Normally I would not grace this sort of thing with my time or attention. However, I think that the Mars levitating Bluetooth wireless speaker from Crazybaby is a triumph of style-over-substance. That alone inspires at least a quick examination of the product. I’m curious to ascertain it’s raison d’etre.
Most of the active component of the device seem to be housed in the flying saucer-like part of the system called the “Craft.” It literally levitates on a magnetic field, 20mm above the base, when in operation.
When the device is off the Craft settles down on top of the base, which allows for “Wireless Smart Charging.” When turned on the Craft hovers above the base until the battery fades. It’s quoted as lasting 6 hours.
Within the Craft we find a single “1 3/4” ultrathin full-range tweeter” driven by a 4 watt amplifier (1% THD, s/n ratio 75 db.) Apparently there’s a microphone in there to handle phone calls as well. Within the Base there is a single “3 3/4” bass driver (subwoofer)” driven by a 10 watt amplifier.
There’s a fancy ring of lighting built into the Craft, because…well…you know…it’s cool.
Connectivity is provided by USB (for charging) and aptX enabled Bluetooth wireless. An app enhances the system, adding control of volume, EQ, lighting…even levitation, although it’s not clear why that would be desirable. The app allows a two Mars to be paired, providing real stereo playback.
Actual performance isn’t really detailed, because…well…you know…it’s a Bluetooth speaker…that’s cool enough that no-one cares how it actually sounds. The quoted frequency response is 50Hz – 10KHz, with no stated tolerance.
I must admit, as if you haven’t already gleaned, I question it’s value beyond it being a novel design. There may be some value to omnidirectional dispersion. In particular it may be beneficial when the device is used as a Bluetooth speakerphone.
The idea of omnidirectional loudspeaker dispersion is ages old. It can be found in products from Bose, B&O and Ohm Acoustics, amongst others. Where it can’t be found is in the market leaders of today’s mid-fi pack, where Bluetooth wireless speakers abound.
Where audio gear is concerned, I take issue with grand claims that simply aren’t backed up with details. There was a time, in the glory days of high-fidelity, when the FTC mandated that manufacturers stated things like frequency response with a tolerance, ex 20 Hz – 20 KHz +/- 3 db. Amplifier output power was expressed as continuous (RMS) power for a given distortion level. I gather that Bluetooth speakers, being largely a convenience item vs Hi-Fi, don’t face such requirements.
I suggest that the term “subwoofer” implies that there is a woofer! At very least the speaker system is capable of real, usable output below the lower limit of typical bookshelf speakers…say under 80 Hz? That’s the role of the subwoofer. It’s the .1 in the 5.1 & 7.1 home theater systems. I’d guess that Mars doesn’t meet this standard.
Mars somewhat reminds me of Amazon’s Echo. However, Echo is so much more that just a Bluetooth speaker. In fact, I’d say it’s ability to play music is one of it’s lesser functions. Perhaps I’m mistaken in that impression?
Crazybaby describes themselves as “Design-driven, Futuristic, Geek” which certainly seems inline with the product. If you read the short Q&A offered in the Amazon listing it seems like the two founders are designers who just wanted to make something using this cool, new levitation idea. It’s as if their primary goal was merely to be cooler than Sonos.
The company achieved critical mass using an Indiegogo crowd-funding campaign that offered Mars starting at just $189. Now that they’re deliverable, the current price on Amazon.com is $299. The Amazon reviews (always trustworthy, right?) have been overwhelmingly positive, but emphasize the “cool” factor. Remember, you’ll need two for stereo!
It may well be that Mars is the pinnacle of wireless Bluetooth speakers. I can’t help but think that’s a lot like being the tallest Gnome. On the other hand, if you’re well-funded and your living room is missing that last uber-cool noise maker…