UB+ is a new Singapore company, and their first product is a mini Bluetooth speaker, the Eupho. This seems like quite a tough market, particularly where another Singapore company has also made quite a name for themselves, but UB+ believes they have a unique offering with beautiful design and hi-fidelity sound.
As far as design is concerned, UB+ has already picked up two awards this year, the Singapore Good Design Award 2015 and A’ Design Award 2015. It’s a good start for the company.
The diminutive speaker comes in a compact box that opens up like a pretty flower to reveal the sweet cylindrical speaker within. The speakers themselves are available in two colours, black or white, and they are boldly accented with orange. Measuring 76 mm high and 53 mm in diameter, the Eupho weighs 120 g. The entire body has a nice rubbery texture.
Apart from being used as a Bluetooth wireless speaker, you can also connect a 3.5 mm analog audio cable directly into the Eupho. The Eupho has a built-in battery rated to last quite an amazing 20 hours, and it is charged via a Micro-USB port.
There are just three buttons on top of the speaker. The power button in the centre turns on the speaker. It can also play or pause music, or take an incoming call if the Eupho is paired with a phone. Holding the power button for two seconds will end an active call, or disconnect the Bluetooth connection. Holding the power button for four seconds turns off the speaker. The Eupho also turns itself off automatically after 15 minutes of no audio or no Bluetooth connection.
The “+” and “-” buttons on either side of the power button is used to control volume. Double-pressing the button will skip track forward or backward.
On the back of the Eupho, you’ll find the Micro-USB port for charging. The Eupho also works as a DAC. When connected to a computer over the Micro-USB connection, the Eupho appears as an external sound card, and the computer can send digital audio directly to the speaker. The DAC supports 48 kHz two-channel 16-bit samples, decent enough for the capabilities of a mini speaker.
One of the 3.5 mm jack is used for analog audio input, and the other is used for a BuddyStereo feature. BuddyStereo lets you connect two Euphos together, using a standard 3.5 mm audio cable between both BuddyStereo jacks, to play stereo music from both speakers together. You don’t just get more music, you get music in stereo.
The BuddyStereo goes further by letting you connect a bunch of Euphos together in a chain to really pump up the music. This requires a Mega Party Cable that is sold separately. UB+ does provide one 3.5 mm audio cable and one Micro-USB cable in the box, as well as a cloth pouch for safekeeping the Eupho speaker.
UB+ had sold a separate expansion casing (it currently comes free with the Eupho speaker) that serves to boost the bass and amply overall volume. It’s essentially an extra chamber that allows sound to resonate. The base of the expansion case, when attached to the bottom of the Eupho, opens up a port to allow some of the sound generated inside the speaker to be channelled into the expansion casing.
When not in use, the expansion casing can be used as a protective case for the Eupho. I found it a bit difficult to pull out the expansion casing’s base after it has been fixed to the Eupho. The plastic of the base is a little soft, so I worry that I may squash it beyond its breaking point some day. Fortunately, there’s probably little reason why you would need to remove the base.
UB+ has patented a technology which they call ORCHAS, or Orchestrated Acoustic Structure, which is incorporated into the Eupho. The speaker is designed so that the driver, a pair of passive radiators and pressured air movements vibrate in unison. The orchestrated vibrations are balanced to turn energy that is ordinary wasted into reinforced sound quality.
It looks like UB+ has put in a lot of effort to design a speaker that delivers quality far better in its size category. At low sound levels, it is difficult to tell the difference, but once you push the volume up, the Eupho is distinctly better than other speakers its size. When used with the expansion casing, in particular, the Eupho delivers very rich, full, sound with a robust bass. It’s almost unbelievable that the sound came from such a small speaker.
When paired with a second Eupho using the BuddyStereo feature, you get really good hi-fidelity sound. The stereo separation is excellent, and the pair of Euphos deliver an impressive live-like soundstage.
The UB+ Eupho sells for S$89.90, and is available from Popular bookstores. The Expansion Casing, worth S$11.90, now comes free with the Eupho.
The UB+ Eupho is a good looking mini Bluetooth speaker that delivers sound quality above its size category. There are many good things about this diminutive speaker.
- Good sound quality
- Long battery life
- Pairs with another like unit for stereo sound
- Works as a DAC
- Expansion casing’s build quality isn’t so good