MP300 Portable Multimedia 2.1 Speaker
Price: $80 MSRP in USA
“What’s that playing on the stereo, John,” asked Barbara, my hard-to-please spouse, from the kitchen. I was in the living room.
“How does it sound? I replied.
“Fine, why?” asked Barbara.
“Here, take a look,” I said.
“You mean your music isn’t coming from the big stereo over there” she said, walking into the living room.
“No, it’s from this compact high-tech speaker system that just arrived from Canada via UPS,” I said.
“Wait a minute, John. Those speakers are really small, good-looking, and loud. Are you sure they are making that great sound?” she asked.
“Positive,” I replied. “What do you want to hear while you’re preparing dinner?”
“Anything you choose,” she said, “because the music sounds better than how you normally have it either from that big stereo or those goofy iPod speakers you’re always playing around with.”
This review should end right now, with that punch line. But you deserve a little more information.
Edifier speakers are developed and engineered in Canada, and manufactured in China. This company makes the top-selling speakers in China, and plans to become well known throughout the world. You can learn about them and their complete lineup of products, and see photos of MP300 here.
MyMac.com is pleased to be first to review Edifier’s MP300 Multimedia Speaker system. It’s a satellites + subwoofer (or 2.1) combo unit that works with practically every computer, legacy iPod, boombox, and other music player in the world via a standard two-way 3.5mm stereo or earphone connection. Complete specs are at this URL.
MP300 arrives in a stylish, attractive, zippered case, with sleek silver microfiber exterior that has “Edifier” embedded into its center. Case interior is well padded with four foam cutouts that contain MP300’s components: subwoofer, satellite speakers, power module, and audio connection cable. I don’t know how many dollars or yen this splendid case costs to produce, but it is very snazzy and impressive, demonstrating to users and friends that Edifier is a classy company. One question: why not have a handle on the carrying case?
Once unpacked from its well-wrapped enclosure, MP300 can be set up and working in a minute or two, attached to your computer, iPod, or other player. Set the output volume on your source to its normal sweet spot, press both buttons on top of MP300’s right satellite speaker to switch on the unit, then press the right “louder” or left “quieter”button until audio volume is where you prefer. Adjust your equalizer setting to account for MP300’s potent bass response, and then enjoy your listening experience without any monkey business.
This multimedia speaker 2.1 system is semi-audiophile, meaning it sounds great for serious music listening but not world-class, which is quite a claim for an $80 list product. Gamers will appreciate MP300’s rich bass response and lack of distortion at peak volume levels.
The satellite units look like pip-squeak versions of the Apple speakers that were included with the G4 “lampshade” iMac. Audio quality from those Apple speakers was “pretty good, but not great,” to paraphrase most listeners, as opposed to “really good, Nemo!” which is what your response will be to Edifier’s MP300. New technologies allow smaller components to give better sound than you would ever expect them to have, Bose notwithstanding.
Detour: I have never been a fan of Bose’s overpriced audio products, including their small cube speakers. For the money, Edifier provides much better value and sound to my well-tuned ears. Your experience and attitude may be different, but I needed to get that off my chest.
MP300’s AC power module is well constructed, and its cable end fits snugly into the base of the subwoofer. This sleek, hefty cylindrical marvel has conical audio output at either end. It is a true subwoofer, not a power brick + low frequency speaker masquerading as one. All power is electrical, with no battery capability for truly portable audio.
Suggestions: In v.2 of MP300, Edifier should consider a rechargeable AA battery option, an iPod connector/charger, Bluetooth capability, plus slightly longer and more flexible cables for the powered model. Existing cables are not quite long enough for usage in some situations.
Muting and volume on/off/louder/softer are all accomplished from MP300’s two tiny buttons on top of one satellite speaker, which works fine. Speaker wires tuck into a groove inset into each round satellite speaker stand, giving these diminutive spheres much better positional stability than the aforementioned Apple speakers have. One subtle small blue triangle on the subwoofer’s front base indicates basic power functions.
With MacAlly’s IceTune and a large-component home audio system for comparisons, MP300 out sings the former and holds its own with the latter, especially when price and size are paramount. Using Bobby McFerrin’s incredible vocals to test each unit demonstrates Edifier’s attention to balanced frequency response:
spacious, natural, full tonal range, without distortion at high volume
sensitivity to different equalizer settings for preferred listening experience
plenty loud at top volume, to fill an apartment or small house and annoy the neighbors, when desired.
I confirmed my initial response by listening to jazz, classical, pop, rock, and musicals during the ongoing evaluation period. This was a very enjoyable experience for my family plus visitors and music students, who all agree with my high regard for MP300’s good looks and performance.
Edifier provides a detailed printed User’s Manual in English and French, complete with troubleshooting guide and hints “to optimize the sound quality from your system.”
This product will be available in USA and Mexico soon, sold by Radio Shack. In Canada, it is available directly from Edifier.
MP300 is a fine multimedia speaker that deserves our almost-highest rating of 4.5 out of 5. We hope to have the opportunity to evaluate more products from a company that takes seriously their quality of design and performance. An “iPod white” model will be available in the United States and a “hockey puck black” version will be sold in Canada, according to company spokesman. Details are posted on the Edifier web site.