Aiwa should be a familiar term among our readers, especially among the older semesters. The company, from which hardly anything was to be heard in the last years, was known and popular particularly in the 80’s as a manufacturer of ghetto blaster and cassette recorders. Quite a few of the unwieldy playback devices were adorned with an unmistakable Aiwa lettering. Some time ago, after years of radio silence, Aiwa returned with a huge Bluetooth loudspeaker that visually reminded of the time of the long outdated ghetto blaster.
But if you want to become nostalgic, you’ll have to take a little hit: The original manufacturer was sold to Sony in 2002 and ceased operations in 2006. In 2013, the brand rights were sold to “River West Brands”, which cooperated with “Hale Devices”. The latter company subsequently renamed itself “Aiwa” and is responsible for the device we tested.
Nevertheless, the speaker “Exos-9” is to be understood as an homage to the best Aiwa times. For us, this is reason enough to take a close look at the device, which was released in 2015 and is currently on the upswing again.
Design and Workmanship
The dimensions of the box already indicate that the device is incredibly large. Once it is unpacked, it quickly becomes clear that in today’s world, where Bluetooth speakers usually want to be inconspicuous and small, it seems completely out of place. The Exos-9 is huge, heavy, conspicuous and therefore anything but reserved. What at first seems to be a complete disregard of any aesthetic standards of the present, turns out to be a partially adapted compromise on closer inspection: high gloss elements and rounded edges fit too well into the smooth present and too little to the otherwise unadapted Exos-9.
The device weighs around six kilograms, but can be easily transported thanks to a carrying device attached to the rear. The battery is removable. It can be easily inserted at the rear. In practice, this should offer numerous advantages. For example, a defective battery can be easily repaired or replaced. In addition, it is in principle possible to exchange an empty battery for a charged one in order to be able to use the jukebox for as long as possible without interruption. However, one battery charge is also sufficient to fill a garden party with sound throughout the evening.
By the way, the Bluetooth box is impeccably processed. On the back, the manufacturer relies on rubber stanchions, while otherwise hard plastic elements predominate. The control buttons are located on the top of the box. Only the volume wheel is located at the front and the on/off switch at the back at the connections.
The speaker can play music. Its function is thus described quite clearly and largely unambiguously. However, it is equipped with some interesting extras that we naturally wanted to take a closer look at.
The equalizer, which makes it possible to adjust the sound with the help of five bands, deserves special mention. There are also four presets and an energy-saving mode that dampens the bass. The presets are very well done and are a strong selling point for the Exos-9. In practice, the equalizer was able to make relatively radical changes, which ultimately makes it suitable for playing a wide variety of music pieces.
Playback devices can therefore be connected to the loudspeaker via AUX or Bluetooth. NFC is also available to establish a fast Bluetooth connection. Smartphones, for example, can be charged via the existing USB port, while the other port is intended for updates.
The Exos-9 is permanently in Bluetooth pairing mode unless you lock it manually and keep up to 8 devices in memory simultaneously. This works without any problems, but we had some difficulties with the first pairing and needed several starts with our Huawei P20 Pro until a successful connection was established.
The display, which also shows the battery status, switches off relatively quickly when playing music. Other relevant information such as the music title are not displayed anyway, so this doesn’t bother any further.
The control options directly on the Exos-9 are unfortunately limited. So you can pause songs and resume playback, but it is not possible to skip songs or go back. This requires the remote control, which costs an additional 12.99 Euro. With this we had problems to stop the playback in the beginning, but in the later course of the test it worked suddenly.
Another positive feature is the possibility to link two Aiwa Exos-9s together to enjoy stereo sound. But we couldn’t test this because we only had one unit.
The sound of the Aiwa Exos-9 is powerful and very clear. Five integrated loudspeakers, including a 6.5-inch subwoofer with an output of 200 watts, ensure this. With the help of the equalizer, it was possible to adapt the AUX mode to one’s own wishes to a great extent. Everything is possible with the Exos-9, from balanced to bass-heavy to high-frequency sound. We were very satisfied with that. We noticed particularly positively that the settings are consistently maintained even at high volumes – even bass-stressed sound is still perfectly reproduced at high volumes.
Altogether Aiwa offers with the Exos-9 an exciting jukebox, which is suitable for various occasions and thanks to the integrated equalizer is perfectly adaptable to your own wishes. The sound is great and can be tuned down to the last detail – thanks to aptX even via Bluetooth.
The design of the loudspeaker is harmonious and the workmanship outstanding. All you have to do is note that the high-gloss elements are very sensitive and quickly reveal dust or fingerprints. Also worth mentioning is the not only powerful, but also replaceable battery.
We would have been happy if the media control directly at the loudspeaker was more extensive, as music titles cannot be skipped there. The only thing that helps here is to reach for the audio source or the optionally available remote control.
Nevertheless, the Exos-9 gives us an overall positive impression, as it can be used wirelessly and delivers crisp sound, even for larger and longer garden parties. Here you only have to be careful that it is placed under a roof, because the loudspeaker is not waterproof.