Shortages on popular products during the pandemic, Tribit Audio StormBox Micro speaker (Week 52, 2020)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 52, 2020

Q. The new TCL 75″ 6-Series QLED television is on my wishlist but appears to be sold out. Is it common for TV makers to replenish inventory at this time of year?

-D.H., Minnetonka, MN

Q. I read your recent column about high quality $300 bookshelf speakers compared to vintage high-end speakers and decided to buy the Q Acoustics 3020i. Unfortunately they are completely out of stock. I really like this speaker in the white finish and it is the one I prefer to buy. What do you think I should do?

-K.J., San Mateo, CA

A. This is just scratching the surface of emails I recently received from disappointed shoppers. As I said weeks ago, the pandemic is having a massive effect on product availability and if you are shopping for something and find it, don’t wait.

I contacted both TCL and Q Acoustics on behalf of these readers. TCL replied, “We are aware of the limited inventory and are working diligently to get our TVs back on shelves and in customer’s homes.”

The 75-inch 2020 TCL 6-Series is rather unique, offering both QLED and mini-LED technology for only $1,399. It is available in some parts of the country but unfortunately not within 250 miles of your ZIP Code. I think your best bet is to wait or splurge for the 75-inch TCL 8-Series, an even better TV on sale for $1,999.

Q Acoustics said, “Yes, we’re sold out of the 3020i and very, very low on 3030i stock. We are not expecting stock until January.”

The Q Acoustics 3030i bookshelf speakers mentioned above are slightly larger than the 3020i and sound very similar, but with deeper bass and a somewhat punchier character. They are $399 per pair and still available in the white finish you prefer. The upgrade is worth it if you don’t mind spending a bit more, but the 3020i will be available relatively soon if you prefer to wait.

Another good option for those who don’t need a white finish is the Polk Audio Signature S20, now on sale for $279. It is in stock at in both the Classic Brown Walnut and Washed Black Walnut finishes, with free shipping and a 60 day return period. The Signature S20 is a another very fine $300 speaker and I have a detailed review of it on my website.

Tribit StormBox Micro: Ever since I first heard the StormBox Micro I have been anxious to tell readers about it. It arrived a little too late to include my gift guide but I am going to make up for it here.

The $49.99 StormBox Micro is a small, ultra-rugged, dust and waterproof Bluetooth speaker. It radiates upwards and spreads sound through the room about as effectively as an omnidirectional speaker, and the sound it produces is very good indeed! It has everything I look for when evaluating speakers, including very clear definition, accurate and rich tone, and freedom from distortion. It has fast USB-C charging, a 100-foot Bluetooth range and can be paired with another StormBox Micro for stereo sound.

What really put it over the top is the integrated mounting strap that makes it perfect for attaching to belts, backpack straps and bicycle handlebars. I’m sure clever readers can come up with other ways to take the StormBox Micro on their action-packed adventures.

Until December 31 you can use the code BTS10DEC to save 20% at, bringing the cost under $40 and making a good deal even better. Highly recommended!