A few years ago, while wandering the men’s floor at the glitzy Club Monaco flagship on Fifth Avenue, I happened upon a tiny collapsible stereo about the size of a paperback. Little did I know that this gadget, displayed along with many other “third party” items amidst the menswear, would come to play a nearly essential role in my life.
With an impending beach trip coming up, I thought it a good idea to buy it, in case my trip turned into a stereotypical teen-movie beach scene and we needed some “cool jams.” (It didn’t.)
That stereo never made it to the beach. In fact, it never really made it out of my room. More specifically, my bathroom. I’d long championed the benefits of music to shower to, but had pretty much resigned myself to carefully placing my iPhone in the bowl of my sink. Needless to say, the sound quality and volume in a porcelain sink (whether in a hotel room or a studio in Manhattan) is lacking. But perched atop my toilet, the pint-size stereo brought my morning grooming routine to new heights. It’s like the difference between hearing the reverb from a concert and sitting in the fourth row — the booms are thumpier, the highs are clearer, and I somehow hear notes in songs that I’d apparently been missing for years. To be clear, it’s not one of those SkyMall-esque gadgets you actually bring into the shower — it’s just sleek enough to seamlessly work into any bathroom. If you have a specific playlist in mind, the bluetooth will sync to your phone, but if you’re more old school and prefer the radio in the morning, it does that, too.
Trust me when I tell you that a perfectly chosen playlist sets a person’s day off on an ultimately better foot whether you’re at home or on vacation (it’s small enough to travel with you into hotel and Airbnb bathrooms, you see). In fact, the whole thing is designed with the nerdiest of aesthetes in mind, drawing inspiration from retro travel clocks, except that it happens to deliver enough bass to rattle your neighbors. And remember, it’s more than a stereo you’re getting — it’s infinitely better mornings.
Geneva XS Sound System ($179)
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