Review: A.absolument Prodige Bluetooth Speaker: A French Ode to 1960s Design

Review: A.absolument Prodige Bluetooth Speaker: A French Ode to 1960s Design - The A.absolument Prodige presents a unique fusion of 1960s design aesthetics and contemporary wireless speaker technology. With its focus on French craftsmanship, sustainability through easy disassembly

Venturing into Sonic Artistry: A.absolument’s Prodige

Heritage of Radiophonic Revival: A.absolument emerges as a beacon of creativity and preservation in the rich tapestry of audio innovation. Renowned for its skillful rejuvenation of vintage radios, this youthful French brand takes a bold stride into uncharted territory—the realm of stationary wireless speakers. The debutant in this sonic odyssey is none other than the Prodige.

French Craftsmanship Unveiled: As the curtains rise on the Prodige, a distinctive aura of French artistry envelops its design. A.absolument takes immense pride in presenting a speaker that is not just crafted in France but embodies the essence of the nation in every element. From the choice of materials to the inclusion of TAM tweeters designed by the prestigious Focal brand, the Prodige is a testament to A.absolument’s unwavering commitment to national craftsmanship.

TAM Tweeters, A Sonic Symphony: A notable feature of the Prodige lies in its collaboration with Focal, a renowned name in the hi-fi realm. Incorporating TAM tweeters adds a symphonic touch to the speaker’s audio profile, elevating it beyond mere functionality. This alliance with Focal amplifies the Prodige’s sonic capabilities, promising an auditory experience that resonates with the heritage of French audio craftsmanship.

Designing Sound, Crafting Identity: Beyond being a mere speaker, the Prodige is a statement—an embodiment of A.absolument’s dedication to marrying modernity with heritage. This foray into wireless audio is not just a product launch; it’s a sonic journey that encapsulates the spirit of French design and ingenuity.

Setting the Stage for Innovation: As A.absolument steps into the domain of stationary wireless speakers, the Prodige becomes a stage where vintage charm meets contemporary functionality. It invites enthusiasts and audio connoisseurs to witness a harmonious blend of design, craftsmanship, and sonic prowess—a composition that speaks volumes about A.absolument’s vision for the future of audio innovation.

Construction and Design

Drawing inspiration from the sleek aesthetics of Braun and Philips radios from the 1960s, the Prodige boasts a recycled aluminum body adorned with organic paint. Flanked by wooden panels sourced from French forests, the speaker is entirely assembled in France, showcasing impressive solidity and meticulous finishing. Despite its simple cubic profile, measuring 29 x 20 x 19.5 cm, it seamlessly blends into any interior. However, lacking IP protection, caution is advised to keep it away from water sources. The Prodige’s rough design is justified by its repairable enclosure, allowing easy disassembly for maintenance or updates, akin to the philosophy embraced by Bang & Olufsen.

Evaluating Connectivity: Unpacking the Prodige’s Wireless Capabilities

Craftsmanship Triumphs, Connectivity Simplified: The Prodige, crafted with precision and inspired by vintage designs, takes pride in its Made in France ethos. However, as we delve into its connectivity realm, simplicity takes precedence over complexity. The speaker’s minimalist approach, reflected in its physical connections, features only a mini-jack input—a versatile option for various audio sources—and a USB-A port dedicated solely to the charging needs of external devices.

Wireless Landscape: In the wireless domain, Bluetooth stands as the solitary means of connection for the Prodige. This choice, while ensuring compatibility with a wide range of devices and providing multipoint functionality for dual connections, does come with inherent limitations. The absence of wifi connectivity is a distinct feature, resulting in the exclusion of popular streaming protocols like AirPlay or Chromecast. This omission extends to intelligent voice assistants, depriving users of the seamless integration and voice-activated controls that have become synonymous with modern smart speakers.

Multipoint Efficiency, Smart Ecosystem Absence: The Prodige’s embrace of Bluetooth’s multipoint functionality is a notable advantage, allowing users to connect and switch between two devices effortlessly. However, the decision to forgo wifi connectivity is a trade-off, limiting the speaker’s potential to become a central component of a smart home audio ecosystem.

Looking Ahead: A Consideration for Updates: While the Prodige prioritizes a clean and uncluttered design, users with an eye on future technological integrations might find the absence of wifi connectivity a notable constraint. As smart homes become more prevalent, the potential for firmware updates or newer iterations of the Prodige could explore enhanced connectivity options, aligning the speaker with evolving expectations in the wireless audio landscape.

Conclusion: Aesthetic Appeal versus Comprehensive Connectivity: In conclusion, the Prodige’s design and craftsmanship shine, presenting a speaker that seamlessly blends into diverse interiors. However, users seeking a more versatile audio experience, complete with smart integrations and a broader array of connectivity options, might find the Prodige’s current configuration a bit restrained in the rapidly evolving world of wireless audio.

