There’s never been a better time to be in the market for a new wireless speaker. Your options range from pricey multi-unit sound systems offered by companies like Sonos to cheap portable speakers that cost $50 or less. In the middle, you’ll find plenty of other interesting choices, including Amazon’s intelligent Echo and floating water-proof designs.
With all those options to choose from, you might think there’s not much else that can be done, but one Canadian company has set out to prove that there’s still plenty of room for improvement in the world of wireless speakers. Mass Fidelity’s first product, Core, launched an insanely successful crowd-funding campaign last year, raising over $1.5 million. Now, after hitting a few production hiccups, the first shipments are going out to early backers and regular online orders have opened up.
We had a chance to try one out.
There’s a lot to love about Core. It looks beautiful and sounds even better, but the speaker’s killer feature is probably its holographic sound. By applying cutting edge audio research, Mass Fidelity is able to project music across a room to a specific spot. Listen to the right song and it sounds like you have an entire speaker system, but all that sound is coming from a single device small enough to carry around in a backpack.
That stereo effect doesn’t always come. Only certain songs are recorded for stereo sound, and the conditions need to be optimal as well. You need the right sized room and the right recording, but when it does work the effect is almost magical.
Ignoring Core’s holographic sound technology for a minute, this is still a pretty amazing speaker. You can hear every note and every instrument. It’s powerful enough to fill my entire loft apartment, and when I brought it into my bedroom and closed the door the sound was just incredible. The design, which is inspired by the metal style of a vintage broadcasting microphone, is pretty nice too, and the build feels solid without being too heavy to carry comfortably in one hand.
The entire system works over Bluetooth, so there’s no need to download a special app or setup a network connection. Mass Fidelity also makes it easy to connect up to eight Core speakers at once. Just press the button, which looks like a square with an arrow pointing through it, and all your speakers will sync up automatically. You can also create up to four separate speaker networks using a hidden slider on the back of the device.
There’s just one catch—there always is. Core isn’t cheap. Each speaker costs $599, and that can add up quickly if you’re planning on setting up an entire system for your house or office. One speaker should be loud enough for most situations, but there’s no discount if you want to buy in bulk. Still, if you’re looking for a gift for the audiophile in your life who thinks they have everything, the Core might come as a happy surprise.