Portable Bluetooth audio system are available all shapes, sizes, finishes, and value factors. In addition, they provide a variety of options and capabilities, to not point out completely different ranges of sound high quality.
The Cavalier Audio Maverick sits towards the excessive finish of the value scale, and it affords a reasonably intensive set of options together with some luxurious finishes. But what about sound high quality? Is it definitely worth the excessive price?
The roughly cylindrical Cavalier Maverick stands tall, measuring 8.79 x 2.96 inches (top x diameter) and weighing in at 1.76 kilos. It comes with a charging base that occupies a round footprint with a diameter of 3.7 inches. To cost the 2600 mAh battery, merely place the speaker within the charging base that you just connect with an AC outlet from its USB-C port. Alternatively, you’ll be able to cost the battery by connecting the USB-C port on the speaker itself to an AC outlet with the suitable cable and adaptor (included).
Once it’s absolutely charged after about two and a half hours, the battery offers as much as 9 hours or extra of operational time. Keep in thoughts, nonetheless, that features idle time if the speaker is linked to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. In that case, it by no means goes into standby mode, so it’s at all times prepared for Alexa voice instructions. At most quantity with steady music playback, the battery life is claimed to be lower than 4 hours.
Two lively 1.6-inch drivers face in reverse instructions to provide a stereo soundfield; every driver is powered by 10 watts from the built-in amplifier. Also, a 1.5 x 2.2-inch passive radiator sits instantly above every lively driver to reinforce the bass response from the in any other case sealed enclosure. The complete frequency response is specified from 61Hz to 20kHz (±2dB) with a most sound strain degree of 90 dBC. At most output, the THD is spec’d at 1 %.
The Maverick accepts audio by way of Bluetooth 4.2 from any appropriate Bluetooth gadget; supported profiles embody A2DP, HFP, and AVRCP. It doesn’t assist the aptX codec. In addition, it might probably be a part of a Wi-Fi community (802.11b/g, 2.4GHz) to stream audio content material instantly from Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, Audible, iHeartRadio, and SiriusXM. The Maverick can’t, nonetheless, stream audio from native servers in your Wi-Fi community. Also, it doesn’t assist multi-room purposes, nor can two audio system be wirelessly linked as a stereo pair.
One essential characteristic is assist for Amazon Alexa voice management. This helps you to communicate instructions to start out and pause playback, change the amount, skip tracks, and management different fundamental playback capabilities from a web based streaming service. Unfortunately, you’ll be able to’t management playback from a supply gadget’s native library utilizing Alexa. On the plus facet, it’s also possible to ask Alexa in regards to the climate and different widespread questions, and you’ll management good dwelling units you probably have a sensible dwelling hub. The built-in microphone can discern voice instructions even from far-off.
Like most moveable audio system, the Maverick can function a speakerphone when linked to a smartphone by way of Bluetooth. Calls are clear due to built-in echo and noise cancellation. A devoted mute management assures privateness when wanted, and standing LEDs clearly point out when the speaker is in privateness mode.
The construct high quality is top-notch. An aluminum chassis is roofed with high-quality acoustic material and premium real leather-based. Even the USB cable that comes with the Maverick is clad in material, a cloth often reserved for high-end cables, with a heavy-duty cable tie. Unfortunately, the included USB charging adaptor may be very massive—nearly as huge as a wall wart—doubtlessly blocking different AC plugs on an influence strip or twin outlet.
There are 3 ways to regulate the Maverick: utilizing the controls on the unit itself, Alexa voice instructions, and the Cavalier app for Android and iOS good units. Several controls are discovered on the again of the unit, together with 4 buttons: energy on/off, mute the Alexa/speakerphone microphone, Bluetooth mode/pairing, and Wi-Fi mode/setup. Below the buttons is a USB-C port for charging the battery with out having to place the speaker within the base, in addition to two LED indicators: Bluetooth/Wi-Fi standing and charging/battery degree.
A row of 5 LEDs on the entrance of the speaker point out the amount, mute standing, and when Alexa is listening. A big rotary dial on the highest controls the amount, and also you faucet it a number of instances to play/pause, skip to subsequent monitor, skip to earlier monitor, reply/grasp up/ignore a name, and get up Alexa. You may even program this so-called “Smart Button” to pick out a playlist in Spotify and iHeartRadio.
Aside from the bodily controls, the Maverick is designed to be managed largely by Alexa voice instructions and the Cavalier app. The app guides you thru the setup routine, after which presents an summary.
After the overview, the primary management display seems. Here, you’ll be able to choose the audio supply, begin and pause playback, change the amount, skip to the subsequent or earlier monitor. You also can get assist, program the Smart Button, alter treble and bass, configure Alexa tones, rename the speaker, replace the firmware, and alter the Wi-Fi community.
Setup & Performance
After charging the Maverick in its base, the Cavalier app guided me by means of the setup course of, connecting the speaker to my dwelling Wi-Fi community. I began taking part in some music on my iPhone 6 utilizing the app, which offers entry to the tunes within the telephone’s library. I shortly found, nonetheless, that deciding on completely different tunes and controlling the amount from throughout the app is a ache—you could click on backward a number of screens from any record of tunes to get to the amount management. Of course, you’ll be able to inform Alexa to vary the amount, which is far simpler, however I nonetheless suppose that the fundamental playback and quantity controls ought to seem in every song-list display as properly.
