WAE BTP02 - Hercules Mobile Wireless Speaker
On occasion, as they say, "play around", we got a wireless audio column WAE * BTP02 from Hercules or, as the manufacturer declares, "Mobile wireless speaker."
WAE * - Wireless Audio Experience
I myself am a supporter of the classic stereo systems of the form: source - integrated stereo amplifier - passive speakers. But life does not stand still, and technology every day gives something new, so I really wanted to test something similar, and even with such declared characteristics as this model.
All technical data can be found on the official Hercules website.
Operating Instructions (including Russian)
Warranty certificate (I didn’t get one)
Judging by the commercial and brief information on the Hercules website, the focus is primarily on the young and energetic generation of people. And of course, first of all, those of them who connect the entire multimedia component of their life with smartphones or tablets.
I decided to write out all the points on which the manufacturer focuses our attention, since many information sources also pay attention to them, and it will be interesting to check!
• Designed for everyone who needs an iPhone® (or smartphone) as a music player.
Forget about cabling with integrated Bluetooth® wireless technology. Stream music from your iPhone®. You can also transfer music to the speaker from other Bluetooth® enabled devices (smartphone, tablet or computer).
• Unique design - modern and ergonomic. Using the handle, the speaker is convenient to carry from room to room.
• Select WAE * in your favorite color and enjoy the Wireless Audio Experience. The speaker comes in two color options: black and white.
• Exceptional battery life - up to 20 hours of non-stop music at medium volume **.
• Best-in-class Bluetooth® technology delivers amazing sound quality and a comfortable home range.
• Clean and crisp stereo sound - peak power up to 25 watts.
• Stereo Wide (advanced stereo) and Bass Boost (bass boost) effects.
• Enhanced bass reproduction with a rear opening and two 1 liter isolated airbags.
• One 3.5 mm “mini-jack” line input for connecting an MP3 player or any other audio device.
• Thanks to a convenient specialized application (compatibility with iOS® and Android TM), it is possible to remotely control the speaker. The application offers the following functions:
speaker control (volume, audio effects, on and off);
listening to stored music and free Internet radio stations presented in the application;
use equalizer to tune music
The device itself I received in a box of cylindrical shape, which immediately caused me to associate with boxes for ladies hats. By the way, the box is covered with a rather good printing and overall, the box has a pretty presentable look, we will take this into account for the future.
There is nothing much to unpack and consider here, so the device was immediately involved for verification.
Unfortunately, the built-in speaker battery was initially discharged, and I immediately had to use a charger, when connected, the corresponding indicator in the form of a battery lights up in the center of the speaker.
With the connection, no difficulties should arise, the buttons and connectors are the minimum number, the purpose of which is clear initially.
I already wrote that I have a stereo system, where it acts as a source ... iPhone 4, which, due to the speed of the new software, was demoted from a smartphone to an audio player with the main purpose of playing Internet radio. To create a relaxed atmosphere during work, I mainly listen to the Lounge channel.
The “player” itself is connected to the amplifier with a 3.5mm “mini-jack” cable, since there have been no wireless audio transmission technologies on my amplifier since birth.
Wireless testing. Start
Considering the main purpose of the speaker is a long wireless life, and also taking into account the inscriptions on the Made for iPOD / iPhone packaging, I follow the manufacturer's recommendations and connect the iPhone to the speaker via Bluetooth.
The connection process is quite simple and fast, one-to-one correspondence with the instructions. At that moment when the apple smartphone saw and connected the speaker via Bluetooth, he immediately joyfully informed me that there is a specially trained application, they say install it - you won’t regret it!
Well, it is necessary, so it is necessary - installed.
We will deal with the application a bit later, I was more interested in how things are with music here ?!
I turn on the Internet radio - the speaker pleases with a pleasant and surround sound. An even and informative middle, moderately detailed upper, the bass is not deep, but well designed. However, this is just an Internet radio and, apparently, the speaker is not very active in showing its abilities when working with such a load. We need to check with a more serious format, say using Flac.
So, we will check further! Here I will make a reservation that the iPhone in the role of “smartphone for music”, I use only for Internet radio. To play the “technically correct” music in camp conditions, I prefer an Android smartphone. This smartphone is always with me, it is always easy there and from any source you can put the music I need, and it can play a lossless format in the face of the aforementioned Flac!
So it's your time
Download and install software - all without problems.
