Apps - the good and the bad
I found the apps very useful, but somewhat frustrating to use. While the ability to set the EQ is an absolute necessity to get the sound the way I like, the apps take a long time to locate the speaker even if you simply opened another app and go back to the Music app to adjust volume or another setting. I wish Sony would include a basic remote that could turn it on and off, control volume, cycle through inputs, and maybe turn on and off the lights. As I said, the features contained in both apps is what make this speaker so unique, but I would like a basic remote so I didn’t always have to go back to my iPhone or iPad and wait for the app to connect to the speaker..even when the iPhone has been constantly connected via Bluetooth).
Below are some screen shots from both apps to show you some of the features:
One of my planned ways of using it was for when we are out by the pool. I could use it with an Amazon Echo Dot plugged into the USB for power, while also being plugged into the RCA input for audio. This will allow anyone to tell it what to play or ask it questions. However, when I plugged it into both ports, I ran into a lot of static. Luckily, I had a ground loop isolator that fixed that problem, but I found that I could also avoid the issue by using Bluetooth instead of the analog inputs. Inside the house, I will probably just keep my Dot plugged into the main office system via analog and pair it with the Sony’s Bluetooth to give me a lot more options.
The interesting thing about the Bluetooth feature is that it will stay connected to three devices at a time. It won't play them all simultaneously, but it doesn't have to be manually disconnected before connecting to a second device like other Bluetooth speakers I have used. It has NFC one touch pairing , but unfortunately my iPhone can't take advantage of NFC pairing. The speaker does not utilize Apt-X, but iPhones don't have the feature, either. It does have Sony's LDAC Bluetooth features available.
The speaker also has the ability to be paired with other Sony speakers wirelessly using the party mode. You can also use the analog out to pair with more speakers. The speaker has two 7.09 inch woofers and three 2.36 inch (cone type) tweeters, however only two of the tweeters are active at the same time. If you have the speaker upright, the two tweeters on top play, if you have it on its side, the two in each of the corners play, so you get stereo separation regardless of whether you use it vertically or horizontally. In ECO standby mode, the speaker only use .5 W.
Is it worth it?
For me, it is nice to have because of the many different lighting options. When I was a kid, my grandmother liked gadgets (she introduced me to my first video game...Pong!) and she had a speaker in her living room that would put on a light show depending on the music that was playing. I still remember her playing notes on the piano while I was mesmerized by the light show. This speaker takes that experience to a whole new level, so I know if she was still around, she would enjoy the unique features of this speaker as much as I do.
Below is video using some music recorded with my iPhone using a Blue Raspberry microphone for demonstration purposes. I wish I could use music that people are more familiar with, but I have been unable to reach The Rolling Stones to get their approval, so I simply grabbed a few copyright free tracks that show off some basic attributes.
It should be noted that this type of demonstration is limited because it depends on your speakers, the mic I used, etc. However, your speakers and my mic shouldn't put something in that wasn't there, so you can still get a general idea of how these sound if you have decent speakers/headphones on your end.
I haven't posted a Youtube video in a while, but if anyone wants a Youtube video to show off the many illumination and DJ features, let me know and I will try to put a video together.