When I look at the design of Solis’s SO-7000 wireless speaker, it comes across as strikingly traditional compared to lots of other wireless speakers out there. It’s a simple box with a simple design – no trapezoids, batteries, or weatherproofing complicating things. It’s also speaker-sized. So it should – with it’s big, classic design, offer big, classic sound, right? At $299, it’d sure better. Let’s dive into the 7000 and see whether it lives up to that promise.
Design & Setup
A lot of speakers we look at these days are beefy weatherized things. They’re meant to be dropped into a backpack and set out by the pool. Definitely don’t set this one by the pool.
The look and feel of the SO-7000 is very traditional. It’s a beast of a black cube, measuring 7.9-inches in every direction. It features black fabric screens over the speakers and glossy black surfaces everywhere else. It looks more like a speaker than most speakers, with a spartan look that won’t be confused for anything but a speaker.
The button and input loadout is similarly straight forward. Along the top are volume, power, play/pause, and Bluetooth connection buttons, and the back features an aux-in jack if wireless connectivity just isn’t cutting it.
You can connect it via Bluetooth 2.0, Chromecast, or that auxiliary input on the back, and connecting in any case is as simple as you’d hope for with a wireless speaker.
The only wire the speaker requires is the power cable, as all pairing is done wirelessly (a change from Denon’s HEOS 1 speaker). There isn’t a battery to plug in or charge, either. This is a home-bound wireless speaker. The power cable, though, is a clunky one. Right in the middle of the cable is a bulky power brick with a bright green LED on the side. If you have a particularly persnickety cable config, the SO-7000 could prove tough to integrate. That’s a pretty minor gripe, and it does show that the company is trying to put audio quality over simplicity of design.
With such a simple design, it’s easy to move onto the way the speaker sounds. The SO-7000 speakers have one of the more interesting sound signatures I’ve run across recently. When I sit down with a pair of headphones or a new speaker, it can often be tough to identify what makes that piece of audio equipment worth picking up over other similar gear – what it is about it that stands out.
With the SO-7000, it hit me almost immediately. This thing amplifies vocals like crazy.
No matter what music I plugged into the device, whether it was Metallica, the Fugees, Yes, Kyuss, or whatever else, I almost immediately noticed that the speaker puts significant emphasis on the vocal part of every track played on it.
That isn’t a bad thing on its own. Vocal-first artists like Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande – where the singer’s voice is the most important part of the show – are going to sound great on the SO-7000. And as someone who listens to probably too many podcasts, I appreciate that it does a great job of throwing voices.
If you’re as interested in the instruments as the vocals, though, you might find the SO-7000 to be a bit lacking. Instruments take a back seat to vocals and instrument separation isn’t very good. The bass can overpower the other lows, and it starts to distort at higher get-in-trouble-with-your-neighbors volumes. The highest highs are also a little brighter than I like to hear. Metallica tracks like “Of Wolf and Man” and “Wherever I May Roam” sound strange on the SO-7000 because of that de-emphasized instrumentation. The rad bass line in Yes ‘Roundabout’ and the surf guitar in Dick Dale’s ‘Misrlou’ are missing that special something that makes them the legends they are.
The SO-7000 gives a solid offering as a classically-designed speaker that can blend into any room and get loud enough to fill it. Those with a keen ear for music will want to think twice about this one, though. At this price, the speaker should be able to do everything. It gets close, but comes up a little short.
Disclaimer: We received a temporary review unit from the manufacturer and spent a couple weeks listening to it daily before writing this review.
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