Home audio products come in all shapes and sizes, and you can get you’re a speaker that’s anything from pocketable to furniture-replacing. Of course, the bigger they come, the louder they punch, and there are definite advantages to having a good single-box home audio solution than buying individual components such as speakers, an amplifier and a media player. One such solution is the Sony MHC-V50D home audio system.
And a home audio system it is, indeed. With plenty of features, a five-driver full-range speaker set and all kinds of connectivity and source options, the Sony MHC-V50D is an impressive product on paper. We’ve reviewed it extensively, and here’s what we think about this unique product from Sony.
Connectivity, features and pretty lights
Standing at close to three feet tall, the Sony MHC-V50D is imposing to say the least. It isn’t like your typical portable Bluetooth speaker; the size and design helps it stand out in this department. This is certainly something that will catch the eye of visitors to your home, and the size and relative lack of portability means that the speaker is meant for a fixed spot in your home with little scope for constant movement.
The front of the device has its set of five speakers: two 4cm tweeters at the top, two 8cm mid-range drivers and one 20cm woofer, each handle a specific segment of the frequency range for proper five-channel audio. While you don’t quite get too much stereo separation or superior sound-staging because of the narrow space between the drivers, the sheer size and number of drivers ensures a hard-hitting sound that’s loud and aggressive. The optical disc drive is at the top-front, while the controls are on a touch panel at the top side of the device. ALSO READ: AmazonBasics Shockproof and Waterproof Bluetooth Mini Wireless Speaker Review
There are plenty of connectivity options to use as sources for the Sony MHC-V50D. The system can be used as a source device itself, if you use the built-in CD player. Additionally, you can connect the MHC-V50D to a TV and use the optical drive to play DVDs and video-formats directly from the disc on your TV screen. This is great, although the lack of support for Blu-Ray disc is sorely missing and would have added significant value to the product.
For pure audio connectivity, it’s possible to use either the CD drive for audio and data CDs, as well as USB, Audio-in, HDMI, FM and Bluetooth. Along with Bluetooth, there’s also NFC for quick connectivity to source devices, and you can record playback to a USB drive as well. This will come in handy if you plan to use the DJ features. More on that later.
The control panel for the Sony MHC-V50D is at the top of the device, with most controls in the form of a touch-sensitive button. The power button and volume dial are the only physical controls on the panel, and a small display at the top shows you the current setting or any other relevant playback information. The controls are fairly self-explanatory, including the DJ functions which are basic but will appeal to amateur DJs who like to control things at house parties. You get options such as the flanger, isolator and scratching using the volume dial, and you can do a bit more using the Fiestable app for smartphones. It’s also possible to connect a microphone for karaoke. While a lot of these features didn’t appeal to me personally, it certainly helps to have these on board as they could come in handy to someone.
The Sony MHC-V50D has a basic remote which can be used to comfortably control all of the functions that you see on the control panel. This includes power, volume, source and more. The size and power requirements of the speaker mean that it isn’t a wireless unit; you do need to plug the Sony MHC-V50D into a power outlet.
A key feature of the Sony MHC-V50D is the party lights function. The speaker has a panel of LED lights along the top and back of the speaker which projects onto the wall right behind the unit. The lights are programmed to dance along to your music, offering a unique effect that helps set the party mood when you’re using the Sony MHC-V50D. You can, of course, turn the lights off if you prefer.
Boom! Pow! Aggressive sound
With a massive feature set and the raw potential of the specification sheet of the Sony MHC-V50D, I had massive expectations from the sound of the supersized audio system. I did most of my listening using Bluetooth, with my OnePlus 5 serving as the source device. Focus tracks for the review were London Grammar’s If You Wait (Jacques Lu Cont Remix), Oliver Cheatham’s Get Down Saturday Night and Melano’s On Fire.
Starting with the remix of If You Wait, what was immediately evident was the power of the low-end. Naturally, having a dedicated 20cm woofer makes for some aggressive, punchy and powerful bass, as well as a general attack to the low-end. Even at approximately 60% of the full volume potential of the speaker, the Sony MHC-V50D is loud like nothing else I’ve ever heard over a Bluetooth connection. As the dance element of the remix kicks in and the low-end bass beat starts, the speaker truly comes into its element, helped along generously by the party lights that help set the mood.
With the old disco classic Get Down Saturday Night, the Sony MHC-V50D tends to be a bit out of its element. This isn’t a fast, aggressive track at all; instead it takes a laid-back tone with gentle beats and an easy rhythm. As a result, the Sony MHC-V50D doesn’t quite do justice to the track. This is not an audio system designed around finesse and sonic superiority; it certainly sounds good, but the distinct sonic bias towards to the low-end is hard to ignore. While the track sounded good, it certainly didn’t sound as good as our next focus track. ALSO READ: V-MODA Crossfade 2 Wireless Review
Switching to the powerful drum and bass track On Fire, the Sony MHC-V50D truly comes into its element. With the key elements of the track centered around the low-end and a healthy serving of bass, this is quite possibly the most exciting device I have heard this track on. The bass drops in particular incite a distinct adrenaline spike that lovers of electronic music will understand and enjoy. The attack and drive is incredible to say the least, and even at high volumes, there’s very little distortion or reduction in fidelity, until you reach levels that are deafening. This is something that was demonstrable with every electronic track we threw at the Sony MHC-V50D; the speaker simply does not let you down.
The Sony MHC-V50D is unlike any other typical home audio system, thanks to the plethora of features on offer, the lighting effects, the sheer size and the powerful sound. If you’re looking for something loud and party-friendly at home, the wide range of connectivity options and pure attack to the sound makes the Sony a fantastic device.
At Rs 33,990, the Sony MHC-V50D Home Audio System is not affordable, but it isn’t a small and inconsequential product either. It’s a fun, unique product that is great value if you need something loud and aggressive for your home, and certainly puts many other similarly-priced products to shame with its set of features and its five full-size drivers.