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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Review: Bowers & Wilkins T7 - premium sound at a premium price?



Just when I wanted to calm down a little bit after all those reviews and comparisons I had done lately the British well known premium company B&W unexpectedly announced their first portable Bluetooth speaker, the T7. Of course the specs and given data was looking pretty promising and with 349$/€ the T7 was priced above the current competition like the Bose Soundlink III, the Infinity One, or even the Beats Pill XL, which all cost around 299$ (the Infinity One just got a price drop down to 249$, which makes it even more competitive now price went up again) thus putting the T7 on top of all the rest.
I became quite curious to try out this speaker and hear if a serious company like Bowers & Wilkins managed something really outstanding. Meanwhile I got the T7 and put it through some tests and measurements, so let's have a look if the T7 was really worth the long wait to finally get a portable speaker that stands out of the crowd.


The speaker comes inside a nice small box. With exception of the speaker and the power adaptor (15V 2A) together with some additional international plugs, there are no other accessories included. Not really generous for a product costing considerably more than all the competition, as they could have included some carrying bag, or at least some simple cleaning cloth to keep the treasure clean.
Designwise the B&W T7 definitely tries to set itself apart with some yet unseen design-element: "the Micro Matrix".


B&W states quite proudly that this structure is vital for the good performance of this speaker because it provides rigidity and reduces unwanted vibrations while keeping weight to the minimum. To me this rather seems like some simple marketing blah. It just looks like wasted space surrounding the actual speaker-box. The size of the speaker could be certainly kept down if the whole honeycomb structure was just left away. The real speaker element is a closed box inside that sticks out of another empty box contaning the Micro Matrix, and I don't see any purpose for it. I think they just wanted to make it look funky, as it shines in a funky way when put against a light source, for me it rather resembles some design element taken out of a 70s Scifi movie, it might even have something baroque to it with a bit fantasy. To cut it short, the design is not my thing, and although build quality is top notch, it doesn't look too sturdy for real portable use. The speaker has sharp edges all over, the transparent plastic surrounding the Micro Matrix is shiny and prone to scratches, the metal grille at the front and back is exposed, and if the speaker falls over, the grille will be the first part to get scratched. The only clever choice was to use rubber for some small part of the speaker. Indeed there was much fuss about the rubber element and how important that was either for keeping vibration down. In reality most speakers with passive radiators apply some kind of rubber to the bottom to avoid any rattling etc. So I am not quite sure why B&W's rubber should be exceptional compared to other rubbers.


Enough ranting, let's talk about the user interface and the features of the T7. All buttons are hidden below the above mentioned "special" rubber. They are not really well visible as they are just slightly elevated symbols with the same black color as the entire rest of the rubber, as this rubber is so special and unique, it comes only in black, therefore no other color-options are available for the speaker, just pure elegant black.
On the right side of the speaker is the main power button. When I unpacked the speaker it didn't want to turn on by any means. I had to attach it to mains first, to get it come to life. There seems to be a similar protective circuit inside like on many similar Bose-speakers which deactivates the internal battery after a particular time of non-usage. As soon as I attached it to mains the speaker woke up and everything lit up. I was welcomed by some cheesy harp-melody playing. Another short melody will be played when the speaker has successfully connected through Bluetooth.


Usually you have to keep the power button pressed for about 2 seconds to turn the speaker on, at the same time the battery indicator above will light up to indicate how much charge is left. The T7 has 5 dedicated LEDs symbolizing the charging level. When the speaker is attached to mains and charging, they will light up one after the other, until all are LEDs are lit to symbolize a full charge. Charging seemed pretty quick, but the speaker had some residual charge as the charing procedure already started with the 4th LED flashing.


When in battery mode the LEDs will go out after some seconds, but you can always press the power button shortly to check how much charge is left. To turn the speaker off completely you have to hold the power button again for about 2 seconds. On top you find the volume-buttons, the Bluetooth-button and the track-control button. This acts for starting and stopping music when pressed once, double press will take you to the next track, tripple press skips backwards.
Volume control is mirrored between streaming device and speaker (at least on iOS devices). The T7 has 32 dedicated volume steps, and they are fine enough at lower settings to allow a sensitive volume control without too rough jumps.


