A close look at the treVolo S
A close look at the treVolo S
I realize this little system might look underwhelming here but I took the picture at this angle to surprise you a bit.
Those speakers actually fold back looking somewhat like most bluetooth speakers today. These are the 12-Watt dual woofers that help with the bass, and hidden behind them secured into the system the dual amplifiers. This front panel is made out of PVC plastic painted white while the grille is made out of iron that is painted.
While the audio will play with the speakers folded, you might be underwhelmed with its performance. It’s best to play audio with the speakers folded out as it allows for a more spacious sound.
On the back, with the speakers flipped out, we can see the openings on the side for the amplifier, there would be the same on the other side as well. The 5 rubber circles help to avoid slamming the sides when closing up the speakers. The sides as well as the back are made out of iron painted white. It feels nice and cold to the touch.
On the back, we have the microUSB connection which can be used to charge the treVolo S, which takes about 3 hours to fully charge, then we also have the 3.5mm connection. The 3.5mm jack sadly is only for analog audio that provides audio with less kick, but the microUSB connection can be connected for example to replace the dull speakers on a laptop for these for games, music and just about anything. The microUSB connection sounds just as good as the Bluetooth connection.
Along the top of the speaker, we find 6 buttons, 2 LED lights and the NFC logo. The buttons here from top to the bottom are buttons for Power, Bluetooth Pairing, Volume Up, Volume Down, Mode and Play/Pause.
When the system has been powered up by holding the power button for about 5 seconds, the LED indicator will turn on and illuminate green. Powering on the treVolo S, the LED indicator for Bluetooth for illuminate blue. If the Bluetooth button is held for 5 seconds, it will begin searching for available Bluetooth devices and blink on and off till it has been paired for about 30 seconds. If no device is found to be paired, it will play an audible bleep and stay lit with a solid blue light.
Volume up and down are pretty standard, plus – to lower the volume and + to raise the volume. When raising or lowering the volume when paired to my Google Pixel XL, I can see the volume slider on my phone raising and/or lowering as well. When the volume is raised to the max, you will hear that same bleep letting you know it is maxed out.
A recommendation by BenQ that I not raise the volume to 100% as it could distort the audio. Raising the volume to 100%, like with any other speaker causes a bit of listening fatigue distorting the audio making your listening experience a little less enjoyable, though I did not notice it in my testing.
Electrostatic speakers provide a less than 1% distortion rate while more traditional speaker will have a distortion rate of 10%. Being that most of us have traditional speakers, it is surely something you can test yourself at home.
Mode, allows you to change between PURE and 3D Sound modes. Pure mode sounds best, but the sound levels are very low, it is made for a quiet environment. PURE sounds best on Bluetooth and connect to USB (as it utilizes DAC) 3D might be better for louder environments. I prefer the 3D mode, as it fills the room a little more.
Play and Pause as expected will Play or Pause the music playing if the application being used supports the Play and or Pause functions.
While it is not a new feature, NFC is a welcomed feature here. NFC is not Bluetooth, but Bluetooth must be enabled for NFC to work correctly since NFC utilizes Bluetooth. Worry not, if your Bluetooth is disabled on your smartphone or tablet, it will inform you to enable Bluetooth. Another nice feature of NFC is that if the speakers are turned off, if an NFC enabled device is passed over the NFC logo, the unit will turn on, making it a little more hands free.
To use it, pass an NFC enabled device (that has NFC and Bluetooth turned on) over the NFC logo and your devices will pair. You may have to hit OK to allow the devices to pair the first time, but after that it will be automatic.
Just an example of how it looks like on Android once paired through Bluetooth and/or NFC. BenQ also includes an application on the Google Play Store and the App Store named “BenQ Audio”.
This is the icon on the Android desktop after you have downloaded and installed it.
It is a very basic application, that for now has only 2 functions, Enable/Disable 3D Sound and allows you to also setup and configure Duo Mode. Duo Mode is a feature that allows you to loop together two treVolo S speakers allowing for an even more immersive and rich stereo sound experience. The audio through your phone or tablet can be played through your favorite music app and not through the BenQ Audio application, making it a bit more useless and only relevant for Duo mode.
Sadly, I can only tell you about it and show you how the pairing of those 2 devices from the BenQ Audio program looks like as I only had a single treVolo S to test with, but I can only assume it sounded good.
We have discussed pairing and connecting the device, but I think it might be best to actually show you how all of this works and just give you a sample of how it sounds.
In the video, I walked you through pairing the treVolo S through Bluetooth, NFC, 3.5mm and microUSB. While the best audio experience is through Bluetooth/NFC and USB through its DAC technology translating digital audio to analog audio the best sounding the video was actually through 3.5mm.
I have to apologize, I had previously recorded and published a video showing the audio being played through all 3 methods but it actually got taken down being that I used other artists music. I was showing who the artists were and the song titles not only in the video, but in the description as well, but it was not enough. The video showed how the audio carried clear across a room (over 20 feet) and still sounded great.
I also had various types of music ranging from Andrea Bocelli to ZZ-Top including Blues, Rap, Classical, Metal, Rock and more in between, and yes there was a mandatory Metallica there. This system played the lows, highs and even the bass incredibly well through Bluetooth and microUSB, but fell very flat on 3.5mm. While the audio sounded fine on 3.5mm, it was very low compared to the previously mentioned technologies, but sometimes all you have is 3.5mm and well, it does work too.
I also mentioned in the video playing the treVolo S in the shower and it carried audio very well, clearly over the sound the shower makes but do this with caution. All Hi-Fi/Hi-End stereo sound system, including speakers, amplifiers and the likes need to be kept away from humid environment, so make sure the bathroom is very well ventilated, I kept my door open and near the door. There are audio devices that are waterproof, but those are not classified as Hi-Fi systems being that they are sealed systems.
The treVelo S’ speakers are coated to help protect against moisture, but it will not 100% prevent it.
This treVolo S is beautiful, and while it can be a conversation piece on its own it is best suited in a corner. I say this because in a corner, at about ear level is where the best audio can be heard. The audio not only travels directly towards your ears, but being that it is in a corner, it allows for the sound to bounce off of the walls amplifying its beautiful sound helping it to fill even more of a room.
The last points are the branding, while not garish, BenQ makes sure to let you know who makes this speaker. The logo comes silk screened along the upper portion of the back of the speaker.
As to not hide itself on the rear, the treVolo branding is silk screened on the lower portion of face of the unit. The branding I would say is also elegant.
With all this said, let’s go ahead and jump into my Final Thoughts & Conclusion to find out if these are actually worth it.
I have spent many years in the PC boutique name space as Product Development Engineer for Alienware and later Dell through Alienware’s acquisition and finally Velocity Micro. During these years I spent my time developing new configurations, products and technologies with companies such as AMD, Asus, Intel, Microsoft, NVIDIA and more. The Arts, Gaming, New & Old technologies drive my interests and passion. Now as my day job, I am an IT Manager but doing reviews on my time and my dime.