The Envaya Mini Revisited – Still Impressive

Introduction – 

The Denon Envaya Mini is one of the only products if not the only product that I`ve given a perfect 10. It has no real glaring faults, at least none that I`ve experienced personally.

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Usually products become less exciting as you use them, get used to them and inevitably find something better, but with the Envaya Mini, I find myself appreciating the speaker more and more with every portable speaker I test. It doesn`t completely outclass all of them, the Edifier Rave was no doubt a better sounding system, but for a ruggardized hyper portable, it doesn`t get much better. As such, I decided to revisit the speaker and give some updated thoughts over my long term usage.

 

Issues – 

Given the high final score, first off are the issues. I know there are numerous complaints of battery failure, but mine has yet to exhibit any sign of battery degradation. The internal cell is a 2600mah 18650 that`s likely unprotected meaning that the cell will die if it falls under a certain voltage (and batteries passively lose charge over time even when not in use). I usually charge mine when the battery indicator is still orange (>30% remaining) though it`s seen its fair share of flashing red when out and about. The problem is probably linked to devices that have been drained then left sitting for a period of time long enough for the voltage to drop, essentially killing the cell. Battery failure is a small risk but not a guaranteed phenomenon, the average user will not experience this either have the issue upon un-boxing (due to storage, in which case you will receive a replacement unit) or not experience this issue at all.

Denon Envaya Mini Teardown (All Credit goes to Miniklangwunder MLSensai)

Maximum volume is quite low unfortunately, enough for a small/medium small room but no larger and the neutral tuning can sound anemic in larger spaces. Consumer options and larger speakers such as the A320 offer much higher maximum volumes at the expense of sound quality and low volume finesse. The speaker is also quite placement sensitive due to the rear facing passive bass radiator.

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When submerged or splashed the fabric absorbs some of the water which might lead to sealing issues down the road, I always dry the speaker down after use near water and the speaker hasn`t shown any sign of damage but it`s still a concern.

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That brings me to the most aggravating aspect of the speaker, which is it`s thin width. As a result, the speaker is especially prone to rolling off the end of the table. The rubberized ends soak up shock well, but I still fear for internal damage when the heavy speaker drops.

This last point probably won`t affect most users, but it would be nice to have an app based GUI like that offered by UE. It would enable users to change settings, eQ and perhaps even pair multiple speakers in stereo.

 

Positives –

One aspect I complimented was the devices well finished externals. The matte finish and fabric have held up very well over my year of frequent use. The speaker has been used when raining, in the shower and by the pool. Despite the nature of the fabric, the device seems to be well sealed and the dual seam flap covering the ports does a great job at keeping water out. The only damage the speaker has suffered is a small chip on the front (really wish it was on the back) caused by a moderate drop, but apart from that, the speaker is still immaculate.

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The Bluetooth pairing system is great as is the lack of latency and quality loss when connected over apt-x. The internal amp is clean, devoid of the constant hiss that afflicted some speakers I tested, and the audio cues that denote connection, power, etc are all quick and unobtrusive (though I would prefer an option to turn them off).

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The variously shaped buttons on the side enable easy differentiation between volume up/down and power/play pause. The speaker is also easier than most to connect via aux, simply plug the cable in and it switches over to the wired input, other speakers I`ve tested required the user to manually switch modes.

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The sound is still just as enjoyable and impressive for this size and type of speaker. I think it strikes a nice balance between sounding large and clear, with enough low end quantity for the outdoors but enough bass control to appease home listeners. The full bodied midrange is great as is the aggressive volume compensation for low level listeners, though the speaker is slightly more muffled than I would like for some content. The upper midrange and treble response are still a top performer for a portable speaker, such a response is so rarely achieved. The Denon Envaya Mini is certainly richer than neutral, sounding great with music and movies but still clear enough for videos and podcasts. To top it off the psycho-acoustic effects applied really enhance the soundstage without sounding artificial.

 

Verdict – 

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Whilst I`m not sure I would still give the speaker a perfect 10, it`s probably the closest thing to it that I`ve tested so far. The strong audio performance and an extensive feature set in addition to continuing price drops make the Envaya Mini just as great a buy as it was in late 2015. You can read my full review by clicking on the hyperlink at the beginning of this article or by clicking here.

 

 

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