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Review: Edifier MS50A wireless smart speaker

Wood on speakers is so classy.

edifier bluetooth speaker on table
Image: Curtis Silver / KnowTechie
The Good
A sleek design that looks good anywhere
Clean wireless connectivity
Connects with Alexa, Spotify, and Apple AirPlay
The Bad
No waterproofing which is a letdown for outdoor use
One channel sound can end up feeling a bit empty
7
Overall

We’ve come a long way from the days of floor speakers like the classic Pioneer CS-77. Wireless speakers are all the rage. Speakers such as the Edifier MS50A wireless smart speaker.

This speaker is essentially what we’re all using now. A wireless speaker that connects via Bluetooth or WiFi. Sometimes paired with a twin, often alone. What we’ve lost in RCA connections we’ve gained in our phones becoming stereo controllers.

The Edifier MS50A wireless smart speaker is a speaker that exists. You can play music on it through WiFi or Bluetooth. Edifier has a wide selection of audio products, which I discovered when I downloaded the wrong app.

One app is for other Edifier products and all in Chinese. The correct app has to be downloaded via a QR code in the box. This QR code downloads an APK file, which my Android phone was not happy with. Random apk files often contain malware, but I flipped a coin and took a shot.

The app is only necessary to connect the speaker via WiFi, but I thought it was needed to get Bluetooth to work. This is due to Bluetooth not working right out of the box. But after restarting the speaker a few times, I finally got it to show up on my phone. So I uninstalled the app before opening it because of general technological paranoia.

If you want to connect Amazon Alexa, Spotify, or Apple AirPlay to the speaker, you’ll have to use the app. I was also wary about connecting my Amazon account to some random speaker app, so I didn’t do that.

Put it in your face

nice bluetooth speaker with wood paneling on table
Image: Curtis Silver / KnowTechie

The marketing says that the Edifier speaker has drivers that are delicately tuned for bass booming and treble spiking. That’s the case for most speakers in existence. No company intentionally sells speakers that aren’t tuned for at least three ranges of music.

If you were to take this speaker apart, the actual speakers would differ little from the door speakers in your 1994 Chevy Cavalier. Edifier specializes in speakers, so perhaps these are more finely tuned than car speakers, however.

If you are standing right in front of this speaker, your head level with the speaker, then it sounds fantastic. Great leveled bass, mids are clean, and the highs are faded enough to not be overwhelming. That’s within a foot, and you can smell the fabric.

If you stand up and walk around, this speaker sounds like half of a pair, and the other speaker is blown. That’s kind of the sacrifice with wireless speakers sometimes. You have music in the room, and it’s not terrible for sure, but it’s also not a superior sound system.

On Sturgill Simpson’s “Sing Along“, a song with a lot of distortion baked in, the speaker delivered a very acceptable translation across Bluetooth. The bass on Glass Animals’ “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” was very leveled. This song has some thump, and it was certainly contained.

This is kind of a good thing for this kind of classy-looking speaker. It’s not meant to be the sub in a box in the back of your 1997 Celica.

Take it outside

bluetooth speaker on table
Image: Curtis Silver / KnowTechie

Where this speaker sounds best is with vocal-driven music, or more indie rock stuff. I know, that’s really specific, but the Lumineers‘ new album and anything by Heartless Bastards sounded absolutely great while chilling on the back porch.

There was no fuzz during the quiet bits, and the small sounds of guitar and vocal inflections were very clear. While it’s not waterproof or weather resistant, if you have a covered spot on your porch, that’s where this speaker belongs.

While the sound does carry throughout the house or interior room, inside it really needs a companion pair. Outside, it serves its purpose well. The lack of walls doesn’t contain the sound so much that you notice the lack of two-speaker stereo sound.

Since I’m not connecting a Chinese speaker (or any other speaker through an app) to my Amazon account (and I don’t use Spotify), I didn’t test the WiFi connection. WiFi might deliver a little better fidelity, but there is nothing substantial in the audible difference over the current Bluetooth standard.

For depth of sound, it’s not lacking, but it’s certainly not at the level of more expensive speakers that pride themselves on such a thing.

Using the orchestra-backed SOHN Live With the Metropole Orkest, I could still hear all the instruments, but the wideness of that kind of music was lost. Perhaps it’d be better with a second speaker.

Regardless, this is a small thing that most general listeners won’t think about. For its purpose, the Edifier delivered what would be expected from a Bluetooth/WiFi speaker.

Should you buy this Edifier speaker?

edifier outdoors bluetooth speaker
Image: Curtis Silver / KnowTechie

The Edifier MS50A wireless smart speaker has a few things in its favor that place it above standard market speakers. There is no built-in microphone. A great addition for privacy protection. The touch controls are easy to use also.

Then there is that sweet mid-century modern wooden look of the thing. As per its sound, it’s what you’d expect from a Bluetooth speaker. I wasn’t blown away, but I also wasn’t let down.

It works as intended, and its connectivity options and sleek look justify its $149 price tag. It’s available directly from Edifier, or you can snag it from Amazon and Best Buy.

Are there better speakers on the market? Sure. If you don’t care about music, there are also much cheaper ones. This option from TronSmart is only $60. JBL has a small portable Bluetooth Speaker for under $60, as well.

Regardless, if you want your music to sound like music and not noise, the Edifier MS50A wireless smart speaker is a good place to start.

Editors’ Recommendations:

Just a heads up, if you buy something through our links, we may get a small share of the sale. It’s one of the ways we keep the lights on here. Click here for more. A sample unit was provided for the purpose of this review.

The Good
A sleek design that looks good anywhere
Clean wireless connectivity
Connects with Alexa, Spotify, and Apple AirPlay
The Bad
No waterproofing which is a letdown for outdoor use
One channel sound can end up feeling a bit empty
7
Overall
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