The Edifier MS50A is a wireless speaker with a classic design and modern features. It supports both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and works with Amazon Alexa. How does the $150 speaker handle and, perhaps more importantly, sound? Read on to find out.

Design

The Edifier MS50A looks like the sort of speaker you might have seen growing up in the 1980s or 1990s. By that, I mean it employs both wood and fabric, and doesn’t have any flashy distinguishing characteristics.

With a footprint that calls to mind a thick roll of paper towels, the speaker fits nicely on a tabletop, counter, or stand. The aesthetics are such that it works well with pretty much any environment. It doesn’t beg for attention but it does seem to dress up for the party.

The front face of the speaker is all grille with a silver line that breaks across the middle. The other three sides have a walnut-like wood grain.

Features

When it comes to features and functions, the Edifier MS50A has somewhat of a mixed bag. For instance, while it does work with Amazon Alexa, it doesn’t have a microphone to trigger the digital assistant. You’ll have to use the Amazon Alexa app or another smart device with that capability. But once you do that, you can have your music play on that speaker.

Similarly, the mobile app provides some control over the audio experience but not as much as I expected. You can use it to pair another speaker with it for stereo sound or mutli-room music; however, there is no EQ setting.

Other than those two gripes, there are definitely some things to appreciate in Edifier MS50A. In addition to the Alexa tie-in, the speaker also works natively with Apple Airplay and Spotify.

Further, I really like that it works with both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections. The former works well if you’re looking to listen to an audiobook or your favorite music app. The latter, opens the door to whole-house connected playback. Moreover, if you’re playing music from a phone, you can listen to other audio on your handset. That’s to say it’s not “all or nothing” for music.

There are capacitive buttons on the top of the speaker which give you control over the playback and volume. You can advance and restart tracks by tapping the right and left buttons, respectively. Long pressing the left will go back one track at a time. The play and pause button at the bottom is obvious.

Volume is controlled by placing your finger on the dotted ring and dragging it in a clockwise or counter-clockwise direction.

Sound

The Edifier MS50A has a fairly loud sound for its size and I can imagine pairing two of these together could really fill a few rooms with thumping music.

I’ve tried a number of music genres and types of audio including audiobooks, podcasts, EDM, progressive rock, hip hop, and classical music. As a whole I enjoyed the experience.

Lows are definitely represented well and bass-heavy songs do feel punchy. On the high end you’ll find clear and crisp punctuation. As for the middle, it did a generally decent job and only a few isolated times felt crowded or muddy.

Of course it comes down to the music source and sound engineering. Really, the speaker might be better represented by saying that it can point out poorly mixed audio.

Conclusion

Understanding that some manufacturer’s draw a line on including Amazon Alexa and/or Google Assistant, I tend to prefer the latter for my speaker smarts. Furthermore, I would have enjoyed seeing a microphone included so that I could truly get the most out of Alexa.

A few gripes aside, I certainly think the Edifier MS50A justifies its $150 price tag. It looks good in pretty much any environment, never distracting or sticking out. To me, it’s the right blend of modern sophistication and classic design.

The speaker delivers on my expectations for audio sound and quality, and I imagine that pairing multiple units together is better than the sum of its parts.

As someone who knows how expensive it was to fill a home with SONOS speakers back in the day, I feel like this is a great, less expensive alternative. Conversely, it’s a fantastic speaker to switch to Bluetooth mode for cranking music on YouTube Music or a book from Audible.

Learn more about the Edifier MS50A speaker at the manufacturer’s website where you can purchase one for $150.