• Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone
  • Aether Cone

Specs / Features


Cone is the first music player that thinks: It learns what you like, and plays what you'll love. You don't have to look at a single screen to use Cone. | When you speak, Cone listens. If you know what you want to hear, ask out loud and Cone will play it. | To skip to a similar song, just turn the dial a little. To jump to something completely different, give the dial a bigger spin and see where it takes you. | The more you use Cone, the better it gets at playing the songs you love. | Cone gives you free access to Rdio's library of over 30 million songs, plus thousands of internet radio station... More

Cone is the first music player that thinks: It learns what you like, and plays what you'll love. You don't have to look at a single screen to use Cone. | When you speak, Cone listens. If you know what you want to hear, ask out loud and Cone will play it. | To skip to a similar song, just turn the dial a little. To jump to something completely different, give the dial a bigger spin and see where it takes you. | The more you use Cone, the better it gets at playing the songs you love. | Cone gives you free access to Rdio's library of over 30 million songs, plus thousands of internet radio stations.

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Specification

Brand Aether
Model CNUS01
Warranty 12 months
Release date 25-August-2014
Size 15 x 16 x 16 cm (5.9 x 6.3 x 6.3 in)
Weight 1300 grams (45.89 ounces)

Reviews (7.2/10 Avg. rating)


GeekDad

A futuristic intelligent music player

from GeekDad

As a straight-up wireless speaker, the Aether Cone performs quite well and sounds better than the majority of Bluetooth speakers that come through my door. It outclasses the vast majority of them when it comes to the looks department, too.

If you’re looking for an audiophile quality AirPlay speaker, there are options in the same price range as the Aether Cone that will outperform it, especially in terms of raw power. Most of those lack a battery though, and the ability to request a song by voice is a trick that few (if any) can match...

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As a straight-up wireless speaker, the Aether Cone performs quite well and sounds better than the majority of Bluetooth speakers that come through my door. It outclasses the vast majority of them when it comes to the looks department, too.

If you’re looking for an audiophile quality AirPlay speaker, there are options in the same price range as the Aether Cone that will outperform it, especially in terms of raw power. Most of those lack a battery though, and the ability to request a song by voice is a trick that few (if any) can match.

More importantly, other wireless speaker docks are looking for you to be the DJ. All the time. The Aether Cone can not only take over the selection and playing of music, as I discovered, it can help introduce you to new artists you may have never heard, deep cuts from your favorites and even songs that you used to like but forgot about long ago.

If you’re a serious music fan, someone with a keen interest in technology or you appreciate interesting design, the Aether Cone should definitely be on your wireless speaker short list. 

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Tools & Toys

A smart and handsome speaker

from Tools & Toys

The Aether Cone is a gadget that does one thing and it does it very well. It’s niche to be sure, but it’s also excellent and wonderful. The build quality, the service, the accompanying app, are all well done and top notch. If the Cone sounds appealing to you, I think you’d be quite happy with it.

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The Aether Cone is a gadget that does one thing and it does it very well. It’s niche to be sure, but it’s also excellent and wonderful. The build quality, the service, the accompanying app, are all well done and top notch. If the Cone sounds appealing to you, I think you’d be quite happy with it.

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The Northwestern

Music player learns your tastes over time

from The Northwestern

The idea behind the $399 Aether Cone is that over time, it learns your listening habits and weighs such factors as whether it's a lazy Sunday morning. It then plays what it thinks you're in the mood for.

I was skeptical because my music tastes vary depending on how I'm feeling at any particular moment. But I've come to enjoy its sometimes-surprising musical tours...

More

The idea behind the $399 Aether Cone is that over time, it learns your listening habits and weighs such factors as whether it's a lazy Sunday morning. It then plays what it thinks you're in the mood for.

I was skeptical because my music tastes vary depending on how I'm feeling at any particular moment. But I've come to enjoy its sometimes-surprising musical tours.

I also appreciate its lightweight simplicity. At 2.9 pounds and not much bigger than half a football, the cone-shaped device packs a decent stereo system into something I can easily carry around or pack into my carry-on luggage.

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Engadget

A fresh spin on music streaming

from Engadget

My musical navel-gazing aside, there are, of course, people with logical, coherent tastes in music. There are, I hear, people that like the radio. Or Rdio. For those people, Cone is going to be great. There are many things to like. The fact you can keep a "vibe" going by staying with a musical st...More

My musical navel-gazing aside, there are, of course, people with logical, coherent tastes in music. There are, I hear, people that like the radio. Or Rdio. For those people, Cone is going to be great. There are many things to like. The fact you can keep a "vibe" going by staying with a musical style is a nice touch. I love that you can just as easily mix things up by giving the wheel a hearty spin. Even the voice requests can be fun. When it gets it right, you feel futuristic; when it gets it wrong, you might discover something entirely new. Then there's the fact that it looks rather nice, and, most importantly sounds good. If it feels strange that I have only given the sound a cursory mention, then that's because I believe Aether isn't solving a HiFi problem here (though it does that too); it's tackling a different one. Cone tries to take the friction out of enjoying music, and it has all the tools to do just that. It's just that I'm a little bit awkward. That said, it occurs to me as I write this, I'm going over some old Hendrix classics I'd not heard in years. All thanks to Cone.

