This is the third time we are reviewing a GravaStar product and it is also the third time we are blown away by the sound. That’s right, folks. We are back with another GravaStar review. This time, we are auditioning the GravaStar Mars Pro.
Aesthetically, GravaStar Mars Pro shares the alien-ish, mechanical spider as the original GravaStar BT speaker that wowed us a few years ago. This means it is as futuristic and conversational as a Bluetooth speaker can get.
Depending on the model, the aesthetic may get even more out-of-this-world:
As always, before we jump into the main event, here’s a rundown of what this little, big guy has to offer:
• Bluetooth 5.0 • Full-range subwoofer drivers • GravaStar’s Proprietary DSP audio algorithms • Touch volume control • 6 RGB lights • 15-hour battery life • True Wireless Stereo sound • Dual speaker system design • Predominantly zinc alloy construction • Power Output: 20W
The Packaging: From The Future
Anyone who cares about packaging will not be disappointed. While it does not have a “backstory” printed on the package as the Venus do, the packaging is no less impressive. The matte silver packaging with the sci-fi-ish artwork conveys a sense of futuristic sophistication and it is yet not overbearing. In addition, the box design makes for a very satisfying unboxing experience. I think the short video below says it all:
As you can see, it has grey styrofoam with the cutouts for the speaker unit, the bilingual documentation, and a pair of cables: a USB-C charging cable and an audio cable with a USB-C to 3.5 mm plug for hooking up with noa n-Bluetooth source.
The Aesthetic: Also From The Future!
It is no secret I dig the aesthetic. Oh. You don’t know that? Well, now you do! The tripod design with pointed “feet” means minimal contact with the surface while affording it stability (and also the super cool look, of course).
The speaker unit resembles the head of a robotic creature and the tripods are its legs. At some point, I imagine it was alive. That said, I also think the GravaStar Mars Pro looks like a probe you would find in sci-fi movies. Very unique and definitely a conversational piece.
My only gripe with respect to the design is the USB-C port; it is under the speaker, in the “belly” of this majestic creature, which does make plugging it a little challenging.
By challenging I do mean having to flip the unit over and in the process, maybe accidentally cranking up the volume if is streaming music. Speaking of volume control, it is by the way of a touch-sensitive strip on top of the unit.
Just swipe along the LED-lit strip to lower or increase the volume. Not going to lie. The experience, with the light and all, is quite a futuristic one.
The speaker unit is much like a collectible model of a robotic creature. It is loaded with sculpted details. The RGB lights also add to the allure and the mystic vibe of the device.
The Build: Solid Like A Product Of Future Should Be
There is really nothing to nitpick on the build. The build is excellent. There are no misaligned components or whatsoever. Similarly, there is no chattering of any sort (yes, I put it through my “vigorous” shake test!). This means it is well put together.
Onboard there are three buttons and a control surface. The buttons include a power on/off button that doubles as a play/pause button, a light control button, and a Bluetooth button for pairing, resetting, and unpairing.
Yes. You can totally unpaired the speaker from the speaker unit itself. That’s quite uncommon among BT speakers. The control surface would be the aforementioned LED-lit “strip” for volume control.
As before, this speaker does not have a provision for skipping tracks which is unfortunate. But the sound quality will be enough to make you feel that isn’t a deal-breaker.
The Sound: Very x 3 Big Sound, Crazy Bass
As always, before we begin, you ought to know that each person hears differently. This is a scientific fact and as such, this audition is based on my trusty sound holes. I am not Daredevil nor am I Sebastian Schlencht-Wöhnert who has a super acute sense of hearing.
I reviewed this unit as a person who appreciates good music, be it Mozart’s Symphony No. 40 in G Minor or music by Coldplay, Slayer, or Marshmellow. My appreciation for music is super broad, btw. Anywho, now that we get the obligatory “disclaimer” out of the way, let’s get on with it, shall we?
Pardon me if I can’t control my excitement because the sound of this little, big guy is just too damn mind-blowing. That said, if I can be honest, I wasn’t expecting that kind of sound. I know it is going to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be this good.