Bluetooth pairing seems a bit basic though. The speaker always tries to connect to the latest paired device but doesn't automatically want to connect to other already paried devices. When 2 different devices have gone through the pairing procedure the T7 can be paired with those simultaneously so that you can switch streaming from one to the other without any additional pairing needed. But after power-on the speaker will still only connect to one of those devices, even when both are present at the same time. You have to force a manual connection from the other device every time.
Basically that's all on features. There is no NFC, no charing of external devices, no speakerphone. But at least there is a hidden "Reboot" at the back in case the speaker might hang once or behave unexpectedly.

Because there is not that much else to say about the T7 anymore, let's directly jump over to the sonic qualities,... or better the lack of.
I must confess I was never a big admirer of B&W speakers. I cannot say much about their professional gear and their classic speakers like "Nautilus" etc. But all their digital consumer stuff sounded average to me. The Zeppelin, the Zepplin Micro etc, none of them really impressed me much and I wondered why so much fuss was being done about them. When the T7 was announced I had really big expectations and was eagerly reading every single press release and hands-on. But none of the "reviews" so far mentioned the sound with any words. I mean what kind of review is this, that doesn't deal with the most important fact, the sound quality of a speaker?


The T7's acoustic core consists of 2 full range drivers and 2 opposing passive radiators driven by a 28W amplifier, a pretty basic setup nowadays and nothing really special as so many current speakers have the same or a similar speaker array, thus most of them suffer from the same basic problems especially in regard of strong directional treble dispersion, loudness issues, intermodulation distortion etc. Either B&W has applied some magic to overcome these things, or they just talk big, because the T7 doesn't seem to improve on any of the existing aspects, so let me tell you that the T7 is the most unimpressive and overpriced speaker I have heard so far. I had tried dozens of different portable speakers during the last years. There has been much progress on the market when looking back now, but Bowers & Wilkins seem to have overseen all the competition that is available. It is just copying other speakers without adding any noticeable improvement.
The T7 might have been a pretty nice speaker if it had been announced 4 years ago, but today there are so many cheaper and better sounding alternatives, that it is really embarassing to see a company with such a big and important name couldn't come up with something more serious. There is lots of raving about the qualities of the T7 with its "highly advanced audio technology" on its dedicated website with statements like "we’ve used every technological trick we know to make sure that T7 packs an amazing sonic punch for such a little speaker". In reality the T7 sounds below average compared to what is available now.


A Creative Soundblaster Roar is exactly the same size costs less than half of the T7's price and sounds at least as good if not even better, but packing more features without all the Micro Matrix nonsense. Although I was not impressed much with the Roar either, I prefer it much more over the T7, even if both cost the same, I would probably still choose the Roar over the T7. A more extreme example is the JBL Charge 2, which rather resembles a kid's toy than a serious speaker. But putting both T7 and JBL Charge 2 side by side, the T7 starts sounding more like a kitchen radio than a 350€ premium product. The Charge 2 is not only smaller, lighter, but has the ability to recharge other devices, has speakerphone and a really balanced but punchy sound at the same time which simply blows the T7 out of the water, let's just forget about all those distortion-issues for a while.


