Review: Raumfeld One S Wi-Fi Speaker

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Design & Connectivity

The Raumfeld One S speaker on a glass bookshelf, next to a potted plant
The Raumfeld One S WiFi speaker is close to the size of a standard box of Kleenex tissues – it doesn’t weigh too much more than one either. Stanley Goodner/About

Although purists are strong and likely to stick to using traditional speakers (i.e. the ones that connect primarily by cables), it’s hard to ignore the steadfast march of wireless audio. When there is only a power connection to be concerned about, interior options suddenly open up with renewed flexibility – it’s easier to rearrange living spaces without having to run speaker wires all over again.

German audio manufacturer, Raumfeld, has spent years developing multi-room audio designed to stream lossless digital music without sacrificing fidelity. The company’s ecosystem of products are plug-and-play and can work independently or together, either in same or separate rooms. Those interested in getting an affordable glimpse of what Raumfeld has to offer can start off with the compact, One S Wi-Fi speaker.

At just a couple inches shorter, the Raumfeld One S Wi-Fi speaker is close to the size of a standard box of Kleenex tissues – it doesn’t weigh too much more than one either. This makes it incredibly easy to place the One S most anywhere, such as on desks, shelves, countertops, dressers, or nestled wherever a classy-looking, almost-cube can go.

The Raumfeld One S exhibits styling that can be considered "safe," with its satin-white (there is an all-black colorway, too) enclosure, black mesh fabric, brushed-metal faceplate, and silicone-covered buttons. Just because you enjoy your music loud doesn’t mean that the speaker’s appearance also has to be.

02
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Design & Connectivity (continued)

The Raumfeld One S speaker on a shelf
The Raumfeld One S streams audio without any white hiss or buzz underlying music tracks, sometimes common with Bluetooth wireless speakers. Stanley Goodner/About

The Raumfeld One S Wi-Fi speaker features ports for ethernet (cable supplied), USB, and power (cable also supplied) within a recessed space on the rear. There is just room enough to plug in all three with minimal finessing; if you’re considering a USB flash drive loaded with music, something tiny like the SanDisk Ultra Fit will be your best bet. Otherwise, just use storage media that connects through a regular, flexible USB cable. Setup and reset buttons are located back here as well. If you’re hoping to see analog connections, you’re out of luck. At least for the One S, as the other speakers in its Wi-Fi family do feature RCA jacks.

Physical operation of the Raumfeld One S Wi-Fi speaker is easy. A light press-hold of the metal button on the front powers the unit on, which becomes ready to start playing within seconds. A pair of bright white-glowing LEDs serve to indicate power (left) and active wireless connectivity (right). Controls on the top of the speaker (lacking for play/pause, unfortunately) offer volume adjustment as well as quick selection (no app needed in order to play) of up to four music streams – a brief press-hold saves the currently-playing station to the assigned button. Otherwise, most all music selection is handled predominantly by the Raumfeld Controller mobile app (available for iOS and Android).

Unlike so many compact/portable speakers, the Raumfeld One S lacks the (often annoying) jingles that accompany speaker startup/shutdown sequences. Only the LEDs let you know of the device’s power state. When inactive after a short period of time, the Raumfeld One S automatically puts itself into a standby mode. A short press of the power button does the same (LEDs do turn off). Thankfully, you can "wake" the speaker up through the mobile app – you need to press-hold the power button to functionally turn the speaker on/off.

As long as the One S speaker and/or device(s) running the mobile app are within coverage of the wireless network, music/radio streams smoothly with no hiccups. Those with more powerful/extended network hardware can enjoy greater freedom of movement without losing signals – most Bluetooth-enabled speakers have a functional range that falls shy of the listed 33 ft (10 m) specifications.

03
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Audio Performance

The Raumfeld One S speaker on a kitchen countertop
The Raumfeld One S exhibits styling that can be considered "safe," with its satin-white enclosure. Stanley Goodner/About

One of the benefits of owning speakers that use Wi-Fi over Bluetooth is clear, noiseless transmission. The Raumfeld One S streams audio without any white hiss or buzz underlying music tracks – this aspect can be especially noticeable during quieter parts of songs. Some Bluetooth audio devices are well-designed as to minimize such unwanted additions, but the One S sustains quality by exhibiting zero boost to the noise floor.

