Gear review: Nyne BASS Bluetooth speaker
The wireless speaker market is completely saturated, so it’s hard to know where to start when looking for a quality yet affordable option that rises above the sea of cheap Bluetooth speakers. I’ve heard a metric ton of them, and the gold standard for streaming and quality for me is Sonos, but their products aren’t cheap and they don’t include a simpler Bluetooth option. Nyne has a uniquely shaped line of Bluetooth 4.0 speaker devices that deliver solid sound quality that’s close to Sonos level, but without the price (and the fuss of WiFi).
Nyne has several affordable wireless speakers to choose from, but they sent me the white and gray. BASS which is a teardrop speaker the size of a cinder block. It’s actually a bit smaller than a cinder block and certainly a lot lighter at around seven pounds. The specs are nothing to scoff at with a 4400 mAh rechargeable battery and the ability to pump 35 watts RMS through two active drivers and a subwoofer. The portable BASS is fine for the patio or entertainment room.
The contents of the box include a strange charging power supply (with several international adapters); a really nice 3.5mm male-to-male audio cable; and a product brochure as thick as a mafia kingpin’s pocket roll. It took me longer to put the strange interlocking charger pieces together than to get the unit to play audio, but once I had the BASS at full volume, I didn’t need the guide. Basically, turn it on, connect it to your Bluetooth-enabled device, and launch your favorite audio app. Don’t have a Bluetooth device or want to use the BASS as an additional speaker for your TV or Blu-Ray player? The kit comes with a stylish 3.5mm cable for connecting non-Bluetooth devices via the auxiliary port on the back.
BASS has a creamy texture that is not unpleasant to the touch. The design is very robust. Large buttons on the top provide standard player and speaker controls. The back has a small powered insert, auxiliary input port, and an on / off slide switch. Another pressure control on the top row of buttons makes it easy to start the unit. A recessed handle on the port panel allows you to easily grip and transport the BASS from room to room. A USB port also charges your phone.
The ample lithium-ion battery supposedly provides 10 hours of playtime. Although I didn’t confirm it, I certainly did confirm several hours of reliable use. However, the BASS could benefit from a battery indicator on the front so that one can monitor charging. It also doesn’t seem to turn off automatically in the absence of a connection, which is puzzling for a rechargeable wireless device that isn’t included. NFC communication is a great feature that BASS includes, but it is currently not useful for iPhone users. Android fans can use it to automatically pair a Bluetooth device with BASS (which may be why it doesn’t have automatic shutdown). I had to manually reconnect at least once.
Once the speaker paired with my iPad, I tried streaming Slacker, which worked flawlessly. The overall sound quality is clear and rich. What impressed me the most was the mid-range and high-end performance, which is ironic, considering the name. The BASS has a decent bass response, but I wasn’t really impressed. It was heavy at times, but due to the higher range bias it seemed to disappear a bit under the barrage or the mids and highs. It sounded wonderful complementing my TV’s stereo output using the auxiliary input jack on the back (as good as any speaker I have). Then I paired it with my iPhone and tested the speaker. My ending sounded good, but the person I called said it sounded like I was in a tunnel. There’s nothing major to complain about yet, considering the overall feature set for this 35-watt powerhouse costs less than $ 150.
The BASS isn’t the low-pitched blaster I was hoping for given the name, but it doesn’t disappoint either. I give this portable wireless speaker great approval for a cool concept way, quality performance with lots of features. There are some rough edges, but the price is worth them.
- Attractive and excellent overall sound
- Price payable
- Small charging indicator (on the back) and no automatic shutdown