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Lifewire / Jordan Provost
Poor build quality
Awful sound quality
No unique features
Easy to topple over
The Elegiant USB Powered Soundbar is the bare essentials of a computer speaker. For under $30 you’re getting an audio system that barely sounds better than your phone or laptop already.
When you’re looking to pick up the cheapest option on the market, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it doesn’t provide the best quality. That’s definitely true of the Elegiant USB Powered Soundbar. It’s under $30, which means that there are many compromises in build quality, sound quality, and features, During testing, we found that it generally didn’t live up to our low expectations, making it difficult to recommend for most people, even those seeking a budget, entry-level option.
The Elegiant USB Powered Soundbar is incredibly cheap, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s not built especially well. The soundbar is entirely made of plastic, with a metallic-looking front grill with the name “Elegiant” emblazoned in the middle.
At 15.75 inches wide and 2.36 inches tall, it’s not the biggest soundbar in the world. And weighing just 1.17 pounds, it’s incredibly lightweight, so you should have no problem shoving the Elegiant Soundbar into your backpack if you need to haul your setup somewhere.
Any kind of pressure will cause the soundbar to roll forward, obfuscating its already mediocre sound quality.
When it comes to controls, things are a bit unusual. On the right side, you’ll find a volume dial that also acts as the power switch. On the back, you’ll find all the cables coming out of an assembly in the middle of the device. You have USB for power and 3.5mm cables for both mic and audio-in. If you’re wondering why there’s a mic cable, it’s because there is a passthrough on the back of the Soundbar, where you can plug in a headset. It’s an odd design to be sure, but this may be convenient for some folks.
This seems acceptable on its face, but there are two main problems with the design. First, the cables are not very long. We set it up initially with our desktop PC, and we couldn’t get it to the center of our desk. The second core problem here is stability. There are two little rubberized feet on the bottom of the device that should keep it stable. However, any kind of pressure will cause the soundbar to roll forward, obfuscating its already mediocre sound quality.
Usually, we would test the speaker through Tidal, using the “Master” audio setting and power it with our Audioengine D1 DAC. But when we tried using the DAC (digital-to-analog converter), the speaker just couldn’t keep up (the Elegiant is only capable of a 10W peak power output). Audio would cut out every couple of seconds, becoming a mess. We ended up having to get rid of the DAC and plug the audio cable straight into our MacBook’s audio jack in order to test.
Trying to listen to “Water Fountain” by Tune-Yards was probably too much to ask, but we could still make out the high-octane percussion and Merrill Garbus’ manic vocals. But a lot of the more bizarre instrumentation was just mushed together, and it didn’t sound good at all.
This soundbar just doesn’t sound great, no matter what kind of content you’re consuming.
“Escape From the City” by Crush 40, through YouTube was better. Thanks to YouTube compression, the track wasn’t all that complicated, making it actually sound good. Sure, the bassline wasn’t quite as well defined as with a more robust speaker system, but you can still hear it.
We also noticed that there was a lot of audio feedback. Even when we weren’t actively listening to anything, we had a high pitched whine that persisted even at lower volumes. That might come down to the unit we tested, but it’s something to keep an eye out for either way.
At under $30, the fact that this soundbar doesn’t sound great really shouldn’t come as a surprise. The only people we would recommend this speaker to are those who are using a monitor that doesn’t have any audio output. If your laptop, tablet, TV, phone or other device has speakers, they likely already sound better than the Elegiant Soundbar.
The only people we would recommend this speaker to are those who are using a monitor that doesn’t have any audio output.
The Elegiant USB Powered Soundbar is $29.95 (MSRP). For that price, you’re basically getting what you pay for—a very cheap audio solution for devices that don’t have their own output. There are plenty of other affordable soundbars out there, but none of them provide an especially good value.
At $34, the Asiyun Bluetooth Desktop Soundbar is just a little more expensive than the Elegiant Soundbar, but provides so many more features. Sound quality is equivalent, but the key difference here is portability and Bluetooth.
Rather than having a mediocre speaker that’s leashed to your desk, the Asiyun speaker is something you can take on the go. There’s RCA out, too, so you can use it with a TV with blown out speakers. The actual build of the Asiyun Soundbar is largely the same as the Elegiant device, but there are audio controls on the back of the speaker so that you can pause and skip via Bluetooth. Overall, the Asiyun Soundbar is far better value for a similar price.
At the end of the day, the Elegiant USB Powered Soundbar is a cheap speaker. You can plug it into your device and it will play audio, but that’s as far as it goes. The cheap design, subpar audio, and low quality make this a device that most people should skip. The only reason we would recommend it is if your computer monitor doesn’t have built-in speakers, or if you have a TV or laptop with blown out speakers. Everyone else should just save their money.