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Samsung Shape M7 Wireless Audio Speaker review: A solid multi-room audio system

Michael Brown | Nov. 20, 2014
If you're looking for a big multi-room speaker, Samsung's Shape system is a viable alternative to what Sonos has on offer.

You can set an alarm clock with day and time settings, but you're limited to choosing stations from TuneIn Radio. You can set a volume preset, so you don't need to remember to change the volume of the speaker--in case you were blasting it the night before and don't want to be startled in the morning (or maybe you do). The speakers have a sleep timer function, too, which will automatically turn the speaker off after a specified number of minutes have passed.

Music services
As mentioned earlier, the Samsung Multiroom app lets you play Internet radio via your choice of iHeartRadio and TuneIn. You'll also find support for a variety of other online music services, including Samsung's own Milk (curated by Slacker, one of my personal favorite services), as well as 8Tracks, Pandora, Rdio, Rhapsody, and Spotify. Samsung also supportsAmazon Cloud Player and Murfie, two services that let you stream your own music collections from the cloud. This pales in comparison to Sonos' offerings, which include all of those services plus Beats Music, Deezer, Google Play Music, Last.FM, Songza, and many more.

Ears-on time
Samsung declined to release much information about the M7's specs beyond what's published on itswebsite, so I can't report what type of amp they're using, how many watts it produces, or what type of materials the drivers are fabricated from. Based on my listening tests, I'd say the W7 is a relatively well-balanced powered speaker, as long as you don't push it too hard.

Some speakers have difficulty with the dynamic range of classical music, but the M7 handled the quieter passages in the London Symphony Orchestra's recording of Brahms' Symphony No. 3 with aplomb, fully realizing the bass strings without need to pump the volume to levels that would distort the oboe, flute, and violins. The M7 performed well with rock and jazz tracks, too. I listened to everything from Steely Dan to Dave Brubeck, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and Alison Krauss. All the tracks I listened to were encoded either as 16-bit/44.1kHz FLAC or as Apple Lossless files.

Samsung bundles a wireless subwoofer with its HW-H750 soundbar, but it doesn't offer the sub separately. And the M7 really doesn't need the additional low end--it delivers plenty of bass on its own. Put the M7's back against the wall, however, and the woofer will turn flatulent and higher frequencies will get ugly. I also detected unpleasant vibration and resonance from its plastic enclosure when I cranked up the volume. Fortunately, you don't need to twist the dial far to fill up a good-sized room with sound.

One of the features I like about the Sonos ecosystem is that you can buy modules that don't have any speakers, so you can supply your own active or passive models. And you can supplement them with a beefy subwoofer. Samsung doesn't offer either option, but it's probably targeting a wider audience with its product (then again, a $500 speaker doesn't exactly scream "mainstream").


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