I was immediately blown away by how voluminous the sound is. It is very hard for me to describe, but I will try my best to. It is loud and yet, it does not feel noisy like some speakers made you feel when you cranked up to the eleven. Oh, wait. Before we go on, here are the conditions of the audition:
- No EQ adjustment, additional software or hardware enhancement of any kind
- MacBook Pro (13-inch, M1 chip, 2020)
- Samsung Galaxy S21
- Xiaomi TV
Connectivity: Bluetooth, Wired
Audio performance (show or movie):
- Transformers Dark of the Moon
Hardware: Galaxy S21
Platform: Apple TV+
Hardware: MacBook Pro and Xiaomi TV (via Apple TV)
- Godzilla: King of the Monsters
Hardware: MacBook Pro and Xiaomi TV
I thought the Venus is good and it is for the size. But the Mars Pro is on a whole new level. If you ask me, I’d go as far as to say it is audiophile-grade. I kid you not. Aside from streaming music, Mars Pro, like the Venus, is also good as a sound-enhancing device for your video needs with extra oomph – thanks to the amazing bass.
The extra bass makes my favorite test scenes from DOTM even more explosive while retaining a clear separation of the dialogue and soundtrack. And yes, Shia LaBeouf’s chattering remains as annoying as ever as it should be. I wouldn’t say it is a soundbar replacement because, while it does connect to my Mi TV via Bluetooth, the volume is less than ideal.
For some reason, I have to crank the volume wheel to 3/4 to get decent volume. Not sure if it’s a Mi TV problem, or was it the BT version, or other issues. Anywho, it does work if you want to use it to enhance your TV’s sound. A similar phenomenon occurs with MacBook Pro. However, it is not as pronounced as the TV, but when compared to say, the smartphone, the laptop seems to have less volume range. Just an observation.
As for music, we put it through a whole bunch of genres of music, from classical to pop/dance to rock. While it does perform across all genres, we find it best suited for classical and pop/dance. As always, we had to put on Alan Walker and Underworld, as well as Transformers The Score by Steve Jablonsky.
The software we used to spin the tunes is Pandora and Spotify. Why? Because we can. Just kidding. We just want to find if the software did in fact affect the output. Our finding is, it does not. At least not to my ears.
When it comes to music, it begs the question: is this a good party speaker? Well, I think it is. But it is best if you have two because you can pair two Mars Pro to achieve true wireless stereo sound.
This speaker is an all-rounder. Well, almost. As mentioned, I personally find it is more suited for classical, scores, and pop/dance. But that’s just my humble opinion.
If I were to pick one thing that this BT speaker really shines, it would be the bass. It shines not because it has a bass that will probably bring down a small house; it shines because it has the oomph without overwhelming the song. The vocal remains just as distinct as are the different instruments.
For example, Anthony Keyrouz and Romy Wave rendition of The Chainsmoker x Coldplay’s Something Just Like This never sounds so good. Wave’s vocal is clear and crisp, over Anthony Keyrouz’s music. You literally can hear everything. Mind you, I do have old ears (yes, I am kinda old) and you know, hearing does deteriorate as we ages.
• Audiophile-grade, room-filling audio
• Deep bass
• Solid and robust build
• No-frill fancy app to distract you
• Awkward location of charging port
• Fingerprint magnet (for this particular color, that is)
• Lack of music skip function on speaker
First of all, you have to know that I am not obligated to say good things about this device. But man, the qualities the GravaStar Mars Pro has demand that I have to. I can’t lie about it.
It is true that I have also said good things about other audio gear in the past, but this is the only speaker so far that makes me want to listen to music, non-stop. Seriously, I just can’t stop. It’s already late at night by the time I wrapped up this review and yet, I might be annoying my neighbors by blasting music this loud.
Now, here’s a thing about the GravaStar Mars Pro and GravaStar in general. It is not fancy like other high-quality/high-end BT speakers where you get audio customization via software tweaks by the way of an app.
The speaker maker made it right the first time and lets you enjoy it without having to make decisions like what EQ preset, or adjusting the bass or treble, or whatnot.
In other words, GravaStar Mars Pro is what speakers are supposed to be before the app came along. So, if you believe in this old-school ideology paired to sound pumped out by modern circuitry, you are in for a treat with the GravaStar Mars Pro.
GravaStar Mars Pro is available now from GravaStar.com with a starting price of US$229.95. This review unit is the Black model, in case anyone’s interested. For more information on GravaStar and what the outfit does, be sure to hit up their website GravaStar.com.
All images by Mikeshouts (unless otherwise stated).