Thin treble and non-existent bass: two criticisms that often come into play when assessing the merits of portable Bluetooth speakers.
Well, the good news is that the Denon Envaya doesn’t suffer from either of these problems.
In fact, you spend the first few minutes of life with the Envaya reeling from just how much bass it produces.
Play Rudimental’s Waiting All Night and bassheads will be pleased with the way the speaker powers through the song, bringing a solid sense of weight and depth to the pounding bassline. There’s a good sense of scale and authority.
The bad news is that these low frequencies have a tendency to sound overblown and overbearing.
As well as becoming distracting over time, the amount of bass produced by the Denon upsets the balance of the speaker and robs the music of some of its clarity.
On the plus side, highs sound anything but bright. They’re actually smooth and rounded, which helps them gloss over the jagged edges of poorer-quality recordings.
Even so, there’s still enough life and vibrancy in the percussion and piano during Tom Odell’s Sirens to spark your interest. But even here, the edges of bass notes tend to butt in when they’re not needed.
The more you listen, the more you think the Denon could show a little more care with delicate, demanding music.
Build and design
It’s a shame, because the Denon’s an attractive design and a nice thing to use. Solidly built, the Envaya is available in black or white.
The metal grille unclips, and you can switch the fabric cover beneath for one of four different colours that come with the speaker.
We think charging £20 for an optional carry case is a little steep, though. The Envaya isn’t short of other useful design quirks and features. Squeeze the rear edge of the speaker and a kick-stand pops out.
It’s neatly integrated and the angle is such that it helps keep the speaker firmly planted.
A line-up of large, chunky buttons on top gives you all the basic controls – hold down the button with the Bluetooth symbol to start the pairing process or tap an NFC-enabled device onto the NFC logo on top of the speaker to speed things up.
The Denon is aptX compatible too, so you can take advantage of higher-quality Bluetooth streams from compatible smartphones such as the HTC One M8 and Samsung Galaxy S5.
A full charge takes around two-and-a-half hours (there’s a small indicator on top of the speaker) and this is good for around 10-hours of playback.
If your smartphone’s running low on juice you can use the USB socket on the side of the speaker to draw on the internal battery and help top it up.
Out of the box, the Denon really makes its mark: this is one of the most powerful-sounding portable speakers we’ve heard for the money.
But we’d sacrifice some of that bass weight for a more balanced delivery.