Distracted by software
Due to the fact that further testing was supposed to be longer and more thorough, I decided to study in more detail exactly what additional features the software offers us. And these possibilities are as follows:
In the main menu, we are offered three main sections (Fig. 1):
1) “Speaker parameters”
2) “Sound parameters”
3) “Audio player”
In the “Speaker parameters” section, we are offered the following options (Fig. 2) ):
1) Speaker data - when pressed, information on the firmware and the name of the device itself is displayed
2) Online Services - when pressed, it is suggested to choose which connection types we can use these services (Wi-Fi or 3G)
3) Turn off the speaker - provided the ability to remotely turn off the speaker
4) Sleep mode (Fig. 5) - pressing this button, you can choose how long the speaker will “fall asleep”, the maximum delay time is 240 minutes, the installation step is 30 minutes when installing up to 120 minutes and immediately after 120 minutes 240 minutes
In the “Sound parameters” section »We are offered a program timbral block (Fig. 6) with one user installation and five ready-made settings from the manufacturer:
1) At the user's choice (configure as you see fit)
6) Default ( flat characteristic)
The Audio Player section opens us playlists Ie (Fig. 7)
I used “Albums on the device”, because the rest had no time to acquire.
When you select a specific track for playback, a black status bar appears with the name of this track at the bottom (Fig. 9), if you tap on the status bar a full interface for managing track playback will open (pop up) (if you tap on it again - window to go down. If additional functions are needed, as we say the timbral block, tap where the big note is shown (Fig. 11).
In all previous sections, you can always click on the “W” brand icon at the top right and get (for example) to the main sections page (Fig. 12)
Wireless testing. Continuation
He said: “Let's go! He waved his hand.
I set the default value in the software tone block.
I started checking the dynamics with the Irish band U2. Even during the hobby of Hi-Fi, I liked to check the acoustics with tracks from U2, some of the musical moments of this group can bewilder even more powerful representatives from the world of acoustics.
Rock - U2 "Achtung baby" composition "One" (flac)in general, the sound is at its best, vocals without lies, at high frequencies there is a slight uncertainty in the form of trembling, the middle closer to the bottoms is not very confident, the clarity of sound is lost, given the status, size and design of the acoustics can be forgiven. High frequencies do not cause fatigue from excessive loudness, slightly simplified, however, they are relatively detailed for speakers without tweeters. The middle as a whole raises the least questions. Lows, here we are talking about the upper bass, and if the acoustics go lower, then the maximum is in the upper zone of the middle bass. Still, restrictions are imposed on the bass in the form of a displacement of the acoustics themselves and the bass-reflex performance, nevertheless, the bass is neat, there are a minimum of “podzhuzhivaniya” at the very bottom, no obvious distortions at maximum volume.
On compositions with an active tempo, the lower middle and upper bass suffer a little, it turns out to be a light porridge, but this is all about how it should be in the ideal and acoustics of a higher class.
Further on the Rap - Slim Thug program “Boss of All Boses” (flac)
Here the drums are more measured and the tempo is clear, there should be good results.
So it is, the high ones cope, the groans as expected and as many people like, the vocals are open but slightly clarified, as a whole on this material everything is in place, but there is a slight mess as before in the lower middle and at the top of the middle range, in principle, these deficiencies can be corrected with a software timbral block. The overall rhythm is maintained. In general, due to the lack of lower bass, a slightly clarified character of sound transmission is obtained.
Folk Metal - Kivimetsan Druidi “Betrayal, Justice, Revenge” (MP3, 245kBit)
Surprisingly, I did not expect that there would be such an interesting sounding of similar material on this speaker. It was supposed in advance that this test would fail, but the speaker coped with a fast pace. Female vocals, to be honest, are lying a bit on the bottoms, but again I have to take into account the size of the speaker, I was surprised by the result of this test. Frankly, Black (Folk) on this column, I liked it, I even listened to a few things in excess of the intended “program”, for personal pleasure. Pretty emotional sound and good rhythm.
Country - Cowboy Junkies "Renmin Park", I really liked the sound of the country, apparently the lack of fast rhythms did not cause flaws in the edges of the middle range and due to the absolutely working middle, the vocals turned out to be very natural and plastic, a well-developed instrumental part. In general, a very pleasant impression of listening to this material on this speaker.
