First Looks: Soundmatters Foxl v2 Portable Speaker
Speakers from a Rocket Scientist
Portable speakers seem to be all the rage and it seems that every audio product manufacturer is jumping on the bandwagon. The new Foxl v2 is Soundmatters' second shot at an audiophile-grade portable wireless speaker unit, which is supposedly an even better sounding edition of their original Foxl that debuted in 2008. As expected of this class of wireless speakers, Bluetooth 2.0 A2DP technology was the choice of wireless connectivity on this gadget, but it also accepts traditional audio inputs.
Design and Build
The second revision of the handy Foxl speakers looks identical to the initial edition, but Soundmatters has optimized its output capabilities. As seen from the photo, it has a candy-bar design and a small footprint, measuring in at just 142 x 36 x 56mm. By virtue of its size, the portable speaker unit can be easily stowed away for a camping trip or any other journey and you can easily whip it out for audio entertainment. The last detail is that the Foxl v2 is tilted at an angle when standing on its feet to better project sound and also doubles up as a speakerphone.
Surprisingly though, the unit feels heavy and dense for its small stature possibly because it houses some serious tech such as dual 25mm drivers and a bass radiator. The purpose of the rear-firing bass radiator is to help out with the low-end audio spectrum reproduction. To achieve incorporating the 'bass driver' without increasing the size of this compact unit, Soundmatters came up with an ingenious solution to design its bass radiator around its high-capacity lithium-ion battery. Marketed as the BassBattery feature, this is excellent space utilization while taking advantage of the mass required for it to double as an acoustic suspension bass driver. Thanks to the clever bass radiator design, it overcomes the common problem of audio breaking up for small speakers when the volume is cranked up.
Close to Perfect Performance
Seeing that a rocket scientist’s input went into constructing the Soundmatters Foxl v2, we were excited to see how it functioned in real life application. The patented 25mm Linear Magnetic Drive Twoofers are responsible for handling the treble and mid-range frequencies, while a passive rear firing bass radiator is installed to help out with the low-end. To round up the speaker's high-end street cred, the speakers also boast on-board digital amplification.
Running through our usual tracks such as Elements of Life by Tiesto and Melt My Heart To Stone by Adele, the Foxl v2 gave a spectacular showing. For its size and stature, it maintains high fidelity to timbre and pitch while providing astounding overall clarity. Well balanced, the speakers excelled when tasked with playing back different genres of music ranging from rock, pop and trance. With an on-board battery that can last up to five hours, the Foxl V2 should be an extremely desirable accessory for the audiophile on the move.
Pricey, but Worth it
Undoubtedly one of the best performing wireless speakers we've tested out recently, the Foxl v2 from Soundmatters is a joy to listen. In fact, it sounds better than many entry-level dedicated 2.0 and 2.1-channel speaker systems in the market. An audiophile’s dream, the audio playback from our trials was balanced while still retaining all the rich texture inherent in the tracks. Priced at S$338, these speakers represent a serious investment. Despite the price, you can bet your bottom dollar that you will get the absolute best performance possible - for a handy wireless speaker unit. There is also a non-Bluetooth edition of the Foxl v2 going for under S$300, but it if you're already forking out so much, it's wiser to top up for the Bluetooth edition to maximize its usability.