The biggest problem of the T7 is the directional sound coloration that becomes pretty nasty and makes the speaker sound just ugly if not listened exactly on axis. Let's assume the T7 might have the intention to be a very flat and neutral sounding speaker, even if it was, it nevertheless sounds boring with a tendency to sound honky and harsh. If we consider the Sonos Play:1 also being a flat and neutral speaker, both are worlds apart regarding sound. While the Play:1 sounds serious and ambitious, the T7 sounds... like a kitchen radio.
Stereo separation is nearly non-existent except if you put your nose against the front grille, but from 1 meter distance you can hardly hear any left/right difference anymore even with the strongest effects like those from Pink Floyd's "Money".
Bass is claimed to reach below 60Hz on the T7, and while in reality you can even hear "something" at 40Hz when feeding it with some sine-tones, you won't notice any deeper bass extension when music is being played, it just sounds anemic. The T7 might even have a slightly deeper bass extension than the Soundblaster Roar, a thing I was always complaining about, but the Roar compensates for this with an overall more friendly and pleasant tuning. You have to listen really close to hear some advantage in lows from the T7. But bass is the lesser problem, as there are definitely enough purists who will always prefer less bass, or maybe they call it "tight bass" or whatever, when the other rest of the frequency spectrum is perfect, but in case of the T7 it isn't. The character of the drivers is to blame here, as those seem to have an extremely narrow sound dispersion, which is not uncommon for fullrange drivers. If you put the speaker directly in front of you and start moving the head slightly to the left and right, you will already notice how either the left or the right driver starts dominating, you seem to be leaving and entering the sound cone of the other driver. Move further to the side and the sound becomes dull and unpleasant because strange humps in the mids start appearing, while treble is getting recessed at the same time. Listened from a less than optimal position results in a sound that reminds me of a bad encoded MP3 file, or... a kitchen radio. In my opinion a no-go for a portable speaker, which you will hardly have the chance to always aim directly at you. The T7 needs an elevated positioning, a fact that finally made me distance myself from all Bose speakers, as they equally suffered from an overly directional sound with treble that quickly started sounding muffled when you were not listening exactly from within the sweet spot. But at least Bose speakers were otherwise able to raise some fun, the overly boosted bass of the Soundlink Mini which is even reaching deeper than that of the T7 is quite unique for a speaker less than half the size of the T7. I wonder if Bose used some better Micro Matrix to achieve that performance, or maybe it is because they simply didn't use it at all?
I am not so sure if the Micro Matrix doesn't even have a negative effect on the performance of the T7, because I noticed some stronger resonance with the cabinet at particular frequencies when playing some sine-tones,... so much for the "Micro Matrix"! I might try again to check the exact frequencies if I am bored.
One advantage the T7 might have over many other similar speaker is overall loudness. It is a pretty darn loud speaker, although when looking or listening close in reality it has 2 different maximum volumes: the first one that is still listenable and the other one which is just too much and will hurt your ears. The T7 can play very loud on its maximum setting, but it dials away any already recessed bass and starts sounding extremely unpleasant with mids dominating and eating all the rest of the spectrum. Apart from the completely missing bass, there is not much dynamic compression noticeable and distortion is pretty well under control too, but outdoors I would certainly be embarassed to turn it up to the maximum and have all others hear how it sounds. A TDK A33, which could already be had below 100$ sounds as loud, but manages to retain much more of its bass punch, and doesn't change its frequency spectrum to sound like a buzzer at higher volumes. If the entire volume-range with 32 steps is taken into account, I would say that the T7 is still listenable at step 20 or maybe 22, but the whole third above that is just useless, I doubt anyone would like to listen to the speaker when it sounds like that. I even think a Pasce Minirig would sound better than the T7 nearly reaching the same volume.
If this is the so called "premium" sound, I think I rather stick to "consumer" sound, or the "low-grade" sound of my JBL Charge 2. The JBL Charge 2 might not play as loud, but it still sounds good at maximum volume.
I currently don't have the Infinity One at hand, which would probably be a better match for the B&W T7 despite being 100$ cheaper, but even the smaller and 200$ cheaper JBL Charge 2 manages to easily outperform the T7, that's why I prepared a video showing the sonic differences between both. The JBL Charge 2 definitely loses in overall loudness, but even at maximum the track is still recognizable as such, while on the T7 it sounds as if it was being processed through a chopper.



When comparing both B&W T7 and the Creative Soundblaster Roar, the differences are harder to discern, you really have to listen closely to distinguish one from the other, but the harsher mids-response of the T7 which makes it sound a bit resonant during some parts, or kitchen-radio-like how I would call it, reveals which is which. At maximum volume the T7 might still be a tad louder than the Roar, but nevertheless the Roar sounds more convincing with more bass-punch, and a rounder sound overall. There is only some slightly pumping noticeable from the Roar at top volume, making the treble seem to fade in and out during some parts of that track, this is where the TDK A33 might jump in, as it can play louder than the Roar and without any pumping-effects, thus easily outperforming the T7 too, unfortunately I didn't have a TDK A33 at hand for a direct comparison:



I also made a quick and dirty binaural test-recording of both the B&W T7 and the JBL Charge 2 the same day I got it. You probably have already seen my first binaural recording experiments I wrote about here. This wasn't meant to be published (I mean look at the mess inside my cellar), but I don't want to hold it back, as I am not sure when I will have time to prepare better recordings. If you were wearing headphones, you should be hearing more or less what I heard:


Now let's have a look at some frequency response measurements. As I don't have any anechoic chamber at home, we have to deal with the in-room response here which is what you would hear, when listening to this speaker in this particular room from 50cm. But as all my measurements are done in the same room with exactly the same setup, they are still directly comparable, you just have to take into account that they are not siginifcant on an absolute base, but in relation to another speaker the reponse differences should become obvious.
First let's have a look at the entire volume range of the T7 with measurements for every second step:

