Like the average four-year-old, who would have guessed that something so small could make so much noise? I spent some time with the Edifier MP19, a portable speaker system that incorporates an FM radio, microSD card reader and aux input to create a surprisingly loud sound output that can be carried around and deployed wherever you’d like it.
The Edifier MP19 only officially becomes available in SA at the very end of May but we had an early unit dropped off at the Stuff offices, right during our last deadline, and it’s gotten us all though some lean musical times. That’d be thanks to the built-in 2,200mAh Lithium-Ion battery – there’s no such thing as plugging this little speaker setup into a wall socket. USB port, yes. Wall socket – no.
Looks, Simple Enough
The MP19 is an unassuming-looking unit, with speaker perforations front and back bordered by rounded plastic on the outer edges. The front, where the dual 48mm speakers live, is adorned with the Edifier logo while the rear, which is home to all the ports, houses the passive bass radiator.
At the back there’s a microUSB slot, headphone jack and aux port, as well as space for a microSD card. These are the main ways that you’re getting sound out of the Edifier, if you don’t include the built-in FM radio. The top is where the red LED indicator is, bracketed by a radio station selector and controls/input method switches. This is also where your power switch lives, on the right-hand side if you’re looking at the MP19 from the front. Everything is in shades of grey and black, putting me in mind of older Telefunken TVs for some reason.
(Almost) All Function
There are three playback functions available. There’s the programmable FM radio, where stations are selected using large red LED numbers – a lot like those old-school clock radios that once adorned every SA home’s bedside table. Users can also plug in an MP3 player or smartphone via the Aux port (the cable for this is included) and there’s a microSD slot capable of reading cards up to 32GB in size (not included).
Users can use the microUSB port to recharge the MP19 but it’s got another use as well. Selecting the USB function will allow you to update and modify files on an inserted microSD card, so you’re not out of luck if you’re using a PC or notebook that doesn’t ship with an SD card reader. Not a bad touch, though it’s best to use a Windows environment for the USB/microSD editing mode.
There’s only one feature lacking here and that’s a Bluetooth connection. Here at Stuff there’s very little that is transmitted over wire any more but the Edifier MP19 isn’t targeted at us high-end snobs (according to the R700 price), so I’m actually not too upset that it’s not here. Still, it would have been very nice to have.
The Edifier MP19 puts out about 4W (RMS), according to the marketing schtick. I don’t sit around measuring decibels so the claim may or may not be true but I do have ears. And so does everyone else in the office and you can’t make phone calls and use the MP19 at any volume about 20 at the same time (it goes to 30). It’s loud enough to drown out all conversation in at least a five metre radius. If you’re not in an office, it’s not going to be quite as punchy but the MP19 will be enough to get your point across.
The speakers are prone to a slight bit of distortion at high volumes but that’s confined mostly to the FM radio. The internal antenna sometimes needs a hand, it’s not the fault of the dual 48mm neodymium speakers in these cases. Cranking the volume up to 30 will also distort but that’s mostly the fault of the user. Obituary is going to cause problems, anything that sounds like twinkly fairy noises will probably be fine. Your call.
I’ll be quite honest, I’ve seen better speakers but they’re usually a lot more costly than the Edifier MP19’s R700. For your cash, you’re getting a lengthy battery life, multiple modes of operation including microSD storage and large sound in a compact package. The lack of Bluetooth is a wrench but the MP19 is definitely something to consider – especially if you’re disturbed by the silence caused by load-shedding in your neighbourhood.