Our readers are familiar with the Anker brand which has always offered good performance speakers for the Soundcore division at an attractive price and many times with an original design: in particular, those who write linked to the compact Soundcore 2, a travel and listening companion with the MacBook that combines compactness, balanced sound and 24 hours of autonomy.
It is however difficult to find a speaker that is suitable for all uses and all seasons: size, type of music listened to, use outdoors or indoors require many times of specific speakers and Anker has expanded its offer in recent months also thinking of 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 runs around the tweeters to animate small and large parties.
We tested the smallest model of the Anker / Soundcore Party Speakers but at the moment the only one marketed in our country since the largest Rave model is not yet available.
The characteristics of the plate are 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, enough for a small house party, maybe for the carnival or for listening 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 dome-shaped upper part in which the handle was obtained and, inside the control panel that connects with a "sliced" cylindrical section to obtain the front speakers with lights, the back with the bass outlet and the two sides with the Soundcore writing on both sides and the feet on one side and at the bottom. Below is the sequence of unboxing: inside the package we find power supply with UK adapter and manual also in Italian as well as a quick guide.
At the base obtained the thread to place the Soundcore Rave mini on a stand.
We will talk about the controls on the top 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 door that guarantees IPX7 protection (you can also immerse Rave mini in water): in the compartment on the back we find the power socket (unfortunately not USB but requires a dedicated power supply included in the package), the socket USB that we will use for both power a smartphone (up to 2 Ampere) than read a stick with MP3 tracks and finally the mini jack socket for connecting a music player or, as we have experimented in our test, a musical instrument.
How do I control music
Said of the inputs we pass to the control panel which has a series of backlit microswitches under the soft rubber mat 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 volute controls, track forward / backward and in the lower center the Play / Pause button that 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 speakers equipped with a lighting system.
The Soundcore app, the lights and the games
To take full advantage of the speaker, you need 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; let's say fundamental because with the internal / external option the equalization of the speaker 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 pulse 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 effects.
Finally, we find a section dedicated to games, three in all, which exploit the "rotating" effect of the lights to create a game of the bottle, obligation 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 creations of the competition, an excellent balance of weights, ergonomics and accessibility and since it can also be immersed in water it should hold up well evenings and nights on the beach.
We used it for small house parties in a 4 × 7 meter room and we can say that he also fared well as a base for dancing. Obviously, for a pounding "disc" effect, it is necessary to resort to a more powerful system or to a second twin mini Rave combined 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 the controls are well protected and the possibility of positioning it vertically or horizontally also reduces the risk of falls. The non-slip feet and the relatively important weight make it stable, however, maintaining the convenience 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 listened to it with the party music to which it is dedicated: therefore electronic music tracks, 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 Queen dance discography still in the revival phase). Not only that: having music software available 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.
There is nothing to say: Soundcore Rave mini was born for dance or electronic music and in this field it performs very well with well-defined bass up to 90% of the volume, and only if you bring it to the maximum there is the risk of distortion. Not a speaker that we could define with an "analytical" sound but if we choose the right equalization (internal or external or the equalizer of your smartphone) the balance between low, medium and high allows you to listen with satisfaction to any type of music. The limitation lies in the fact that with medium-low volumes, the low frequencies are predominant, obscuring the rest of the spectrum a little. But even here, if you want to use it in quieter moments, you can resort to the smartphone equalizer by pulling out the mid range or by "rigging" the App setting with the instruction to play outdoors instead of indoors.
We brought the Rave Mini to the garden using the mild temperature of this February and here the outdoor setting certainly makes the reproduction more efficient.
A note almost finished review: 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 appears to be a second tweeter does not emit any sound and positioned only by symmetry and to be surrounded by lights. If you want stereo sound, you need 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 takes care of the lights that can be managed directly by intensity, pulsation, color, alternation and also exploited for the most common games among the kids of today and yesterday.
The sound impact as good as the response on the bass even without using BassUP (we honestly do not understand the presence since the speaker is already very powerful on that range). If you do not push it to the maximum, the sound is clean for rock genres with more complex songs while with more electronic songs you can dare more.
The duration of 18 hours ensures a whole summer day in the company of the speaker: from sunrise to sunset. Not suitable for all genres of music but for the environment for which you will use it, it is perfectly targeted.
One last consideration on the price: the list price of 199 Euros seems high to us: with 50 euros more you can find louder speakers (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 model and it is not difficult to find it on the 150-160 Euros that correspond to its actual value by placing it indirectly in competition with smaller speakers (for example, JBL flip which has no Jack input) but with absolutely less "stage" presence and musical.
A well-balanced product for the type of user it is targeting, clean and powerful bass, bright 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 entering this coupon when ordering: Y377DV3J and starting from this link.