Saturday, September 17, 2016

Sony SRS-HG1 Portable Wireless Speaker


According to Sony, the SRS-HG1 is the world's smallest High-Resolution Audio portable wireless speaker. Available in 5 trendy colours, my review sample was finished in a very striking Lime Yellow colour.


The SRS-HG1 measures 204x62x60 mm and weighs 790g. The driver complement consists of dual 35 mm full range drivers and a single passive radiator. Sony's S-Master HX Digital amp pumps out 12 watts of power. The DSEEHX Digital Sound Enhancement Engine processes lossy music files to address the quality lost during compression.

The SRS-HG1 can be connected via Bluetooth (Version 4.2 is supported with compatibility with the following protocols, A2DP, AVRCP, HFP and SPP) or via USB. The onboard DAC supports bit depth of up to 24 bits and sampling rates up to 192 kHz.

You can also stream music via wifi (this speaker is DLNA compliant), or hook up a legacy device via the stereo mini-jack on the rear panel.

Delving deep into the manual shows that the SRS-HG1 has a formidable feature set. A wireless multi-room setup can be created to stream different music to multiple SRS-HG1 speakers in different rooms. You can also pair a set of these speakers to create dedicated stereo pairs. With selected Sony Home Theater systems that support a wireless surround function, the SRS-HG1 can function as wireless surround speakers - messy wires begone !
Google Cast and Spotify connect are also supported.

The top panel of the SRS-HG1 has a row of LED indicators on the left, and a row of control buttons on the right. Two separate USB ports are provided on the rear panel, one for charging the unit (you get 12 hours on a full charge), and the other for hooking up your computer.

Sound Quality

I listened to the SRS-HG1 via both Bluetooth and its USB port with a variety of music (both CD quality and High-Resolution audio). 

The SRS-HG1 has a very clear, detailed and spacious sound. This helps reproduce the ambience of the recording venue and giving a nice lift to string instruments and cymbals. Midrange has a crystal-like quality too and female vocals are reproduced very cleanly. Separation is also good, with a clear distinction between the various instruments in a recording mix.

Bass is tight and well-defined, but does not go deep nor loud. Unfortunately the laws of physics cannot be defied and the SRS-HG1 is held back in this respect by the smaller drivers used and the small cabinet volume. Hitting the "Extra-Bass" button results in either muddy, bloated bass, or distortion - best to leave that button alone.

Generally, the SRS-HG1 prefers to be used at safer volumes. If you like bass-heavy music or listen very loud, better to have a look at one of Sony's larger models.

Removing the speaker grill (a small switch below the unit gracefully ejects the grill) reveals drivers that fire straight ahead. I found that the drivers do not have a wide dispersion pattern, and sound a lot better when listened to on the same vertical axis, or not more than 20-30 degrees off-axis. Best to tilt these speakers upwards if required.

The diminutive size of these speakers also means that your left and right channel drivers are quite close together, which limits soundstage width. Now, imagine using two of these speakers in paired stereo mode !


The SRS-HG1 are incredibly well equipped speakers, with an impressive feature and specification set. Although a bit pricey, these speakers are well made and sounds very clear and detailed. The limited bass and volume capabilities will exclude certain potential customers though.

Sony SRS-HG1
Recommended Consumer Price - S$ 359

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