I think it is obvious that on axis the T7 measures realtively flat, but it is also visible that bass starts rolling off below 100Hz already with some extension down to 40Hz which in reality is hardly noticeable at all. At levels close to maximum there is a mid-boost visible between 300Hz and 1kHz, which makes the speaker sound that harsh as most bass is already dialed back below 170Hz at the same time.
To have a comparison I chose the JBL Charge 2 as direct competitor, a smaller and much cheaper speaker with unneccessarily even more features than the T7. These are the responses for the T7 at a medium volume level taken from different horizontal angles. You can see the measurements on axis (0°) and from 10°, 20° and 30° here:

The same for the JBL Charge 2:

If we average these reponses for both speakers, we get the following curves which should give you a rough idea about the actual sound. The JBL Charge has better extension in both treble and bass, despite the fact that the T7 might reach even lower, they both meet at 60Hz with more than -15dB fall-off thus anything below that will be hardly hearable in reality:

I think  it is already pretty obvious if I like the T7 or not, therefore I would like to spare myself a final conclusion, but I will try one nevertheless.
The T7 per se is not a "bad" sounding speaker, it is just that it isn't a particularly good sounding one either and doesn't stick out in any way of the overcrowded mass of similar speakers, that are either smaller, cheaper or both. The high possible loudness might have been one advantage over all the others, but the T7 is not quite usable at its maximum setting, because it just sounds ugly when cranked with the sound fallen apart completely, although still nearly distortion-free as the only plus factor.
Maybe I wouldn't complain if Bowers & Wilkins tried to join in between the competition with a reasonable price, instead they went for the "premium"-tag without being able to deliver any premium sound nor premium product. Some might definitely like the baroque design, but as a portable speaker neither choice of materials nor choice of forms make it suitable for outdoor use on the go. If I wanted to use this speaker at home only, I would go for something much better sounding, as the T7 cannot substitute any serious hifi system not to mention the lack of any stereo separation. I think I could name at least 5 or 6 better and cheaper alternatives to the B&W T7, but as sound is always a matter of taste too, I let all others make their own decision.
Funnily 2 days after the announcement of the T7, also Bang & Olufsen announced their first portable Bluetooth speaker, just as if they wanted to answer: hey folks, now have a look at our vision of a portable Bluetooth speaker. Let's se if B&O managed, so stay tuned for a comparison of both soon.

+ looks might appeal to some
+ nice build quality
+ AptX support
+ dedicated battery level indicator
+ track control directly through the speaker
+ mirrored volume control with iOS devices


- pretty average sound
- very directional treble dispersion with strong coloration off-axis
- not very powerful bass with roll off already below 100Hz
- maximum volume setting not usable due to harsh and unpleasant sound without any bass
- wasted space around the actual driver-unit making the speaker unnecessarily bulky
- cheesy status and confirmation melodies
- not really portable without any additional protection
- extremely overpriced 
- no additional features (speakerphone,  charging of external devices...)

46 comments:

  1. Hi Oluv,

    thanks to your review i am dropping the T7 as a potential option for my next bluetooth speaker. i am about to purchase the B&O A2 tomorrow and i was wondering if you had enough time to play with it a little? i saw in one of your comments you mentioning that the infinity one might end up to be a better option after all,

    will appreciate your feedback :)

    Cheers
    Maro

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    Replies
    1. yes I had indeed enough time to play with the A2, maybe even too much, because the longer I use the speaker, the more issues I usually find hahaha...
      I already started writing my review, but it always takes some time to finish everything, so not to let you wait, I will forestall some facts:
      The A2 is a great sounding speaker for sure, much more serious sounding than the T7, but not really flat if you are after a preferably flat response, the A2 has some colorations, but they are not nasty, it sounds pretty good nevertheless, with very deep bass extension, much deeper than anything currently available. But the bass starts distorting on levels slightly below half volume already. Particularly house-kicks and such do cause problems, otherwise sound remains pretty clean, only kicks do seem to suffer. You can have a listen to this example, where I raised volume on a typical house-track, until it starts distorting exactly at half volume, but it doesn't become worse the higher I turn it, which is strange and just seems like bad DSP tuning: https://db.tt/5vgPMpCu

      One might claim he won't listen to house so he doesn't care, but many pop songs, smoothjazz whatever often use these typical TR909/808 drums sounds, it started in the 80s with all those drum machines, these electronic drum sounds are even more popular now than they were before.
      The other issue is battery related. You will get about 15 hours at half volume, but at max. volume or close to that the speaker will automatically lower volume to half after about 1 hour, which is disappointing. If you listen at normal volumes and mix in some tracks at higher volumes you will get maybe 3-4 hours, this is ridiculous and far away from the claimed 24 hours.

