Urbanears is a fine mid-to-upmarket audio company. This, the oddly named Stammen, is its first wireless speaker. It packs a pleasing audio punch and has nice, rotary controls, but its USP is that, especially in this orange finish, the Stammen looks absolutely superb.
Even the mains lead and plug are meticulously finished in the same orange – such a great touch. But the solid, fabric-covered and substantially built Stammen looks arrestingly lovely across the board. It sounds best with original recordings that aren’t quite the tops – I really enjoyed it with the playlist of Colombian cumbias, boleros and salsas Tidal has put together under its Soundtracking banner from the brilliant Netflix series Narcos. With the tracks playing, there was a nice, naïve quality, and I had a sense of being in a café in Bogotá and feeling surprised at how decent the sound box up on the sagging shelf was.
The Stammen sounds best from a little way back – bright and lively. There are techie complaints that its app is poor and you can’t easily daisy-chain the speaker, Sonos-style. But really, who’s going to? If you were doing the multiroom thing, you’d use a serious piece of kit – in my case probably the concrete-cast Master & Dynamic MA770.
Stammen is a good-humoured device that made me smile and looks fantastic in a kitchen or stylish office.