Music volume is controlled strictly by the buttons on the One S speaker as well as via the Raumfeld mobile app. So any media/system sounds played by a smartphone/ tablet are considered separate and will emit from the device itself, which is great for those who don’t want notifications/games blending with audio streaming from the One S speaker. There are 20 levels of volume that smoothly increment from zero (mute) to 100, counted by fives (shown in the app).

The Raumfeld One S can get quite loud – especially considering its compact size – enough to blanket background music over sizable spaces without sounding terribly thinned-out. Most should find themselves keeping the volume range between 40 and 70, which is more than enough to comfortably fill an entire downstairs living room, kitchen, dining room, and sun room together. Like most speakers, the Raumfeld One S generates unwanted distortion when cranked to the max: crunchy grit across the mids, bloated lows, blurring, throaty resonance, shrill edges in the upper registers, and so on. But dial the volume back a bit to reasonable levels, and the worst you’ll hear interrupting overall fidelity is slightly brightened tones/vocals with a hint of sibilance here or there.

Because of its design that combines one 1-inch (25 mm) tweeter, one 3.5-inch (90 mm) midrange driver, and two 3.7-inch (95 mm) woofers, the Raumfeld One S enjoys a wide listening axis; it’s more or less a mono speaker when alone by itself. This means you can sit anywhere up front or to the sides without hearing much of any shift in how the music sounds. While the Raumfeld One S isn’t considered an omni-directional speaker, it can play the part rather well for everyday listening – although small, there’s no shortage of clarity or ability to project.

04
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Audio Performance (continued)

The Raumfeld One S speaker on a shelf between glass decorations
The Raumfeld One S can get quite loud without sounding terribly thinned-out. Stanley Goodner/About

There isn’t any lateral movement across the soundstage – pairing two One S speakers in stereo makes for an easy remedy – but the depth and dynamics are exceptionally expressive and hold their own. Songs, like Hozier’s Angel of Small Death & the Codeine Scene, embody how the Raumfeld One S accurately presents the forward lead vocals and instruments, drum kit rocking the rear, and backup vocals right in between. Due to the speaker’s small size, the soundstage can’t exhibit the most open, airy space (stereo pairing can also remedy this). However, the One S deftly preserves detail and conveys the passion/intensity of music through crisp sonic edges and appreciable separation of elements, regardless of how loud or soft.

Female vocals sing silky smooth, and the Raumfeld One S has no problem keeping up with quick changes in pitch or volume. Put on some Norah Jones, and you’ll hear how the speaker cherishes her sweet, gentle, and oftentimes breathless voice. Other elements may play steadily behind, yet they don’t obscure her more hushed or lingering lyrics. Instruments are treated with similar depth, precision, and clear envelopes of sound – fingers can fly across harps or hammered dulcimers without losing the delicate, characteristic tones. Wind and other string instruments enjoy virtually no blurring or halo effect, even as song complexity increases. Cymbals and hi-hats retain their crisp, metallic texture without shimmer or sizzle.

Listening lower into the mids, one can quickly appreciate the full sound and impressive level of depth maintained by the Raumfeld One S speaker. Play The White Buffalo’s song, Oh Darlin’ What Have I Done, and be prepared for some spine tingles and goosebumps as Jake Smith’s impassioned, oft anguished, husky voice pours over a steadily strumming guitar. You can hear the hit and scratch of strings with the kind of presence that could make you believe the performance was live, right in the room. While slight vocal sibilance can linger at higher volumes, most all midrange elements deliver notes without clipping or thinning, even when tasked to some heavy metal tracks. Dual lead guitars? You can hear both clearly in Dethklok’s Awaken.

