Edifier AirPlay 2 smart speaker looks good and sounds better [Review] | Cult of Mac

Edifier AirPlay 2 smart speaker looks good and sounds better [Review]

By

This handsome speaker offers high-quality sound at an attractive price.★★★★☆
This handsome speaker offers high-quality sound at an attractive price.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

If you’re looking for quality audio at an affordable price, you can certainly do much worse than Edifier products. The Chinese company consistently comes across with great value, and that’s the case with the Edifier MS50A powered wireless smart speaker.

The company sent me one of the handsome, wood-paneled speakers to test out. Though it’s not the smartest smart speaker on the block, it looks and sounds great for the price. I’ll get into more detail below.

This post contains affiliate links. Cult of Mac may earn a commission when you use our links to buy items.

Edifier MS50A Classic Wi-Fi Speaker

Though quite compact, the Edifier MS50A Wireless Speaker comes across as an elegant, premium speaker suitable for most living rooms, dens or kitchens. It’s not the sort of thing you’d only see in a college kid’s dorm room or in a campsite.

Small enough to fit on a bookshelf, the speaker sports a light-colored wood grain on the back and sides, removable black fabric grille on the front and a clean-looking plastic control assembly on top.

The other initial indicator of quality besides the elegant look is the heft. It has a bit of weight to it, which suggests quality materials. This speaker is made to stay put in the house, not be tossed in a knapsack.

It doesn’t look like it costs $1,000, but it could pass for something that goes for a few hundred. And it sounds that good, too.

Set up and control

Once you plug it in the speaker and get the simple Edifier Home app going on a device, you’re ready to play some tunes by Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.0 or AirPlay 2.

The controls on top are intuitive. A lit-up power button sits in the middle of a touch-capacitive ring that changes color with mode (setup is blue, play is white). You can skip tracks by tapping in the right or left part of the ring, or pause and play by tapping the bottom. Three dots on top are for switching input mode. Everything works.

I said above the MS50A is not the smartest smart speaker. That’s because it lacks a built-in microphone, so there is no voice assistant listening to you (including when you’re not talking to the speaker). Edifier touts that as a security measure.

But if you want to control it via voice assistant, you can use Alexa via the Home Connect app or another Alexa-enabled device.

Good sound quality

So the MS50A looks good and keeps your private conversations discreet. But is the sound quality worth the $150 price tag? Yes. This speaker sounds good. Music coming from it fills a room with well-balanced, wide-spectrum audio that simply sounds like quality.

Like many wireless speakers coming out these days, there’s some emphasis on bass. It’s not overdone, however. Even so, some people mind find the speaker better for modern musical styles and not the absolute best for string quartets and the like.

The speaker features a 4-inch (102mm) wool diaphragm woofer and a 19mm silk dome tweeter. It manages to put out 40W of power with a 52Hz to 18,000Hz frequency range.

If you’ve got a bunch of people chatting in the room, about half the maximum volume competes with that without being overwhelming. And it’s certainly loud enough to bring out details in focused listening sessions.

And at high or maximum volume, the speaker exhibits a cardinal virtue of audio equipment: Its sound doesn’t become distorted. It remains clear all the way to max, even if max is too loud for most occasions. Edifier credited that lack of distortion to the AP6265 chip, powered digital amplifier and digital signal processing (DSP) technology built into the box.

It's easy to control the speaker via touch or from a device.
It’s easy to control the speaker via touch or from a device.
Photo: Edifier

Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or AirPlay 2 connectivity

You can connect audio to the speaker via Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi or AirPlay 2.

And keep in mind the speaker’s AirPlay 2 compatibility makes it especially easy to set up and use two speakers in a room or multiple speakers in more than one room for whole-house sound. And at the modest price, you might just feel tempted to buy two or more.

Edifier sent me just one test unit, so I couldn’t check out the stereo sound of two paired devices. But I suspect that wider soundstage is impressive.

An excellent choice for many people

That’s not to say the MS50A is for you if you’re super-discriminating about audio and coming from top-shelf equipment. Other systems that include soundbars and subwoofers might be more to your liking.

But the MS50A is a solid choice for budget-minded people who want good-looking speakers and don’t want to compromise on sound quality.

You can pick up the Edifier MS50A Wireless Speaker for $149.99 at Amazon or Edifier. Note that it’s currently on sale on the company’s website for $129.99. Getting this speaker for an additional $30 off is a steal.

Where to buy: Amazon or Edifier

Edifier provided Cult of Mac with a review unit for this article. See our reviews policy, and check out other in-depth reviews of Apple-related items.

★★★★☆