Electronic - Depeche Mode “Sound of the Universe” CD1 (MP3, 245kBit) completed the test marathon, I did not hear any problems. Also present was a slightly clarified nature of the sound.
In conclusion, I decided to check the Internet radio on Android, I had to use the service from Yandex Music.
Oddly enough, but Internet radio, in particular from this service, plays very well! Apparently the player from Yandex very carefully imprisoned for compressed sound.
I tried the electronic music channel. There is a lot of bass and you can say a lot, a good rhythm, at a maximum volume there is a slight “beeping” at the very bottom of the bass that the speaker gives out, the middle is open, voices without much confusion in the upper part, at the top as is customary for compressed formats - at least overall the impression of a pleasant sound that you can listen for a long time. Actually, what is needed from the main task of Internet radio.
I want to note that the speaker was auditioned for three days, and all three days it worked exclusively on the built-in battery!
Additionally, I note the very good and stable operation of the Bluetooth connection itself, despite the abnormal features of my apartment, where even the GSM connection “falls off” by itself at the time of moving between rooms.
It so happened that putting the next channel of Internet radio to check the sound, I automatically put the smartphone in my pocket and went into the kitchen, after a while, I noticed that the smartphone is with me, and the music still plays without interruptions! And even if it's only 5 meters in a straight line (and not 10 as the manufacturer claims), but these 5 meters run through two concrete walls. For better or worse, judge for yourself. For comparison, I will say that Logitech wireless Bluetooth headphones, when I leave the kitchen, no longer hold such a connection.
Also, the Bluetooth connection between the speaker and laptop did not cause any problems either in terms of stability or in terms of sound of the speaker itself.
In conclusion of the wireless part, I note that, most likely, the developers of this device have seriously approached the issue of optimizing the sound quality of music when transmitting a stream via Bluetooth. And this is logical, otherwise the meaning is so "loud" to highlight on the box Wireless Audio Experience.
Remembering that the speaker has a wired connection, I decided to check this possibility. To check it, I returned to the iPhone, connected it with an analog 3.5mm “mini-jack” cable, turned on the Internet radio playback.
I'm starting to listen .... hmmm strange, it feels like it's a different speaker.
The middle seems to be the same, but the sound showed deterioration, female and male voices were normal on first impressions. The lower mid-range is already lame more, here we can say a clear mess.
The bottoms, the upper bass are a bit bloated, the middle bass is slack and further culturally trimmed to nothing.
The high-frequency range caused the most questions, the very top was cut off, the rest of us heard sharpness and at the same time something reminiscent of rattling.
Throwing all the troubles into a heavily compressed mp3 format, I decided that it was necessary, something more serious than the Internet stream through the iPhone! I had to connect my budget NAD C515 BEE CD player, and with the words "all kinds of better mp3s through the iPhone," continued testing.
The first to put the CD with Depeche Mode. Well, yes, I hear - now the CD is working. Mid frequencies are quite imagined. But the situation with the lower and upper range has only become more complicated. And if the lower range was still holding, the upper range was not at all good at all, and this was especially noticeable at a fast pace.
Deciding to check this trend, he set Black Metal, on this the upper frequency range gave up completely, he just did not have time to digest this pace.
Then I decided to put on calmer rhythms, the TELARC CD with Dave Brubeck quartet defused the situation at a quiet pace, obvious problems with the upper range were gone, but everything that was previously agreed upon in terms of frequency characteristics was present.
Based on the results of wire testing, I can say that the wire interface, to be honest, has done more "for show", and you should not count on serious sound when using it. The only justification for its presence, in my opinion, is when you really need to connect a source that does not have Bluetooth by nature.
Beyond the supposed “program”, he decided to compare this “loner” and his “sleeping” microsystem from Pioneer in the person of the X-HM20, which at one time was bought as a good ratio of price - sound quality - capabilities. It is also interesting from the point of view of the cost of systems, they (as it turned out later) are approximately on the same level, Pioneer is a bit more expensive.
A CD with Depeche Mode was installed in Pioneer, and tracks digitized in MP3 with a bitrate of 245 kbit, pinched from the same CD, were put on the smartphone.
The speakers are set at approximately the same level. And on both systems, with the help of timbroblocks, the sound was adjusted to approximately one key.
