Here’s something I don’t think GadgetyNews has reviewed before – DECT speakers. The ONEmicro speakers have certainly ignored the more oft trodden paths of Bluetooth and WiFi as viable options for wireless transmission – but how do they sound?
The ONEmicro speakers use Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT). If that sounds familiar, then look at your landline phone – DECT is the standard used for cordless phones; and traffic lights for that matter.
As ONEmicro uses DECT it actually uses less power than Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. The speakers also use a dedicated 1.9GHz channel with no sharing of bandwidth which should mean better sound stability than with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.
The speakers themselves are cylindrical in shape with a diameter of 62mm and sit 52mm tall. They might be small but they’re weighty – tipping the scales at 300g per speaker.
The reason for the weight is that the cabinet is constructed from 20mm of iron.
The main “metal ring” body is split with the base being a harder white plastic, and featuring the ONEaudio logo. The upper section is a creamy white with a white mesh speaker grill on the top.
On the base of the speakers you will find two buttons, one is the power and volume up, whilst the other functions as both a mode select and volume down control.
Each speaker also features a microUSB charging port.
ONEmicro set up
Along with the speakers you get an aluminium USB DECT dongle. This sports the ONEaudio logo and an opaque end cap. The dongle is very nicely made it has to be said.
The ONEmicro speakers use the dongle to communicate with the sound source. This means that it might be a little different to how you’ll usually set up your wireless speakers.
To get everything sorted is really simple though and takes seconds.
First you have to connect the USB dongle to your audio source device – laptop, PC, tablet or smartphone.
The next step is to turn on the speaker/s. To do this just press the button with the ‘plus/power on’ symbols. The speaker will then sniff out the dongle (LED indicator blinks once).
As you may have already worked out, the ‘minus/power off’ symbol turns off the unit.
Once paired/connected (LED indicator stays on), the speaker will announce “connected to dongle, I’m on the left” or “I’m on the right”. The latter part also let’s you know how to position the speakers.
Yes indeedy – this does in fact mean that, if you have two speakers they will automatically separate into left and right channels.
In the event that there is some interference within the channel, the LED indicator will do a quick flash – so to speak.
The ONEmicro speaker comes with a male to USB Female cable. This all allows you to connect the dongle to most microUSB-equipped smart devices so that you can stream music directly to the ONEmicro speaker.
Once the speaker is on, you can get a report status by pressing and holding the ‘plus/power on’ symbol.
Pressing and holding the ‘minus/power off’ symbol gives you a report on battery usage, sound profile (warm, natural or clarity), audio mode (HQ or ECO) and whether the speaker is connected to audio dongle.
When the dongle is working it will show an orange light. As I have a Nexus 6P that sports a USB Type C connector I couldn’t test it out for this review. I did manage to get it connected to my Nvidia Shield tablet, my laptop and PC tower though without issue.
Another cool feature of the ONEmicro speaker is that you can freak people out. If you’re using a headset on your PC you can put the speakers in another room and then whisper in to the headset mic… Being DECT means that the speakers have pretty good range (50 meters outdoors and 30 meters indoors) 😉 The ONEaudio site does state that this function is more purposeful though. Apparently it makes for a mini PA system.
Most audiophiles will get a bit sniffy around the idea of wireless audio connections. Reasons regarding channel synchronisation, time jitter and phase error between left and right channels (as well as between woofers and tweeters) are often raised. These concern both Wi-fi and Bluetooth solutions.
However, using DECT for their speakers ONEaudio have managed to get channel synchronisation to within 0.5 uS. According to the company, this is 50 times better than WiFi.
Time jitter is less than 0.1ppm, which is about 10 times better than Bluetooth. But, even more impressive still, ONEaudio can manage zero phase error between tweeter and woofer and between left speaker and right speakers.
The speakers contain a 50mm driver that delivers 5 watts of audio with an 85-19000Hz frequency response.
ONEmicro sound quality
I was amazed at just how much sound these little speakers can dish out. But it’s not just the volume that was impressive, the quality of reproduction is up there too.
For most of the review I had the speakers set to HQ and Natural – but Clarity really did add some zing to acoustic tracks.
I eased on some classical music to kick off with and the ONEmicro did a fine job. The individual instruments were placed in an immersive sound stage.
Testing the speakers with something more bass-oriented did show a slight weakness, but if bass is your thing, there is an optional sub.
I was taken aback as to how good video sounded through these speakers. Catching up with Game of Thrones on my tablet it was like having my own miniature cinema. In fact, you can apparently pair up to 16 ONEmicro speakers so you could be surrounded. Well, either that or have the same music playing in every room of your house.
Overall the volume and quality of sound for speakers of this size is truly mind bowing, with the added bonus that DECT allows perfect audio phasing to create amazing soundscapes.
Re-charging the speakers only takes around 4 hours which gives back 20 hours of play time.
Before it gets critical, the ONEmicro will let you know by the LED blinking red.
ONEmicro speakers review conclusion
I will openly admit, I never expect much from mini speakers. I always find myself making excuses because of their size. I mean, what should I expect from a pair of speakers that are smaller than a can of coke when stood on one another?
The fact is that these are some of the best wireless compact speakers GadgetyNews has had to review.
They are versatile, portable and sound great. You can get a fabulous soundstage as you can adjust them as you wish because they aren’t constrained by cables.
ONEmicro price and availability
The ONEmicro speakers are available to purchase directly from ONEaudio for just $199.99 (£150) or $399 with subwoofer. The ONEmicro speakers come in white, pink, apple green or sky blue.
Check out their Kickstarter page!