Saturday, November 28, 2015

Monster SoundStage S1 Wireless Speaker System Review

Monster cable has been a company you can count on for all of your music needs. This continues with the Monster Soundstage wireless speaker system. Wireless music is something that has gotten more and more popular, with many of the music streaming services, like Pandora. It's easy to use with a smartphone or tablet, and is now easy to listen to at home. Up for review today is the Monster SoundStage S1 wireless speaker, which is part of their SoundStage line-up.

Features and specs:
More Ways to Connect
Monster SoundStage stands apart from one-trick wireless home music systems by giving you more ways to connect to your tunes. All three speakers in the line are both Bluetooth speakers and Wi-Fi speakers, letting you listen to the all the streaming music you love despite technology. It’s the freedom and convenience you need with the unrivalled Pure Monster Sound® you deserve.

No Complicated Bridge Required
Add up to 10 speakers, from up to four streaming music sources, all with no gateway or bridge. Unlike other wireless HiFi systems, this one is totally untethered. No need to connect anything to anything. You can even send music to other Bluetooth speakers and headphones around the house.

Room-Filling, Location-Free Pure Monster Sound®
Get more clarity, greater dynamics, higher definition, and more punch from all your streaming music. You’ll hear audio as it’s supposed to sound, no matter where you put the speaker. These Wi-Fi / Bluetooth speakers sound just as good as wired speakers, taking the system beyond wireless HiFi. This is high definition wireless.

Monster App, Monster Cable, Monster Connectivity
We built an empire on the quality of our cables, and they’re included in these speakers for audio that much better than the rest. Convenient USB charging, a handy 3.5mm mini jack for any source, fiber optic digital for TV, and micro USB for easy software updates are all included. Control it all from via the Monster SoundStage app for your iOS or Android device.

Decor-Friendly Design
No more boxy wireless home music systems and speakers. SoundStage is easy on the eyes, with a small footprint for easy stash-ability. Exquisite details include leather trim, the soft glow of LED, and a curved blade design that looks good with any d├ęcor.

Length – 11.50”
Height – 4.875”
Depth – 3.50”
¼-20 Speaker Mount for wall mounting
Touch controls on top of unit

The Monster SoundStage S1 came in a great looking box, with photos of the speaker system, and it's specs. Included was the speaker, power cord, and manuals. Materials used in the construction were mostly plastic, with some metal. Quality of construction as well as fit and finish, were excellent. The Monster SoundStage SI was very well put together, and had good heft to it. The SI seemed very solid in hand. I was pleasantly unsurprised with it's quality, as that is what I have came to expect with Monster.

Monster understands the need for a quality sound system for our wireless music. They also understand we typically have more than one room in our homes. For a whole house system, there should be multiple speakers. So wherever you are or wander in your home, your music will be there with you. The Monster SoundStage system is made up of three different speakers. They are comprised of the S1, S2 and S3. The S1 is the smallest for a small room, and the S3 is the largest for larger rooms. You can use up to 10 of the speakers together. And depending on the size of your rooms, they can be any combination of the S1, S2 and S3. They all integrate seemlessly together.

The next issue is compatibility. Here Monster wanted to provide the ultimate in compatibility. The SoundStage S1 comes with wi-fi and Bluetooth built-in. That way no matter what service you use, your music will come through loud and clear.  Setting up the SoundStage S1 was simple.  There is an app that helps to walk you thru it.  Once set-up and connected to your wi-fi, your smartphone is no longer needed as the SoundStage can now connect to your music streaming service thru your wi-fi.

The SoundStage is also pleasant on the eyes, with an elegant look that would look good in any decor.  The front is mostly a black metal grill, with a black plastic on the small sides and rear.  Under the grill is a midrange and tweeter on each side, and on the back is a rear firing woofer.  Under the woofer is a panel covered with a rubber cover to protect the connections.  The top is a smooth touch panel that is backlit that worked very well.

Setting up the S1 was pretty simple.  Downloading the app was easy, as was following the simple instructions on screen on my phone thru the app to get it set up.  And I loved the functionality that it gave.  If I wanted to connect an optical transport such as a CD or DVD player, there was the optical connection on the back.  And if I wanted to connect up an MP3 player, there was the 3.5mm analog jack that was also on the back.  Music from my smartphone, tablet, or streaming service worked great thru the Bluetooth or wi-fi.  And now that it's connected, it was time to do the listening. 

The first words that came to my mind were impressive, impressive, impressive!  It was Monster sound.  If you are familiar with Monster's products, you know what I mean.  If not, the SoundStage is a good product line to start with.  It was pure hi-fi and it was music to my ears. 

Right off the bat I was impressed with what I was hearing.  Percussion was crisp, clean, and very dynamic.  Vocals were smooth, natural sounding, with great texture and timbre.  The mids were smooth and not overly warm.  The midbass was very good, and it actually had bass!  Not 20hz bass, but it actually was pounding pretty good, especially for it's size.  And I found that placing it up close to a wall helped it even more with the bass. 

I have to admit that I was not prepared for what I was hearing, and I am very familiar with Monster products and their reputation.  For such a small product as the SoundStage S1, it was named correctly, as the S1 threw a large and deep soundstage!  It provided good channel separation, and the imaging was very good as was the resolution.  The engineers at Monster that designed the SoundStage need give Santa his present bag back, because they used some magic to get such a small system to sound this good.  I had to continually remind myself to stay on task, as I kept getting lost in the music.  And I guess that is probably the best compliment that I can give.  I just kept going from track to track, and from genre to genre.  It was all music to my ears.  For such a small system, it also played pretty loud.  While doing some of my testing in our family room, my 17 year old daughter actually asked me to turn it down!

Monster has done it again, and hit the ball out of the park!  They have shown us a new reality of how good a product this small can sound.  The SoundStage S1 was simple enough to connect and set-up, and the sound was excellent.  With an MSRP of $229, it is a great bang for the buck.  based on it's design, features, qualify, and performance, the Monster Soundstage S1 has earned our Highly Recommended Award.  For more info and complete specs, check out their website and