XOUNTS UP Wireless Ambiance Speaker Review
- 360° STEREO SOUND
- 6.5 BASS REFLEX SUBWOOFER WITH 40 WATT AMP
- 2 NXT FLAT PANEL SPEAKERS X 10WPC
- APPLE AIRPLAY & APPLE TV
- USB & BLUETOOTH
- 2 MILLION COLORS
- 120 BRIGHTNESS SETTINGS
- LED MULTICOLORS
- PHILIPS HUE
- INDIVIDUAL DESIGN
- BIG COLLECTION
- STREAMING VIA
- SMARTPHONE, TABLET & PC
- TV & RADIO
- GOOGLE PLAY
- APPLE MUSIC
- AMAZON PRIME
Wireless speakers are the latest craze that virtually every major AV electronics manufacturer is producing these days. They come in various flavors such as portable handheld, table top and in the case of XOUNTS, floorstanding. XOUNTS is a German based company whose founder Oliver Richter is a veteran in the audio industry with roots originally in B&O Loudspeakers. Oliver had a vision to create a wireless speaker system that would produce fullrange 360 degree sound with the added excitement of ambient lighting. Thus XOUNTS UP was born. This project started out as a Crowdfunding Kickster campaign managing to exceed its fundraising effort by earning over $78k by 227 backers. A consumer can still get in on the early bird pricing by contributing now for a cool savings of around $200 off MSRP (depending on how you configure yours) before products start shipping this November. Is it worth the cost? Read on to find out and be sure to watch our YouTube Video Review below.
XOUNTS UP YouTube Review
XOUNTS Up is an obelisk shaped device that stands about 42" tall weighing about 20 lbs. It's a 2.1 system featuring two NXT flat panel speakers powered by a 10 watt/ch amplifier that couple to the smooth hard surface of the unit to radiate sound in virtually a 360 degree pattern. There is a bottom firing 6.5" bass driver powered by a 40 watt amplifier to handle the low frequencies.
At an initial starting price of just $269, you get the base unit with their black or white style cover and generic LED light bulb. The price goes up to $459 (initial pre-order pricing as regular price will be around $659) and steps you up to:
- Bluetooth connectivity
- customized style cover
- multi-color LED bulb
The slick thing about XOUNTS is you can customize your style cover based on the artwork of your design which is really a great nod to those wanting their speaker to blend into a room theme for maximum WAF. We asked the folks at XOUNTS to do a Star Trek Audioholics themed template for us which turned out very well as you can see. "To boldly go where no speaker has gone before".
Our unit was fully configured with all the upgrades and trimmings so we could get a full demonstration of its capabilities.
The XOUNTS comes in a compact cardboard box with everything neatly separated and labeled. There is even a very helpful YouTube video hosted by an attractive young woman that makes the assembly look like a piece of cake. Unfortunately assembly of our unit wasn't as incident free as shown in the video. I had difficulties getting the sleeve to fit snuggly into the bass and squaring itself so the top piece would remain affixed for final assembly. In addition, one of the speakers in my unit was defective so XOUNTS sent a second sleeve which addressed these problems. However, it still took some fiddling to get everything to fit together and lock in correctly. I also highly recommend lifting the unit from the bottom when moving it and NEVER from the top or you will risk having it come apart as well as possible damage to your unit.
XOUNTS UP Assembly Video Instructional
Once everything is assembled, getting your XOUNTS to connect to a bluetooth device is fairly straight forward. XOUNTS paired up to my phone instantly but oddly it was labeled as "Avantree Roxa" which I didn't recognize at first. Why they didn't just call it "XOUNTS" escaped me. The base has a panel of controls that allows you to adjust bass level, master volume, as well as the ability to defeat the audio and/or lighting.
XOUNTS Bass Unit (left pic) ; XOUNTS Control Panel (right Pic)
XOUNTS is ready to handle virtually all of your audio streaming needs including: Bluetooth, USB, Apple Airplay, and Sonos. It even has an Aux analog 3.5mm input in case you want to directly connect a source the old fashion way. You can network multiple XOUNTS units together to sync the audio for a whole home audio solution.
Perhaps the coolest feature of XOUNTS that separates it from ALL other wireless speaker systems is the light show spectacle it produces. With the multi-color LED bulb, you've got over 2 million color combinations that sync with the music. This can really set the mood in your room especially when you've got some friends over ready to dance to the beat. XOUNTS does come with a pocket sized remote that needlessly has more buttons than most universal remote controls but allows you to set the XOUNTS for a fixed color scheme and even adjust intensity. We recommend just leaving it on auto and let it do its thing with the music.
Sound Quality Tests
All of our listening tests were done via a Bluetooth connection from my LG G5 phone. I utilized high resolution FLAC files stored on my SD card as well as streaming services from Spotify and Pandora. The XOUNTS was tested both in our acoustically treated Audioholics Showcase room as well as our untreated family room. I started my listening with some Porcupine Tree: Don't Hate Me. I found XOUNTS had plenty of output to play very loudly even in my 6,000 ft^3 listening space. There was a good amount of bass to provide a sorta fullrange sound though it wasn't as tight as you'd hear from a dedicated speaker system. The vocal clarity was a bit underwhelming when directly compared against dedicated wireless speakers in the $500/pair range from the likes of Aperion Audio, Ruark Audio and Audioengine for example. However, the XOUNTS was able to play at higher output levels than some of these and still provided room filling sound ideal for ambient sound that will satisfy most casual listeners. Next up I put on Donald Fagen: Sunken Condos album and cued up "Slinky Thing". Bass was again ample and satisfying and the overall sound was good. Stereo separation wasn't nearly as good as a dedicated stereo speaker system which isn't surprising since the high frequency transducers are much more closely spaced than you would ordinarily place two dedicated speakers.
I found a more satisfying experience with XOUNTS in my family room which is a much livelier room. As you can see in our YouTube video review, we couldn't resist playing "What is Love" by Haddaway. XOUNTS happily obliged our request filling the room with loud rich sound that had us all paying homage to Steve and Doug Butabi from A Night at the Roxbury.
Spending time with XOUNTS Up wireless ambiance speaker system was quite an entertaining experience in sight and sound. It served as conversational piece anytime someone would walk in the room and see it for the first time. When fired up, people couldn't help to be drawn to it and I am certain if you hosted a party with a few of these going, people would be loving it. While XOUNTS may not provide an audiophile experience like a dedicated discrete speaker system, it's really not designed to do that. Instead the XOUNTS delivers pleasing room filling sound with a stunning visual show that will satiate your senses. This is the perfect speaker solution to install in a family room, personal gym or even at the dentist office. If you're looking for an affordable, easy to use, cool looking, hip and trendy wireless speaker system then it may be time for you to XOUNTS UP!
Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.