OPPO Sonica Wi-Fi Speaker

OPPO Sonica Wi-Fi Speaker Review

MSRP: $299

| February 24, 2017 |

| Richard De Jong, Editor |


OPPO Digital, a company that has earned a well-deserved reputation for their videophile quality Blu-ray players (and more recently, their first 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player), has entered into the increasingly crowded wireless speaker market with its Sonica Wi-Fi Speaker.


OPPO already has plenty of street cred with their high-end, audiophile quality, planar magnetic headphones and their hi-res portable headphone amplifier and DAC. The new Sonica Wi-Fi speaker upholds that impressive legacy by delivering remarkable sonic performance in a stylish compact package.


Of course, the designers have built in all of the connectivity capabilities (Wi-Fi, AirPlay, Bluetooth, USB and dlna) that any smartphone wielding, tablet toting millennial could desire.


All you need to do is plug in the speaker to an electrical outlet, download the Sonica app and stream away.


You can sprinkle speakers throughout your abode and with the app, you can play the same song in all the speakers or a different tune in each.


A single Sonica speaker can comfortably fill a small-sized room (around 150 to 200 square feet). For more oomph in a bigger space, you could add a second unit. You can also configure the pair into Left and Right speakers for a stereo effect. 

OPPO Update

Sadly, on April 2nd, 2018, OPPO Digital  announced that they "will gradually stop manufacturing new products."  Their quality products will be sorely missed.  

Read Oppo's announcement

Performance

I always look forward to reviewing audio components because of the opportunity granted to listen to a wide range of my favorite music. And the performance of the OPPO Sonica speaker does not disappoint.


I was definitely impressed with its audio quality and how well it renders all types of music from the sonorous “Crux Fidelis” Gregorian Chant to the angelic Aaron Neville to the nostalgic Nino Rota to the marvelous Maria Callas to tympanic Talking Heads.


At first, looking at its size, I’ll admit that I was a bit trepidatious about this single Sonica speaker’s ability to fill a room with sound, especially its ability to reproduce that deep bass which provides a solid foundation for the higher registers.


In an example that is rather far-flung from today’s Hip-Hop world, the “Nyen-Seng” track by the throat-singing Tibetan monks of the Drepung Loseling Monastery presents a real deep bass test for the Sonica speaker, which it passes with soul stirring spirit.


With the added support furnished by Sonica’s two complementary bass radiators, the substantial 3.5” bass woofer definitely can generate a full bodied sound without a hint of rattle.


For the high resolution audiophile, the Sonica speaker is capable of decoding audio files up to 24-bit / 192 kHz from formats such as FLAC, WAV, and Apple Lossless.


For added versatility, you can integrate OPPO’s Sonica DAC into your Sonica speaker system.

OPPO Sonica's radiators

OPPO Sonica's radiators

Features

The OPPO designers have packed a bevy of features in the Sonica speaker’s compact (301mm {11.85”} [L] x 147mm {5.79”} [W] x 135mm {5.31”} [H]) but stout structure (2.4 kg [5.3 lb]) .


With the aforementioned 3.5” long displacement bass driver and the two 2.5” wideband drivers with Neodymium magnets, the speaker is set up in a traditional 2.1 speaker alignment.


Two 15W amplifiers are bridged to drive the bass woofer and two bass radiators for a combined total of 30W. A separate 10W amplifier is powering each of the 2.5" wideband drivers that comprise the stereo pair.


The speaker, which is curved for wider sound dispersion, is solidly constructed inside and out to minimize any sonic distortions.


The speaker grille is a meshed matte black fabric. OPPO offers two color options for the cabinet, either a matte sheen black or silver.


On the top are two indicator lights, a rocker Volume control and a Mute button.


On the back is a connection panel that supplies a USB port, an Ethernet connection and for legacy components, an AUX input (mini stereo jack). 

    

Of course, for the more wirelessly inclined, the Sonica includes a Wi-Fi adapter (802.11.a/b/g/n/ac) and Bluetooth 4.1 capability. 


Though you can pair Bluetooth enabled devices, like your computer, directly to the Sonica speaker, you will have greater flexibility and control by downloading the free Sonica app (Apple or Google Play). 

 

You can stream music on your phone or tablet through the app. The Sonica app offers direct links to Spotify and Tidal. (New users to Tidal’s lossless audio streaming service can receive a 90-day free trial voucher from the Sonica app.) 


For providers like Pandora, simply open that app directly on your phone and pick the Sonica speaker as your playback device. 


The Sonica app also provides features like Sound Optimization, which guides you through some basic options for identifying your room size, speaker location, and Bass Boost.

 

In addition, if you have multiple speakers, the Sonica app controls the whole system. For example, with the app, you can connect two speakers as a stereo pair or play the same song in multiple rooms or a different song in each.    

Set Up

OPPO provides a 4 step Quick Start Guide for the Sonica speaker and indeed, set up is speedy and straightforward. After pulling the speaker out of its elegant packaging, you plug it in and download the Sonica app on to your phone or tablet. 


The app will then take you through a process of setting up the speaker with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. You should be streaming music in minutes. 


It will take a few more minutes if you want to add an Ethernet connection, plug in a USB device or attach a CD player through the AUX input. 


Your smartphone is your control center where you can perform functions like Sound Optimization and integrating more Sonica speakers into your system.

 

If you have questions or wish to delve more into the details of the Sonica speakers features, OPPO supplies a well-written, informative User Manual.

Value

Considering the competition in the wireless speaker marketplace, the OPPO Digital Sonica Speaker’s $299 price is competitive. 


But when you factor in its solid build and excellent audio quality, this Wi-Fi speaker equates to a real value

Conclusion

With the Sonica Wi-Fi High Fidelity speaker, OPPO Digital reaffirms its reputation of creating audiophile products. With a bevy of connectivity options, this compact curved beauty delivers full-bodied audio quality. And as a bonus, it can decode and playback high resolution audio files.