4th August 2020 – Written by Nick Rowe @ Technuovo.com
Edifier has another new speaker, the MS50A, and their marketing it as a wireless smart speaker and I believe it’s their top-of-the-line speaker within that wireless range. It looks pretty cool, let’s take a look.
Out of the box, it’s a little bit bigger than I was expecting. At 22cm high, and then 15 x 15, plus 2.25kg in weight, it’s a two-handed job to pick the speaker up. It looks very well built, it’s got that premium feel to it. At the top of the speaker, are the controls and they’ve done a great job with these. A single central push button for power on/off and then around the outside some touch controls. The area is circular, with small dots all the way around and that is your volume control. Spin your finger around that central button, clockwise for volume up, counterclockwise for volume down. Then at 12, 3, 6 and 9 o clock, the source select, change track, and play/pause.
To the front of the speaker, is a non-removable grey mesh grille, with walnut wood wrapped around the remaining sides. To the bottom, 5 rubber feet so the speaker sits nicely on your table plus a cutout and input for the power cable, which provides really tidy cable management. There are no inputs or outputs, this is fully wireless, and you cannot plug in a record player or another device that requires a cabled connection.
As for specification and features, there is a single 4inch/25watt mid-bass driver, plus a 19mm silk 15watt tweeter. Frequency response of 52Hz to 18kHz, Wi-Fi connections for both 2.4 and 5GHz networks, and it’s got Bluetooth 5.0. It’s also wireless, so you can connect it to your home network and use third-party apps, as well as combining two together for a stereo set-up or add the speaker into a multi-room, multi-speaker setup. It’s compatible with Apple Airpay, Alexa, Tidal and Spotify connect. Tidal, that caught my attention and Edifier is saying this speaker will be able to play upto 24bit/192khz audio through Tidal connect BUT that’s coming, it’s not available yet and is due Q3 2022, so I’d expect a firmware update maybe October time which would be good and I hope they can deliver that.
Set up was very straightforward and all through the Edifier Home app on your smartphone. It’s just a matter of connecting the speaker to your network and away you go. If you’re pairing two, you need to make sure they’re both of the same network band i.e.both on 2.4Ghz. The app is limited, it doesn’t offer much other than control of the speaker, and the ability to pair it with another, and connect to Alexa. There isn’t any info on firmware but that’s got to be there somewhere if they’re pushing this Tidal update out. There are now EQ options either which is a bit of a shame, it would have been great to adjust the EQ to suit the genre of music being listened to but perhaps that might come in time.
All things considered, the price, the spec, the size, I’m really impressed with the performance of the MS50A. Bass was a concern but that 4inch driver is more than capable to offer a good low end and a nice thud on your desk. Mids and highs are equally as good and they marry up nicely. I used the speaker at low to mid volumes which I think it’s where it’s best suited. It can go quite loud but at the very top end, I do feel the quality drops off a little bit and becomes less enjoyable. This is a single speaker, front-firing, so you need to bare that in mind when positioning the speaker as it’s very directional. Pairing two together will help that and offer a really nice sound for your space but you end up spending double the amount of money.
So this can be linked with Alexa but there is no microphone built into the speaker, so you can’t just say ‘Alexa, play Spotify’, it doesn’t work BUT you can pair the speaker with another, like an echo dot, that has the microphone built-in and then if you said a command, like play music, that music would play through both speakers. Likewise an Apple Homepod, you can control them with your voice in a similar way.
The touch controls work very well, fairly responsive although there is a slight delay with the volume control and initially I was turning the volume up way too high by mistake.
With a retail price of £129.99, this is a fair bit cheaper than something like the Apple Homepod or the Echo Studio, when we compare it to other wireless speakers that can be integrated into your home. On the other side, compared to a Bluetooth speaker, you could say this is on the higher end when compared to others. Being somewhere in the middle is about right I reckon. This is a quality wireless speaker, including smart home integration, it sounds good and it looks good on my sideboard.
For more info and to purchase, head over to the official Edifier website.