Cambridge Audio Yoyo M Bluetooth speakers
 
Yoyos in stereo
 
With many Bluetooth speakers, you can purchase a second one and pair them together to deliver music in stereo. Yes, stereo! — the two channels of music we’ve been using since, well, let’s date it to when The Beatles first gave a toss about an album’s stereo mix, and say 1968, with The White Album
 
Established as you might imagine stereo therefore to be, many Bluetooth speakers released in recent years are mono; the smaller they are, the more likely this is. Even when you can pair two units together for stereo, it often feels like this is an afterthought — the single speaker is the main thing, with the pairing information relegated to a rear chapter of an online manual that nobody reads. After all, you’ll need two of them, so it’s double the price. It’s not likely to be twice as good is it?
 
Actually yes, it might well be. It might even be thrice as good, greater than the sum of its parts, given that you benefit from your brain being duped into a sense of spatial reality that clearly isn’t available from mono.
 
So, the first thing notably different about Cambridge Audio’s new Yoyo M Bluetooth offering is that it’s designed as a stereo pair from the outset. Makes a difference? Yes it does, and potentially saves you money too.
 
 
Equipment
So we have for review a pack containing two Yoyo ‘M’ models, the middle size in a new range of three. They stand a little over 20cm in height, shaped as vertical cylinders with a Reuleaux (curved) square top 12cm across, on which are touch controls. 
 
The two speakers are not identical — one has a Cambridge circle logo bottom right to indicate its status as the right and master speaker. But the controls are on both speakers, presumably for convenience, and the two units talk to each other by some unspecified form of wireless connection.
 
Cambridge Audio Yoyo M
 
The top controls are, from left to right, a speakerphone button, Bluetooth pairing, a source selector, volume down, volume up, and power. But there’s another trick — gesture control. Swipe left in the air over either speaker to pause a track, right to restart it, or right for next track. Apart from needing a bit of space around the speaker (it’s tricky in a corner), this system works admirably. 
 
There’s no cable between the two speakers, which cuts the mess, though of course it means that each needs its own power connection, with two sizeable power adaptors to fit in. Interestingly each speaker has its own minijack auxiliary input, and also a USB slot for charging a smart device, while it’s playing if required. We imagine the majority of users will stream to the speakers via Bluetooth.
 
And of course we must mention their stylish swaddling clothes, the whole Yoyo range being swathed in woven worsted wool, as noted by a badge on the back. “Woven in Yorkshire”, it says, “by Marton Mills”. Disappointingly Marton is not, as we hoped, an old Yorkshire lass plying one of England’s last remaining foot-treddles, but rather a quality textile manufacturer (located in Wharfedale, of all places) where they weave kilts, school attire, military uniforms, and now a fetching fabric cover for the Yoyo range, available in dark grey, light grey, blue and green (more aquamarine judging from the swatches). The worsted wool is treated to repel dirt, water and unnecessary wear and tear, within reason. Nearly everyone who saw the Yoyo Ms liked the styling, except the ever-controversial missus, who proclaimed the weave to remind her of underwear.
 
Cambridge Audio Yoyo M
 
Performance
Bluetooth connection worked flawlessly, and we were soon playing our tunes to the two Ms, listening in a typical desk scenario. Our first impressions were of a well-balanced stereo system with proper hi-fi qualities, but delivered at a smaller scale than a full hi-fi might provide. So at light listening levels, the bass pedal that opens Fleetwood Mac’s The Chain (streaming from Tidal) had no depth to it, but it did have speed and shape, like a full-sized bass pedal but scaled down. We turned up the speakers and re-ran the track. Oh! Now it had real weight and solidity, and with the intro-ending cowbell given an audibly wide acoustic. Impressive stuff from speakers so small, though we couldn’t run the whole song at this level — the denser chorus had things hitting the endstops, and the vocals edging up to shoutiness. Back a stop or two, then, and we enjoyed as well-presented a desktop image as you might hope for from this size and price of speaker; top work. We found ourselves toeing them in slightly like real hi-fi speakers, and also that their sound is at its very best if the speakers are at ear height, so a bookshelf just above your desk will yield even better sound than having them down on the desk. 
 
