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Edifier has a long track record of making excellent-sounding speakers and headphones that give product design equal weight with audio quality. The MP230 is a tiny Bluetooth speaker that may look even better than it sounds, and the speaker sounds incredibly good for its size and price.
How does the Edifier MP230 look?
The speaker’s look will appeal to anyone who’s in love with mid-century modern design. The electronics are encased in an MDF wood sheath with a walnut veneer. That creates a great look but it also makes a major contribution to the audio quality, as we’ll discuss below. The cloth grille is a brown-and-brass weave that calls back to the best-loved loudspeakers from the era.
If you could travel back to 1968 and put the Edifier MP230 on top of a high-end, furniture-grade console stereo system from the era, the modern Bluetooth speaker wouldn’t raise any alarms and would probably be mistaken for a tabletop radio.
What are the Edifier MP230’s specifications?
The MP230 uses Bluetooth 5.0 to connect to a source. Its Texas Instruments TAS5822M amplifier chipset supports 10W power output for each of the two 48mm drivers with a frequency response of 70Hz-13kHz.
The unit features a 2600 mAh high-capacity lithium-polymer battery, which should allow for up to 10 hours of Bluetooth playback per charge.
How is the Edifier MP230’s build quality?
The MP230 measures 6.38 x 3.8 x 3.3 inches (WxDxH) and weighs just 1.87 pounds.
Because its cabinet is made of wood rather than plastic, don’t expect much in terms of durability or weatherization. That nice veneer is going to chip if you throw the speaker in your bag and use it as a truly portable speaker. You will definitely want to keep it away from swimming pools or the ocean.
How are the Edifier MP230’s controls?
The speaker boasts a single row of satisfyingly clicky piano-key style buttons that reinforce the old-school design effect and offer a better UX experience than touch controls.
There are buttons for power, Bluetooth pairing, play/pause, and volume up/down, and the unit emits distinct and pleasant sounds whenever it makes a Bluetooth connection or powers up or down. The bronze-colored buttons are actually plastic, but they still feel surprisingly solid for a speaker at this price.
On the back of the unit, there’s an AUX input for plugging in another audio source, a TF slot if you load music onto a microSD card for playback and a USB-C input for charging.
How does the Edifier MP230 sound?
To celebrate the speaker’s classic jet age design, I tested it with Stanley Black’s 1961 album Exotic Percussion streamed from Apple Music. Released at the height of the hi-fi stereo craze, this London Records Phase 4 Stereo recording emphasizes the left/right separation of instruments so that listeners could show off the capabilities of their system.
That approach makes the era’s easy listening albums excellent for testing modern Bluetooth speakers that claim to offer stereo. With a speaker as small as the Edifier MP320, I had my doubts as to whether a listener could get that true stereo action.
Black’s “exotic” sounds feature a lot of percussion that moves back and forth between the left and right channels, and the MP230 more than delivered on tunes like “Jungle Drums” and “Misirlou.”
When listening to a more contemporary track like “Bones” from Soccer Mommy’s new album Sometimes, Forever, the speaker shines in the mids and high frequencies with shimmering guitars and Sophie Allen’s wispy lead vocals. Bass and drums sit easily in the track without any of the artificial boost that many speakers this size use in an attempt to amp up the sound.
If your taste runs more to deep bass tracks like Lupe Fiasco’s “Drill Music in Zion” from the 2022 album of the same name, you might expect the MP230 to fall short. Granted, a speaker this small isn’t going to rock the party with earthshaking low end, but the reproduction is surprisingly true. I wouldn’t hesitate to use this speaker for casual listening when playing music of almost any genre.
Is the Edifier MP230 worth the cash?
There’s no doubt that the wooden cabinet is a big reason why the MP230 outperforms other speakers in this size and price range. That wood cabinet represents a tradeoff, however, since itthe MP230 far more susceptible to damage than plastic-encased speakers.
So, let’s think of the Edifier MP230 as an outstanding small tabletop speaker. It’s also a truly beautiful object with a design that echoes some of the greatest radios and hi-fi systems from the early stereo era. The controls are straightforward, the Bluetooth connectivity is rock-solid, and the stereo sound is both consistent and pleasing. If the look enchants, the sound will, too.