Matthew HughesFormer TNW Reporter
Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twi Matthew Hughes is a journalist from Liverpool, England. His interests include security, startups, food, and storytelling. Follow him on Twitter.
Over the past few months, a veritable tsunami of audio gear has crashed onto my desk. It started with the gorgeous HYM Seed record player, and climaxed in August, when I ended up reviewing four Bluetooth speakers over the space of one article.
And now, leaving the best for last, it’s the turn of the gorgeous Vava Voom 22. This Bluetooth speaker system comes in two configurations, either as a single unit, or in a pair, and offers drop-dead gorgeous looks and an exquisitely rich sound experience at a respectable price.
(And no, I have no idea how they haven’t been sued by Renault yet.)
Bluetooth speakers are seldom attractive. That’s just a fact. Most tend to be utilitarian in form – some grills, a few buttons, and that’s it. There are exceptions, of course, like Lofree’s Poison, but by and large, most are meant to be heard and not seen.
Given the Vava Voom 22 is implicitly intended to take pride of place in your living room, it’s a bit of a relief that it’s a looker. Buttons are stashed away on top of the device, with the body encased in a lovely accented grey fabric.
Connectivity – which consists of a power port, a USB-A port for charging your devices, and a 3.5mm jack – is stashed behind the device, making it trivial to conceal unsightly cables. The 3.5mm jack is especially handy, because it means you can connect the speakers to pretty much any device – not just those packing a Bluetooth Radio.
Pairing was delightfully painless. Turn it on, and it automagically enters pairing mode. Then you just connect your device – phone, laptop, whatever. That’s it.
But what if you’ve got a pair of Vava Voom 22s? Surely making these work together is an exercise in frustration, right? Actually, no. Just turn on the second speaker, and they’ll figure it out.
Each speaker packs a 4000mAh battery, which in theory offers as much as six hours of playback time. That said, are you likely to use it? The Vava Voom 22 is a bulky beast that scarcely fits into a rucksack – it hardly screams portability. If you’re looking for something to take to the beach or park, there are other more practical options on offer.
But does it sound any good?
Each Vava Voom 22 packs a 20-watt subwoofer, paired with a 10-watt tweeter, for 30-watts of output in total. In a duo configuration, you’re getting 60-watts of oomph.
This produces a delightfully crisp sound that felt well-balanced, and wasn’t particularly bass-heavy. I found it worked well with indie, folk, and electronic-tinged pop, like Chvrches, Julien Baker’s “Sprained Ankle”, William Fitzsimmons’ “Lions”, and The Smith Street Band’s “More Scared Of You Than You Are Of Me”.
The Voom 22 also packs a bass-boost function, which provides a bit more presence to those earthier, bass-heavy tracks. I tested it out with some GoGo Penguin (an amazing jazz band from Manchester), along with Aussie folk-pop band Camp Cope, and it didn’t disappoint.
It also impressed when it came to non-musical content, like films and podcasts. Speech was clear. It was fairly serviceable when it came to movies, but obviously no replacement for a TV soundbar or a high-end surround-sound system.
At higher volumes, the sound doesn’t feel strained and worn-out, as is often the case on cheaper speakers.
Should you get it?
The Vava Voom 22 is a fine piece of audio kit. Sound wise, it’s well-balanced; not particularly bass-heavy, but excels elsewhere. Setup is delightfully simple, and it goes easy on the eyes.
The lack of Wi-Fi streaming, via DNLA or AirPlay, will disappoint some. Other features felt a bit like a white elephant. As is the case with the other Vava speakers I’ve looked at, the Voom 22 can charge other devices. I wasn’t convinced then, and I struggle to see how I’d use it use it in this incarnation.
Performance wise, I was pretty happy with it, and it’d go well in a living room or conservatory. If you’re tempted, you can pick one up on Amazon.
The single-speaker version costs $129.99, putting it within reach of the smaller, but equally impressive Vava Voom 21. If you want to go down the path of two speakers, it’ll set you back $219.99.
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