      The Infinity One doesn't have those issues, it is less expensive especially now after the price drop, it can be charged through USB, has speakerphone, and it sounds good with acoustic music and with house. It should play around 7-8 hours at max. volume. Sure, it doesn't sound as serious at lower levels, because this is where the A2 really shines, slightly below half volume it sounds best, but above that the Infinity One is on par if not even better. And the Infinity One has a much more premium feel to it. The A2 although not cheap feels a bit plasticky.

      I hope this helps as first impression,

      best regards, O.

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    2. i played the sample you attached above and indeed i can sense a little distrotion in the bass once the volume starts getting higher. i do listen to House music indeed, though i listen indoors most of the time and i believe i wont be raising the volue above mid way on most of the occasions. do you think this issue might be solved in the future through a firmware upgrade that fixes this DSP tuning? also 3-4 hours when mixing music is simply unacceptable for such a price tag!

      i started to seriously consider purchasing the infinity one instead, yet the problem is that i am living in ireland and it will be a little tricky to order it from the US, have to find a company to ship it here and having to deal with all of these customs and stuff...

      thanks for your fast responce though, really appreciate it

      Cheers
      Maro

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    3. half volume on the A2 is in reality not that loud. it is a nice volume for comfortable listening, but it is definitely not "loud" and in fact it was quite hard to record because it was so low in loudness.
      Especially for house you will probably want to crank it higher. I will prepare a better demo hopefully today which shows these problems also with another house track and how it sounds compared to the JBL Charge 2. The bassdrum has much more punch on the JBL, while on the A2 it becomes muddy and recessed. It is not fatal, but any other speaker I tried so far did a better job. This issue might indeed be fixed by a different DSP tweak. I already contacted B&O because of this and suggested them to offer some demo-tracks that are prone to this problem, they answered to forward it to the technicians, but apart from that I got no clear response so far.

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    4. sounds great mate, will be looking forward to hearing your demo :)

      Cheers

      Delete
    5. Hi Oluv, for when a review of the CORE? ;)

      Saludos.

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    6. anytime, if I get a review sample. Maybe next year?

      Delete
  2. Hello,
    Great blog.
    Have you heard any cabridge audio portable speakers?
    Let me know what you think.
    Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes I have, and i found them quite very sub-par, i made a comparison against the JBL Charge 2, which is smaller and cheaper, you can have a look, a "full" review of the Cambridge Audio Go will follow soon:
      http://youtu.be/KAcHHbVRC8U

      Delete
  3. this speaker got 5 stars on what hifi, I've now lost respect for what hifi reviews!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. they also gave the B&W T7 all 5 stars, their rating doesn't prove anything IMO. they don't even mention any of the flaws or highlights...

      Delete
    2. Dear Admin! It's not all about watts and price. It's also about good hardware, smart design and really good sound. The comparsion between the A2 from Bang & Olufsen and the T7 from Bowers & Wilkins it's a bit strange. The T7 is smaller and lighter and has a great battery life by 75 percent of loudness - with less volume you can get 24 hours. So the price is like the A2. Remember the size of the watts its similiar with the quality of the music...

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    3. i am not sure what you are talking about, i didn't even mention watts with a single word. problem of the T7 is that is sounds just mediocre, you can get the same performance for 1/3 the price. even the new Denon Envaya Mini, which is much smaller sounds better than the T7, wich real bass, real stereo separation and perfectly clear sound, while the T7 is a muffled box, if you don't listen exactly on axis. There will always be fanboys who will defend their puppy, but reality is the T7 is an overpriced joke.

      Delete
  4. Hi what that this wireless speaker do you recommend, T7, Infinity One, Bose Soundlink 1 or AR B&L, or what is the best out of these??

