Impressive design and punchy, crisp audio puts this Bluetooth speaker a cut above the competition.
What do you get when you put together a bunch of engineers from Harman and Harman’s pro-audio subsidiary JBL? Well probably a cutting edge audio company.
Meet Soen, an audio company founded by alum from Harman and JBL. While they’ve been around for some time, for most of their existence they’ve been making products for OEM customers and haven’t established their brand as one that’s consumer focused.
That’s changed “Transit,” a high-end Bluetooth speaker released last fall that’s targeted towards users that want the Harman Kardon experience.
An eye for design
Soen’s commitment to industrial design begins with the Transit’s box. While any company making consumer facing products obviously puts effort into making their boxes eye catching, Soen has gone the extra mile with the box of the Transit.
Included in the box is a USB charge cable with an AC adapter, as well as a standard 3.5 millimeter headphone cord so the Transit can be used with non-Bluetooth devices (the Transit uses the Advanced Audio Distribution Profile aka A2DP codec which makes it incompatible with very old devices like the original iPhone). Everything is packaged neatly and smartly, giving the user a good first impression of the care and quality put into building the Transit.
The Transit speaker itself has an attractive rubber coated plastic jet black finish, with a metallic silver line dividing the left and right speakers as well as on the side highlighting the USB port, audio controls and power button. It’s not overly bulky, measuring just 3.8 x 6.6 x 1.3 inches and weighing approximately one pound. Covering the front is a detachable magnetic cover, covering the important bits from spills and scratches As the speaker is designed to be portable, the solid build means users will not be afraid to take it outside. It will likely survive a drop or two.
The Transit also features a microphone, allowing you to use it for hands-free calls.
For audio testing, we played a number of different songs on the device with different audio profiles to see how the device would respond to the differently mixed songs. On the list was the haunting “Nightcall” by London Grammar, the punchy EDM tune “Wonky” by Orbital and “Get Lucky” by Daft Punk.
Of course the Transit doesn’t have perfect, studio quality playback. That’s not the point. By virtue of its portability there will be some compromises in sound quality.
But during our testing, the Transit was able to produce deep, rich sounds. Granted, this is not any sort of scientific testing but playback of the three songs left us more than impressed. Of course the Transit can’t compete with a mid-range pair of desktop speakers, but it’s a portable Bluetooth speaker — not a desktop speaker system. Compared to the onboard speakers of most smartphones and tablets, the difference is night and day. Clearly, the input from the ex-JBL and Harman engineers is audible.
If there’s one thing that’s wrong with the Transit, it’s the price point. The audio quality on the Transit stands out and puts the product above the competition like Jambox, but at $199 ($299 from Singapore retailers) compared to the Jambox’s Amazon price of $114 ($279 in Singapore, but that markup is higher than it should be) it’s one of the more expensive options on the block. Granted, it’s a great product and arguably has better industrial design and sound quality than the Jambox, but the price conscious consumer might be turned off.
The Transit is an excellent product, but it is the higher priced option for portable Bluetooth speakers. But, however, there is an increase in quality that comes with that margin.
In Singapore, the Transit by Soen is available from a variety of retailers for SGD $299. To find out where to buy it visit this website.
- Excellent sound quality.
- Great industrial design.
- More expensive than the competition.