Building on the success of Panasonic's SC-All3 speaker, the All6 takes Panasonic's multiroom audio system to the next level. Armed with four drivers and a total RMS output of 40W, the new speaker offers refined sound quality and a wider range of features than its predecessor, in a box that takes up no more room on your shelf or desktop.
Unlike the Panasonic's All05, which I reviewed recently, the All6 is neither waterproof nor portable, so you'll need to keep it tethered to the mains and far away from any accidental spills. It does, however, have a 3.5mm stereo input, allowing you to connect other devices to the All6 such as external music players. I also much prefer the matte finish of the touch control panel on top of the speaker. It looks smarter than the All05's glossy finish panel and picks up greasy fingerprints far less readily.
In some ways, the All6 falls short of the All05. You only get two internet radio shortcuts rather than six, and the number of on-speaker controls is limited to volume. This isn't much of a problem when you've got your phone and Panasonic's Music Streaming app to hand, but it does mean other listeners can't simply get up and change the track whenever they want.
One of the All6's main advantages, however, is that it can be used as a rear speaker in conjunction with Panasonic's SC-All70 soundbar, allowing you to bulk out your home cinema setup with wireless surround sound with a touch of the Rear button. Up to two All6 speakers can be used in this setup as well, and they can be positioned either horizontally or vertically, giving you plenty of options depending on the size and shape of your room.
As a general multiroom speaker, though, the All6 functions in much the same way as the All05. With Panasonic's Music Streaming app at your disposal, you can browse and queue songs from your smartphone, reorder tracks, or listen to music from other streaming services such as Spotify (if you're a Premium user, that is - otherwise you'll be restricted to lower-quality Bluetooth streaming), Napster, AllPlay Radio or Aupeo Personal Radio. You'll need to download Qualcomm's AllPlay Radio app to set the two radio shortcuts on the speaker itself, but listening to it through Panasonic's Music Streaming app means you can switch to other stations without overwriting your current presets – read our All05 review to find out how to set them up.
You can also use the app to rename the speakers in your system to something more memorable, such as "Living Room" or "Kitchen", and grouping speakers together is incredibly easy. Just tap the speaker icon in the top left corner of the app and drag, and you'll see a complete list of all the compatible speakers in your home. Then, just drag-and-drop them together and you'll be able to play music through both simultaneously. Even better, you can control the volume of each speaker independently, which is handy if you need to take a phone call but don't want to cut the music elsewhere in the house.
^ Grouping the All6 with other multiroom speakers could be easier. All you need to do is drag and drop. You can also adjust the volume of each speaker independently, too
As for sound quality, the All6 excels in every genre. With its warm, full-bodied soundscape, everything from pop and rock to classical sounds superb. Film soundtracks have plenty of impact as well, as there was clear separation to be heard between every single instrument. How to Train Your Dragon 2 sounded wonderfully light and deft, while the bass-heavy Batman Vs Superman score managed to pound through the floor without ever becoming too overwhelming.
It certainly strikes a much better balance between the bass, mids and trebles than the All05, and at no point did it ever sound like the mids and trebles were struggling to be heard against the bass. Voices also rang through loud and clear, and even more artificial-sounding vocals such as The Black Keys' "Lonely Boy" had a sense of clarity to them that just wasn't present on the All05. The All6 also has plenty of volume, too, and will easily fill a medium-sized living room without struggling.
It might be small, but the All6 is a mighty multiroom speaker that could easily sit at the heart of your living room as your main music listening device. Throw in radio presets and the ability to pull double duty as a rear surround speaker and the All6 has plenty of practical applications.
Admittedly, it does have a few noticeable omissions compared to other speakers around this price range. There's no AirPlay support, for starters, and it can't do 360-degree sound like Samsung's R3 or Libratone's Zipp speakers. Then there's Philips' Izzy BM50 to consider, which throws in a CD player and FM radio as well at a much lower price.
If none of this matters to you, though, then you certainly won't be disappointed with the All6. It's a great speaker to start building your multiroom audio system with, and its superb sound quality hits all the right notes regardless of musical preference. Its lack of competitive features means it just misses out on a Best Buy award, but it still comes highly recommended.
£192.00 Buy now
Drivers: 4, RMS power output: 40W, Dock connector: None, Wireless: Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11a, Dimensions: 248x131x155mm, Weight: 2.5kg,