[dropcaps]I[/dropcaps] love listening to music. I listen to it while I am walking around campus, driving in my car, sitting around my house, and even while writing this article. However, I have never gotten into headphone, speakers, or any other type of audio equipment. As long as I could hear the music and it sounded good, I was happy. When I got the chance to review the Kinivo M2, I was eager to see if a new set of speakers would drastically change how my music sounded.
In the box, you find two 2.5″ wired satellite speakers and one 6.5″ subwoofer. The power cable is built into the subwoofer and a 3.5mm-to-RCA cable is also included. When I first took the M2 out of the box, I thought it looked pretty nice. The wooden subwoofer felt solid and the gold accents along the black speakers popped.
The satellite speakers are plastic and have a glossy finish on the front that picked up fingerprints extremely easily. From just taking them out of the box and setting them up on my desk, the fronts were covered with prints and I had to spend some time cleaning them off. My favorite aesthetic feature of the M2 has to be the glowing ring around the volume know. The blue-white light is almost futuristic and I love anything that lights up. This system is not going to blow anyone away in the looks department, but it feels solid and well-built while still managing to look nice.
Setup and Operation
Setting up the Kinivo M2 was a piece of cake. I decided to replace my old desktop computer speakers with the M2, which was simple with the included 3.5mm-to-RCA cable. With the subwoofer hooked up, all that was left was plugging in the satellite speakers into the correct places and setting them on my desk.
The Kinivo M2 can accept audio from both a wired and Bluetooth source so the next step was connecting my phone to the speaker system. One great feature of the M2 is that it uses NFC so all I had to do was set my phone on top of the subwoofer and select that I wanted to pair with the speaker. If you want to pair a device that does not have NFC, you can do that by pressing the “Pair” button on the back of the subwoofer and searching for the M2 in your device’s Bluetooth settings. To switch between wired and Bluetooth, you must press the “Source” button on the back of the subwoofer. While this is not difficult when the M2 is out in the open, having it below my desk required me to get on my hands and knees to reach the button.
Placing all the controls on the back of the subwoofer did make for a cleaner product, but I do with the buttons had been placed in an easier to reach spot such as next to the volume knob. Speaking of the volume knob, it is located on the side of the Kinivo M2’s subwoofer. It is easy to turn and sometimes almost too sensitive. With the subwoofer placed beneath my desk, I found that it was easy to adjust the volume with my foot and that has been working quite well so far.
Here is the most important part of any speaker review, because at the end of the day, a speaker’s main purpose is to create the best sound possible. I have owned a few Bluetooth speakers in my life, but none of them were 2.1 speaker systems; so I expected the Kinivo M2 to deliver some decent sound quality.
However, I was completely wrong. The M2 is one of the best sounding speaker systems I have heard. Lows sounds great with the added subwoofer and I can feel the air moving by my feet when listening to a song with hard hitting base. The mids are just right and provide good separation between different voices and instruments. The highs are bright and clear, fully rounding out an enjoyable listening experience.
To put this speaker system to the ultimate test, I decided to try NPR’s recent “How Well Can You Hear Audio Quality” quiz. For those who are not familiar with this test, you are given three versions of an audio segment and are asked to select the one you think is the high quality, uncompressed auido. Each versions increases in quality with a 128kbps mp3, a 320kbps mp3, and an Uncompressed WAV.
Streaming over Bluetooth from my Nexus 6, I was able to easily identify the uncompressed audio all six times and get a perfect score. I am no where close to an audiophile and do not know a thing about high bitrate audio; however, I could easily tell that the uncompressed audio sounded better on the Kinivo M2. For comparison, through my Sennheiser HD 205’s plugged into my Nexus 6, I only got four out of five. I think that this is the best testament to the Kinivo M2’s sound quality. You can tell the difference in high quality audio when listening through these speakers.
After using the Kinivo M2 for a few weeks, it has continually impressed me with its great sound quality for a reasonable price. The M2 retails for $120, but you can grab it on Amazon right now for only $80. For a speaker that sounds this good, both prices are a fantastic deal.
What I liked:
- Amazing sound quality
- Good price
- Solid build
- NFC for added Bluetooth pairing convenience
- Easy set up
- Cool, glowing volume ring
What I did not like:
- Rear button placement can make reaching them difficult
- Average design
- Extremely sensitive volume knob
- Glossy plastic on satellite speakers is a fingerprint magnet