In this post, I’m going to be going back to the Aiwa Exos 9. If you haven’t yet read my review on the Exos 9, I recommend that you do as I will be making references to that review. I’ve been listening to my Exos 9 recently and have been enjoying it’s capabilities. While reading some reviews on both Amazon and other sources, I’ve seen some people being negative about the Aiwa Exos 9. People were just expecting too much out of it. Although the Exos 9 is one of the best Bluetooth speakers for the money, it is not going to be up to par with a component system. The Aiwa Exos 9 however is the closest you can get to a component system while still staying portable. Trust me, there is not another speaker that I know of that is doing this job so well.
The Aiwa Exos 9 was criticized for not sounding as good as studio monitors.
Now this is not a good comparison here. Someone literally expected the Exos 9 to sound as good as their studio speakers. Let’s take a look at some facts on why this shouldn’t have been surprising. You can have some of the best sounding drivers in a single cabinet. But when you have two separate cabinets with one 6.5′ woofer in each, the results are going to be obvious. Not only do you have an extra 6.5′ woofer, you have them further apart. Not only are you going to get louder, you’re going to have better imaging as well. But the Aiwa Exos 9 was designed to be taken with you. Try caring two cabinets (trust me, I’ve done this) as it doesn’t work that well. Now the Aiwa Exos 9 does support linking however. You can literally pair one to another and have two separate left and right channels. I’m sure this reviewer would be surprised if he would’ve tried this. What’s more interesting, I saw someone link two Aiwas together and spreading them out 100 feet away from each other. Now that would make for some interesting imaging outside. His neighbors also complained due to how loud they got. I’m going to buy another when it’s warm outside and try two linked together.
It’s just not as loud as everyone says…
Again, this was from someone who probably experienced some loud car stereo. Let’ put this into perspective. I’ve listened to my Aiwa Exos 9 in a car before many times. When inside a car, sound benefits from cabin gain. Your car’s stereo might be loud in a car, but once inside a large room or even outside, it’s not that loud. When listening to the Aiwa Exos 9 in a truck, I could feel the low end on my chest. The tweeters were overpowering as the mid range literally hurt. Keeping my Aiwa Exos 9 at the same volume, I got out and it literally sounded 65% quieter. You can’t overcome the fact that the Aiwa Exos 9 is running off a small lithium ion battery. I have had to DJ out in an open park with my Keenwood V126r driving my Pioneer CS-G203s. Although I was rocking 120 watts RMS per channel, the sound got exponentially quieter as you walked away. Getting withing 50 feet of the speakers however made your ears bleed. Don’t even bother going right in front of the Pioneers as your ears will be ringing within seconds. This is just how sound travels in an open area. The Aiwa Exos 9 does an awesome job outside (better than 90% of Bluetooth speakers). You can hear it from afar. It just doesn’t sound loud from afar (you can’t beat the way sound travels).
How To Get The Best Sound Quality Out Of Your Exos 9:
Now, I’m going to explain how to get the best possible sound quality over Bluetooth. By doing this, you will have bit-perfect sound streaming to your Aiwa Exos 9’s DAC. Let’s start off with your device. You must be using a device that supports aptX. All iPhones do not support aptX while it can be a hit or miss for Android users. For simplicity’s sake, we’re going to use a laptop running Windows 10. Due to the fact that we’re using a Windows laptop, when you pair a Bluetooth device, the device shows up like a DAC in Windows. This will allow us to treat it as such giving us access to WASAPI. For a music source, we’re going to be streaming from Tidal using their HiFi subscription. Tidal is going to be streaming into JRiver Media Center allowing us to use WASAPI along with JRiver’s mid-side processing. For those not familiar, mid-side processing takes a stereo recording and separates sounds coming from the left and right from sounds coming from the middle. By doing this, we can adjust the gain of both the mid and side sounds to improve the imaging. I found by doing this, the Aiwa Exos 9 starts to image rather impressively. Sounds start floating out of this boombox of a Bluetooth speaker.
The result you get here is the best sound you can get as far as the Bluetooth speaker world is concerned. Bass is reasonably tight while mid range is well balanced. The dome tweeters that Aiwa Exos 9 rocks sound great with excellent dispersion and imaging. When sitting close to the Exos 9, you hardly remember you’re listening to a Bluetooth speaker. The imaging is good to the point where sounds can be heard floating around (not just from) the Aiwa Exos 9. Not only this, the Aiwa Exos 9 gets plenty loud enough for me. Again, it’s a portable Bluetooth speaker in the end but also is a rather loud and impressive sounding one.
To End It Off:
I do think that Aiwa can improve the Aiwa Exos 9 in some ways. I feel like they could add their own mid-side processing via a firmware update. This would definitely improve the sound of the Aiwa Exos 9 without needing to add your own mid-side processing via the use of DSP. I’m going to reach out to Aiwa and recommend that they do add mid-side processing.
Update – Aiwa responded to my feedback.
I recently just got a response from Aiwa regarding adding mid-side processing to the Aiwa Exos 9. Well, Jimmy from Aiwa stated that he’ll forward it to their development team. I sure hope that Aiwa can add mid-side processing to the Aiwa Exos 9. It really improves the imaging of it. This just shows how Aiwa stands by their products.