Enhancing User Interaction: A Deep Dive into the Prodige’s User Experience

User Controls: The Prodige, in its commitment to simplicity, offers users an intuitive interface with just four buttons, each serving a specific purpose. The power button, located conveniently on the upper face, handles the speaker’s on/off functionality. Source selection enables users to effortlessly switch between Bluetooth or mini-jack inputs, catering to diverse audio sources. The playback button, strategically placed, oversees functions related to playback, navigation, and Bluetooth pairing. Volume and bass adjustment, the final two buttons, work in tandem, allowing users to manage audio levels with a straightforward press. This streamlined control setup ensures that even those unfamiliar with intricate audio systems can operate the Prodige with ease.

App Integration and Advanced Settings: However, the Prodige’s simplicity in user controls comes with trade-offs. While the basic functions are well-covered, the absence of a dedicated app limits users from accessing advanced settings. Not having an equalizer means users can’t fine-tune audio profiles to match their preferences. The lack of an automatic standby feature could impact energy efficiency and convenience. Additionally, without firmware update capabilities through an app, users might miss out on potential performance enhancements or new features introduced by the manufacturer.

Stereo Pairing Limitation: One notable limitation is the inability to achieve a true stereophonic experience through stereo pairing. This means users looking for an expansive, immersive soundstage may need to explore alternative options if stereo separation is a critical consideration. The absence of this feature might be a drawback for those who prioritize a more spatial and dynamic audio experience.

Overall User-Friendly Design: Despite these limitations, the Prodige’s user experience remains highly accessible and user-friendly. Its streamlined controls cater to those seeking simplicity in operation. For individuals who prefer a plug-and-play approach without delving into complex settings, the Prodige’s design aligns well with this user demographic. However, for users desiring more customization and control over their audio experience, especially through an app interface, they might need to weigh these factors when considering the Prodige.

Audio Performance

Based on a stereophonic architecture with TAM tweeters from Focal, the Prodige leans towards emphasizing high frequencies. Delivering a clear sound with a strong emphasis on treble, it excels in reproducing cymbals, violins, shakers, and woodwinds. However, the highs may be overly accentuated, leading to slight precision issues at higher volumes, with traces of distortion tolerable at peak levels. The Prodige’s bass performance is notable but may exhibit difficulty in transcribing clean bass, particularly evident in demanding tracks. Despite these concerns, the speaker excels in reproducing mediums with impeccable fidelity, offering clear and intelligible human voices. While lacking a perceptible stereophonic scene, the Prodige impresses with its dynamics and comfortable sound levels.

Pros of A.absolument Prodige:

  1. French Artistry: The Prodige stands as a testament to French craftsmanship, with its design and assembly entirely rooted in the rich heritage of French audio innovation.
  2. TAM Tweeters by Focal: The collaboration with Focal brings TAM tweeters into the spotlight, promising a sonic experience enriched by the expertise of a renowned hi-fi brand.
  3. Sustainable Construction: Crafted with a recycled aluminum body and wooden panels sourced from French forests, the Prodige emphasizes sustainability in its construction.
  4. Durable and Repairable: The speaker’s design allows for easy dismantling, promoting durability and repairability. Users can access internal components, fostering a sense of longevity in the product.
  5. Bluetooth Multipoint: The Prodige offers Bluetooth connectivity with multipoint functionality, allowing users to connect two devices simultaneously.

Cons of A.absolument Prodige:

  1. Limited Onboard Connectivity: Despite its design excellence, the Prodige lacks versatility in onboard connectivity, featuring only a mini-jack input and a USB-A port for device charging.
  2. No Wifi Connectivity: The absence of wifi connectivity is a notable drawback, limiting access to advanced protocols like AirPlay or Chromecast and intelligent voice assistants.
  3. Sparse Controls: While the Prodige excels in simplicity, the lack of an accompanying app and advanced controls means users miss out on features such as an equalizer, automatic standby settings, or firmware updates.
  4. Monophonic Design: The speaker’s design, while evoking a sense of nostalgia, limits the stereophonic experience. The absence of true stereo pairing for a more immersive soundstage may be a drawback for audiophiles.
  5. High-Frequency Emphasis: The emphasis on high frequencies, while delivering clarity, may lead to precision issues, especially at higher volumes. Slight traces of distortion may also be noticeable under such conditions.

It’s crucial to weigh these pros and cons based on individual preferences and priorities in audio equipment.

Is the A.absolument Prodige Worth Considering?

The A.absolument Prodige presents a unique fusion of 1960s design aesthetics and contemporary wireless speaker technology. With its focus on French craftsmanship, sustainability through easy disassembly, and premium audio components, it caters to enthusiasts of both vintage design and quality sound. However, potential buyers should consider the limited connectivity options, absence of wifi features, and control limitations when deciding if the Prodige aligns with their preferences and requirements.