Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT) review

Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT) review
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Last Updated on by Daniel Osakwe

Denon’s Envaya range was introduced in 2014, far from being the first of its name. Among the latest speakers to bear the name is the top-tier Denon Envaya DSB-250BT.

One of the best-sounding wireless speakers you can buy is the Envaya DSB-250BT, the largest of the three new models. These features, along with its deep bass and smooth tone, make this speaker rather special.

Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT): Design

denon speakers

As the largest of three siblings, you might have expected the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT to be big and bulky. It isn’t. Still, this is a small Bluetooth speaker that can be packed in a cabin bag for a weekend getaway without having to pack all your clothes but a t-shirt.

The Envaya DSB-250BT is 209 x 77mm (W x H), making it a bit smaller than its rival, the UE Megaboom.

Denon’s Envaya looks quite sophisticated, in typical Denon style. This Denon is all-black except for the silver Denon logo. It doesn’t embrace color or obvious tough-looking fabrics. Pretty soft fabric covers the speaker grille, which would look right at home on a bookshelf speaker.

So it’s a bit surprising that the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT can withstand water damage. The IP67-rated device can withstand being submerged in water up to one meter deep. If you run it under a tap, the water just cascades over the Envaya. The fabric’s soft top layer seems to absorb very little water, but it will quickly evaporate.

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The end caps of the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT are rubberized, allowing them to absorb some shock if it is dropped. In addition to looking great in a stylish living room, this speaker is tough enough for outdoor use as well.

A cord is attached to a cut-out on the back of the speaker, so you can attach it to a backpack.  It is a feature we’ve seen before on the UE Roll 2, but it is great to see it again here.

Feature set

Denon Envaya (DSB-250BT)

One of the most important things to note about the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT is what it lacks: smart speaker functionality. There is no direct connection to Google Assistant or Alexa like a Google Home or Echo speaker.

Nevertheless, you can bring up Google or Siri by long-pressing the Bluetooth button on the side. You can communicate with the assistant using the mic in the speaker, but this is no different than recent wireless headphones.

The side buttons on the Envaya DSB-250BT are stiff and don’t provide much feedback. This design has a weakness: the buttons.

Having said that, they do work and should not be used except to turn the speaker on and off.

Using a microUSB socket on the back, the DSB-250BT’s battery can last 13 hours at moderate volume. To keep water out, the port is rubberized.

While another competitor, the Sony SRS-XB40, boasts up to 24 hours of battery life, the Denon sounds better. A quick press of the power button can also be used to check the battery level. The device will then display a 5-LED array on the front, showing roughly how much battery power is left.

You can also plug in non-wireless devices using the 3.5mm socket next to the microUSB charger if wireless isn’t your thing

Wi-Fi and a companion app aren’t available. The Bluetooth buttons on these speakers can be held down for five seconds to pair two of them together. We haven’t tested a stereo pair yet, but we expect that such a combination would sound great.

Performance

There are two 40mm active speakers and a 53x135mm passive radiator inside the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT.

The speaker’s radiator is larger than most in its class, allowing it to produce an impressive bass, digging into the lower frequencies by 10-20Hz. A heavier bass drum and a powerful bass guitar sound as a result.

Additionally, it adds to the speaker’s sense of scale, particularly as the low-end is more controlled and separated than with something like the Bose SoundLink Mini II. The bass produced by a lot of small speakers looks impressive, but a combination of tiny drivers and a radiator can leave them with masses in the treble and bass, but a flawed bridge between the two.

Envaya’s DSB-250BT sounds more coherent and coherent than many because of its mid-range texture and better bass control. The speaker is small, but it has the sound quality of a speaker for the home.

As a result, the soundstage is relatively clean and clear, allowing for much better stereo imaging than most.

Furthermore, the Denon Envaya DSB-250BT can go pretty loud without the “shouty” mids of a speaker whose limits have been pushed. This speaker filled our 4x5m test living room well … although we still prefer the Sonos One as an at-home speaker. However, if you are looking for something that will cover both home listening and holidays, this is the best option.

Pros Cons
Water-resistant Stiff buttons
Better balanced audio than most Slightly larger footprint
Powerful, rich, room-filling sound

Verdict

Although it offers a near-flawless performance, the Envaya isn’t perfect: While the sound quality is full, powerful, and rich, it lacks the treble bite some prefer. There is treble detail, but it is presented in a way that blends in, not stands out.

In addition, the rival Riva S has a cleaner, more detailed midrange. The Denon Envaya DSB-250BT would still be our pick for a party because the Riva is less powerful and doesn’t perform well at high volumes.

Denon’s Envaya DSB-250BT is one of our favorite small wireless speakers, and one of the first speakers of 2018 that completely blew us away.

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