deutsch

englisch

Thursday, December 11, 2014

First Impressions: Denon Envaya Mini - mini big speaker



I was about to prepare some further reviews of speakers like the Pioneer Freeme or the Cambridge Audio G2, when I received the freshly announced Denon Envaya Mini which suddenly makes the reviews of all the other speakers pretty much obsolete. Although I hadn't noticed any big announcement to tell the truth, I was really curious to hear it when I finally discovered it and did my best to get it as soon as possible. In Germany there are already offers for as low as 90€ including shipping, which puts the Envaya Mini on the same price level as the NudeAudio Move Super M I reviewed recently. Not sure when the Denon Envaya Mini will become available in the U.S. and how much it will cost though, so jump in to ease your waiting!



This is going to be a first impression, therefore I don't intend to do any big comparison with the Super M, just let me tell you that as much as I was disappointed or underwhelmded by the Super M the Denon is definitely going to become something like a game changer in the whole mini speaker class below 100$. It is making most offers sound like toys at once.



First let me clarify that it doesn't have the "PHAT" bloated bass of the Bose Soundlink Mini, no, but the Denon sounds better anyhow. It is much more musical than the Bose. There is a really healthy amount of bass. It sounds definitely better than most other current offerings, even bigger ones or more expensive ones including Bose Soundlink Colour, Fugoo, TDK A33 etc. Of course you shouldn't expect the ear-splitting loudness of all the larger speakers, but played at comfortable indoor listening levels the Denon Envaya Mini really kicks especially when looking at the size of the speaker compared to the size of the sound it has to offer! It will play louder than many other small speakers and reaches about the same loudness of the Super M, just with much more bass and more of a wow-factor. I would say the Denon will reach about 75% of the Bose Soundlink Mini but without any obvious dynamic compression or other strange processing. There is some slight bass-reduction at higher levels, but Denon has the DSP pretty good under control with distortion kept to the minimum. The Envaya Mini is perfectly usable even at its maximum loudness setting.

I have put the Denon right beside my Infinity One and although the Denon doesn't have the same bass-punch of the much larger Infinity it doesn't need to hide itself. You don't have the impression as if something was missing, it is just pleasant and fun to listen to. The sound is natural, full-bodied, punchy with sparkling treble and most important there even is some amount of real stereo separation you usually don't get of speakers that small.
The Denon Envaya Mini is very slim, you can easily grasp it with one hand, it is just a bit on the longish side, but this is probably also the reason why it sounds that wide together with the alleged DSP stereo widening algorithms. The JBL Charge 2 gives a rather a mono-impression with the differences being even bigger when put against the Bose Soundlink Colour, because the Denon wipes the floor with the more expensive and larger Bose thanks to a better sound overall, wider, just smoother, the Bose on the other hand sounds a bit edgy. I am not sure if the Envaya Mini applies any kind of real physiological loudness compensation, but it sounds perfectly full-bodied at lowest levels too, you never get any anemic or tinny sound, neither does it tend to sound boomy regardless of how I put it, there doesn't seem to be any distrubing low-frequency resonance you have to fight with on many Bose speakers. I must confess that I remained impressed and won't waste any further words about it, just add some facts, which make the Denon Envaya Mini definitely one of the most interesting offerings in its class: it is water resistant, has AptX on board, can quickly pair thanks to NFC and is able to connect to multiple devices at the same time. Handsfree is included and the play/pause button can also be used to skip tracks. It doesn't need any proprietary charger (there isn't any included either) as charging is done through Micro-USB, last not least Denon also added a simple carrying bag.

I was just about to prepare a "best-of" list of all my favorite speakers, but the Denon Envaya Mini screwed it up completely and made many of my current speakers that would originally find their way onto that list pretty useless including the JBL Charge 2, Fugoo which all have to go etc.

The Denon Envaya Mini is definitely a keeper, stay tuned for a detailed review if you are still not convinced or simply klick the order-button!

Update: You can find my full review here.

50 comments:

  1. I am drooling... this is the speaker I've been waiting for. Glad I didn't keep the JBL Charge 2. Now if only Denon would release this in the US ASAP.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Might be a strange question, but how does this mini compare with the bigger sized Envaya?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Imagine the sound of the Denon Envaya scaled down, they both sound quite similar, although from memory I have the impression as if the Envaya Mini had better treble response and more stereo separation. The bass won't reach that deep, but with a sine-sweep I heard still very clean response down to 80Hz with some stronger roll-off at 70Hz, which would make it even deeper than the Soundlink Colour, although not quite Soundlink Mini level. Size/sound ratio is very impressive for the Envaya Mini. Definitely a hot tip if you really want something small but still good sounding without that many compromises.

