Loewe recently announced a greater focus on its audio products, so it is timely to have a play with the smallest speaker in its range, and the smallest this group test, yet perhaps one of the most desirable. Just 13.3cm wide, the klang M1 is thoroughly luxurious in construction, especially in the rose gold version supplied to us for review, its stainless steel case coated with genuine gold, according to its data sheet, and it feels surprisingly solid in the hand, weighing 325g. Graphite grey and silver are the other available options.
Into this stylish shell Loewe has fitted twin active drivers plus two ‘membranes’ driven passively to the rear by the back energy within the cabinet; we were surprised to discover this true stereo ability in a unit so small, and accurately matched stereo too, since when we played a deliberately out-of-phase voice through the M1, it all but disappeared.
To enjoy the speakers in their correct orientation, keep the Loewe logo facing you, and the leather strap to the right. It’s a good sturdy and comfortable real leather strap, too, held in place by a sturdy stud.
Set-up is simplicity itself; powering up is announced by a little jingle played on marimba (we think), followed by a kind of sonar ping which obviously indicates it’s waiting for a Bluetooth connection, then the marimba player does a little roll of triumph to announce you’re connected.
You can also accept calls through the M1; it has a voice-optimised microphone for the purpose. The battery life is quoted at 12 hours and it charges via micro-USB.
It doesn’t exceed what you might expect from a unit this size in terms of expansive presentation — of course at this size it’s more about portability and travel than about energising a room with music and bass. But it’s no trannie — it has the impressive merit of maintaining sonic composure all the way up to its fifth volume LED, by which time any other device this size we’ve previously encountered would be shrieking murder and quite possible buzz-vibrating its way across the table.
Instead, as with the B&W T7 Wireless (also in the group of wireless speakers in our 32#03 issue of Sound+Image), the M1 shows how a premium product from a company of merit can raise sound quality above the pack. It’s not the weedy thin sound you’d get from most pocket radios this size; the M1 is able to deliver frequencies down into the 50s of hertz, enough to provide a well-supported balanced and musical sound. Less dense songs made for the best reproduction, like Post Malone’s Wow, or Location by Dave ft Burna Boy, both kept clear and steady, lacking only their deeper bass content. The busier mix of Lizzo’s Juice, on the other hand, came through a little frantic, its high-end too insistent. But then we discovered that when using the direct minijack input, even this was held in better control; the cabled connection removed the destructive distortive tiss-tiss introduced by Bluetooth (there is no mention of Bluetooth codecs on its data sheet so we suspect it may use only the base-level SBC codec, without the benefits to Apple users of including AAC).
The M1’s delivery of Sara Bareilles’ What’s Inside/Opening Up showed particular strengths on female vocal, Bareilles’ panned overdubs given even a real sense of space. The bass entry was reduced in strength, it’s true, and again the climax got too thrashy via Bluetooth, but again sounded fine when played through the cable.
So while the size of sound is limited (the B&W T7 is, for example, almost seven times its physical volume), the M1 performs remarkably well, and it is of course ultra-portable, and luxuriously styled.