Oppo had finally launched their first Hi-Fidelity multi-room speaker at ISSE 2016! Having made a reputation for building popular audiophile equipment (like amplifiers and headphones), we are all too excited to find out what an Oppo multi-room speaker will look like – and what it can do.
The speaker looks very elegant and well built, and when I lifted it, it felt quite hefty. I couldn’t really audition it well as it was quite noisy around the exhibit, hence I unable form accurate opinions about the sound quality. According to literature, various Hi-Res music file formats at 192khz/24-bit playback is supported. Aside from using Bluetooth or AirPlay to stream your music from your device, the Sonica App allows you to easily stream your favourite tunes from Tidal, Spotify or your NAS Drive to Sonicas placed in other rooms.
Room acoustics affect the way your speaker sounds, and you can never be too sure how it sounds like until you take it home! If you’re concerned that your Sonica will sound too thin (in large areas) or too boomy (in small rooms), Sonica has presets that adjusts the speaker’s sound to suit various room acoustics. Somewhat, this sounds like what the Sonos Play 5 can do with its TruePlay technology.
I was also told that Sonica uses MIMO WiFi technology (Multiple In, Multiple Out) and can serve as a signal booster to Sonicas placed further away from your WiFi router. When I asked if it’s possible that when one stops working the signal chain will be broken, the rep assured me that the signal chain will persist. The next nearest Sonica simply bridges the gap, staying connected to the network! Sonica can work well with Dual-Band routers broadcasting 2.4/5 GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi networks.
Sonica has buttons on top that does volume controls and mute, and only requires one power cord to work. You may also connect a LAN cable to your router (to free up your WiFi bandwidth), USB sources or a 3.5mm AUX input cable.
So far, the Oppo Sonica had made a good first impression on me. I like its simple, thoughtful design,and its decent feature set. But if I were to form a solid opinion, I’ll have to test the Sonica in a home setting (with obstacles like actual concrete walls). That way, I can find out if the Sonica will be a viable alternative to other popular streaming speaker brands, like Sonos and Bose.
Oppo’s official channel partners retail the Sonica now for $499.