It should be noted that WAE does have a really noticeable extension of the stereo base, the scene is a bit wider than that of Pioneer, but more compressed in depth. When comparing, I again emphasized the not very confident sound of the middle at the edges of the range, and stiffer bass due to the lack of a lower component. But keep in mind that the comparison is not very honest, Pioneer has more advantages due to more full-fledged speakers and a larger displacement of each speaker, moreover, the source of the CD is not MP3.
But the result of such testing I was completely satisfied, given all the above points.
In conclusion of this part, we can say that the sound of the wireless speaker is confidently at the level of micro or even some budget mini-systems.
Now it’s good to consider the use cases for this column. Who, where and when will use it?
Where and when
In principle, there are many options, they are limited by your imagination and the fact that this column is not positioned specifically for the street, as evidenced by its external lacquer appearance. However, on a sunny day, no one bothers to take her to the street.
The main feature of this speaker is that it can be moved in space wirelessly and up to 8 devices can be connected to it!
Say you work in the same room, light background music. Then you need to move to the kitchen for cooking dumplings, we transfer the speaker to a new destination without interruption in the connection with wires. The guests came, not only the music immediately and here, but you can also listen to new tracks on smartphones with friends and with a "full" sound quality.
I even took this speaker with me to the garage so that I could listen to music while I was busy with the car. By the way, you can grab to the cottage, but with reservations for transportation.
And here the question is much more interesting! And the time has come to remember the price of the speaker. And the price in Russia, according to preliminary searches in the Internet, is about 6 thousand rubles.
It turns out rather strange, the main contingent is young people, but the cost does not imply “poor students”, to whom, by the way, this speaker would be welcome!
If you recall the good packaging quality mentioned above and the ability to connect multiple devices, there is a good option - a gift to friends. Since here you can fold collectively, and the gift itself is quite substantial and relevant. Personally, I like this idea. And then you can come to visit yourself and share the latest in the music repertoire. A good option.
Or the option “one for all, we will not stand the price”, one speaker in the office room for friendly employees, the repertoire of the day “by agreement”.
And my wife, apparently, would be happy if I gave her such a gift for use in the kitchen. A smartphone is always nearby and it, by the way, is a remote control, Internet radio is a simple and affordable option for background music.
With an incoming call, the music is paused, after the end of the conversation, the music continues to play. This also needs to be taken into account, because sometimes this fact may just not be desirable if you will be called all the time and there will be constant pauses for guests, it is more logical to use a portable media player or tablet.
The speaker is not square, it is not very convenient to transport it just like that in the car - it will ride. If you plan to transport the speaker from place to place, it is better to keep the native box.
There is one drawback with a wired connection, if the 3.5mm connector is long, then the speaker does not lean on the back leg, but on the cable connector, actually:
Try different software players on your smartphone, not always native software produces the “best” sound, sometimes the best results were achieved when playing third-party software, especially when it comes to Lossless audio format.
In terms of maximum volume, this speaker is enough to sound a room from 10 to 15 meters in excess, subject to a normal recording level of the material itself. Those. it’s possible to “cut it”, I don’t listen to music at such a volume in everyday life, perhaps it will be just right for emotional youth.
It will be more difficult to drown out a room of 20-25m in size with such a speaker, but using it for non-loud background music during a holiday or other feast is quite possible.
Let's now go over the points that I wrote above and which the manufacturer especially focuses on:
• Indeed, “Designed for everyone who uses the iPhone® (or smartphone) as a music player”
• Indeed, “Forget about cable connections”
• Indeed Unique design - modern and ergonomic, it’s convenient to carry it by the handle, but it’s not possible to carry it (well, no one promised that).
• Truly “Exceptional battery life - up to 20 hours of non-stop music at medium volume”
• “Pure and clear stereo sound” - yes, when measured in terms of comparison with classmates. Of course there are flaws in the sound. But in general, the sound is pleasant, so we set off
• Indeed, there are “Stereo Wide Effects”, this is clearly visible in comparison with entry-level stereo micro-systems.
• “Thanks to a convenient specialized application (compatibility with iOS® and AndroidTM), you can remotely control the speaker” - the application is really convenient.
We can safely say that the manufacturer correctly positioned the product on the market, namely young people, active users of smartphones, are the target audience of this speaker in the first place. However, in my opinion, other options are possible.
Also note that the key points voiced by the manufacturer are true.
And if you are satisfied with the pricing policy of Hercules on the Russian market, as well as the size and design of the speaker itself, then in terms of sound, you can safely recommend this speaker for purchase.