    ReplyDelete
  5. No! More watts is not like more good music. I hope you understand what I mean, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bullshit review. First of all , I am an audiophile and was particularly searching for a good quality Bluetooth speaker. There are 4 players on the market I deem quite outstanding for their sound quality. Bose soundink mini , Bose soundlink III , UE BOOM and B&W T7. Indeed I can only congratulate WHAT HI FI for their extremely reliable reviews. Both UE BOOM and B&W T7 take advantage in sound detail over the other ones. That is, they do not possess the boom factor like Bose soundlinks but they are extremely detailed for a Bluetooth speakers. This review is not an audiophile review at all unfortunately. Just go to the shop and please check yourself but do not judge B&W T7 or UE BOOM by bass factor ! Judge them for their detailed sound and you will know what the game is all about.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. please stop spreading BULLSHIT, otherwise your comments will get immediately deleted, thanks!
      UE BOOM, please don't even mention that piece of crap!

      Delete
    2. Hello. No , I am not spreading bullshit. To substantiate my answer please refer to WHF reviews that have been for years known for reliable reviews. They indeed have given UE Boom , mini or B&W T7 5 out of 5 stars. I am not related to WHF at all and I can fully agree with those reviews. Regards.
      .

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    3. are you really that naive? you trust those sites who are paid supported and influenced by the companies which send them their samples for free? they also gave the cambrige audio minx go all 5 stars and any other crap which really is below average!
      i have paid for nearly all the speakers I reviewed here on my own (I mention all the exceptions where I also get samples from the manufacturer), i don't give a shit on any other's reviews, most of them don't even seem to have heard the products in real life, let alone they don't provide any measurements, those are not serious reviews, just some posted BULLSHIT to put it in your own words.
      WHF have lost all their credibilty long ago...

      Delete
    4. Ok. Bullshit was too strong to write so sorry. Now , I mentioned that already. From an audiophile perspective indeed those Speakers possess great detailed sound. I bought many things before that were on WHF site and really they have precise reviews to me. I also bought recently Bose soundlink mini and soundlink III. Absolutely as those 2 speakers fantastic are they indeed lack in detail sound department. They have great bass , sparkling treble and are of a very good quality with reliable Bluetooth connection but they cannot compare to UE Boom or B&W T7 for their dynamic and informative sound. Soundlink III got 4 out of 5 and indeed this is a fantastic speaker but please have a long long listen to it alongside B&W T7 or UE Boom for example and you will notice how much more information is missing from soundlinks for example. I bought many audiophile things that got really great reviews from WHF like Leema , Cyrus etc. trust me they deserve what WHF have written about them. Of course they sometimes go amiss with some reviews , that is normal. But writing about this review of B&W T7 I can say from my personal perspective this is a fantastic speaker. But of course this is only my opinion.

      Delete
    5. Everyone can have his own opinion as i have mine and trust me i have heard maybe hundrets of different speakers during the last years, and the B&W T7 fits in pretty well into all the average ones, it doesn't stand out in any way except price.

      regarding "audiophile" sound of the UE Boom, you can have a look in my denon envaya mini review, which really is close to hifi btw, i also posted a measurement of the UE Boom just for comparison and tell me if you still think it is up to audiophile level:
      http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Dec3bPNUgx8/VJYfR5WVR_I/AAAAAAAADH0/szDqkJ-wFJE/s1600/denon-ue.png

      The Soundlink Mini as the SLIII are both muffled speakers like most bose speakers. There are much better and more balanced sounding speakers out there, but the T7 doesn't belong to that as it is equally muffled if you don't listen exactly on axis and the bass rolls-off much too early, even a Soundblaster Roar will sound better. Listen to the B&O Beoplay A2 instead or the Infinity One. I posted lots of binaural audio comparions, you should even hear the difference between them all through some crappy headphones!

      Delete
  7. Ok. I will check them out also. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Did you even listen to the T7? Good grief what a long winded rambling useless pile of steaming dung this "review" is!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's nothing to listen to, just a piece of expensive Micromatrix junk.

      Delete
    2. Couldn't have said it better myself anonymous.

