Home audio is rarely just plug-and-play. Systems I’ve dealt with installing over the years have come with dozens of feet of wiring and multiple units that require an afternoon or more to get all set up. Now, most audiophiles certainly don’t mind this step of the process and really enjoy the ability to get their systems finessed to their liking, but to many others I’d imagine there’s a lot of appeal for a high-end system that “just works” right out of the box.
That seemed to be part of Mass Fidelity‘s thinking when it launched its Indiegogo campaign for the Core, a wireless single speaker system that delivers three-dimensional sound, last year. It’s apparent that portrayal resonated with a ton of consumers – the campaign blasted through its $48,000 funding goal and raised over $1.5 million from around 4,600 backers.
The company just launched the Core to the public, and I’ve spent the last week listening to the speaker in place of my traditional setup. The Core is $599, which is, in case you were wondering, a lot of money for a single speaker system. That being said, this little speaker does a hell of a lot.
Surprisingly Full Sound
First off, the Core shows off a startling amount of power for its size. This really can’t be overstated. The thing is 2/3 the size of a Kleenex cube and delivered volume and bass that left my neighbors knocking on my apartment door to quiet down.
Audio quality with the Core is surprisingly rich. The tiny speaker promises full stereo sound when placed against a wall roughly equidistant from the walls on either side and when you follow that guidance it’s crazy what detailed sound you actually get.
Mass Fidelity credits the three-dimensional sound to its special “Acoustic Holography technology,” which capitalizes on a technology called wave field synthesis that ultimately left my ears a little unsure of where the speaker was actually placed in the room when I was listening to Adele belting out Hello.
All the testament this technology needs is the fact that my buddies asked where I had placed the other speakers in my room when I played them some tunes on the Core.
That being said, speaker placement is still pretty important when you’re striving for the high-quality sound you’d expect from a $600 speaker. Move the Core from its sweet spot against the wall into the middle of the room and the audio quality turns a bit more hollow.
Mobility is another major sell of the Core; the device rocks a 12-hour battery that allows you to toss the device in a suitcase or backpack and take the stereo Bluetooth speaker anywhere you go. This thing dwarfed the sound coming from other large Bluetooth speakers I have and even at its highest volumes wasn’t producing distorted sound in the least.
Another key feature of the Core is a pretty simple multi-room experience that works straight out of the box. You can connect up to eight Cores to each other with the click of a button on the main unit – the devices then create a 5 GHz dedicated network.
This is all really a breeze to set up, in fact I’m pretty confident that even my grandma could get this speaker system connected throughout the rooms in her condo, I highly doubt I could say the same for a speaker system like Sonos.
Ultimately the Core is a very unique hybrid class of audio device that fills a lot of needs for the casual music lover. It’s a kickass portable Bluetooth speaker, a respectable home audio system that saves you space and, with the purchase of additional Cores, a multi-room listening experience. It does a lot, as it well should for $599.
The Core isn’t for everyone, there are certainly better sounding rigs that you could build for the price, but if you’re looking for a single speaker system that reproduces big stereo sound in a small package right out of the box it may be just the system for you.