Not only did the stereo imaging of the Mass Fidelity Core surprise us, the features and functionality dazzled as well.
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This Mass Fidelity Core review includes the multi room or single room wireless speaker system along with the Core Sub (subwoofer). It’s a unique system in that the primary Core speakers have an integrated Lithium-ion battery. You can quite literally place (or take) them anywhere and run them for up to 12 hours until they need to be recharged. They’re also unique in that Mass Fidelity designed the small Core system to emit stereo sound without requiring two modules. It uses what Mass Fidelity calls “acoustic holography technology” to produce a very convincing and very wide stereo image.
Since we were given a complete set, including the Core Sub, we got the chance to set it up and experience the system for ourselves. I placed it in the living room of a 1920’s bungalow home. This is the perfect location for a small speaker. It’s also ideal for anyone not wanting to disrupt the look of a classic room.
Mass Fidelity Core Features
The mechanics behind the imaging phenomena includes an array of five drivers. There’s a side-firing driver on the left and right, two center-firing drivers, and a downward-firing woofer for bass. 120 Watts of power drives it all. It’s one of the first wireless speakers I’ve heard that truly feels like you’re listening to a pair of really good quality speakers.
You can sync and connect as many as eight Cores wirelessly throughout your networked home. You don’t even need a special router or app because the Core uses its own 5 GHz dedicated “mesh” network. Each speaker can be configured to either play a local source or be part of a “party mode” whole home audio stream.
Connecting via Bluetooth was, unlike some speaker systems I’ve used, nearly immediate. Once connected, Spotify and anything I played through the Apple Music app came through unhindered.
Mass Fidelity Core Sub (Subwoofer)
Mass Fidelity does something pretty cool with the Core when you connect the Core Sub subwoofer. The Core uses something it dubs Dynamic Re-tuning Technology to automatically roll off the bass. It then sends those frequencies to the $299 Core Sub. That lets the Core concentrate on maximizing power output and fidelity on mids and highs.
For tuning, the Core Sub has elementary adjustments for phase (0/180), output (+/- 6dB), and even crossover. The crossover is variable from 60-120Hz in 20Hz steps. We left it at the default settings with a 120Hz crossover. I did find, however, that a 100Hz setting can reduce boominess if it seems overbearing. Your preference will depend greatly on placement and the type of music you play through the Core system.
Mass Fidelity Core Review Listening Tests
I began by listening to some of the recommended tracks to discern the stereo imaging capabilities of the Mass Fidelity Core wireless speaker. While sitting back and listening to Pink Floyd’s “Money”, I immediately got out of my seat. I walked left to right trying to disrupt the rather clear stereo image. The imaging is truly uncanny and goes beyond simple phase tricks. The sound maintains a balanced stereo image without losing the midrange detail. Highs also remained crisp and clean, and the amount of distortion-free volume the diminutive Core can crank out is deceptive. A lot of this can be attributed to the support of the apt-X codec—a great choice by Mass Fidelity as you can get CD quality streaming via Bluetooth.
Really, though, it’s just good engineering.
Pink Floyd Wish You Were Here
I really enjoyed the Pink Floyd theme. After listening through most of The Dark Side of the Moon, I switched over to Wish You Were Here. The after-intro guitar solo on “Shine On You Crazy Diamond” had some nice dynamics. And then the vocals set in. The lead and backing vocals had a solid presence that I would not have thought possible from such a tiny enclosure. The saxophone had as realistic a texture as I could expect for anything at this price point. If anything, it only lacked the power a larger amplifier and surface area could provide. Tonally, it was spot on.
Next up was “Welcome to the Machine” which has panning effects and a very distinct acoustic guitar. The vocals are also eerily vivid, and the Core rendered everything in exceptional clarity and fidelity. The guitar, in particular, was conveyed as if it were being played live in the living room. The synth effects really triggered and made use of the Core Sub, and you could feel the bass through the floor. It wasn’t back-breaking bass by any means but absolutely well-balanced and more than enough for my living area.
Queueing up some Seal, “Kiss From a Rose” let me hear some delicate and raw male vocals. It also incorporated some excellent stereo separation for the backing vocals present in the chorus. The bass and strings really filled the room, and the synths kept their definition, not turning to mud as they do with speakers that can’t reproduce the required fidelity.
Mass Fidelity Core and Core Sub Specs
- Size (Core): 6 x 6 x 4 in
- Size (Core Sub): 16.5 x 5.75 x 9.5 in
- Material: Chrome, Acrylic, Fabric, MDF (Sub)
- Amplifier Power (Core): 120 Watts
- Amplifier Power (Core Sub): 60 Watts
- Frequency Response (Core): 44Hz-20kHz
- Frequency Response (Core Sub): 35Hz-120Hz
- Speakers: 5x Custom designed high output speaker drivers
- Power (Core): AC adaptor & rechargeable battery
- Supported Codecs: aptX, AAC, SBC
- Processing (Core Sub): Arm Core running configuration and multi-room software, 2 x DSP’s for signal conditioning and equalization
- Adaptive 5 GHz dedicated network
- Battery Life (Core): up to 12 hours
This Mass Fidelity Core review should tell you at least one thing. The Core is a phenomenal wireless speaker. In terms of features and technology it’s up there with the Sonos and Denon Heos speakers. Fidelity is off the charts good, and we love the easy and automatic integration with the Core Sub. We also like how you don’t necessarily have to be in front of the speaker to appreciate its stereo imaging. It projects a wide image that fills the room from almost any location.
It’s also nice to have a truly wireless solution that can play loud and clean. It’s a tad pricey, so at $599 this remains a premium product for those wanting to use the premium multi room features. You can get a cheaper Bluetooth speaker, but not one that can integrate so well with a subwoofer or whole house wireless application. With those notes, we can definitely recommend the Core for those wanting to integrate a well-rounded high fidelity wireless speaker system into their home.