British audio company Studio 19 London truly has something unique on its hands here, with the Solo E500X-EQ speaker. The name may be a mouthful, but once you get beyond that, it is a mix of beauty and brains. Because for starters, you will probably look at this a few times to see if this is it—good things do come in small packages. By small, we mean for a powerful home audio speaker. The Solo E500X-EQ speaker is priced at Rs 42,500 and that is the sort of price point from where onwards you expect a premium audio experience. The question is whether the Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ is able deliver on the performance aspect, following up from the rather interesting looks.
The design itself is what will keep you captivated for a while. The sleek tower design really sits well in the room, wherever you keep it. The aluminum construction gives it the added robustness, and the very acceptable silver finish just goes well with any sort of interior décor your home may have. Personally, I would have probably voted for a bit more visual flair to further accentuate the rather unique design. Nevertheless, this is just the ideal blend between modern and retro as it stands. The controls are at the top, in the form of sliders and the speaker grille has a nice fabric overlay. You may not realize it at first, but the Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ is portable. Lift this up, and you realize how light and convenient this is to carry around. Start playing music, and you can have the LED lighting at the bottom give some added personality—but this doesn’t have colour or pattern customization.
You get the power, mode, source and equalizer (EQ) controls at the top. The EQ controls are the unique feature, something that most Bluetooth speakers don’t have. It has a USB-C port for powering this up or charging the mammoth 8,000mAh battery as well. There is an HDMI port, for connecting this with the audio return channel (ARC) enabled HDMI port on your TV and working as a soundbar.
While this is a portable speaker, and the dimensions as well as weight perhaps urge you to give it a try, be careful to not place this next to a pool for instance—the Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ is not water resistant.
Pair this with your smartphone, switch this on, lean back in your lounge chair, and chances are you will be sitting attentive again within a couple of seconds of the first stream of tunes emerging from the speaker. The Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ can go loud, really loud. Studio 19 says the speaker has 360-degree 3D sound and Digital Signal Processing (DSP), and you know they are working well for you to hear this speaker shake a few things around it. Play around a bit with the EQ, and you can get some really powerful bass too—Studio 19 has packed in what it called the Dual Pressure Air Compression (DPAC) Super Bass. In fact, to get this level of low frequency reproduction without an external subwoofer is quite an achievement. Room filling sound with great bass—what can go wrong? Not much, except you may need to be really gentle with the EQ settings for mid-range and the vocals, to get fine sound. It is easier said than done however, because in the first few attempts, you will either err on the side of what eventually sounds like extra sharp vocals, or too soft and muddled vocals. Once you do get these settings spot on though, any music you listen to, irrespective of genre, will be extremely well detailed reproducing the finest of elements with ease. What we have then is room filling sound with such detailing from a speaker that isn’t the size of your ottoman.
The portability aspect is perhaps the most usable because of the large 8,000mAh battery that lasts close to 9 hours of music playback at 50 percent volume.
It is perhaps surprising that for a premium speaker, Studio 19 hasn’t really bothered with the modern touch of adding Wi-Fi or any smart speaker capabilities to the Solo E500X-EQ. A companion app, some wireless connectivity and perhaps the ability to link to some web-based streaming or radio streaming services is now expected at this price point.
With a Rs 42,500 sticker price, there is no doubt that the Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ isn’t exactly an inexpensive speaker you can buy for home. That being said, it is portable, versatile enough to work with most usage scenarios and when tuned right, sounds pristine as well. Then there is the premium design which works well, and the EQ is a nice touch to add on. It is not without omissions on the spec sheet, but if simplicity is what you are looking for, the Studio 19 Solo E500X-EQ delivers on what matters the most—the sound. As long as you patiently get it spot on.