There are two ways of looking at the Duetto, one of the superb new music players from Como Audio, the Boston company set up by electronics pioneer Tom DeVesto after he sold his radio business Tivoli Audio last year.
I’ve been a fan of DeVesto’s distinctive brand of retro-styled innovation for years, and Como Audio’s USP is that it allows you to access most of the music content available today simply by touching buttons and turning knobs. The stereo Duetto (and its mono little brother Solo) stream Spotify Connect and internet radio, as well as playing DAB, DAB+ and FM radio, without the need for an external device, app (although there is a very good one available) or remote. You can set the six preset buttons to play, say, BBC Radio 6, a couple of internet stations, Spotify and so on, and click away merrily, switching seamlessly from one to the next. It also has a lovely colour screen to show album art big and bold, along with artist and song information, and it upgrades its software automatically as improvements and access to more streaming services are added. You can also easily rig up multiple Duettos and Solos into a multiroom system.
But as someone who thinks Spotify is for kids and multiroom for people who only like background music, my take on the simple, smart and intuitive Duetto is different (I actually prefer its more complicated mode, whereby you stream music to it from your computer, phone or tablet via Bluetooth aptX or a wired connection). My admiration is based on its superb-looking, Italian-designed cabinetry in outstanding finishes – walnut, hickory lacquered white and black – and its amazing hifi sound, thanks to 60-watt RMS Class D digital amplifiers, custom Digital Signal Processor and 3in, four‑layer voice coil woofers and 0.75in tweeters (a lot of the technology in Como Audio products, I should mention, is British, from London company Frontier Silicon).
Whether you look at it from my perspective (let me play ripped CDs on my Mac and leave Spotify to others) or from Tom DeVesto’s (a desire to channel all music through a high-quality, interior-friendly, wooden table-top machine), Como Duetto is for people who love music but hate following the Sonos/Bose mainstream. I like it a lot.