Big sound in a smallish outfit is the desire of almost every speaker brand at the moment. Highlighted with the fact that the top of the line speaker model from Energy Sistem, the Music Box 9, is a portable and totally wireless entry, it also comes at an almost suspiciously low price point…
Durability is wrapped around this speaker in the form of chunky silicone on every side, with the exception of the front metal grill. Its exterior casework has put up with sitting on a desk with all the goings on here at the studio for over a month and looks as good as the day it came out of the box. It's definitely a modernist object to admire. As a design we’ve seen the silicone wrap around concept previously, but interestingly only on ultra portable models.
Controls & Features
Along the top of the Music Box 9 there’s the standard power, volume, pause/play, rewind and skip buttons. The power button is always illuminated and the rest illuminate when pressed. Lacking is the concept, when in dimmer environments, of backlit buttons via a light sensor - so it’s literally a bit of a stab in the dark.
Bluetooth is, of course, the primary connection interface that we’ve been using and it is a smooth operation from setup to pair with multiple devices. Alternative modes of audio playback come from the left side, with a USB, microSD and 3.5mm aux jack. More interestingly, there’s an FM tuner built in as well, which we presumed would need an arial, but to our surprise this is not the case - it picks up a pristine signal with no hiss or jumps in playback. The only thing that could be improved here is the way stations are tuned via flicking through the top controls, because there’s no way of knowing which station you’re on as there’s no display.
Claimed to be an ambitious 14hrs, we squeezed out 8-9hrs with volume hovering around 70%. As that goes, it’s fairly respectable and matches the similar designed Edifier Rave MP700, but not the SACKit MOVEit Speaker with 12hrs of tested playback stamina.
The Music Box 9 speaker has a total 40w output, so it goes without saying it can easily fill larger rooms with heaps of sound waves. Inside there are two dynamic full range and two high-frequency speakers - the size of which we couldn’t find out. There’s also a passive radiator, which greatly helps to enable the lively voluminous sound style that makes tracks like ‘Can’t Stop’, by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, loud yet reasonably balanced to listen to. Duffy’s ‘Warwick Avenue’ displays this speaker's credible acoustics. Her vocals are smooth and the whole setup captures the subtle power in the voice within the intro and, of course, the full force within each chorus.
Whilst high ranges are distinctive and the proportion of bass is a decent helping, the mid-range is often too tight, sounding squeezed within the overall balance; noticeable in somewhat complex tracks like ‘Tomorrow Never Knows’ by The Beatles. However, stereo separation is the weakest aspect of the output; tracks with lots of instrumentals and vocals can sound sandwiched with little of a soundstage to speak of. Yet there is the option to pair two separate Music Box 9’s together for what we would anticipate to be a heightened experience in this area. Compared against the SACKit MOVEit or Edifier Rave MP700 speakers, which are both over £100 more expensive, the Music Box 9 definitely offers pleasurable audio at a nice price point, and if Energy Sistem scaled their efforts and created a speaker with twice the price tag and audio performance, it would likely exceed other models. So for what the Music Box 9 is, we’d say it’s literally on the money.
The Music Box 9 speaker proves that a top of the line entry needn’t be overly large and tethered to the wall. With this Energy Sistem speaker providing a neat portable design, with an agreeable signature sound style for the money that will easily fill large rooms with its 40w output, we look forward to hearing more of what comes from the company's product lineup of totally wireless and portable listening experiences.