to “Kitchen”, “Bathroom”, “Living Room” or similar
- Press the ‘Home’ button (House) in the upper right corner
- Press the three dots in the upper right corner
- Select ‘MY PROFILE’
- Tap on ‘Registered Products’
- Press the ‘+’ button down in the middle and select the speaker to use with Alexa
- Open the Alexa AppPress ‘Skills’ and search for Libratone
- Select the Libratone skill and press ‘ENABLE’
- Log in with your Libratone account
- Tap on ‘DISCOVER DEVICES’
I followed these steps and renamed my speakers “Kitchen” and everything seemed like it went fine, but when I’d ask Alexa to play music in the kitchen, she’d say she couldn’t find any devices called Kitchen that play music.
After fiddling with this for an hour over a couple days, I gave up on it. I can’t say whether the issue is Alexa or the Zipp.
Overall review Libratone Zipp portable speakers
I love the looks of these speakers. They’re fun, vibrant and customizeable. The sound quality is very good and they’re easy to use and set up.
If I noticed any major issues it’s that the touch controls can be a touch non-responsive and sometimes took two taps to connect to instead of just one. Similarly there was a lag when changing songs on the phone; it took about 3-5 seconds for the tap on the app to register on the speaker.
The fact I couldn’t get the Alexa connectivity working was a bit disappointing. Perhaps a software glitch up here in Canada? But it didn’t ruin my experience with the Zipp and Zipp Mini.
Overall, I think these are great speakers and I don’t have any problem recommending them when you want a speaker that sounds great like, say, a Sonos, but you want a bit more character in the wrapping.
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