Party speakers are no longer just about blasting music at loud volumes. They come built with more features that make them into one-stop entertainment units. We still wouldn’t recommend them as a primary sound system, but they do carry almost all the features in fun package, that’s perfect for a party theme.
The new Sony MHC-V50D is one good example of that. The speaker carries powerful bass, support for multiple sources and it even comes with built-in LED lights to set the mood. You can even connect a microphone to it. Above that, Sony has also included a CD player and TV connectivity, adding karaoke to its long list of party features. Of course the party speakers is not a small investment. The MHC-V50D costs around Rs. 33,000*. That’s a lot of money for a speaker you might not use all the time. For that money, we’re looking at nothing but unparalleled performance from the MHC-V50D.
Design and Build
The MHC-V50 is just like a tower speaker, equipped with multiple drivers in a single massive unit. The speaker stands 31 inches tall and is approximately 11 inches, both in width and depth. It weighs a total of 14kg. It’s not exactly portable, but you can carry it around in your house, with the help of hinges provided at the side. However, a wheel base would have been a much better solution.
It’s hard to miss the Sony MHC-V50D when placed in a room. Yes, it’s mostly because of the size, but it’s also because of its bold design. Be it any environment, the speaker stands out. The first thing you notice is the impressive speaker setup, including the massive woofer driver placed behind the metal grill. Right above that, you notice the two mid-range drivers and the two tweeters at the top. Just looking at the speaker gives you an idea of how powerful the Sony V50D could be.
The control panel at the top looks exciting and fun to play around with. It’s completely touch-based, with the only physical components being the power button and the volume rocker disc at the centre. The volume rocker is designed to look like a DJ console. There are other functionalities to it that we’ll be discussing later in the review. The whole plethora of controls is illuminated by a backlight, even the DJ disc in the centre.
Party speakers aren’t complete with a set of LED lights. The MHC-V50 has two set of multi-coloured lights. There is one at the back, adjoining the top panel. It’s meant to illuminate the room by reflecting on a wall behind it. The other set of lights is embedded within the woofer driver. There are even different modes and variations you can choose from. Together, the lights really help set a club like environment in your room and also make the MHC-V50D the centre of attraction.
Connectivity and audio features
As far as connectivity goes, the MHC-V50 has a lot to offer. For just audio playback, you get the usual options including Bluetooth, USB and analog stereo. But just simple audio playback is not the MHC-V50D’s thing. The speaker comes with a DJ disk at the top, which can be used to add effects to your songs and give them an interesting spin. There are different modes like Isolator, Flanger and two samplers included. Besides that, you can even use the Disk on top to add a scratch effect to your songs. The options are limited and aren’t all that great, but we actually had fun using the DJ mode with some electronic, party songs like Netsky’s ‘Come alive’.
Besides those effects, the speaker carries a whole range of equalizer mode to choose from. There lies most of the problem. In the huge list of modes, there isn’t a standard mode included, which makes it difficult to choose the right one when you’re going through a diverse playlist. We constantly found ourselves changing the mode, with almost every song or genre we played on the speaker. The custom equalizer was of some help. This is where you can set audio levels as per your preference. A big party piece is the Mega bass and the Fiesta button, which enhances the bass and treble levels respectively to give you that extra thump in songs.
Perhaps, the most impressive bit is not what you can connect the speaker with, rather what it can be connected to it. For example, if you think the speaker alone isn’t enough, you can actually add another pair of speakers to the MHC-V50D, with the help of the analog out provided at the back.
The speaker also comes with an HDMI (ARC) port, which can be used to the connect the speaker to a TV. This not only allows you to play audio discs through the CD drive, but also movies. You can also use it to play Karaoke discs and use the TV as the display. . There is also a composite out if you want to connect an old CRT TV.
For Karaoke, you also get two microphone inputs. The second one can also be used for a guitar. You can actually use the MHC-V50D to have a jam session with your friends. There’s even an echo effect and vocal fader included to help give your vocals a twist.
The speaker comes with a remote control in the box. It gives you access to basic settings in the speaker. You can also download Sony’s Music center app which allows you to control the speaker from your smartphone. You can use the app to change the volume, source, equalizer and even adjust the lighting. DJ effects can be added through the app as well.
The Sony MHC-V50D carries a total power output of 660 Watts. The speaker has enough power to play music in a large room or a backyard. The speaker’s height makes the output pretty much directional. So the best place to setup the speaker is in a corner of the room. The speaker also needs to be played at a high volume to compensate for that.
The problem isn’t really with the performance of the drivers. The speaker seems capable of delivering good sound. It’s the lack of a good equalizer that hampers the whole experience. It’s difficult to find a good balance. The result is either too bass heavy or too flat. We spent a lot of time skipping between modes. Eventually it was the Custom EQ that worked as the solution. We simply put all the levels as equal to get a good balance.
We started off with some party music with genres like Dubstep, Techno and House. It feels like the speaker is built for them. We played Netsky’s ‘Come alive’ which sounded brilliant. The bass is really punchy. Other elements of the song sounded crisp and clean. The heavy bass doesn’t necessarily over-power the song, but it does make the song sound a little on the lower side. The effects of this were more prominent with heavier songs like Porter Robinson’s ‘Divinity’. Here the finer details instead of sounding clean felt just meshed together.
We even experimented with Sony’s ClearAudio technology using the Music center app. It adds a lot of colour to the song, enhancing the treble and bass levels. It doesn’t necessarily work with all genres but it worked with House and Dubstep music. In fact, Netsky’s ‘Come alive’ sounded a lot more vibrant with the ClearAudio mode on. You get used to this feature.
We also played some classics including Led Zepellin’s ‘Stairway to heaven’. The performance was good. The vocals sounded a bit off. The songs isn’t very complicated so the speaker manages to render detail very clearly. However, with heavier music like Artic Monkeys’ ‘I bet you look good’, the grudgier sound of the guitar and the drums take over, hiding the finer details in the highs. The vocals though sounded good.
Overall, we wouldn’t say the speaker is designed for all genres but it offers an enjoyable experience if you set it right. With bass-heavy genres, you face no problems. In fact, this is one area where you can push the speaker to its limits and still get a good output. Complex music is where the speaker finds a little difficult to keep up with details.
Design and build
The MHC-V50D looks like a party speaker in every way. Its fancy design consists of huge drivers, a touch-based control panel with a DJ styled console, big woofer and LED lights. The speaker is not exactly portable but can be carried around the house if needed without having to disconnect more than a power cable. Its control panel is fun to play with and the different light modes let you match the mood of the song playing on the speaker.
The MHC-V50D can do a lot more than just play music through the source connected over Bluetooth, auxiliary or USB. You can even connect the speaker to a pair of external speakers to give the audio a boost. Besides that, it can even be connected to a TV with the help of a HDMI (ARC) port or the composite port. This feature not only allows you to play movies but also play Karaoke discs. Speaking of which, you get two mic ports, out of which one can also be connected to a guitar.
The control panel lets you control the music and even add interesting effects to it with the help of the DJ styled console at the top. There are a wide range of equalizer settings that can be confusing to choose from. Besides that, you also get different modes like Mega Boost and Fiesta to enhance the audio.