The voices and horns opening the album version of Beyonce’s Daddy Lessons were beautifully soundstaged with depth and width of acoustic, while the bass entry showed the Ms’ delight in delivering modern bass content, backed here by the kick drum and going down well to the bottom G of the bass, then near disappearing by the F.   
 
There was some sense of real staging depth too — Blur’s Parklife was given a lively driving background with a miniature Damon Albarn there singing the backline and Phil Daniel’s narration well pointed and thrust forward. Chick Corea’s Australia piano concerto was delightfully delivered, both the piano tone and the dynamics of the instrumentation, complete with its rather tense emotional underpinning. 
 
For the most part operation was entirely intuitive and straightforward, with only a couple of quirks in evidence. Volume control from our iPhone was just a little odd — the right speaker dropped or rose a moment before the left, so the stereo image collapsed momentarily with every notch, a bit unmusical and disconcerting. And whenever we selected a new track or swiped for the next track, the left speaker tended to drop out for a short moment at the end of the current track and the beginning of the next. 
 
On the other hand Cambridge has achieved something we’ve never previously seen on a Bluetooth speaker — when you reach the maximum volume on your smart device, that is actually the maximum volume of the speaker. With every other Bluetooth speaker in the world there’s an extra 20% or so available by going over to the speaker and using the manual controls. This is so universal we’d always assumed it was an inherent limitation of Bluetooth transmission, so kudos for Cambridge for fixing it.
 
A warning — they auto power down far too quickly when on mains power; experimentation showed this to happen after a mere 10 minutes — fair enough when on battery power perhaps, but downright inconvenient if you have them plugged in. We would pause Bluetooth streaming for a chat with the missus, and would have liked to simply resume afterwards, but the Cambridges had always turned off, and didn’t awake when we tried to reconnect. Instead we had to go over and manually power up the right speaker, re-pair our device and continue. Worse, the left speaker didn’t come on automatically, so we had to manually power that up too. A user setting or longer mains-powered setting, and/or the ability to power up from a connection request would be preferable. Cambridge tells us “the maximum allowed APD time by regulations is 20 minutes anyway”, but assuming they’re referring to the 2013 European ‘Standby and off mode’ legislation, there’s a get-out clause there of “unless inappropriate for the intended use.” We think it is inappropriate here; it is certainly annoying.
 
There’s one more key trick here, of course — portability. Once charged up, you can move them wherever you like and enjoy a promise of 24 hours battery life — impressive given the wireless connections in use here. The sonics seems entirely unchanged when running from their internal batteries. 
 
Conclusion
The goal here is ease of operation combined with sound quality, and Cambridge Audio has achieved both with style. The sound is like a real hi-fi system rendered smaller, while the wool-wrapped cylinders are easy to control by swiping, pressing their buttons or, more likely for most users, from your smart device of choice. With these Ms a great choice for a price-competitive and enjoyable quality of sound for desktops and smaller rooms, we look forward to hearing the L! 
 
 
Cambridge Audio Yoyo M Bluetooth speakers 
Price: $599
 
+   Nice balance and true stereo
+   Rechargeable & portable
+   Can reach max volume from smart device control
 
-  Uneven volume changes
- 10-minute auto power-down even on mains power
- Two big power adaptors
 
Inputs/outputs: Bluetooth, 2 x analogue stereo in (minijack), 2 x USB-A (5V charging only), 
internal microphone (for speakerphone operation)
Bluetooth codecs: SBC only
Drivers: 2 x ~35mm ‘full-range’, 2 x ~65mm woofer
Quoted playback on batteries: 24 hours 
Dimensions (whd): 125 x 204 x 125mm
Weight: 1.5kg each
Warranty: Two years