Our readers know well the Anker brand which for the Soundcore division has always offered good performance speakers at an attractive price and many times with an original design: in particular, the writer is linked to the compact Soundcore 2, a travel and listening companion with the MacBook that combines compactness, balanced sound and 24 hours of autonomy.
However, it is difficult to find a speaker that is suitable for all uses and all seasons: dimensions, type of music listened to, use outdoors or indoors require specific speakers many times and Anker has expanded its offer in recent months. also thinking about what is now the “party speaker” as it is also proposed by major brands such as Sony, JBL, LG.
The “party speaker” responds to a pre-established code: it is a speaker with good bass reproduction capabilities (with some boosting system to make them even more present) combined with analog and wireless inputs and a lighting system that turns around the tweeters to animate small and large parties.
The one we tested is the smallest model of the Anker / Soundcore Party Speakers but at the moment it is the only one marketed in our country as the larger Rave model is not yet available.
The plate characteristics are very respectable even if obviously the 80 Watts are not the classic RMS but probably the peak power with a real power of 15-20 watts which are, let's face it, sufficient for a small house party, perhaps for the carnival or for a listen on the beach or in the garden without the neighbors calling the traffic police.
How it is done and what I connect to it
Let's say right away that the first thing that catches the eye is the rounded design that connects the domed upper part in which the handle was obtained and, inside the control panel that is connected with a “sliced” cylindrical section to obtain the front speakers with lights, the back with the bass output and the two sides with the word Soundcore on both sides and the feet on one side and at the bottom. Below is the unboxing sequence: inside the package we find power supply with UK adapter and manual also in Italian as well as a quick guide.
At the base there is the thread to place the Soundcore Rave mini on a tripod.
We will talk about the commands on the upper part later … we will still need to manage the Bluetooth connection and control phones and USB sticks and select the input (mini Jack or USB, as we said) with which to manage alternative music sources to the wireless one.
The inputs are hidden behind a rubber flap that guarantees IPX7 protection (you can also immerse Rave mini in water): in the compartment on the back we find the power socket (unfortunately it is not USB but requires a dedicated power supply included in the package), the USB socket that we will use both to power a smartphone (up to 2 Ampere) and to read a key with MP3 tracks and, finally, the mini jack socket to connect a player input musical instrument or, as we experienced in our test, a musical instrument.
How do I control the music
Having said the inputs, let's move on to the control panel which has a series of backlit microswitches under the soft rubber carpet obtained in the top of the case: in the upper part we have buttons to activate / deactivate the lights, to increase the bass, switch off / on, bluetooth activation and synchronization or to choose Line or USB input. In the lower part we have controls for scrolls, track forward / backward and in the lower center the Play / Pause button which is hidden behind the soundcore logo.
Obviously the lights are versatile since it is a double block of 3 + 3 LEDs that can have a “glow” effect, rotation and alternation but to manage them you need to use the Soundcore application that manages Rave mini and all the speakers equipped with a lighting system.
L 'Soundcore app, lights and games
To take full advantage of the speaker it is necessary to install the Soundcore app on iPhone or Android which will allow us to perform an absolutely fundamental operation: choose whether to use Rave mini indoors or outdoors; we say fundamental because with the internal / external option the speaker equalization changes a lot and not checking the two types of reproduction could lead to wrong judgments on the capabilities of Rave mini. From the app we can activate the bass Boost but above all manage the lights with different presets that can make the pulsing more natural and frenetic or more decidedly ready to follow the rhythm with a variation of colors and effects of your choice.
There is also a “Light DJ” mode that allows you to select colors as you like, interact directly / individually with the lighting of the two rings or launch some sampled audio effect.
The software controls the lights of different Soundcore models We select the Rave Mini This is the general scoreboard Presets correspond to different lighting effects The section for the Light DJ With the appropriate instructions We can intervene on colors and audio effects All customizable Play… THE choice of the three games up to 6 players The classic spin the bottle There is also the game of categories With themed quiz po and stopwatch
Finally we find a section dedicated to games, three in all, which exploit the “rotating” effect of the lights to create a spin on the bottle, truth and truth and categories. We can play with 2 or more players and customize the name: with a click on the app the lights will rotate to select a random player accompanied by a sound effect.