      Delete
  3. How is it compared to the fugoo ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you serious? It wipes the floor with the Fugoo. Much more natural sound, louder no distortion, close to perfect, the speaker we have both been waiting for. It even compares favorably against the Infinity One although not as much bass and not as loud but apart from bass the Denon sounds better, broader. Tomorrow I will post a comparison with the Infinity and with the JBL Charge 2, if are still patient...

      Delete
  4. Speakers take so long to arrive to Southamerica I've order the fugoo tough the altec Lansing jacket and the Roverbeats t3 (cheap but with good reviews) they should arrive next week, haha I couldn't even compare them but once the Denin becomes available on Amazon I will order it , the black with blue interior looks so cool, thanks for your answer

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Let us know how the Roverbeats T3 is, I fear it's another one of those hyped speakers that isn't actually very good.

      Delete
    2. For me the search is over I am afraid. I am quite sure it cannot become any better at least not in this class and not that soon. The Denon Envaya Mini is as close to being perfect as it can be. I won't buy any further speakers in my Penn, edpecially from some unknown company, except if the manufacturer sends me some sample for a review.

      Delete
    3. Oluv, I wasn't asking you to review the Roverbeats T3 haha. I was asking Alvaro because he said he already ordered it. As for the Envaya Mini, I can only hope it's cheaper than $100 in the United States, but we'll see.

      Delete
  5. I will, but sadly I don't have the tools that Oluv has to test the speakers, I trust my ears

    ReplyDelete
  6. I guess we don't have to mention the UE Boom?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I already get pimples when I just hear the term "UE Boom"...

      Delete
    2. Hi Oluv Thanks for your help, i would really like to know the total price of this speaker shipped to La Paz Bolivia, it would depend on the total ammount, i can send you the money throw paypal if that is ok for you

      Delete
  7. Hello, It would be most interesting if you can compare Denon Envaya Mini with the UE Boom (on YouTube). Thanks in advance! /Stefan in Sweden

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. no please, are you serious? I already compared the Denon with the Infinity One, which is probably one of the best sounding speakers currently on the market:
      http://youtu.be/L_Li1LY0Z4A

      The UE Boom doesn't even come close, not in the same class. the UE Boom is quite a bit louder though if this is what you need.

      Delete
  8. Thanks for the quick reply. I'm looking for a portable speaker that plays really loud (mainly for use outside in the spring/summer) but with a better sound quality than the UE B (=better lows). The weight has to be no more than 1.3 kg. Then maybe I should aim at the Denon Envaya or TDK A34? It's very difficult to choose...! /Stefan

    ReplyDelete
  9. is there yet a sound comparison with the SOUNDLINK MINI? i cant find any.

    greets - henry

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No there isn't as I currently have no Soundlink Mini at hand. The Bose has a much more bloated bass while the Denon sounds nearly completely flat, much more detailed, more airy with better stereo separation.

      Delete
    2. oluv, YOU without a SoundlinkMini? hard to believe. but what you said, and others commented, prompts me to order a DENON right after xmas. strange is that it is available in europe, but not in the USA - normally it is the other way 'round.

      greets - henry

      Delete
    3. i meanwhile did a provisional comparison with the soundlink mini, but it is still with my old recording setup, although you should hear the differences anyhow:
      http://youtu.be/H4qY50GmB-Y

      it is even cheaper in europe than in the US, go figure.

      Delete
    4. Wow. This graph...http://www11.pic-upload.de/17.12.14/xsvqmj1sq7px.png. It looks like the Envaya Mini is the speaker we've all been waiting for.

      Delete
    5. I would imagine that off-axis response is better than the SoundLink Mini also, correct?

      Delete
  10. Thanks for this First Impression! So the Denon seems to overpass all the others in the 100-200€ price range, isn't it? Two little questions though : How is the battery going? I've heard it was quite disappointing. 10h announced, but around 8h on 50% volume, but only 2h30-3h on full volume. Can you confirm that? And also, could you try the new 1.00.53 firmware of the fugoo and let me know if it changes something concerning volume and average sound quality please? Cause at first I was going for the Fugoo, but with the Denon I am in the doubt, so if the battery is really that bad on the Denon, and if the new firmware enhances the Fugoo, then maybe it will help me choose :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. battery life is not quite disappointing, but definitely not classleading. many speakers suck at higher levels. the Sony SRS-X3 will reduce maximum volume after 1 hour and then continue playing at half volume, the B&O Beoplay A2 only managed to play 50 minutes at maximum volume until it reduced it to half. The TDK A33 didn't even reach half an hour at max. volume.
      If you need that higher loudness levels by all means you will probably have to carry some battery-pack with you or simply choose another speaker like the Fugoo, although sound-quality wise the Fugoo is just no match for the Denon, i immediately packed it together and put it on Ebay after I heard the Denon. There was no difference in sound with 1.00.53 firmware, I asked the support about the changelog, and they just adjusted some voice-prompts and took out some bugs. I doubt the Fugoo will ever become a much better sounding speaker than now. The problem is rather lack of power as it reaches its limits pretty quickly and the sound starts to deteriorate already above half volume. You cannot push it more with some DSP-tweak, because either the drivers or the amp is the bottleneck.

