Wireless Speaker Review 2016 – Even though I have a good collection of headphones and earphones at home, I still appreciate good speakers in my devices to make traveling easier and sometimes with other people. There are times when using headphones is not practical, such as outside on the veranda when it is windy. I remember hearing my friend’s UE Boom for the first time and thinking, “Hey, that sounds pretty good.” This was especially true because the speaker was waterproof, wireless, and compact, all of which were associated with poor sound quality. I was impressed, but when he told me it cost 200 AUD, I was less impressed. Sure, it was a good, versatile speaker, but my $120 Edifier E25 was much, much better. It didn’t make sense from a value perspective at the time, but it certainly piqued my interest.
I put off Bluetooth speakers for a while, but came back to them a few years later when I bought an Ultrabook with speakers that filled out the sound of my Apple headphones. I’ve always felt that Logitech has established itself in the field of portable Bluetooth speakers with the UE Roll, Boom and Megaboom ranges. All compact wireless speakers with added waterproofing that earned their share of Editors’ Choice awards. This led me to purchase the UE Mini Boom, which I immediately hated. It got loud, but I didn’t need it, and a lot of online reviews were just outdated. The sound was too loud, too full and lacked detail or clarity. Add to this very high latency and this speaker just left a sour taste in the mouth.
Wireless Speaker Review 2016
Later I went to few retailers and tried UE Roll, JBL Flip 3, Soundlink Mini and many others. They were good, much better than the UE Mini Boom for sure, but they were also expensive and didn’t make any sense to me. Noted YouTuber ClavinetJunky had nothing but good things to say about the Envya Mini and his objective listening tests only backed this up, the speaker sounded great, I loved the design too. I decided to take a chance and buy the envaya mini based on its excellent online comparison tool (called ouvsgadgets). It cost me AUD 130 delivered, which is cheaper than the budget JBL Flip 3 and half the price of the high-end Bose SoundLink Mini. Although expectations were high, I’m happy to say that the Envoy Mini looks even better in person. It’s probably one of the most impressive pieces of audio engineering I’ve tested recently. Check out the design and audio sections below. Why
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I generally like my voice to be a bit V-shaped, but still close to neutral. I like a lot of detail and clarity, but I can appreciate a soft, relaxed sound like the X10. I prefer a neutral midrange within relatively tight tolerances, but I’m probably more forgiving of brightness than darkness. I’m not particularly sensitive to triplets and can tolerate large amounts without fatigue, although too much spoils the fun. If I use a different eartip/cushion/cover during the review, I will state that and describe the changes in sound.
The package comes with a very nice first-class, treasure chest-like box that feels very sturdy and protective. The speaker rises from under the cover and another flap below the speaker reveals the charging cable, a cute velvet pouch and papers.
I would have liked a softer bag, but the one that comes with it is still very comfortable; A slight purple shade makes it quite luxurious. It prevents nicks and scratches when the speaker is put in a bag or similar.
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The speaker does not come with a wall adapter, and Denon recommends using a charger that delivers no more than 5V and 2.4A. I’m not sure how smart the speaker’s charging circuit is, but some chargers that use higher amps and voltages (such as 5.1V:n chargers or 9v QC2.0 chargers), may not work well with the built-in cell. Some buyers have experienced battery issues, so it may be safer to use a 1a charger. In the last month I’ve had the speaker, I haven’t noticed any unusual heating or coil squealing while charging the speaker, even at a full 2.4 amps.
Here you can see that the speaker supports NFC and low latency Apt-X, a rare feature in portable speakers and computer speakers. Most modern smartphones and laptops support this codec to reduce quality loss over Bluetooth.
The speaker is impeccably built and feels surprisingly heavy in the hand (just over 500 grams). It looks great with a very well finished matte black metal grill that covers the entire bar like speaker. The grill is continuous without seams and the silver spots in the anodization create a feeling of quality. Laser-cut sound channels radiate from the Denon logo in the center, creating a nice wavy effect that allows the fabric underneath to peek through.
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It’s not as premium as the all-metal SoundLink Mini, but it’s also waterproof and more refined than the fabric panel on the UE Boom and JBL Flips. The speaker is also available in white with orange fabric underneath. It feels solid and very sturdy, the grill doesn’t flex at all.
The head is coated with very dense rubber, which increases drop protection and prevents scratching of metal. The rubber is particularly nice, it’s smooth and matte rather than grippy and sticky, but the speaker is still very easy to grip. As a result, it doesn’t attract dust as well as the UE speakers. The base has two soft feet that absorb vibrations very well. I couldn’t get the speakers to dance even at maximum volume. It’s a good size and smaller than the SoundLink Mini and UE Boom, fits comfortably in any bag and is right at home in a bottle holder. The speaker is not waterproof, but water resistant (ipx4), which means splash, not full submersion. You can wash it under the tap and take it in the shower if that’s your thing, but I wouldn’t throw it in the pool unlike the UE lineup.
The speaker is tilted slightly upwards and is suitable for near-field listening, such as on a computer, but it works well outdoors, for example, on the floor or a table. It is more stable than a vertical speaker.
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The speaker has a total of five buttons, arranged in a very minimalistic manner. Four buttons on decent control volume and power, but there’s also a play/pause button, which is a nice touch. There is only one button on the left side that activates the battery indicator light. It displays the remaining battery life in thirds and flashes green, orange and red when less than 30% is left. There is also a flap on the left side that covers the micro b port for charging and the 3.5mm line-in port. The flap is double grooved for extra sealing. Note that the speaker has a 100 volume level that works regardless of your device’s source volume. This very fine stepped control is great for accuracy and works well at home, but it’s actually too much for outdoors and it can take a long time to get accurate adjustments. The power used by the amplifier is directly related to the volume of the speaker, if the battery life is low, keep the speaker at about 50/100 and change the volume of the source, I get the claimed 8-10 hours at reasonable volume. .
I noticed that the internal amplifier produces a very slight hiss and high volume below 70/100. The hum is very strange, but the hiss is much softer on my Edifier e25 and UE Mini Boom. Overall, it’s barely noticeable unless you hold the speaker next to your ear or the room is quiet. The sound of the amplifier does not increase with volume, it is still very quiet even at maximum.
It is worth noting that the speaker supports NFC for easy pairing and Apt-X, which aims to provide wireless CD quality. In theory, it should have enough bandwidth for 320fps mp3 playback at 48khz, 16bit, as long as your device supports it. . When using Apt-X, the latency on the envaya mini is significantly lower than other speakers, but even though my laptop doesn’t support it, the latency is low enough for movies and youtube, lower than the UE mini boom.
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I don’t have a good enough microphone to reference how good this speaker sounds, but you can enter the UE Mini Boom and envaya Mini in the Oluv comparison tool: http://switcher.oluvsgadgets.net/. The difference is huge, and the sound itself is very impressive.
The speaker has a slight V-shaped signature, but overall it’s fairly balanced. It has the best end-to-end extension of any portable speaker, and by far the best soundstage and stereo separation. Coming from the capable UE Mini Boom and UE Boom 2, both of which have virtually none, the sound was very well placed. Danone must use some form of psychoacoustics to achieve this, as the sound seems to extend beyond the speaker body. But besides DSP, drivers are in a good place
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