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Review

Sony V81D Party Speaker Review: Big, loud and flashy

If there was ever a speaker meant for parties, this is it.

sony mhc-v81d speaker review main

Sony V81D Speaker 3.5 5
BGR Rating :
3.5/5

Highlights

  • The Sony V81D Party Speaker is large, features party lights and 10 individual drivers.

  • There are various connectivity options, including audio CD and Bluetooth.

  • The speaker is priced at Rs 51,990.

Some manufacturers make speakers for home use, while others might make them portable so you can take them outside and on trips. Whether big or small, most speakers are designed for specific use cases and purposes, such as casual listening, music, television sound or even as a hands-free device for calls. But have you ever heard of a speaker meant for parties?

That’s exactly what the Sony V81D speaker is – a party machine. Its design and features have it aimed squarely at the section of the market looking at a speaker that will power parties. From the size and sheer loudness, to the special controls that give you DJ-style effects, the speaker is designed to raise excitement levels in whatever room you’re in. And to top it all off, there are lighting effects that further bump up its party credentials.

I’ve spent a few weeks with the speaker in the particularly non party-like environment of my home, and it’s quite a unique device to have in an otherwise relaxed environment. Here’s my review of the Rs 51,990 Sony V81D Party Speaker.

The Sony V81D Party Speaker Chronicles: Day One

Having reviewed plenty of large speakers in the past including the similarly party-friendly Sony V50D speaker, I was kind of prepared for the size of the V81D. But when the man from Sony actually dropped it off, it turned out that I had completely underestimated the size. This one’s a large speaker, and I’m already trying to figure out where I can put it in my house without blocking any doorways or creating a major toe-stub hazard.

I could see him struggling to drag the speaker into my house, and the box it came was nearly as tall as me. I stared at it thoughtfully for about thirty minutes, wondering just how loud this gets and whether I’m going to be facing any neighbor complaints over the coming days. And of course, unpacking this one is going to be a bit of a task…

The Sony V81D Party Speaker Chronicles: Day Three

After two days of looking at that giant box and being lazy, I finally get about to unpacking the Sony V81D, which takes just about all the energy I have left. I’ve managed to plug it in and turn it on, to make sure everything is in order. The first thing that hits me are the lights; they’re bright, sharp and dazzling, almost even hypnotic.

Interestingly, there are two wheels at the bottom, that let you roll it around, and I roll it around for no reason other than fun for about a minute or so. After a quick check that the sound is running and the speaker is functional, I switch it off and go take a nap to regain my energy. Me and my house aren’t really in the mental state to party right now.

The Sony V81D Party Speaker Chronicles: Day Seven

I woke up in a particularly energetic mood, and decided to channel it into my own party at home with no other guests in attendance. I may have worried slightly about the neighbors complaining, but switching the speaker on made me forget about that concern. The lighting effects can be particularly uplifting and mood-setting. From the swirl of rainbow-colored lights to the pulsating blues inside the speaker grilles, it’s great to set the mood at any party, whether there are multiple people or just one.

Since I was the only guest at my party, I also had to take over DJ responsibilities, which can be fun on the V81D. The controls at the top are elaborate, letting you choose a source between audio CD, DVD, USB, Audio In, HDMI, Bluetooth and FM. Actual DJs may see some benefit in using one of the other sources, but fake DJs like me will take the easy way out and pair a smartphone over Bluetooth. Once that was done, I took over control on the panel and left my phone in my pocket. Controls included volume, track changes and more.

As part of my attempts to be my own DJ, I also found the unique gesture control panel at the top. It’s an interesting concept, and lets you control a bunch of aspects of the music by waving your hand in a particular way above the blue-ringed panel. On paper, it looks like a lot of fun, and would theoretically make the DJ look rather cool at an actual party. In practice, that panel is rather buggy, hard to master and incredibly gimmicky.

Swipes would almost never register accurately, and I’d often find myself triggering the wrong function. After a few unsuccessful attempts to get the device to do as I gestured, I gave up. At one point I even tried to use the ‘Karaoke’ function to clap for myself, but it ended up booing me, which hurt my feelings a bit. At one point I changed the key to something entirely strange, and it took me about ten minutes to get things back to normal. Needless to say, the gesture panel did not impress me.

The Sony V81D Party Speaker Chronicles: Day Ten

I’ve been listening to the speaker for about a couple of hours after work every day, and I’ve also been getting dirty looks from the neighbors. That isn’t surprising, since the speaker can get very loud. The sound is also rather bass-heavy, which isn’t surprising since a party can’t be a party without excessive bass. To that extent, the V81D fits the bill as a party speaker, and the heavy vibrations are probably why the neighbors don’t like me anymore.

The speaker has four 5cm tweeters, one 30cm woofer and four mid range drivers (two are 10cm and the other two are 12cm), which is impressive for a speaker even of this size. Being a one-box package, the amplification and audio player functions are also built into the device, and you only need to plug it into power and any wired source devices you might want to use.

The independent drivers are the reason for the sound being so bass-oriented, and indeed that giant 30cm woofer tends to overpower the rest of the range. I stopped listening to tracks that weren’t bass heavy, since they simply didn’t sound good. I’d say the speaker works best with electronica and dance tracks, and perhaps the occasional rock song.

Furthermore, the fact that all of those individual drivers are packed into a single relatively narrow package, the soundstage isn’t as good as it can be. The overpowering woofer also causes the narrowness in the sound, and imaging is entirely dictated by the bass, which is to say it’s weak.

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Verdict – Should you buy the Sony V81D Party Speaker?

Well, it depends. If you have a lot of house parties or you’re an amateur DJ that needs a tool of trade, the V81D might make sense. And if you listen to a lot of bass-heavy music, it might even serve well as your home entertainment system. Simply put, the V81D suits a particular niche fairly well, even if most of us might consider it a bit over the top.

The sound is a bit too bass-oriented to suit all genres, and with a budget of around Rs 50,000, you could assemble a fairly decent audio system out of individual components that would suit your specific tastes better. But if you happen to fit into the niche category that the Sony V81D will appeal to, it’s an impressive machine.

  • Published Date: July 7, 2018 11:14 AM IST