      Delete
    2. Thank you a lot for your quick answer, you rock mate and your blog is awesome! Also, do you think you could give me some average figures on the Denon's battery? Like at 50%, and at 100% for instance? For me the battery is really important (sound 40%, battery 30%, solidity/water/dust proof 20%, design 10% are more or less my criteria). I would really appreciate this, christmas is coming and I have to send my wishlist to Santa Clause very soon :D

      Delete
    3. These are actually my values yoo quoted. Close to 9 hours at 50% and falling short of 3 hours at maximum volume. You should get around 5-6 hours at 2/3 volume and probably more than 10 hours at lower levels.

      Delete
    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    5. Thanks! I actually found the battery info on a french website named 01Net, but nice to see that info more or less matches :)
      I bought the black/blue today in France at 113€ couldn't find better price cause in amazon.com and amazon.de the black version is out of stock!
      I am a bit sad it doesn't have the battery life of the fugoo inside, but still i thought, I won't do some off the grid treckking every day, so 3 to 8h will be enought! I will let you know my first impressions too. Can't wait to read your full review!

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  12. 01 Net Reviews are just rubbish and not only for the envaya mini "sound quality of the envaya mini Lacks of details and dynamics Especially for Jazz or classical music Sound and is too dull and without personnality . "

    Whereas if you look at the review of the mini soundlink on the same site: " The audio quality Delivered by the SoundLink Mini is excellent thanks to its hot treatment, WITH MANY bass and a good accuracy in the midrange and treble . And nothing to spoil, no distortion is audible , Even at full volume. "

    Well .... I think When you have tested Both by yourself then there Is no more to say ...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with you Xavier, the 01Net tests are really bad, especially for sound products. I was just referring here to the battery life test, that matches with Oluve comments, nothing more :)
      I will compare my Denon with the soundlink mini as sound as I get irt and give my little review here!

      Delete
    2. i also saw this review and was quite suprised about his results. he only liked the sound with some further frequency boosts. maybe he is used to dr. dre sound?
      i think many owners meanwhile confirmed my first impression as you can see from many positive reviews at amazon.co.uk etc.

      Delete
  13. Hi Oluv Thanks for your help, i would really like to know the total price of this speaker shipped to La Paz Bolivia, it would depend on the total ammount, i can send you the money throw paypal if that is ok for you . you can write me to areyesossio@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  14. is still worthwhile spending twice for a Sonos?

    ReplyDelete
  15. I was about to order the Sony SRS-X3, then it seems the best option Denon? The sony guess you'll have more presence down in frequency?

    Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  16. You mention somewhere in your review, I believe, that the Envaya Mini has "75% the volume output" of the Bose SL Mini. Is that correct? To me, the SL Mini - which I have, and love - is about as low as I want my high-volume to go. 75% of that would be too low for me. And I mean for a small, 200sf, room at full blast. It's loud enough, but after a few drinks I'd like it to crank a bit louder. This alone makes me hesitate on the Envaya Mini, as great as it sounds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was just a rough estimate. It depends a lot on the music too. I have tracks where the soundlink mini compresses dynamics that much which results in a loudness hardly louder than the Envaya Mini. Also keep in mind that the Denon hardly distorts at any level while the Bose can already become harsh above half volume. If you need that high loudness why not considering the Pasce Minirig?
      http://youtu.be/Adgh9bIl2pk