The One S speaker surprises with the way it pumps out and characterizes voices and instruments in the lows. Double-takes have been plenty from those not expecting such a small speaker to punch above its weight. Drums have a snappy attack and musical bounce to each hit, followed by a reasonably clean and smooth decay. The top end production of the lows is sharp, and the sub-bass region offers more rumble and purr than one might think possible. But those with a more critical ear might notice that the mid-bass impact can seem lacking by comparison, almost as if the One S can’t fully wrap itself around and control some envelopes of sound. This means that if you listen to a lot of hip-hop, you might observe a little less oomph.

05
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Raumfeld Controller App (Android)

The Raumfeld One S speaker on a dresser
Overall, the Raumfeld One S WiFi speaker dazzles with the way it manages to deliver exceptional sound from a pint-sized package. Stanley Goodner/About

The Android OS does not make setting up the Raumfeld One S a welcoming process. So remember to have some patience as you step through the required enabling/disabling of particular settings so that the speaker can join your local network and be identified within the app. If it feels like a nuisance – again, this is due to Android specifically and not the Raumfeld Controller app – then you’re doing it right. That, and all settings modifications are temporary and can be changed back afterwards. Once the process is complete, including the auto-installation of updates (if any), the Raumfeld Controller app is ready for you to explore radio stations (free from TuneIn), connect streaming music accounts, or play tracks stored on mobile devices and/or USB media.

The Raumfeld Controller App does a fine job at presenting access to all music in a clutter-free, intuitive way. Though it may not be flashy or visually stunning, the app works quickly and efficiently. It takes only a moment to load streaming music services in order to play through to any of Raumfeld’s speakers. And between the fluid navigation, options/menu that pops out from the left, and playlist with track controls that expands up from the bottom, it’s easy to bounce between what you need without getting lost.

Those interested in owning two or more Raumfeld speakers can configure the units in same or different rooms. Although the Raumfeld One S plays in stereo by default, the app allows it to be assigned as the left or right audio channel. Users also have the option to toggle status LED settings, standby times, and the operation of the on/off button for each speaker. Adding new music resources, deactivating streaming accounts, and updating speaker firmware is also handled by the Raumfeld Controller app’s settings. Overall, the experience is quite smooth and sensible.

Although the app earned sharp criticism early on after its release, Raumfeld has kept busy by continuously fixing bugs, adding new features, and incorporating more music services over time through updates. But despite how composed the Raumfeld Controller app is overall, there is one aspect that feels glaringly amiss for a HiFi system: the built-in equalizer. Adjusting audio frequencies is a great way to tune music to specific tastes, yet the app (at time of testing) limits users to just three, generic sliders for treble, mids, and bass.

06
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The Verdict

The Raumfeld One S speaker next to a red, apple-shaped dutch oven
The Raumfeld One S deftly preserves detail and conveys the passion/intensity of music through crisp sonic edges. Stanley Goodner/About

Overall, the Raumfeld One S Wi-Fi speaker dazzles with the way it manages to deliver exceptional sound from a pint-sized package. Its design may be classy and simple, but there’s little denying the amount of power contained within. Volume levels are able to be driven up far while still maintaining distortion-free music. No matter the music genre, the Raumfeld One S tactfully balances the highs, mids, and lows. There’s enough boom to enjoy without worrying about muddy drums, lack of detail, and/or the lows overpowering elements in the highs.

One drawback with using the Wi-Fi-only Raumfeld One S is that that you can’t stream audio from mobile games or videos through it. So if you often watch online content through Hulu, Amazon, YouTube, Facebook, Netflix, or others, you’ll have to use different speakers. The One S (and its siblings) operate only through the companion app. But the upside is that your music won’t ever be interrupted or marred by surprise mobile notifications or system sounds.

Although the Raumfeld One S lacks some of the conveniences enjoyed by similarly-sized, battery-powered, Bluetooth wireless speakers, you can expect better, consistent fidelity for the money spent. Sure, the One S won’t be able to float in a pool (like the Ultimate Ears Roll 2) or rough it out on a camping trip (like the EcoXGear EcoBoulder), but it’s going to look sharp and play like a pro anywhere indoors. And if the budget and living spaces allow, pairing two One S speakers in stereo makes a whole lot of sense. The Raumfeld One S speaker is available white or black.