Pros: Sound quality, design, separation
Cons: Wired only (3.5mm), No Bluetooth, powered
** What's Good about it? **
* Sound quality is really shockingly good - probably the best speaker at this price point I’ve ever reviewed
* Voice quality (for example listening to the radio) is amazingly clear.
* Separation from the two satellite speakers is impressive
* Beautiful design - mine came in a beautiful iridescent turquoise blue colour. Stunning.
** What you need to be aware of **
* Input is entirely by 3.5mm cable - no bluetooth connection available
* These speakers are powered - no rechargeable battery - this is no bluetooth speaker replacement
**What's it like? **
I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical at first when asked to review this speaker system. In a world full of high quality bluetooth speakers, a powered, cabled, desk based speaker just didn’t make sense - until I tested it, and found the sound quality was just amazing.
Opening up the plain cardboard packaging reveals a pair of tiny (2.5 inches diameter) little satellite speakers with a black “fencing style” metal cage across the front, and a matching blue sheen finish on the rear. Each are connected by a 20 inch cable to the main unit, the 15W sub-woofer which means you can space them out to give a full stereo affect.
The sub-woofer unit appears like an 11 inch long stylish cylinder with a 2 inch diameter standing upon a two inch high step. Overall appearance is just cool. Beautifully designed, and well deserving of the “Red Dot” design award - and that’s before you even switch it on.
Plug in the supplied wall transformer, and connect your smartphone or tablet via the 3.5mm cable, and the sound this thing produces is just superb.
Firstly, I’m no audiophile and these are the opinions of a "layman", so I'll avoid any reference to frequency modulation, bright mid-range or harsh treble, but this device really is quite outstandingly good.
As an opening gambit (and if you have Spotify or a similar streaming music service I’d advise you try this also), I played the song “Hold On” by “Amber Rubarth”. Not because I love the song, but as a top end speaker test there’s little to touch it. This is a “binaural” recording, made with just one pair of microphones placed where the ears would be in a dummy, human-size head, and the effect is perfectly demonstrated here. The deep resonating sound of the cello in the right speaker with a reply in left from a flute is just superb. Equally the next track “Good Mystery” clearly shows the superb clarity and separation.
The opening bars of "Love Lockdown" by Kanye West is a pure bass thump, and was just wonderful to hear. I also played the instrumental opening of "Teardrop" by Massive Attack. There's terrific "thump" without it being at all muffled, and out of the surrounding instruments, Shara Nelson's voice comes like a crystal knife cutting through water. The equally thumping rock acoustics of "Supermassive Black Hole" by Muse sound great, and show how these perform with rock music, and I loved listening to “Paradise Circus” by Massive Attack which has a wonderful combination of clipped percussive clapping and backing music with the smooth haunting vocals of Hope Sandoval, the lead singer.
Overall, it’s fair to say I was somewhere between impressed and blown away by the sound quality of this device. Just superb.
The only down side of this speaker is the sound output produced. If there was a little more volume, you could almost get away with this as a shelf based HIFI unit, but it’s certainly fantastic as a speaker system for a PC or laptop. Perhaps in a bedroom or small study this would even pass as your music station.
Amazing sound quality from a beautifully designed device.