      Delete
  17. Just want to give a short first impression of my new Envaya Mini: Yes, indeed, the speaker sounds really just great. I like it very much. But just my personal WARNING to those who are already diseased by Bose or "Beats by Dre" sound settings: You may be dissappointed by the neutral sound! Due to the perfect adaptive sound processing there is not much you can do about it e.g. by Equalizer settings in your phone/tablet. Some other toughts: Measured 1.4A charging current, it charged from factory precharge in about 2h, so I assume it is one 18650 Lithium-Ion cell inside. Since I am deeply involved in electronics I was curious to disassemble the unit. I just had a chance to disover the NFC antenna, which is a rather small piece of flex film. The fabric underneath the metal frame is glued, so I stopped further dissection. All I can say at the moment is a good internal build quality from what I have seen so far. Does anyone have pictures from a disassembled unit? NFC reading distance was less than 10mm with my Note 3 and is pretty useless to me since NFC only works when the phone is unlocked. Can I change it somewhere? But no problem, Bluetooth pairing is fairly simple as described in Oluvs description.
    Finally, many thanks to Oluv, your reviews guided me to a perfect speaker. Without this information I would not have considered a Denon product (well, not for a Blueooth speaker).

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oluv - OK I'm sold on the back of this review. I'm based in the UK but resent paying £99.00 for an item that is available in Europe for €99.00/£75.00. So I plan to pick one these babies up on my next trip to Berlin in couple of weeks. Do you know if MediaMarkt is selling these or any other chains/outlets?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Not quite sure about Berlin but I already saw them at Mediamarkt in Vienna last week, they seem to have just received them.

      Delete
  19. Your website is absolutely, absolutely great! I was almost going to buy an UE Boom driven by silly reviews out there, then I listened to your demo of Charge 2 vs UE Boom. I listen without watching and at the beginning I thought "hey, the song has changed, there's no bass playing anymore" while it just switched to the UE Boom :D

    So I think in the end I'm going to buy an Envaya too, but how about directionality, especially of high frequency? Do you need to be exactly in front of it to hear it well?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It sounds extremely clear exactly on axis without being too bright (like the JBL Charge 2). Of course there is some slight treble loss of axis but it still sounds convincing even from stronger angles it is just tha you will miss all the upper sparkle like that. The JBL Charge is less directional in regard to treble response but it tends to sound a bit sizzling at the same time.

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your answer. Sadly on amazon.it the price of the Envaya Mini was just raised from about 90 euros to 135 euros, and I missed the opportunity to buy it at the lower price :(((( The JBL charge 2 is sold at 130 euros too so I'm wondering if the Envaya is still worth the money with respect to other speakers. In Italy in the same range you can buy the Charge 2 or the Bose Soundlink Color. I'll wait and see if the discount will be back on, yesterday I had the chance to test a Charge 2 and Flip 2 in a shop, despite the background noise I was impressed by the sound of the Charge 2, no distortion at all in the one on show, but I couldn't judge sound quality at low volume. Any comments on the Flip 2 as a cheaper fallback?

      Delete
    3. Between those, I would definitely choose the JBL Charge 2. The Soundlink Colour sounds quite undefined and very mono-like. The JBL Flip 2 might be the loudest, but it has no bass at all.
      The JBL Charge 2 still sounds strange at low levels, but if you are not using an iPhone you can minimize those artefacts by turning the speaker to the maximum and keeping the volume low on your player, although the JBL Charge 2 will lack bass when played like that. But it apart from low levels it sounds best, has the best battery, charging option etc.

      Delete
    4. You are right, Flip 2 is really lacking bass... anyway after all I've read and listened on your site I've decided go to the Envaya anyway, I placed my order waiting for Amazon to get new items in stock, at 90 euros :D I hope I won't have to wait too long

      Delete
    5. I am also interested in the "low latency" AptX mode: if I could use the Envaya as a wireless speaker while playing my electric guitar through my Mac or iPhone using AmpKit it would be great, but latency needs to be REALLY low for that use :) As soon as I get my sticky fingers on the Envaya I'll let you know maybe someone else is interested too.

      Delete
  20. Just got this after trying the Charge 2 & Super M.

    The Super M sounds like an AM radio next to this. The Charge 2 has more bass - and when it's good it's really good - the Charge 2 would be better for a party probably. However - that bass is often lacking control and sounds really bad at low volume.

    The Envaya Mini is SUPER tight in every department. Sounds AMAZING when watching movies or TV - like a cinema or studio speaker. It
    also has a very low Bluetooth latency so can be used for video (unlike many other speakers).

    Extremely accurate. Super punchy, tight and upfront.

    It can be very bright at times - but it is just over half the [size] volume of the Charge 2 - it's amazing what they've done in this size, at this price.

    The presentation is super balanced - dialogue & vocals sound incredible. Deep base is very controlled.

    You must hear this speaker - overall far better than anything else - and super portable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (batch 2 is typo - should say Charge 2)

      Delete
    2. thanks for your roundup. does it sound similar to what you heard in my videos?

      Delete