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Re/code

A “thinking” music player with some rough edges

from Re/code

I see Cone as a work in progress. It’s a fascinating new take on a music player, but I would only recommend shelling out $399 for one if you’re willing to spend a lot of time training it, and to put up with errant voice commands and a limited app.

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I see Cone as a work in progress. It’s a fascinating new take on a music player, but I would only recommend shelling out $399 for one if you’re willing to spend a lot of time training it, and to put up with errant voice commands and a limited app.

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Wall Street Journal

Tries to predict what you want to hear

from Wall Street Journal

Cone works best for people who already have Rdio accounts. They've already provided tons of valuable information about their tastes. It may support other streaming services in the future.

It can't yet take more open-ended commands like, "play something relaxing," or even "play classical music." It doesn't yet incorporate the tastes of two or more people at home who like different stuff, either. Cone has no way of knowing who is listening. Without an ability to differentiate, it fails the relationship test in real life...

More

Cone works best for people who already have Rdio accounts. They've already provided tons of valuable information about their tastes. It may support other streaming services in the future.

It can't yet take more open-ended commands like, "play something relaxing," or even "play classical music." It doesn't yet incorporate the tastes of two or more people at home who like different stuff, either. Cone has no way of knowing who is listening. Without an ability to differentiate, it fails the relationship test in real life.

I didn't previously use Rdio, so Cone and I started with a blank slate. Things seem to get off on the wrong foot after I allowed Cone to play several indie rock titles. It kept trying to play artists like Vampire Weekend to please me, but I'm more into Beyoncé.

To correct it, I'd turn the dial until something I liked came up. But sometimes I'd step away and it would bring back Mumford & Sons. 

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Gizmodo

A little speaker with some big ambitions

from Gizmodo

By designing Cone, the team at Aether basically took on a challenge that's been unsolved by two generations of scientists and engineers studying machine learning: The conundrum of whether a machine can truly learn to act like a human. This is an idea that goes all the way back to Alan Turing, whose eponymous Turing Test sought to find a machine that could imitate humans well enough to fool an actual human...

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By designing Cone, the team at Aether basically took on a challenge that's been unsolved by two generations of scientists and engineers studying machine learning: The conundrum of whether a machine can truly learn to act like a human. This is an idea that goes all the way back to Alan Turing, whose eponymous Turing Test sought to find a machine that could imitate humans well enough to fool an actual human.

Did Cone pass its proverbial Turing Test? Not for me: the difference between music I'd chosen and music Cone suggested was always clear. It's going to take a few more iterations before it will really feel like it's "thinking" rather than "guessing." But Aether seems to know that its first product is still a work in progress. Back in March, Lamb described his speaker to me as a piece of hardware that's designed to grow along with the software. It's a beautiful shell for a piece of programming that's still being developed.

If you're willing to take a leap of faith—and are steeped in Rdio already—I'd highly recommend buying a Cone and joining the Aether team on their journey into the future of machine learning. If you're not interested in participating in an experiment like that—for $400, no less!—this isn't the speaker for you.

Either way, it's been a long time since we've seen this kind of experimentation in consumer electronics. With Apple pulling back from introducing new products to focus on, well, other companies, and other tech giants focusing on refining existing product categories, it's exciting to see a company like Aether thinking so far into the future. Even if that future isn't quite here yet. 

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The Verge

A speaker that knows exactly what you want to hear next

from The Verge

The Cone is not meant to breathe new life into older hardware, like Google did with the Chromecast. And at $399, it's pricier than many small Bluetooth speakers. But it also does a lot more than your average Bluetooth speaker. Aether partnered with Nuance to add voice controls using a special center control that doubles as a big pause button: just hold your finger there for a few seconds, then say a song or artist to play it. The company also plans to let you specify a certain playlist from whatever music service you have it hooked up to...

More

The Cone is not meant to breathe new life into older hardware, like Google did with the Chromecast. And at $399, it's pricier than many small Bluetooth speakers. But it also does a lot more than your average Bluetooth speaker. Aether partnered with Nuance to add voice controls using a special center control that doubles as a big pause button: just hold your finger there for a few seconds, then say a song or artist to play it. The company also plans to let you specify a certain playlist from whatever music service you have it hooked up to.

Those extra features in the form of software updates are what make the Cone exciting in the same way that smartphones did just a few years ago. It's an unfinished product, but one that will keep getting new and improved features coming long after people buy it. That includes a feature that will be able identify multiple users by their phone's Bluetooth signature, or their voice. Another will let Cone owners connect it to other speakers, using it as a traditional receiver. Neither of these are promised to early adopters, but the Cone was designed with the future in mind. 

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Amazon.com Reviews Summary

59 from Amazon.com

59 Amazon.com shoppers shared a review for the Aether Cone. Ratings are middle of the road, averaging 3.1 out of 5 stars. See all Amazon.com customer reviews.

6.2/10

Amazon.co.uk Reviews Summary

7 from Amazon.co.uk

7 Amazon.co.uk shoppers shared a review for the Aether Cone. Ratings are generally positive, averaging 4.1 out of 5 stars. See all Amazon.co.uk customer reviews.

8.2/10

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