      Delete
  9. Wow. Have to wonder why the car stereo loudness bass boom sound is considered good sound nowadays. Have you ever listened to audiophile system or even monitor speakers like Genelec? I listened today several of the speakers mentioned here, especially t7 and a2. A2 has the same signature teen car stereo sound as their other speakers. Horrible bass boom. And how would one have any sense of stereo image with opposite facing speakers? The t7 is so far the best sounding Bluetooth speaker I've tried with very naural and accurate sound, for a small portable Bluetooth speaker. Others like bose sound just utterly inferior. Of course, if you put a bass boom speaker like the a2 or creative or jbl next to t7, yoi might be tempted by the punch, but it's a bit like comparing a ulraboob pornstar with fake lips and an ass implant to a beautiful woman. Each to their own, of course.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. in reality the A2 has a rather flat bass-response, it has some honkiness with mids and some boosted treble, but the bass is far from boomy, it is exaclty the other way round the T7 is missing bass completely, if you don't hear this and still try comparing this to some Genelec monitors, then you are welcome. But the T7 is by far one of the worst speakers in its price class I have heard, very covered, ugly response off-axis and simply tinny sounding.
      Listen to a Denon Envaya Mini, a RIVA Turbo X, the new RIVA S for some really great sounding speakers, the T7 is a bad joke. Every professional audio engineer will confirm you this.

      Delete
    2. I think it's sad how people like you leech off the society by writing bs blog entries, with confrontational accusations of a bad product, when the only thing you are trying to do, is get readers to your site, and the subsequent clicks to the commercials that you have placed. If your reviews were not confrontational, there would be less people and less clicks --> less money. The fact that you order all speakers from amazon, badmouth them in your blog, then return them to Amazon, is just lowly behavior. It is an undisputable fact that any audio engineer agrees that t7 is much better than A2 or Soundlink 3 or any of the other megabass crap that you promote. Please, go listen to some good studio monitors and then listen to any of the megabass devices that you are so in love with. Case closed.

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    3. did I ever mention the Soundlink III in any word here? I mentioned the Denon, RIVA, and as you might have noticed I also bashed the A2 because of serious distortion problems, but the T7 sounds as if it was broken. I was really not sure if my unit was OK, when I turned it on the first time.
      Did you have a look at its frequency response with bass-roll off below 150Hz and no treble above 14khz? B&W claim bass response down to 47Hz, which is simply a lie, if this is sudio-quality sound for you, then man, this studio will definitely just produce crap music!

      Delete
    4. and btw, the money I get here form the blog is ridiculous, I don't get rich from all this. I am not a huge site like Cnet or something, but the donations I got from many of my readers prove that they indeed value my opinion. No other has complained about my T7 review so far, just the B&W fanboys obviously.

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  10. Quite many people complained about your review, since you are simply lying or then have a really atypical taste. If it's the taste, then you should state that in each review, that you like bass boom sound that most people who appreciate good sound do not like, so your opinion does not count in the typical audience of the T7 speaker, namely the people who appreciate good sound. As for the 150 Hz - yes, from a speaker of that size you cannot get really lower frequencies without sounding awful and affecting the whole other sound. So it makes sense to cut the lowest bass frequencies a bit. You cannot expect subwoofer performance from a little portable speaker. Better to make it sound good than try to sound like a subwoofer and make it completely unejoyable, like the A2 or Soundlink. Also, you seem to have an agenda against B&W as you tout your outlandish views also in Amazon reviews, and also there many people disagree. Also, over 14 Khz is inaudible for most people and not really of any utility in a portable speaker, so it's perfectly fine that those frequencies are not there. As for the studio quality - the T7 is as close to the characteristics of a good speaker that a tiny portable speaker can be. It of course is not studio quality, but also it does not ruin the experience by trying to emulate a bad car stereo subwoofer system, like most other speakers. But this is quite typical response from people who do not have the necessary experience or understanding to appreciate good sound. Like Sennheiser headphones (HD 650) - many people's instant reaction is that "Oh there is no bass, this sounds poor", but this is due to the fact that they do not know what good sound is. They have been listening to car stereo with a megawatt subwoofer and headphones by Bose or some other ridiculous brand which makes audio reproduction devices of very poor quality. Maybe you were not able to return the T7 and now you are pissed off because it does not sound like the megabass crap that you are used to? (PS. I do not own the T7, I just tried it and found it very good.)

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    1. You should check your ears if you don't hear 14khz anymore and what does portability have in common with a high frequency cutoff? the speaker will simply sound muffled, especially off-axis, where the T7 sounds abysmal. nobody can hear 48khz, but there are enough idiots who buy high resolution 96kHz stuff...
      Look, I don't want to quarrel with you, the T7 is an extremely overpriced and average sounding speaker and many will confirm it, but no one will really admit it, the T7 has some honkiness in the upper mids and simply no bass.
      And why do you always come back with Bose? Listen to the RIVA S and then come back and tell me if the T7 sounds really that great for you. It is just a kitchen radio, one for 350!

