Cambridge Audio Topaz AM5 with Q Acoustics 3020i, MEATER, Pelican coolers are better than Yeti for less money (Week 37, 2019)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 37, 2019

Q. When I read about the $299 Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers I inferred that the 25 watt Cambridge Audio AM5 amplifier is adequate for them. Then I saw that the speakers require 50 watts at a minimum. Did I misinterpret that?

-M.S., Concord, CA

A. The Q Acoustics 3020i speakers are recommended for use with amplifiers 25 watts per channel and up. The AM5 amplifier is 25 watts into 8 ohms and the 3020i speakers are 6 ohms, which means the amplifier will produce more than 25 watts with them. You will be fine.

Tech for the outdoor chef: I am an avid outdoor cook and tested a lot of useful gadgets last summer. Here are my favorites, just in time for tailgating season.

MEATER wireless meat thermometers have impressed me since I started using them last year, with their ease of use, accuracy, ability to read both ambient and internal temperature from a single probe and the functionality of the well-designed app. The new MEATER Block is the ultimate expression of the MEATER concept, with four MEATER probes mounted in a small wooden block that serves as both charger and control center. You can even use the MEATER Block probes without a smartphone and control and monitor your cooks on its small but sharp OLED display. The MEATER Block is $229, and while not inexpensive it is a good deal given all it offers.

You can use your MEATER probes in the $229 GoSun Sport Pro Solar Oven. It is easy to use and can achieve temperatures between 200 and 550 degrees even on cloudy days, though your time to temperature and cook times will be longer with less sun. The cookbox design retains moisture and flavor and the product has a cult following, especially among campers.

Need to keep that food you cooked hot or cold? If you have craved the performance of a Yeti cooler but the high prices leave you chilled, Pelican has the answer for you. Made in the USA in an ecologically-friendly factory, Pelican coolers are something of an open secret that is finally coming to greater public awareness. Pelican’s Elite series coolers provide equivalent (some YouTube reviewers say better) performance when compared to Yeti, along with a superior latching system and commercial-tough construction that is backed by a lifetime warranty. Despite these competitive advantages they typically sell for less than comparable Yeti models.

I have a $149.95 Pelican 20QT Elite and love the looks (many color combos are available,) sturdiness and its impressive ability to keep things hot or cold. I was able to keep ice in it for over a week, which ranks in the top tier of performance and certainly good enough for me. Through the end of September you can use the code SEPT15 on to save 15%, which brings the price of the 20QT Elite down to $127.46. Compare that to the $199.99 price of the Yeti equivalent and you can easily see the value, especially with the better latch system and lifetime warranty. The 15% discount code applies to everything on the Pelican website but phone cases, so now is the time to score a great deal on a great cooler made here in America.

Sbode earphone clearance: The $23.95 Sbode Wireless Sport Earbuds have been a very popular recommendation over the past 18 months. Over 90% of reader feedback was positive, as purchasers praised their sound quality, comfort and value. The earphones are now discontinued and on clearance at for only $14.99 each. Even if you own high-end earphones, they make great backup earphones for your gym bag or briefcase.