As we said in the introduction, the Soundcore speaker, even if it recalls some achievements of the competition, is an excellent balance of weights, ergonomics and accessibility and since it can also be immersed in water it should hold up well even evenings and nights on the beach.
We used it for small house parties in a 4 × 7 meter room and we can say that it did very well as a base for dancing too. Obviously, for the pounding “disco” effect, you need to use a more powerful system or a second twin Rave mini matched in stereo. In any case, it can also be used in “out of control” environments such as a children's party without worrying about its safety and that of the participants. All controls are well protected and the ability to position it vertically or horizontally also reduces the risk of falls. The non-slip feet and the relatively heavy weight make it stable while maintaining the comfort of transport with the rigid handle.
How it sounds
But in the end, with all these options, lights, inputs, apps, portability and versatility… how does Soundcore Rave mini sound? We have listened to it with the party music to which it is dedicated: therefore tracks of electronic music, more rhythmic songs of trap and rap, latest hits from the charts and also with our classic reference songs (Steely Dan in primis for the quality of the recordings with basses and guitars of absolute cleanliness and precision) or some dance classics back in fashion (Another One Bytes the Dust and all the Queen dance discography still in revival phase). Not only that: having available software for music on iPad for the “flying” creation of EDM tracks with programs such as GarageBand, we tried to connect it directly to try truly “critical” effects and bass lines.
No doubt about it: Soundcore Rave mini was born for dance or electronic music and in this field it behaves very well with well-defined basses up to 90% of the volume, and only if you bring it to the maximum there is the risk of distortion. It is not a speaker that we could define as having an “analytical” sound but if we choose the right equalization (internal or external or the equalizer of your smartphone) the balance between bass, medium and high allows you to listen to any type of music with satisfaction. The limit lies in the fact that with medium-low volumes it is the low frequencies that are predominant, obscuring the rest of the spectrum a little. But even here, if you want to use it in quieter moments, you can use the smartphone equalizer by pulling out the midrange or “tweaking” the setting of the App with the instruction to play outdoors instead of indoors.
We brought the Rave Mini into the garden taking advantage of the mild temperatures of this February and here certainly the outdoor setting makes the reproduction more efficient.
A note when the review is almost over: despite appearances there are only two speakers, the 5.25 woofer with passive radiator of the same size and a single 2-inch tweeter: what looks like a second tweeter does not emit any sound and is positioned there only for symmetry and to be surrounded by lights. If you want stereo sound you have to pair a second Rave mini wirelessly.
A speaker with perfect shapes and excellent versatility designed for carefree listening moments and to animate small parties at home and outdoors. The weight and ergonomics allow it to be used anywhere and the overall dimensions bring the presence of the sound box to the center of the “acoustic attention”. The rest is done by the lights that can be managed directly for intensity, pulsation, color, alternation and even exploit for the most common games among today's and yesterday's kids.
The sonic impact is as good as the bass response even without using BassUP (we honestly don't understand the presence since the kick drum is already very powerful on that range). If you don't push it to the maximum the sound is clean for rock genres with more complex songs while with more electronic songs you can be more daring.
The duration of 18 hours ensures a whole summer day in the company of the speaker: from sunrise to sunset. It is not suitable for all genres of music but for the scope for which you will use it it perfectly targets.
One last consideration on the price: the list price of 199 Euro seems high: with 50 euros more you can find speakers with more bodywork (at least from the point of view of the inputs or even the presence of the “old” CD) of the competition but Anker makes periodic offers on its models and it is not difficult to find it on the 150-160 Euros which correspond to its actual value, putting it indirectly in competition with smaller speakers (JBL flip for example which has no Jack input) but with absolutely less “stage presence” “And musical.
A well balanced product for the type target audience, clean and powerful bass, lighting effects and engaging app games. Sturdy and comfortable to move and without edges. It powers the smartphone and also reads USB sticks for maximum independence even outdoors.
High list price, high range somewhat hidden at low volumes
You can buy it at € 199 on Amazon but with the special offer of Anker SoundCore for the month of February you can find it with a 30% discount at € 139.99 by inserting this coupon when ordering: Y377DV3J and starting from this link.