I began with Esperanza Spaulding’s “Judas” from her album D+Evolution, which incorporates a lot of bass with guitar and drums in addition to her vocals. Overall, the sound was dry and a bit closed in, and the bass was considerably weak, although the vocals sounded excellent.
Another good bass take a look at is “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo” from Bela Fleck and the Flecktones’ album of the identical title. From the Maverick, the bass was missing, and the general sound was barely closed in, prefer it was coming from a small speaker—which it was, although I’ve heard different small audio system that fashioned a a lot bigger soundfield. The banjo and harmonica, nonetheless, sounded fairly good with clear, clear highs.
Similarly, “New Frontiers” from Donald Fagen’s The Nightfly sounded prefer it was coming from a small speaker, with no stereo unfold. The midrange was barely muddy, and the bass was restrained, however Fagen’s vocals have been good.
I attempted taking part in with the bass and treble controls to see if I may strengthen the bass, however the controls didn’t do a lot in any respect. Increasing the bass solely made it barely extra muddy, whereas turning down the treble solely muffled the cymbal sizzle. So, I left the controls of their default, center positions.
Turning to classical music, I listened to Dionysiaques, Op. 62 by Florent Schmitt as carried out by the Cincinnati Wind Symphony on the album Songs and Dances. I’ve performed the euphonium half on this piece, so I do know it properly. Overall, the Maverick’s sound was properly balanced with good rendering of the completely different devices and sections in addition to excellent dynamic vary. The midrange, nonetheless, was barely congested, and there was no stereo unfold.
I additionally performed on the Southern California Early Music Consort’s album A Festival of Renaissance Dances. Among the tracks on that album is “The Fairie Round,” by Anthony Holborne, performed on shawms (renaissance oboes), cornetto (a hybrid instrument with a trumpet-like mouthpiece and finger holes like a recorder), sackbuts (renaissance trombones), and tambourine. The sound was pretty clear and dry with good definition of the devices, however as earlier than, the sound was barely congested within the midrange.
Switching to on-line streaming, I used Alexa to name up a number of picks from Amazon Music, beginning with the playlist referred to as 50 Great Beatles Songs. It began with “A Hard Day’s Night,” which sounded as I had come to count on—barely dry and closed in with weak bass however good vocals. I instructed Alexa to show the amount down and up in addition to skip to the subsequent monitor (“Come Together”), all of which it did flawlessly. The response time, nonetheless, appeared a bit gradual.
I additionally performed the Overture from Music for the Royal Fireworks by Handel as carried out by the Academy of St. Martins within the Fields underneath Sir Neville Mariner. The sound was properly balanced among the many devices and sections, although once more, it was barely closed in and dry.
During my listening, I in contrast the sound of the Maverick to that of two different Bluetooth audio system I had available: the JBL Xtreme 2 and the Tronsmart Element Force, each of which I not too long ago reviewed on TechHive. To change shortly between these three audio system, I had to make use of Bluetooth with all of them, which wasn’t an issue; all I needed to do is push the Bluetooth button on the again of the Maverick. I may then choose every speaker within the telephone’s settings and play instantly from the Music app.
In all instances, the JBL Xtreme 2 sounded a lot richer and extra open with deeper, greater bass. This was particularly evident on “Judas” and “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo.” The sound was typically a bit muddy within the low finish, nonetheless, and the stereo soundfield wasn’t a lot better than the Maverick’s; the sound from the JBL appeared to be coming from a comparatively small speaker.
The Tronsmart Element Force additionally had a full sound, however with barely much less bass. In truth, it sounded prefer it was struggling to succeed in the bottom notes on “Flight of the Cosmic Hippo,” which isn’t stunning. As I famous within the Tronsmart overview, the Element Force had an amazingly vast soundfield, wider than both of the opposite two audio system. Overall, I assumed the Element Force had probably the most balanced sound of the three.
The Cavalier Maverick is a well-built wi-fi, moveable speaker that accepts audio by way of Bluetooth and on-line streaming by way of Wi-Fi. It additionally incorporates Alexa voice management, and it comes with a cool charging stand that retains the battery topped off. It additionally comes with a cloth carrying bag, which is nice for taking it on the go, because it doesn’t have any type of deal with on the unit itself.
The sound high quality within reason good, however not stellar. Overall, the sound is lean, dry, and barely closed in with restrained bass, although the highs are clear and clear, and its dynamic vary is superb. On the opposite hand, it displays no stereo sound area to talk of.
It appears to me goodly fraction of the Maverick’s excessive price should have gone into the high-quality supplies utilized in its development. That’s all properly and good, but when it was achieved on the expense of higher sound high quality, I’d not have made such a tradeoff.
Speaking of price, the Maverick’s avenue value of practically $250 is far increased than both the JBL Xtreme 2 ($170) or the Tronsmart Element Force ($60). Plus, I want the sound of both one over the Maverick. So, until premium construct supplies are crucial to you, I’d look elsewhere for a transportable get together.