Ikea Eneby Review (12 inches) | PCMag

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Dear Affordable Bluetooth Speaker Manufacturers: Ikea has just completely turned your game upside down. Yes, that’s right, Ikea. You probably wouldn’t be surprised if we told you that Ikea has designed a stylish and affordable Bluetooth speaker – pretty much everything the company makes is relatively inexpensive and visually pleasing. But excellent sound? To be completely honest, we weren’t expecting it.

The Eneby comes in two sizes – here we take a look at the larger 12-inch speaker, which sounds at a very affordable price of $ 89. (The smaller 8-inch model costs $ 49.) When we think of Bluetooth speakers under $ 100, most of them are small, portable, and don’t get very loud or offer real bass depth. So the price and size of the 12in Eneby made us skeptical, but that was erased within ten seconds of reading the first track thanks to its high performing drivers. Simply put, this speaker sounds awesome for the price and outperforms much more expensive models. That makes it our editor’s pick for affordable Bluetooth speakers.

Design

The Eneby measures 12.0 x 12.0 x 4.0 inches (HWD) and weighs 8.3 pounds. Its front is covered with a dark gray tweed-like material that will blend in well with most rooms in the house. The housing itself is black or white and the grille is removable, revealing a single 1-inch soft dome tweeter and two 4-inch woofers. The speaker looks cool anyway – the fabric of the grille is attractive, but the exposed speakers are also alluring. The tweeter gets 12 watts and each woofer 15 watts, delivering a frequency range of 48 Hz to 20 kHz.

On the bottom panel, silicone rubber feet prevent the Eneby from slipping on flat surfaces. An included (but optional) handle on the top makes it easy to carry or hang, and also doubles as a bass port for air moved by the speakers to escape.

Because it’s Ikea, the design is about as minimal as it gets. There is a single button with a white status LED in its center. Press to turn on, hold to pair, and press again to turn off. The button is also a volume dial, and its levels are independent of the volume levels on your mobile device. It’s a shame there aren’t any playback controls – you’ll skip tracks and play and pause on your mobile device. There’s also no speaker functionality – not that we really expect from a speaker of this size that isn’t portable.

The rear panel houses the connection for the included power cable, as well as a 3.5mm auxiliary input. However, there is no cable included for the auxiliary input. The back panel also has two threaded screw holes for wall mounting. Ikea also sells cool, minimal speaker stands for $ 10. And for what it’s worth, the Eneby is made to fit inside Ikea Kallax shelf.

You can pair up to eight devices to the speaker, but unfortunately you cannot link two Eneby speakers as a left and right stereo pair. Despite this, the Eneby offers tremendous value as a stand-alone unit.

Performance

Ikea’s decision to include two big speakers and a single tweeter is an interesting choice that pays off. Woofers, of course, provide double the bass that a single woofer would provide. Not only does this make the Eneby sound more powerful in terms of bass response, but it allows the speaker to be loud enough without warping on deep bass tracks, as each woofer has to work a little less loudly. alone.

At high volumes on both the speaker and our sound source (in this case an iPhone 6s), the Eneby got quite loud and never succumbed to distortion, even on songs with content. intense sub-bass, like “Silent Shout” by The Knife. “Not only is the audio clean at high volumes, the bass depth is impressive – it’s one of the most powerful audio performance we’ve heard in a sub $ 100 wireless speaker. Heck , it has more bass depth than a lot of speakers at $ 175. That said, a lot of these speakers are portable, so they naturally have smaller woofers and less overall power.

Related story Find out how we test the speakers

Bill Callahan’s “Drover”, a track with much shallower bass in the mix, gives us a better idea of ​​the Eneby’s overall sound signature. The drums on this track sound full and round, with some extra bass depth, but nothing too high so as not to upset the balance of the mix. We’ve tested plenty of speakers in this price range that can’t quite muster the bass response required to give these drums a naturally round, rich depth, but the Eneby does it well enough. Callahan’s baritone voice also receives the ideal blend of rich presence in the low-midrange and a crisp edge in the high-midrange. The strummings of the acoustic guitar are also quite crisp, and the percussive hits of the upper register have a nice presence in the high frequencies. Overall, this is a bass-oriented sound signature that will likely turn off purists looking for a flat response, but the bass isn’t obscurely boosted.

Ikea Eneby (12 inches)

On Jay-Z and Kanye West’s “No Church in the Wild”, the bass drum loop receives an ideal presence in the upper mids, allowing its attack to remain punchy and cross the layers of the mix. There is also a significant low frequency presence in the loop which sounds heavy and powerful. The sub-bass synth hits that punctuate the beat come with decent depth, but you need a subwoofer to really come down and deliver their deepest bass. The vocals on this track are all exceptionally crisp and clear, and there is no hint of hiss added. It’s a somewhat bass-oriented, but balanced sound signature.

Orchestral pieces, like the opening scene by John Adams The Gospel According to the Other Mary, are delivered with a solid scale. The lower register instrumentation is not pushed too far into the spotlight. Instead, it stays in its supporting role, anchoring the brass, strings, and vocals from the upper register. That’s not to say things sound thin – it’s a rich, full sound signature, but there’s not a lot of bass depth here to move forward (compared to pop music), so this style of track sounds much closer to a flat response.

If you think the output needs to be coated with dynamic killing digital signal processing (DSP) in order to avoid distortion, think again. At higher volumes on both the sound source and the speaker, the presence of DSP is subtle. The speaker may seem to wobble on the verge of distortion at the absolute highest volumes, but we’ve never observed it getting there. We saw the pilots push so hard on “No Church in the Wild” that the grille visibly vibrated, but the dynamics did not seem flattened as is often the case with speakers that use DSP to avoid distortion.

Conclusion

If you’re interested in the look of the Ikea Eneby, you’ll probably also be interested in the Urbanears Baggen and the Tivoli Audio ART Speaker, both of which cost more than double. The Eneby is obviously not as powerful as the Baggen at $ 449, but it offers a pretty good fight for its much lower price, and it actually outperforms the sound quality of the Tivoli ART at $ 249. The Marshall Kilburn and Klipsch The One both sound better than the Eneby, but cost a bit more.

The 8-inch Eneby contains the same 1-inch tweeter but a single smaller woofer. It also sounds pretty good for its size and price, but it’s not on the same level as the 12-inch model. For $ 100 or even $ 150, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better-sounding Bluetooth speaker than the 12-inch Eneby. Sure, a second tweeter could deliver a true stereo experience, but the same criticism can be leveled at almost any other speaker under $ 100. And the ability to connect to another Eneby to create a stereo pair would also be great, but maybe it can be an upgrade down the road. As is, the Eneby is incredibly good. The bar has been raised for affordable Bluetooth audio, and Ikea wins our Editor’s Choice.

Benefits

  • Exceptional value.

  • Excellent audio performance, with a strong presence of bass and crisp treble.

  • Attractive minimalist design.

The bottom line

The impressive 12-inch Ikea Eneby has the beauty and power of a bluetooth speaker twice the price.

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