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    2. why would I check my ears? What is the next step? Get a hearing aid or surgery? The point is not if one hears 14 Khz, point is that with most adults that starts to be the frequency which starts to roll of, so it is irrelevant if that is produced by a speaker or not. FM radio cuts of at 15 Khz and nobody would claim that FM radio sounds especially muffled with good system, as compared to a small portable bluetooth speaker. The 48 Khz/96 Khz issue is a separate topic altogether and your comment just displays ignorance. A small portable speaker will sound muffled off-axis as any other speaker. To be able to have a stereo image, it needs to be directional, not omnidirectional. The omnidirectional megabassbooms are just for creating noise for a party, not for music listening.

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  11. FM radio sounds muffled, and compressed as hell, I really wonder that anyone listens to this. and no, you won't get any stereo separation from the T7, not with the drivers set 6cm apart, and not without any additional processing or other DSP-tricks. the T7 is a mono sounding kitchen radio, nothing else.
    I think you don't quite get the purpose of a portable speaker, I don't know where you heard it and under what circumstances which placement etc. Fact is that it is a portable speaker to be taken with you around, outdoor etc. The "boomboxes" as you call them will simply sound much better outdoors due to the bassboost, if there is one at all, because many play pretty flat, but still have a much better low-frequency extension. Also to have a bassboost at low levels is natural due to human loudness contours, if a speaker lacks any response below 100Hz and you play it at low levels it will sound even more anemic. The T7 does all this, simply sound anemic, and although I am not a big fan of Bose I would definitely choose one of their speakers for portable use than the T7. For stationary use at home etc, any speaker half the price of the T7 will sound better, just listen to a single monophonic Play:1 it will sound more stereo than the T7 and simply more true to the original recording.

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  12. You just don't have a clue what you are talking about. And did you understand what I wrote? FM radios as compared to a tiny portable speaker. Yes, FM radio will not sound as good as a CD from a audiophile system, but it by no means sounds muffled due to the fact that it cuts off at 15 Khz, in comparison to a portable speaker. Bass boost is not natural in any setting. There is just now way for you to win this argument, as you are just not even understanding the discussion. I'm out of here. PS. Please sit in a meditation pose and repeat "kitchen radio" a couple of thousand times, just to get it out of your system, as it seems to be the only thing you are able to think.

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    1. I think you are the one who has no clue about anyhting, just some food for thought regarding bass-boost:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equal-loudness_contour

      and extra for you I will buy the T7 again and add it to my database, so that you can hear how it fares against 70 other mostly cheaper speakers:
      http://switcher.oluvsgadgets.net/

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  13. Hi,

    I am looking for the best sound in small size :-) i thought about buying the T7 but after your review i am no more sure about it. Now it will be maybe the Teufel Boomster or do you have any other suggestion ? Portablility is'nt important , i will use it only at home and docked in.

    Thanks

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    1. The T7 is the worst you could have bought. Vifa Oslo, Vifa Helsinki or the new HK go+play.

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    2. Vifa Helsinki is better then Teufel Boomster ? have you already tested Boomster ? you didn‘t like it ?

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    3. yes, the Helsinki sounds better, although the Teufel has more bass, but the Oslo still being much smaller sounds much better. The Teufel being so large doesn't really sound impressive. If you want something that big, check out the new Harman Kardon go+play.

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  14. did you test the Grundig GSB 500 ? it is cheap but it sounds very good and the bass is much better than creative

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  15. How would the Marshall Stanmore Stack up against the T7

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  16. Hi, I bought the T7 after returning the B&O A1 (really impressive sound from A1 dismal battery life). However I'm struggling with T7 sound. It's tiny with not much bass extension. Will this improve with time? I hear standard hi to speakers require run in time to reach their audio potential. Is this the same for T7. Will running it in unleash a warmer, smoother audio experience? Thanks, John

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  17. Thanks. rough, got the opportunity to return it. Any suggestions please? I enjoyed the B&O A1. Impressive for size. Used to have Bose SL 2 which I liked until taken. So budget you'll £200-£300. Difficult to audition every thing on market. Mag reviews not always useful. Thanks

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  18. Anyone, please help with my last comment/reply just above. Thank you, John

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