Page 3 - Subjective Audio Analysis
As with all the audio products we review here at APH Networks, it takes quite a bit of experience and training of the ears before we can begin making a fair judgment. Even for the best of audiophiles, it can be hard to produce an exact and accurate evaluation of a product without a thoroughly familiar product to use as simultaneous reference. While I will not claim to be the reviewer of all reviewers for audio devices, I can say quite a few other computer review sites have editors lacking in training for reviewing anything audio related. Give them anything and all you will get is some vague description of “decent bass, average midrange, awesome treble, clean sound, 10/10”. Do not get me wrong though; there are knowledgeable audio reviewers out there on respected online media outlets, but they are far and few.
As with the LG Music Flow P5, I will put this speaker through a series of subjective tests, and try to come up with the most objective rating as possible (As ironic as it sounds). The tests were conducted over Bluetooth 4.0 on my computer with an Inateck Bluetooth USB adapter streaming audio directly running Windows 10 Professional 64-bit. I have also used my LG G3 D852 smartphone running Android Marshmallow 6.0 over Bluetooth 4.0 with all audio enhancements disabled. Since this is a wireless digital transmission, the source generally does not affect sound quality, and so their results have been combined together. After more than sufficient break-in time, we put the LG Music Flow P5 to the test. All tracks are FLAC or LAME encoded MP3s at 192kbps or higher.
Before continuing, however, I should put these results into context. The LG Music Flow P5 is a compact, battery powered, Bluetooth speaker, retailing for around $100 USD at press release. To even assume they would compare to other speakers we have received, such as the Audioengine A2+ or B2 would be completely ridiculous, and frankly, out of line. Rather, you would be looking at similar products such as the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus for comparison. The real market for the Music Flow P5 is for those looking to provide some extra oomph to your tablet or smartphones, since those devices, for the most part, do not give a lot of sound output. Using the LG speakers will allow people to dance out to their jam in the living room, or make a phone call while cooking in the kitchen. Thus, keep these in mind as I give my perspective for the Music Flow P5.
Starting with the low end, the LG Music Flow P5 was surprisingly good in this region. Obviously, due to size limitations, the Music Flow P5 was not going to blow anything larger out of the water. Even still, it was capable of producing some warm and full bass. It might not have been to the amplitude I wanted, but it was by far quite good for its size. There was some noticeable cutoff near the lowest end, but side to side with the BTSP-10 Plus, the Music Flow P5 was by far better in this region. I would even go as far to say the bass on the Music Flow P5 was better than the larger Turcom AcoustoShock HR-903, because there was less of the hollowness compared to what we found in the latter.
Moving to the midrange, there was again more warmth and resonance than I would have expected. It still was a bit dry in the vocals and the pianos, but once again, it impressed me for its size. Acoustic guitars and other wooden instruments sounded relatively natural compared to the BTSP-10 Plus. I did find the midrange slightly boosted, but the other good characteristics once again won me over. As this is also meant to be used to make calls and such, I am not too surprised I heard a slightly more boosted midrange. Again, compared to the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus, the LG Music Flow P5 provided better substance and resonance overall, with less hollowness.
Finally, at the trebles, there was a bit of weakness heard from the LG Music Flow P5 as the highest of the range dropped off. This was not too surprising, as many products in this price region and product range suffer from this. High frequency instruments such as violins still sounded natural, though some dryness started creeping in. Even still, I was quite impressed with the treble, the amplitude in relation to the midrange was definitely good too. Overall, I would have liked to see a bit more bass to provide a more balanced output, but even still, I think it was quite good. If I were to draw out the whole spectrum on a graph, it would show a relatively flat graph, with drop offs near the edges and a slight peak in the middle. Again, at this size, I did not really expect a whole lot from either end of the frequencies. In addition, the overall output was quite clean, especially compared to the BTSP-10 Plus. There were no muffled noises observed throughout.
As to layering, I would say the LG Music Flow P5 is actually not bad at providing decent detail without too much distortion. Even music with many different instruments and ranges were produced with ease. Again, the accentuated midrange made vocals a tad louder than the rest, but overall it was good. As to frequency separation, frequencies were still distinguishable, and everything came through well. I will say there still was a bit of mixing between the frequencies. As to cohesiveness and transitions between layers, there were not much drop-offs between each frequency range, but I think there still could have been smoother transitions between the three ranges. At this size though, these characteristics are expected and not bad overall.
When it comes to imaging and soundstaging, not much can be done to overcome the limitations of a small physical size. As physical size of a speaker plays a big role into how immersive sound can be, it would be more surprising to see amazing soundstaging with the LG Music Flow P5. As such, I really could not say anything more in the fact this set of speakers cannot produce great soundstaging. Compared to the BTSP-10 Plus, it was definitely again better, especially as all of the ranges had a cleaner output. However, if you are looking for an enveloping experience, then I would definitely tell you to look elsewhere. One thing I will say is that the Music Flow P5 was able to pump out quite a bit of sound, easily filling a small to medium size room without too much distortion or other issues.
Once I turned on the LG Music Flow P5, I knew it would be a more polished experience. Rather than a standard beep, this speaker turned on with a nice little jingle. Pairing was straightforward, but I missed the lack of NFC pairing. Playing music on the speaker itself was a quick and pleasant experience. Lag was almost indistinguishable, especially when watching videos. There were a few instances of music "burps", but it was rare and short-lived. Feedback for reaching the minimum or maximum volume was indicated by an audible chime. Other implementations of this have often been a sudden beep, which is often quite surprising if you are not paying attention. Personally, I would have liked to see some LEDs to do this, but even so this was much preferred to past showings. Using the Music Flow P5 with the Android app was easy as well. You can use this Bluetooth speaker without the app, but there will not be any battery indicator on your mobile device without it. As for battery life, the LG Music Flow P5 easily lasted the quoted fifteen hours if not more, which again is quite impressive, considering this is double the life of the Inateck BTSP-10 Plus.
1. Introduction, Packaging, Specifications
2. Physical Look - Hardware
3. Subjective Audio Analysis